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Your Slide into the DM should be a preview not the whole film
show. It should be tasteful and promising. It should be based on the assumption
that the recipient would check you out. So, prepare to be checked out. Renovate
your profile or create a business profile where you don’t rant about local or
international Politics, Football Premiership League or BBnaija. Big
Brands understand content marketing and how to weave their brand
story into topical issues and events. You don’t! Leave that for now.
Also prepare for objections.
Make promises you can keep.
Move the convo to email or WhatsApp or phone call as seamlessly and as fast as you can
Share various ways in which the potential customer can reach you. It doesn’t harm to have two or more phone networks.
Keep your intro short and don’t pretend to know them personally when you don’t.
Use auto-responders with wisdom.
Ask staff to sign DMs so you can trace who spoke to which customer and so improve your customer service. Facebook is great with identifying various editors or admins of a business page but other social media platforms are yet to embrace this feature. I hope you practice the tips above and experience a more fruitful customer engagement.
Never tag strangers! Never. Tag only people you know, especially those who share an opinion on the post in which you’re tagging them. The block button is the easiest to use to keep you off.
Pros & Cons of Mentions Same advice above applies to mentions.
Ahaa! Not everyone has data to watch so many videos or to download heavy megabytes of pictures. Your customers vary and their data situation also varies from time to time. I know may people not on Instagram because basically your IG experience is useless if you’re not watching videos or viewing great pictures. Such people are either on Facebook or Fwitter, where many telecom networks have free browsing deals. Recommendation: Know the limits of your platform. Know the habits of your potential target customers. Don’t flood the potential customer’s DM with pictures and videos simply because you believe you have an irresistible offer.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always being with us from the days of the simple math calculator. Today, it is so sophisticated that robots or auto-responders can help customers resolve problems via live chat. But till a future when AI can predict mood and actual situation of the customer whose DM you are targeting, nothing beats personalised selling if you’re a small business owner or if you sell heavy machinery or real estate or anything that is not a Fast-Moving-Consumer-Good (FMCG). Such things or services tend to thrive on personal selling, except of course they are apps themselves like Facebook, Google Maps or Playstore.
Even the likes of MTN and GT Bank have dedicated staff to manage their DM enquiries and in cases where autoresponders are deployed, they tend to leave a general message that isn’t pretending to be human.
Problem with auto responders is they can only predict the next correct response so far along in the chat. At some point (till AI really becomes ‘human’) the responder will stop making sense to the customer.
Microsoft uses a combination of robots (autoresponders) and hundreds of paid customer care workers outsourced to other firms to perform this function. I have been a beneficiary. But let’s get back to auto responders on social media DMs.
Typical auto-responses go like this:
Dear @ebereamadi, thanks for following us. We sell bras and lingerie for women of all sizes. They come in all colours ranging from pink to baby pink, violet, Hawai yellow, black, blue, red, wine, and more. Visit our website to make a purchase at www.abujalovelies.ng or call 08011122255 to speak with any of our customer service representatives’
On the surface nothing is wrong with this and in fact I recommend it for big businesses who have a social media page handler, who either does the job full time or has it as one of his or her duties. If you’re a busy small business owner, say also a mother with a day job, then using auto-responders could be more pain than pleasure. Because whilst, your pitch or message is from a programmed machine/app, the feedback or follow up chats are from real human beings at the other end, and they need and want to be treated on a case by case basis not on a one-size-fits-all response, which is what a programmed robot or auto-responder can deliver.
This is by no means the final word on auto-responders. For now, I would say ‘Use responsibly’ if you’re a big business and try as much as possible to leave a honest first message such as ‘This is an offline message from @abujalovelies. Thank you for following us. Kindly leave a query or message and one of our customer service reps will get back to you within 24 hours.’
We’ve said this over and over that people first buy you before they buy what you’re selling, and that TRUST is the first factor that makes this happen. It is the continuation of this trust that keeps the customer relationship going.
So, your first task, after the first chat, is to keep the very first promise you made. It could be as simple as ‘I will call you later in the evening’ or ‘I will send you a PDF of our sales tariff. Whatever, keep that first promise.’ The customer is looking out for signs of default. If you can’t keep a simple promise like calling back or sending an email how could you possibly keep a bigger promise? To the average Nigerian businessman or millennial, this may seem unimportant, till they are on the receiving end of someone who doesn’t keep basic promises. Suddenly an excuse like Lagos traffic, the rain or network doesn’t cut it with you! Try your best to keep all promises and by extension, be slow to commit to specific times and dates, especially if you have a back end you must consult to actualise that promise.
Save everybody time and energy and give your potential buyer a price range, except you are selling a service or product that requires a lot of explanation. If you’re selling cakes or sports shoes, or ear rings, consider saying prices from #2,500 or between #2.5k and #15k. Your time is valuable. NOT EVERY CUSTOMER IS YOUR CUSTOMER. Narrow down regardless of your hunger for patronage. Save time. Focus on ‘serious’ customers, then try to get referrals from those who buy. That way you get even more potential customers.
