There are a range of social media marketing platforms. There are very little, if any, social media selling platforms.
The fact that you sold your second hand fridge by posting it on your local Facebook group, does not make Facebook a social selling platform. A test for a successful platform is whether you can repeatedly act successfully. In other words, whether you can build a business on it. Some social platforms may be a contributor to a company’s sales, but rarely is it the sole selling platform.
If your small business post a sales message on social media and people go to your website to buy or book, it makes the social platform a marketing platform, and your website the selling platform.
Social media is a conversation tool. Most people and businesses use it as a broadcast tool. But their reach as broadcasters are very limited.
If you understand the difference between marketing and sales, and you use social media for what is is, you can have business success. Social media grew to what it is because people have a need to communicate, which, for average individuals, mean to be heard. Dale Carnegie proved long ago that people who listen, are considered good conversationalists, while people who talk are considered boring.
Social media does not consist of audiences. Audiences are passive receivers. Social media consists of conversations. People who converse are active users. Most businesses fail at social media because they treat it as a sales tool, not a marketing tool.
Sales is about the exchange of money for your product or service. Marketing is about developing a market for your product within which a sale can take place. Sales is based on the perceived value a product or service has for a buyer. Marketing is about the trustworthiness a brand enjoys in the mind of a customer.
If you want to sell, don’t use social media platforms, or rather, use them if you want to fool yourself that you are doing marketing. If you try to sell where people search for solutions, you will mostly be considered a push marketer or a spammer.
If you want to do marketing:
- identify your market,
- identify your probable buyer in that market,
- choose your social media tool or platform where your buyers are,
- observe for what difficulties they seek solutions,
- engage with them,
- entice them to visit your website or other selling platform for solutions to their difficulties, do business with them.
Social media tools by utility value:
- Facebook – conversation, information
- Twitter – alerts (breaking news), influence, awareness
- Linkedin – the business facebook, blogging, job and employee search
- Youtube – influencing, information, illustration
- Instagram – visual, conversation, influence
- Pinterest – visual, information sharing, search
- Quora – footprint, information
- Blogging – influencing, information, communication, brand awareness
- Email – communication, information
- Google MyBusiness – information, footprint, brand building
- Google Maps – information, footprint
- WhatsApp – communication
- Periscope – information, brand building
- Digg – information, footprint
- Website – product information, contact, brand building
- Hootsuite – organisation
Social media marketing tools is one of the sections in my “Time-saving social media course” as well as my advanced social media course for small business owners, “How to learn social media in 15 sprints”. If you want to order these downloadable courses, register here.