What is a social network?
A social network is a digital platform capable of putting legal or natural persons in a situation of interaction. The first objective of social networks is the interaction between users and the regular publication of new content. These contents are attached to users in the form of pages or groups.
Social networks support different types of content: text, audio, video and image. It is also possible to include links to other platforms in your publications. Each social network has its specificities but we will come back to this in the different types of social networks.
Social networks should not be confused with discussion forums. On a forum, users come to discuss specific topics and can answer each other. Conversely, social networks highlight users and their content without a specific theme. The information does not necessarily have any added value for the user and the primary goal remains to maintain digital social contact.
The history of social networks
Facebook is considered the world's leading social network. The general public was able to start registering on this platform from 26 September 2006. Today, the service has more than 2 billion users worldwide.
Facebook's success is very fast thanks to its ease of use and the public's support, which for the first time is just one click away from almost anyone in the world. Celebrities and businesses are quickly taking advantage of it to build their online presence and connect with their community.
Soon, other social platforms are emerging with ambitions similar to Facebook. Twitter is a good example. This social platform limited user posts to 140 characters. Messages had to be short, punchy and above all regular.
The advent of smartphones and tablets has greatly contributed to shaping social networks as we know them. Snapchat and Instagram have seen their number of subscribers grow exponentially.
More recently, the Tik Tok network has made a name for itself by offering a more entertaining and short mission-oriented approach in the form of a publication.
The different ways of using social networks
The first use of social networks is to communicate. This can be done by typing text or posting media. Social networks encourage users to speak up regularly and share content as often as possible to maintain this communication.
Not all networks allow this easily. Nevertheless, Facebook, the most popular, integrates a direct sales platform into its network. Without necessarily offering to sell products, social networks also make it possible to create a favourable professional environment. This is the case of LinkedIn, for example, which focuses on relationships between professionals.
Social networks make it possible to reach a large number of users in a very short time. They are therefore perfectly suited to the creation of massive online communities. They can interact and produce content autonomously.
The notion of sharing is very important on all social networks. It can be about sharing information that is important to you for example. You may have read or seen something that you want to share with your community. Anyway, this idea of sharing fuels both interaction and communication on these social platforms.
Major social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter allow you to easily stream live video from any device. Your community will be able to watch you by sending you messages and feedback throughout your live broadcast.
Social networks are not just for entertainment. While Facebook and Twitter are open to everyone, there are also platforms like LinkedIn that focus on work. This makes it possible to find information about companies or individuals with particular skills.
What is social selling?
In the simplest sense, social selling is a practice of using networks to find prospects. Social networks can thus be used to get in touch with them in order to better understand and accompany them.
By creating a page on a social network, you already have a foot in the door of social selling. You are not necessarily aware of this if you have never been interested in this activity.
Build better relationships
There are many advantages to practicing social selling. The first is the nature of the relationship between your sales people and your prospects. Telephone canvassing works less and less because nobody likes it. On the other hand, as a professional, it is not uncommon to formulate a need online in the hope of finding an answer more easily. This is your opportunity to get closer to those who really need you. They are more likely to listen to your proposal and consider working with you.
Reaching out to social buying customers
As you can imagine, if you are looking for customers online, it means that they too are looking for suppliers. This active search process on both sides makes it easier to make contact and provide information. You will find more prospects willing to listen to you.
Monitoring will pay off because you can quickly identify where your prospects are. Everyone speaks up to ask what they need, it's up to you to get closer to those you think you can support.
The competition is already there
Not all of these prospects are specifically waiting for you. If they find another provider who can provide the same service, they will turn to him. Your competitors are certainly already online and are actively working to expand their network. So you should do the same to make sure you don't miss any opportunities.
How to sell via social networks?
Showing you online is very important. This includes comments, likes and shares that you take the time to send yourself. Beware of bots, they could do more harm than good to your image. So take the time to leave messages yourself and react to the different online publications in the most natural way possible.
Finally, take care of your image on the networks in order to bring out users' search results. This means completing the information in your various profiles, publishing regularly and not forgetting to respond to online requests.
Monitoring and identifying leads
The monitoring in this case consists in regularly consulting different user profiles and the news of your network. In the course of a publication, you may discover an underlying need that you can meet. In this way, you stay in touch with your network while identifying new leads. Social media allow you to quickly access this information and keep an eye on the publications that are most interesting for you.
Having added value
You won't close a sale if your speech turns out to be too commercial. Take the time to listen to your prospect to find out what he or she really wants and provide transparent answers.
You'll be much more engaging by regularly posting quality content. In this way, you will gain a form of legitimacy with your network while providing relevant information on your subject. Someone else has posted interesting content about your activities? Why not share it with your network?
Build good relationships
The best relationships are not those that will immediately lead to a sale. Be alert to the activity of your contacts and don't miss an opportunity to interact with them. Replying to a message, leaving a like on a post or congratulating someone in a private message allows you to maintain good relations with people in your network.
Your primary goal is not to sell, but to help. By positioning yourself as a referent on your subject, you are sure to be the privileged contact when it is time to make a purchase or to concretize a project.
How much traffic for each social network?
Not all networks have the same notoriety. You will find below the figures of the main social networks in 2020 classified according to the number of their users. It should also be remembered that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram all belong to the Facebook group.
