How Social Media Supports Your Entire Sales Cycle - Social Media 101

What is the function of social media when it comes to business? If you answered, “it’s an advertising platform”, you are right….. and wrong. While one key role is marketing, social media is actually equipped to underpin the complete customer journey. In this article, we are going to look at these functions when it comes to sales in particular. Below is an outline of how social media can support your entire sales funnel.

Social Media & Sales Funnel Functions

While specific sales steps vary from business to business, we look at the main considerations that form part of a basic sales funnel:

Awareness

Social media plays a crucial role when it comes to marketing, but it should not be used as an “online billboard”. Instead, it should be used to educate and inform the audience. Examples are showcasing unique selling points or providing valuable information through article content.

As both the number of consumers and time spent on social media platforms are increasing exponentially, it is the obvious choice when it comes to brand awareness. But it’s not just the sheer audience reach that makes it so powerful for business. It’s the ability to target your core demographic – to an impressive extent. In addition to audience-based targeting, you can also customise your campaign to suit your primary campaign or business objective(s).

Targeted advertising means that your brand is placed in front of selected audiences on their devices (cell phone, tablet, computer) when they are next active on the platform. Which means that you don’t have to rely on the client finding you themselves (via an online search, for example) – you find THEM. How’s that for brand awareness generation?

Stat: 52% of survey respondents had discovered a new retail product on Facebook that they were interested in buying, rising to 78% in the 18-34 year group. (blog.hootsuite.com)

Interest

Social media is excellently suited to drive interest in products and services through the type of content published. It allows for displaying aspects of the business that traditional media isn’t able to. This includes real-time updates (e.g. promoting lunch-time special specifically at lunch time), social responsibility projects, online articles, tips and advice. It also supports different media types including images, text and video content that can be used interchangeably and even combined. This keeps the recipient interested and engaged – two key elements to attract and retain audiences.

Well crafted, high-quality content leads to improved brand affinity. Businesses are able to show their “character” and what they are all about. This makes them more personable, and marketing messages sent are likely to be received more favourable. An important factor to remember is that content should be customer-centric. People are interested in brands that are interested in them. And strategic content does just this, while also maintaining brand objectives. Win-win for everyone.

Stat: Today, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. And decision makers consume at least 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (www.superoffice.com)

Decision

Social media is where consumers interact with their friends and family, as well as brands. Many decisions are influenced by the content they are exposed to. This includes actual marketing messages from businesses, as well as what other people are saying about a brand.

The multi-step approach of social media (educate, inform, market) plays a major role when it comes to impacting decision-making. Even in-store purchases are influenced by posts seen on social media first. Customer service via social media also promotes sales as potential clients can get quick, personal feedback to questions or concerns (e.g. stockists, specifications, use etc).

Consistent useful, relevant, well-structured content can position the brand as a thought-leader or trusted advisor in their industry. The use of employee advocacy and social media influencers can also be pivotal in brand positioning. Online influencers, including a brand’s own clients and fans, are forms of word-of-mouth marketing that guide purchasing decisions. Along with great customer service, having excellent content and social media endorsers also contribute to total customer experience.

Stat: 57% of consumers say social media influences their shopping, led by Facebook at 44%.  (www.wordstream.com)

Action

And…. action! The above strategies all come together to persuade the user to take action. Social media has built-in options for different call-to-actions. These include driving online-based activities like promoting website traffic or direct purchases, as well as influencing offline actions like in-store visits. CTA messaging also can be customised to suit each businesses’ sales objectives.

Stat: Facebook is the preferred social platform of supermarket shoppers—89% use (www.wordstream.com)

And for those of you who think this is not for you because you have human sales consultants, think again. Social media can also be used for lead generation as well. Different strategies can be employed dependent on your business objectives and market, resulting in high-quality, up-to-date leads that your sales team can use to close the deal.

