Are you using social media to blindly blast information at your audience? How to use social media to build relationships –  and truly connect with consumers.

Digital tools like social give us infinitely better ways to understand where our customers are coming from. However, there are still those lazy marketers out there who use social strictly as a blast advertising medium, and lazy salespeople who don’t use social to get to know their customer before they pitch them. In fact, the term ‘social selling’ bothers me because many people just want to know how to use social platforms to sell.

The explosion of digital, social and mobile technology didn’t make buyers grow three heads.

Instead, we should be learning how to use social for the essential work of getting to know our prospects and customers. We need to use these fabulous tools to listen—and listen closely—to what buyers want. There is so much we can learn if we just shut up and listen!

What used to take us weeks of pouring through research now takes us a fraction of the time studying profiles, sifting through conversations and reaching out to ask questions and add value. The modern buyer doesn’t want to hear your pitch—he’s done his own research online, and will ask the advice of friends and connections before he’s ready to buy. What he wants from you is value and information he can trust when making that decision. He wants you to know where he’s coming from.

“What the modern buyer wants form you is value and information he can trust when making a decision. He wants you to know where he’s coming from.

Sure, advertising has its place. It always has and always will. But social gives us unprecedented opportunities to delve into our customer’s ‘why’. We’ve never been able to connect personally with as many people and find out so much about them as we can through today’s technologies. It’s a fantastic launch pad for doing something we’ve always had to do before we could get a prospect to buy from us—build relationships.

Social selling isn’t really about selling at all. It’s about being social, connecting, interacting, engaging and building relationships. So yes, social has turned the marketing world upside down, but not because we can get in front of more people. It has revolutionized marketing and sales because it allows us to find out more.

We now have larger amounts of data, platforms and apps available to allow us to get to know who our customer or prospect is. What interests them? What are their pain points? What causes them joy? Being fully connected and plugged-in in a connected world helps us not to just talk to people, but to listen to them.

Then we start using these tools to listen and add value—to study and understand who our customers really are—that’s when the magic will happen.

The ability to build learn, utilize, and flex that information and emotional connection muscle, is what makes social so valuable.

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