Your social media sites are up and running, but your sales numbers have not moved a dial. You noticed your competitors have many followers and significant sales inquiries generated from their social media sites, but not yours. Tight on resources and lagging behind your business objectives, you’re clueless about boosting your sales via social media. If you are in this predicament, then read on and discover how to use social media to increase sales for your business.
How to use social media to increase sales? Creating multiple posts on Facebook or Instagram will not do the job. Instead, the best social media strategies involves understanding your customers, developing content that connects with your customers and identifying the correct social media platforms to use to reach them.
In order for social media to boost sales, having a successful presence online is imperative. Businesses must identify the right mix of content, promotional strategies and social media tools to use. Scroll down to discover 5 tips how smart marketers use social media to increase sales and drive business revenue.
Be Where Your Audience Is
Consumers today are spoilt for choice with a plethora of social media platforms ranging from Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest to Google Plus. With limited time on hand, businesses may not have the manpower or time to be active across all platforms . It is therefore imperative to be selective and identify which platform will help you meet your business goals. If you operate in a B2B environment, then Linked is the right platform for B2B lead generation, general networking and for hiring purposes. With the largest number of users in the age group of 30 – 49 years old, Linked is a suitable platform to reach out to an older, matured audience. In addition, advertisements on Linked can be targeted to reach key decision makers within a company, based on their corporate ranking or position.
Facebook no doubt is the most populous social marketing platform today with over 1.3 billion users, making it an ideal platform to gain exposure to potential customers by tapping on the network of your existing clients. Individuals use Facebook to build relationships and stay in contact with old friends, thus making it a good platform to build loyalty with your existing customer base.
However, if you are just starting up a new business or if you have a small base of followers, your post will have a limited reach within your own network. Thus, new businesses should pair Facebook with other social media platform such as Instagram to intensify the speed of reach and give you a wider reach that you need.
With 1 billion people worldwide using Instagram, it is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today, especially among the young audience. Just like Pinterest, Instagram relies on conversations generated from photos. Thus, it works very well for visual-based businesses such as retail, beauty, aesthetics, art, food and services with tangible benefits including dentistry, aesthetics services and cosmetic surgery.
Marketers today have to harness the power of analytics and understand their customer profile and psychographics to shape the best social media marketing strategies to execute.
Attract Audience With Relevant Content
In the digital world, the old adage “content is king” is an evergreen. Serve up content that resonates with your audience and they will follow and like you. Great content will help you attract new audience, thus allowing you to collect leads. With these leads, you can then market your products or service to generate more sales and boost revenue.
For your content to generate leads, you should plan to include these types of content:-
- Traffic generating content
- Lead generating content
Our top picks on traffic generating content are summarized as below.
- Blog posts – This content type is the primary requirement for any content plan. Embed your blog into your company’s website and use it to tell your potential customers more about the products and services you can deliver, in a way that is less pushy or “hard-selling”. Leverage on the blog as a “hub” to drive all other types of content and traffic to your blog
- Social media posts – Just wrote a great article that you would like to generate more traffic to? Then post it up on social media with a link to your blog to drive traffic. Viewers who stumble upon your blog may click on your website. Make sure you have lead generation form on your website to enable lead collection and future re-marketing opportunities.
- Videos – As the second largest search engine today, leverage the power of YouTube to drive organic traffic to your blog for years to come. According to SmallBizTrends1, a social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images.
- Podcasts –Encourage your guests to share episodes of the podcast with their audience, generating virality and allowing you to grow organically in the process.
- Infographics –Include Infographics in your blog posts to encourage social sharing.
- Photos – If you are running an apparel, shoes or business selling tangible products or services, then photos may be a type of content that can use to entice and grow your audience.
- eBooks – List free eBooks on Amazon and drive traffic back to your site with good, original content.
After identifying the traffic generating content that you would like to use for your business, it’s now time to decide on your lead magnet. Simply put, while you are driving traffic to your side with the above tips, you will need to collect the leads to enable remarketing by creating an incentive. Lead magnets give your audience an impeccable reason to share their email address with you by subscribing to your blog, in exchange for something free. Scroll down here for a list of effective lead magnets that you can use.
- Valuable resources – These can be checklists, guides or lists of resources relevant to your business.
- eBooks & Free Reports – Offer something educational to entice audience subscription.
- Webinars – Webinars work really well as they carry a high perceived value.
- Discounts & Coupons – Ideal for eCommerce businesses. All you have to do is offer a discount in a form of a promotional code in exchange for an email address.
- Free Trial – If your company sells software, you could offer a free trial download, a free trial for a certain period of time or a lite version.
- Quizzes – Offer a free quiz on exchange for their email address, in order for the audience to get their results
- Mini Course – Offer a series of free emails or a series of videos explaining how to do something.