- Facebook - 2.2 billion
- YouTube - 1.85 billion
- WhatsApp - ?.5 billion
- Instagram - ?.1 billion
- Twitter - 375 million
- Snapchat - 110 million
- LinkedIn - 85 million
- TikTok - 37.2 million
What is the role of a community manager?
Network animation is the main role of a community manager. Responding to users, posting content and relaying news is essential in the daily life of an online community. This allows to have a close approach with the users.
To put content on social media, you have to produce it first. The community manager is also there to create this content and must therefore be creative. He must also master the main content creation tools such as Photoshop or Premiere Pro.
Responding to users
Some users will send private messages to your social accounts. It is very important to reply to them within a reasonable time. These messages allow you to stay in touch with them and engage in a more personal discussion. Feel free to ask questions to find out more about the prospect and understand exactly what they are looking for.
Keeping an eye on things
What are the latest trends and what's happening in the news? Monitoring allows you to stay abreast of everything that's going on in the world and to react quickly when major information emerges. You will also be able to anticipate a possible need and prepare to communicate around it.
What are the objectives of social networks?
Working on your brand image
In addition to your website, your overall marketing strategy must also include social networks to solidify your brand image. Younger audiences are also receptive to a less formal form of communication and don't have the reflex to go to websites. Your subscribers will be vigilant about your publications and their regularity. Too much or too little postering could be detrimental to you. Ask yourself how your brand would behave if it were a person.
Complete your marketing strategy
You probably already know the typical profile of your customers. Your various marketing actions outside of social networks specifically target this profile. As we have already seen, social networks have a very large number of members among Internet users all over the world.
Your strategy is therefore not complete if you do not address your targets on these networks, since they are certainly already registered on them. Note also that you can promote your products and services by using user geolocation. In this advertising approach, social networks are an excellent vector for marketing.
Create a community
A good user experience also depends on the quality of the community you will gather online. A large active community to generate content and publications without your intervention. It will be able to respond to other users' comments and even post photos and videos related to your brand. Most users of social networks close to brands are not looking to make a purchase. They already have a product or service they like and want to be recognized by the brand.
Your community will be sensitive to the articles, projects and ads you post online. If you have a mobile application, you can also highlight it on your social pages.
Measuring these activities is very important in determining your influence. A lot of data is collected through social networks. Among the possible purposes, the exploitation of some of them can allow you to better understand the expectations of your targets.
Is product improvement expected? What does a user's browsing path on your pages look like? Do you receive many solicitations in your instant messaging?
All these questions are central to adopting the right tone with the right message. The more you know about your community, the more effective your strategy will be.
How to use social networks to communicate with your target?
Have one or more pages
Who are your users? Are they colleagues and do they meet for professional reasons on your pages? Are they part of the same family? Your company may cover both types of users. If so, you may want to consider creating pages for your products rather than your brand.
This will allow you to address the issue of displaying information according to the target audience. Your audience will not necessarily be receptive to the same publications according to their expectations. Separate the two and group the targets according to their profile.
The development of your strategy can also be done live, under the eyes of your community. Depending on the character of your target audience, they may very well want to interact with you. This is the case for younger people who are used to staying close to the people they follow online.
Live streaming is about offering video on your networks to your subscribers. This allows you to make an announcement or answer questions from your community, for example. Applications such as Twitch have made it their specialty, especially for activities such as video games.
Using private messages
If you don't post comments, your users may want more personal contact with you. Take this opportunity to build a real relationship and learn more about the expectations of your community. These discussions could lead to additional purchases or services at a later date.
The dangers of social networks
The virality of the contents
When you post online, you expose yourself to the virality inherent in social networks. Content can spread quickly, even more so if your users perceive it negatively. Virality is therefore not always positive and can cause you harm if you don't master your communication tools.
Be sure to reread your content and think about possible interpretations and perceptions before putting something online. If in doubt, ask for a second or third opinion to avoid digital retaliation. Content writing guides are available on the Internet.
Diversion of information
You won't just make friends online. Some users may hijack the content you post for unexpected purposes. So be sure to react quickly and speak up if this happens. Fake news has been commonplace for several years now and some rely on brand communication to establish their credibility.
If you are influential and your community is large, some malicious users may try to use your brand without your consent. Although social networks offer features for this kind of problem, it is your responsibility to be extremely vigilant about online identity theft.
Social networks in your marketing strategy?
Taking over the codes of social networks
Impactful messages, in a tone that matches your brand image with quality media: this is the basis of any good post on social networks. Make sure you make your post attractive and keep your message as simple as possible. If the situation is suitable, use emojis for a more spontaneous effect.
Stay on top of trends
Depending on the time, some types of publications are more popular than others. This may last less than 24 hours but will give you additional visibility and show your responsiveness. Again, it all depends on your brand, but Internet users appreciate pages that are able to offer trendy content on a regular basis.
Exploit the news
Small or large, the news gives you different opportunities to put yourself forward. Don't hesitate to react and speak out with kindness and spontaneity. The faster you are able to react, the more visible your publications will be.
Whether you want to join horizontal social networks, which are generalist and open to everyone, or vertical social networks, which are aimed at an audience looking for something more specific, you will need to think about your strategy. In France, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular networks. Each one of them has a different approach to interaction and media but all of them can help you enhance your business and your know-how.
Think Sortlist for your next need!
Simplify your research process and find the agency made for you.