The best part is that social media provides accurate statistics that provide insight into the performance of activities. This includes actual social media stats (e.g. online conversions), as well as linking a business’s sales figures to social media activities to gauge purchase decision attribution. It gives you a snapshot of which activities result in the highest sales, providing insight for future activities.

Stat: Social media is fast becoming the go-to channel for sales people to find new prospects and reach their sales targets. In fact, 90% of top performing sales people now use social media as part of their sales strategy. (business.linkedin.com)

Social media has the tools, functionality, versatility and ability to support all phases of your sales cycle. When implemented correctly, it has the potential to increase sales results and return on investment. If you do not have the required expertise and resources within your business, consider consulting a social media specialist. It is worth the investment if the result is improved sales figures. Especially since social media strategists don’t just focus on once-off purchases, but on long-term relationships required for customer retention and repeat business.

After all, when it comes to business success, the bottom line is….. well, the bottom line.

Want to give your sales figures a boost? Make the call – contact Social Media 101 now. 

The pharmaceutical sector, in its pursuit to connect with broader audiences, has increasingly embraced digital marketing, especially social media platforms. However, this digital shift doesn’t come without challenges. The world of social media, with its real-time interactions and viral trends, brings with it a plethora of potential risks for pharma brands. Let’s delve into these risks and provide actionable strategies for effective risk mitigation.

Potential Risks In Pharma Social media Marketing

 

  • Adverse Events Reporting: One of the most significant concerns for pharma companies on social media is the potential reporting or discussion of adverse events related to their products. These can range from mild side effects to severe medical reactions.
  • Misinformation and Misinterpretation: The real-time nature of social media means information – or misinformation – can spread rapidly. Misinterpreted data, incorrect usage details, or misguided advice can have serious implications.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Pharma brands operate under stringent regulations. Ensuring that every piece of content, interaction, or campaign aligns with regulatory guidelines is crucial.
  • Brand Reputation: Negative feedback, public complaints, or controversies can escalate quickly on social platforms, potentially tarnishing a brand’s image.

Actionable Strategies For Risk Mitigation

 

  • Comprehensive Social Media Policy: Establish a robust social media policy that all employees are familiar with. This policy should define permissible content, response protocols, and escalation procedures for issues like adverse event reporting.
  • Active Community Management: Maintain an active presence on your social media profiles. Quick, appropriate responses to comments or messages can prevent misunderstandings from escalating.
  • Regular Training: Regularly train your social media and customer support teams on the latest regulations, brand guidelines, and adverse event reporting procedures.
  • Monitoring Tools: Implement social listening tools that alert you whenever your brand or products are mentioned. This enables you to respond swiftly to potential issues.
  • Clear Communication Channels: Ensure there’s a clear line of communication between your social media team and medical or regulatory experts within the company.

Community Management Best Practices

 

  • Pre-approved Content Library: Maintain a library of pre-approved responses for common queries, comments, or situations. This ensures that your team provides accurate and compliant information consistently.
  • Rapid Escalation Protocols: In case of an adverse event report or a serious complaint, have a defined protocol for rapidly escalating the issue to the relevant department.
  • Periodic Review: Conduct regular reviews of your social media interactions to identify potential areas of improvement or recurrent issues.
  • Engage, Don’t Ignore: Engaging with comments, whether positive or negative, demonstrates that your brand values feedback and is committed to patient safety and satisfaction.
  • Patient Privacy: Always prioritize patient privacy. Move detailed discussions, especially those involving personal health details, to private channels like direct messages.
In conclusion, while social media offers a valuable platform for pharma brands to connect with their audience, it’s essential to approach it with caution and preparedness. By understanding potential risks and implementing a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy, pharma brands can confidently and safely navigate the digital realm.

If you’re keen to elevate your social media presence while ensuring robust risk mitigation, our experts at Social Media 101 are here to guide you every step of the way. Get in touch today for tailored solutions and strategies that align with your brand’s vision.

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