- Collect Leads Using Social Media
Now that you have identified how to collect leads from the lead magnets listed above, it’s time to monetize these leads to sales. Each lead you collect from social media can go into your regular sales funnel, starting with generating awareness, to evoking interest, creating consideration and finally creating a conversion or sales. The most commonly used method to collect leads is by asking for an e-mail via pop-up, but this can be intrusive and annoying at the same time. According to an experiment conducted by Matthew Woodward2 to see how pop-ups affect user behavior, he noted a 9.29% drop in Pages / Visit and a 10.20% drop in Average Visit Duration was noted once the pop up was executed in the 7th second of a visit.
As such, instead of asking for a lead not long after the viewer clicks on to your site, ask for a lead at the end of the blog or article. This would be a more effective call-to-action as the viewer would have decided if the blog interest them enough to subscribe for a long run. To collect leads, you will need an e-mail capture tool to gather e-mail addresses from social media visitors. SumoMe offers website analytics and e-mail capture forms that are easy to use. Other alternatives include WP Subscribe Pro plugin in WordPress, Socedo for generating leads from social media.
Run Contest On Social Media
One of the fastest ways to boost your social media presence online and cast a wider reach is by running a contest. A contest that rewards viewers with most number of comments will generate a spike in engagement. This in return favors social media platforms like Instagram where its natural algorithm measures engagements, thus serving up your contest post and brand to more viewers.
A photo contest encourages viewers to submit photos to be voted and winners will be selected based on the predetermined criteria. Photo contest are also effective in generating feedback from your existing customers or upcoming product line.
Whatever contest mechanics you choose to work on, just be sure that your contest terms and conditions clearly states how the winner is selected, when and how will the winner (or winners) be notified, and all other ground rules that will keep you safe from legal implications, so that you can harness the power of contests to increase business sales.
Engage Influencers With The Right Profile and Target Audience
Being a social media influencer may seem to be the next most sought after job by millennials today. The challenge therefore lies in selecting the right influencer that will help you meet your company’s objective. According to a study by Experticity3, 82% of consumers prefer a recommendation made by a micro-influencer. Another astounding statistic to note is that 49% of consumers not only depend on influencer recommendations, 40% had in fact purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
The influencer you collaborate with must have a content strategy and audience that resonates with yours. The influencer need not have an outstandingly huge base to boast, as it all boils down to how authentic the base it (as it is easy to buy followers or “bots” today). An influencer with a modest base of 10K – 15K but with a highly engage base may deliver better results that an influencer with a base size of 50K.
One brand that has been successfully using influencer marketing as a strategy to boost sales since it was founded is Daniel Wellington. The wristwatch maker which consistently employs this strategy across all key markets sold one million watches within just three years. And in 2015, the brand generated revenue worth $USD220 million, recording a whopping 214% increase from 2014. Daniel Wellington is indeed a perfect case study on how companies use social media to increase business.
When using influencers to drive sales, do assign a unique promo code to different influences to measure ROI of each influencer campaigns. You can then funnel the influencer marketing outreach to your website for sales conversion, or drive foot traffic to retail stores and ensure that the retail personnel records the promo code used upon payment. By measuring the sales generated by each influencer, you can decide which influencer to prune and which influencer to invest in moving forward.
How long does it take for me to build my social media presence online?
Building a strong social media presence is not going to happen overnight, not over days or weeks. It will take months to build up your online base of followers. What’s most important is for you to have a social media calendar planned for the year, and calendar with more details in the next 30 days that you can work on, and schedule for execution. In addition, set goals and yardsticks that you can be measured on. Would you like to:-
- Grow the number of followers by 50 per week?
- Increase the number of likes per post to an average of 300 in the next 6 months?
- Would you like to increase your twitter rate by 20% in the first quarter of the year?
With measureable goals set in place, you can assess how well you are trending towards your goals and re-strategize if you are far off the goal post.
How do I find content related to my audience? I do not know what to write about.
There are many content marketing tools in the market that you will give you content ideas to write. Buzzsumo4 provides content that was most shared across all social networks and analysis reports on the content. Buzzsumo also identifies influencers who are industry leaders and content that they have shared. With this info at your disposal, you will be able to make better decisions during the influencer hiring process.
While Buzzsumo comes with a steep price tag, there are other free or freemium sites that can be a good starting point. We like Hubspot5 for its simplicity. By typing in just 3 nouns, Hubspot generates 5 ideas for a blog post. Looking for a killer headline to jumpstart your blog? Then do give Coschedule6 a try. Simply key in the header you have in mind and it scores the header across 4 most important dimensions. Coschedule also generates a preview on how the post will look on Google Search as well as on e-mail.
Social media is a great way to connect your brand with potential clients in a cost effective way. With every S1 spend generating $2 in sales7, online marketing allows small business and startups to maximize their limited resources and yet achieve amazing results. Successful social media sales strategies not only help businesses amplify their bottom lines. In the process of creating a strong online presence, engaged followers will be your brand ambassador, amplify your strengths when you speak of it and defend your brand in the face of adversity. The urgency for brands that are laggards in social media increases as companies’ ramp up digital investments.