Knowing when to sell in social is like playing the lottery. Sometimes you’ve got the winning combination, and sometimes you just lose out.
One of the foundations of social is that is a conversation and not to “sell”, rather provide valuable and useful content that then leads to customer acquisition and then in turn into a potential sale.
That’s not to say that you can’t try and sell, but doing it straight off the bat is not the right way to go. Creating and providing this useful content is part of what I like to call a “window of trust” – a passage of time that passes before you’ve provided enough value that then pitching a product or a service is not unreasonable.
To give you an example, one of the sites that I own and contribute to recently launched its first product – after 2 years of creating and providing free content. We’ve built a good rapport with our readers, they trust us and value what we have provided.
Will every single one of them buy the product? Absolutely not. But some will, and probably more than would have if we had launched it one year ago, and certainly more than would have if we tried to sell it on launch.
That 2 year window of trust has built value and a base of people that will be interested in a product that we’ve demonstrated provides a useful service.
How long does your window of trust need to be before you can try to sell?
I was just heading home in the car and a quit smoking ad came on. Now there are a million quit smoking ads on TV and radio – some use shock tactics, some use a disco band, others use positive reinforcement to quit.
But this one was different. No fancy bells and whistles, just one guy telling you that smoker’s cough is the least of your problems, and there is a revolutionary new treatment to flush nicotine out of your system and and get rid of cravings (as a non smoker, I can’t imagine how hard it is to fight these). But the next thing he said was “for a free quit smoking guide, visit our website”.
In this case, the sell went straight up front – “we have the cure”, which was then followed up by the offer and provision of useful, free information.
Your window of trust will depend on who you’re selling to. Smoking is one of those things that people are looking for anything they can to quit, so the space of a 30 second radio ad could be enough. Business services much longer.
Understand what it takes for your customers to buy and how long before they do. Spend that time delivering great service, information and assistance. Then sell.
PHOTO – Sizima