A friend and client asked me the other day, “how do I get more sales from people visiting my sites?” My question back was, “are you talking with your visitors or just hoping they will buy?”

In this age of social media and social networking, engaging with your customer is the key to driving sales. Gone are the days of “here is my product, buy it”. People want to know more about the product and the company behind it. Remember, we buy from people that we “know, like, and trust”.

Think about the last time you were on vacation and you stopped in one of those little beach side souvenir shops. Did the owner/manager greet you when you came in? Maybe chatted you up about fishing or surfing or where you were from? Did you buy? If you are like me, yes. You felt more comfortable with the store and maybe even a little compelled to buy something because of the pleasant experience. The inverse may be true as well. If you were ignored, or made to feel like assisting you would be a chore, you more than likely left the store with your hard earned cash still firmly implanted in your pocket. I know I have.

Same goes for your business online. Make sure that you are using your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Youtube, and any other public facing social pages to engage and talk to your customers. Make them feel welcome and important. Avoid the urge to sell or push products. Share information. Build relationships. This is the key, in my humble opinion, to increasing your sales and using social media to your advantage.

At the very least, you will make some new friends, and may just build customer loyalty that will last a lifetime.