Social Selling for Queer-owned businesses can be incredibly effective. By displaying your understanding of your community and creating content tailored to them, you can boost sales and generate inbound leads with the time you’re already spending on social media!
The end goal of Social Selling is that leads are finding their way into your inbox, rather than you dropping in potential customers’ DMs. To achieve this goal, you’ll need to focus on 3 things:
- Creating an engaged following on a social media platform
- Establishing yourself as a thought leader in your niche
- Developing a Social Selling Strategy you can use over and over again
Gary Vaynerchuck said it before, and I’ll say it again: “With social media marketing more popular than ever, social media outreach is the greatest networking & business development opportunity of the last decade.”
Creating Community Through Consistency and Content
Before customers start falling all over themselves to get on your calendar like first-time Pride-goers getting into a club – you’ll need to create an engaged following. The thought of growing an engaged following can be daunting at first. But the good news is, it’s not hard – it just takes consistency!
First – you’ll need to figure out where your people are.
What hashtags are those in your niche following, what groups are they in? Join them, then start showing up regularly. Even 20 minutes a day (minus time spent writing your posts) will pay off over the long run.
Engage in the comments of big and small creators, and create real conversations and connections. Add real value with your comments – “thanks for sharing” is the butt of many a LinkedIn joke.
As you do, you’ll begin sending connection requests to those you’re having great conversations with, and they’ll do the same!
While there’s lots of advice on how to grow your following, the only strategy you need – is the one you can commit to! You don’t need to be all business. People are going to work with YOU. So you should let them get to know the real you. If they start paying you only to realize they don’t like you very much (or vice versa), no one’s going to have a good time.
Don’t be afraid to show off the cute dog pic you took or share your travels – but make sure it’s balanced with thoughtful, value-adding content for your audience. These posts may even get more engagement and contribute more to your follower count than when you’re speaking on your niche – because they resonate with everyone.
Give Away Your Knowledge and Become a Thought Leader
It almost sounds stupid, but it works! Share the knowledge and insights you’ve gained with your following.
If you’re a personal trainer, you might share the long-term benefits of healthy living.
If you’re a financial advisor, share lesser-known finance hacks.
If you’re a writer, share tips on elevating your content.
Those working in your niche (whom you’ve already built an engaged community with) will cheer you on and add even more value. Your most powerful posts won’t even be the ones that get the most engagement, but they will stand out to the lurkers – and that’s where your customers are hiding!
When you create social proof through your follower count and your ability to speak about the challenges facing your audience, they’ll take notice!
Remember that customers don’t care about what you do for yourself, only what you can do for them. Keep that in mind when formatting your posts. Stop saying “I” so much and start saying “you” a lot more. (Did you notice how many times I’ve done it in this post?)
You want to be the "trusted advisor,” as sales guru Anthony Iannarino says. You’re not on social media to sell – you’re there to help, and that makes a big difference.
Eventually, people will start asking about your services in the comments. This is a perfect time to let them know how you can help! Even if they’re not ready to hire you, someone else may see that comment and be ready themselves.
Feeding the Algorithm and Following the Trends
If you’ve ever been on the internet, you know that trends seem to explode overnight.
Don’t chase every single trend if it doesn’t feel authentic. But you must be mindful of what the algorithm likes and what your ideal customers want to consume.
If you’re not comfortable with graphic design, making carousels might not be your jam.
(But a good graphic designer is an asset, so think about how you might outsource that job if it feels right for you.)
Love the camera? Lean into going live! You’ll literally be able to talk to your customers on your own terms. Bonus points if your furry friend jumps in the frame. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too.
Like I said earlier, the strategy that works is the one you can commit to. There are plenty of creators on LinkedIn who’ve amassed well over 10K followers without ever sharing a selfie.
Learning to Play Conversational Chess
I’m not the best at chess, but I do like a good strategy game. In my younger years, I was a big nerd and gamer. I spent a lot of time playing strategy games. Offline, I loved Stratego, which is basically an easier version of chess.
The principles are quite similar – you’re trying to anticipate your opponent’s moves a few paces ahead of them.
And that’s exactly what you need to do when talking to potential customers. Every response, every question… you want to know the answer before you ask. That’s why you’ll eventually develop a set of questions you ask every customer. You’ll have battle-tested them and know you’ll get one of 2 or 3 responses. You can also prepare statements that will lead to questions.
Look, let’s be real here, we’re not trying to become best friends with the potential customer (not yet at least).
It’s perfectly fine and ethical to use a strategy to influence people to take the action we want them to take. It’s not icky – you must recognize that social selling is still part of the overall sales process.
Start by making lists of potential questions (or objections, you’ll encounter those as well) and answering them. Strike the balance between the language that’s comfortable for you and the language your ideal customers use.
Get comfortable asking and answering. Practice on your partner. Or your dog. Or your plants.
Remember that service is at the heart of selling. Your customer will get far more value out of buying your product than you will from selling it. If you believe in your service or your products, this isn’t a difficult mindset shift to make.
Creating a Social Sales Strategy
This is a sales conversation, right? So you need a strategy to get to the point.
(Unless you do just want to become best friends with the customer. Great way to make friends, terrible way to make money!)
I used to be so detailed about my strategy, that I could barely get started. I wanted a super-detailed plan for every step of the way. That’s fine for some, but I was a one-man band. I didn’t have the time to spend months actively warming up cold leads!
Plus – if you’re prone to procrastination, your strategy can morph into a rabbit hole of epic proportions.
Here’s the Simple 5-Step Process I use to generate leads:
- Find your potential customers through hashtag search or in groups.
- Follow or sent a personalized connection. This is as simple as letting them know where you found them, what you love about their company – anything that says you didn’t pluck their name out of a hat.
- Engage with their content and get noticed! Once they’ve responded to some of your comments, reach out with a DM referencing what you’ve chatted about.
- Qualify through DMs when they ask what you do. Do they meet your requirements for your ideal customer? If they don’t ask – tell them! Simple and fast. “I’m Stefaan, I help queer entrepreneurs devise strategies to make their business can run themselves! Let me know if you ever need anything.” They’ll inevitably think that’s awesome.
- Book the call!
Never. Stop. Talking.
Social selling will likely never completely replace other sales channels like cold calling. And you shouldn’t limit your sales strategy to only one channel, anyway. That’s why you have to keep telling everyone:
- What you do.
- Why you love doing it.
- What amazing results you’ve seen.
Every business has some form of a sales team – even if it’s just you, for now.
If you’ve hired a team, Sales is (hopefully) closely connected to Marketing (If not, let’s talk.)
Cold calling will still happen. Paid Advertising will still happen. Social Selling is simply one more channel through which to sell your services. Since it’s free, it might even be your best bet, at first.
People want authenticity. If you keep talking to them, adding value to the conversation, and sharing what you know… that’s the fastest way to generate a Know-Like-Trust factor that compels your customers to buy from you!
So whatever your process is, never stop talking to your ideal customers!
If you’re looking for help developing your own Social Selling Strategy, that’s why I’m here.
Titanology's Social Seller Bootcamp is a FREE 5-Day Email Course designed to teach you step-by-step how to install a Social Selling Strategy into your business.