In our recent post, The Path to Purchase, we looked at the four components of the sales process, at least according to how Google sees it. But that’s only some of the online shopping and e-commerce population. What about the sales process as it relates to the social media customer experience; further out front in the sales process? What about social commerce?
Social commerce is the result of making a connection with your audience. It’s the byproduct of inspiration and discovery. Think about it. You find something that inspires you and you start telling your friends about it.
Getting people to talk, share, recommend or otherwise advocate for your product or service is also one of the elements of The Golden Content Triangle and is often considered marketing manna.
So how is it accomplished?
It all starts with a conversation. Conversations lead to relationships and relationships lead to mutual goals and mutual goals lead to fulfillment. If you give your target audience something to talk about, then you’ve helped spark that conversation. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the conversation will be between you and the other person. It could between friends, family or co-workers about your very product or service. Indeed, that very conversation could be the start of something viral.
The conversation can be moved to other customer touchpoints and thereby, opportunities to create relationships are born. Just like any relationship, customer relationships need to be cultivated, too. With the right nurturing, you could discover your customers’ goals (i.e., to live better, weigh less, etc) and how your goal (sale of your product/service) supports theirs. Once that connection is made, fulfillment ensues. It’s a beautiful thing.
As marketers and advertisers, we need to recognize that people know when they’re being sold to. They know meaningless advertisements when they see them. This is why it’s important for businesses to be active at the front of the relationship cycle; where the first conversations (and therefore considerations) about any product or service occur.
This is a fundamental shift for most traditional marketers and salespeople. ”Relationships are the new currency,” says Ted Rubin, one of Forbes’ Top 15 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013. “In today’s market, real trumps perfect because real is what creates trust … and trust is what makes word of mouth recommendations work,” explains Rubin.
Real trumps perfect. You gotta love that, as a marketer.
Check out Lisa Chau’s most excellent article is U.S. News, where she interviews Ted Rubin.