Read the potential customer’s timeline if just a few targets. If a lot, then invest in a social listening tool or hire a social media expert (not an influencer! That’s a different subject and chances are you can’t afford either a minor or major influencer. But there are ways around promoting your business without using influencers, in a different course.) Most social media listening tools have free versions, like hootsuite
This is not a guarantee that she would reply your DM but you stand greater chances than a lonely ‘Hello’ ‘Wuzzup babe?’ ‘You’re so beautiful!’ ‘Baby kilonhappen?’.
A girl would expect you to maintain a healthy distance in your first chat. So, your personal jokes require careful timing and your best judgement. But if your profile is really tight, your chances of a reply are higher than if it were just there or just another angry black man J. Stand back and stare at your own profile. Would you date you if situations were reversed? If your answer is a ‘NO’ then you need to make a change. Remember, people buy you before they buy what you’re selling. Consider making a plan and following it.
If you want to use one handle for both personal and business purposes, then you really need to take your time to decide what picture best portrays the image you want out there? How do you want potential partners to see you? This is your choice, but there’s a price attached to the choice you make.
I can’t over emphasise this, especially for job seekers using funny emails to apply for corporate jobs. If you’re a dancer, comedian or musician, the following emails may be okay: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Luckily for us all, most social media platforms are liberal about profile names although they are strict about handle names. Some of us feel disenfranchised when we can’t use our slay names, pet names or code names (also known as guy names for older generations) in our handle, because of the advice above regarding handles. Well, the profile name offers you a second chance to show off, but I would still advise that you have two profiles (where the platform’s rules allow). Facebook officially frowns at double identities because of fraud. But the fact remains that you can have a page for your hustle even on Facebook. For some personalities, their personal lifestyle reinforces their hustle so this rule doesn’t apply to such people. Examples would be Alibaba the comedian. His real names are not half as popular as his business or stage name.
Say you were a cake maker or events planner; your social media profile is a great place to ‘sell your market’ as the local saying goes. So, whilst I advise you to use your real name, as much as possible in the handle (For example @ebereamadi so people who already know you as ‘Ebere Amadi’ can easily find you, you should not waste the profile name section by repeating ‘EBERE AMADI or AMADIEBERE. The profile name becomes an opportunity to say something complementary, something that completes you. For example, Affordable Cakes Naija
So, altogether, your profile looks as follows:
AFFORDABLE CAKES NAIJA
For situations where your exact handle name has been taken, try to get creative, but stay as close as possible to the original name and spelling, for when people who knew you in school or elsewhere search for you, the platform search engine would throw up all similar options or look alike handles.
Twitter allows pinned posts and this is a brilliant way to say what matters most to you. Although at first glance it could look irrelevant to first time visitors to your timeline, it is a great way to set the records straight and put your best foot forward about what matters most to you, at least till a time you decide to remove or unpin the post. So, Ebere, the cake seller above, may also want to pin a post that displays juicy pictures of her various cakes with a call to action stating phone contact or other useful information. You would notice that big brands like MTN, Etisalat, Globacom, GTBank and others, have pinned posts, that they update on a need-to-update basis.
Of the major social media platforms, perhaps only Instagram does not offer this option and they may do so in the near future. The cover picture, although Facebook often threatens to flag people who advertise with their cover picture areas, offer you an opportunity to also say something about yourself or your brand, in pictures (or in fact videos, when it comes to Facebook cover page!).
Still going with Ebere’s example above, this is a great space to show a picture of her busy making cake in her cake studio or serving guests at an event, not the usual busy flier with 1000 details about the business. The picture dimensions vary from platform to platform but you can easily ask Google about those.
Finally! Regarding your profile, the last and equally important avenue for describing yourself and what you do or what you value most, is the bio (short for biography) area. Your bio is a short description of you by you! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot especially if you’re a guy looking to hook up with girls on social media and vice versa.
While I don’t care about your personal views, it’s my duty to remind you that marketing also obeys the law of karma, you sow what you reap. Remember the unsanitary look of the paw-paw hawker that resulted in no purchase by our paw-paw hungry commuter?
I have seen many bios that are basically childish. Some are angry to the point of being potentially toxic to their relationships. Some are plain sexists or xenophobic. Some are laced with stupid jokes that could offend a large portion of your potential target consumers, be they informal (casual or serious romantic relationships), formal (job or other position interviews) or commercial situations.
So, Ebere could look at herself and eat her cake and have it by describing herself and yet selling her business. Here’s an example for Ebere’s bio below:
>>Unizik alumnus, crazy about soccer, Tiwa Savage and my lovely cake customers. Follow my business page @EberePartyShakers. #Ifollowback #Tiwaforever <<
Perception is reality, so it is not necessarily what you are but what people think you are that people respond or react to. If I was working for a veterinary clinic or a company selling dog food, trust me, besides retweeting my company’s tweets, I would also have a cover display with a dog or something at least remotely canine., whether or not I liked dogs, if my job is in the sales department or I get commissions for sales I bring to the company.
If you’re selling a conservative product like investments, even to millennials, there is a minimum expectation that you would not be a direct or indirect supporter of tweets like ‘Nobody holy pass!’ Really? Would anyone really want to buy into your product? Well, maybe it would apply on a romantic level if your target were a girl or guy who shared similar views.
‘Manipulate’ your profile area to push the image that works best for you. Of course, if you’re naturally bad mannered or toxic, your new relationship would not last even if your great profile helps you get it started. But that’s a matter dealt with down the line in this course.
First Things First
However, some of the principles and suggestions may help with Emails and even face to face selling situations.
B. Did you know that the child who wants more ice cream requires same skills as the minister who wants more budget allocations for his or her ministry? This same set of skills are also required by the boy who wants to date a girl he has only just followed or seen on Twitter!
So, what are these skills?
You may be tempted to respond by saying ‘Selling Skills’, but that would be a very broad response. The right answer is Persuasion Skills.
The ability to persuade anyone to our side of the fence is the core of the selling process. A Christian preacher must persuade us to be born again, to pay our tithes and to behave in a Christ-like manner. A President would persuade his party or nation to support his policies. A son or daughter would persuade the parents to give their blessings regarding his or her choice of wife or husband. In same way, similar persuasion skills are required to persuade your target consumer (DM target) to accept and buy whatever you’re selling.
So, what is the first step in persuading your targeted consumer?
Your personal brand! Your personal brand always precedes whatever you’re selling. People buy you before they buy what. Imagine you were craving paw-paw on a hot afternoon and you were stuck in a typical Lagos traffic situation, and then you heard the persistent holla of a paw-paw hawker. ‘Buy your paw-paw! Sweet paw-paw here! Yes, Buy paw-paw, Fifty Naira. Fresh paw-paw here!”
Now he or she has advertised to your first sense of appreciation, your ears! Next sense of appreciation are your eyes. So, to see for yourself, you beckon the bus conductor to please call the paw-paw seller’s attention.
Then she appears and looks disgusting, her mouth drooping with saliva and her clothes next to tatters, and her fingernails dirty as she gets to you, a cold stare on her face…
Your current sense of appreciation becomes your sense of judgement.
Somehow you can’t associate her unhygienic state with the ‘sweet, fresh paw-paw’ she just advertised. It’s a no from you! You would rather risk her harsh tongue than a date with stomach upset. People buy you before they buy what you’re selling!
What is the first thing you do when you get a friend request on Facebook or when someone sends you a DM on any platform? Regardless of the message, you would quickly check their profile or Display Picture at least. Even if it was a verified celebrity handle, you would check to confirm your luck! Especially so in this age of scamming from every corner of the earth. Did you know the verified button has many look-alike buttons? So, yes, many would still check the celebrity profile for further proof of authentication.
The key point here is that recipients of your message would first check you out before they check out what you’re selling.
Therefore, your first task or job number one when aiming to persuade someone else regrading any sale (personal, commercial, or institutional) is to preen your profile tightly. In other words, look the best you can.
If you are sending a romantic DM to a girl who obviously is a dog lover, schooled abroad, and has been tweeting about climate change, then your handle is a minus if it reads @localman_6458_gdebodie. What does that even mean? J
First this handle looks like a scamming handle. Many robot handles are autogenerated and so often get flagged by the platform engines. When not flagged by the platform engines, then people the handle interacts with will either flag them or ignore them. Oh, and when such handles send a DM, the most likely responses would be ‘IGNORE’, ‘DELETE’ or ‘BLOCK’.
I would pick all if I could, for what good could possibly come from a DM from such a DM?
Of course, this is fine between you and your buddies who also probably have similar handles or share same local slangs and all. But your personal brand is the first point of call when you contact anyone on social media. They want to know WHO THIS PERSON or ORGANISATION is.
Is he or she worth my precious time? Is he or she toxic to my cause or lifestyle? Is he or she in alignment with my world view? At a glance people can read or misread you and what you stand for.
In marketing we call it profiling. Everyone profiles. Dogs profile visitors and decide who to bark at consistently. There is a general bark for the knock at the gate. But then upon seeing the visitor some dogs keep barking nonstop, even after the owner says ‘Keep quiet!’. Bros, you have been profiled as dangerous or potentially toxic to the dog or its owner or perhaps the dog is mad.
So, without debating on my example of a not very universally friendly handle, let’s focus on the lesson here. How your profile looks (Display Picture inclusive) would play a big role in how your first holla or Direct Message (DM) is accepted.
Remember, people are drawn to people first. Even if you were selling something I desperately need, I would rather check other avenues of purchase if I don’t like your face, profile or posts.
Did you know some people have been denied visa because of their posts on social media They forgot that the interview process is one in which the candidate is selling his personality and past records, values and habits to the interviewer. In fact, every sales process is an interview from the buyer’s point of view. You are been measured, not just by what you’re selling, the packaging and the price, but also how you look, how you talk and your overall mien or attitude.
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