Facts don’t lie. Social media is more than just a place for status updates, photos and funny memes. According to new studies, if your business is doing social media the right way, it can not only help with brand awareness, but also improve your odds of closing a sale.
Statistically speaking, about 78 percent of salespeople who use social selling as part of their sales process outperform their peers. And a staggering 95 percent of buyers opt to do business with a service provider or company that provides them with ‘ample content’.
But for every business doing social media the right way, there’s twice as many doing it the wrong way. From spammy posts to shameless self promotion, not all social media posts are created equal. Here are four ways to turn your social media followers into paying customers once and for all.
- RESEARCH YOUR AUDIENCE AND YOU WILL PREDICT THE FUTURE.
Have you done your market research? If your followers grow for unpredictable reasons, they’re not really bankable followers. A key step you’re likely to miss in social marketing is researching your followers, to determine who they are and why they’ve liked your page. This allows you a better opportunity to personalize the connection. You can also better monitor how well you’re attracting these targeted audiences, rather than just watching your general numbers grow and shrink without a clue.
Related Story: DIY Market Research Guide
Facebook insights, Google analytics and built-in analytics platforms on most of the major social media platforms can help you pinpoint who your followers are, whether or not they click through to your website and what their level of social engagement is. If your click through rate and engagement rate is low, that’s red flag that you might need to re-evaluate your target market or social strategy in order to increase conversions.
- LEARN HOW AND WHEN TO USE HASHTAGS AND IMAGES
There’s a time and place for everything, and the verdict is in on hashtags and images. According to a new study, the use of at least one hashtag in social media posts, can result in up to 60 percent more interaction, even on sites such as Facebook, where it’s not as relied upon. Similarly, using an image in a social media post, results in roughly 37 percent more interaction than posts with no images.
If your audience can’t see your posts, what’s the point of the post? Aligning your hashtags and images with a current event or trend is a smart way to get your posts seen by people who aren’t your regular followers. Keeping an eye on Twitter trends, Buzzfeed’s Trending Topics and using social media platforms like Buzzsumo can help you identify trending topics and hashtags.
- THINK OUTSIDE YOUR SAFE BOX
Everyone feels safe with Facebook and Twitter…but creating a major presence there may not make sense for every business. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to stir discussion on sites like Instagram and YouTube. For instance, according to Shareaholic, YouTube has the highest engagement and lowest bounce rate, among other social media platforms.
Some people pay closer attention to video / audio presentations, even if the content is less than stellar. Another thing to consider; Facebook’s convoluted algorithm now seems to miss a great deal of your audience unless you pay for advertising. So, if what you’re doing doesn’t work, why not consider breaking into a new social media platform that might align better with your audience?
Daryl Shaun Price, founder of podcast company,Divine Wisdom Media, says, “If your product or service isn’t visual in some way, maybe it’s time to think up a different angle. People respond better when you paint a picture for them.”
I’m not saying do away with Facebook and Twitter; there’s surely a number of businesses who are still using them to successfully engage with their audience. But it’s smart to consider which platforms your target market is really using, and evaluate whether or not it makes business sense to focus your efforts on Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin or YouTube instead.
Related Story: 5 Ways Social Engagement Trumps Follower Count
- USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS PART OF YOUR SALES FUNNEL
What are you hoping to gain from social media? Brand credibility, traffic or sales? If the answer is the latter, make sure you strategize the role social media sites play in your sales funnel.
According to Sprout Social, businesses who use social media as part of their sales and lead generation process, see a 24 percent increase in sales revenue.
Start by brainstorming ways you can use social media to capture leads or direct people to your landing page. One way is to offer special incentives via social media that require a lead capture or e-mail newsletter signup.
Says a spokesperson from CSC Interactive, a digital marketing agency, “Offer something that isn’t available anywhere else, and use something such as a coupon code or giveaway to make it enticing. This is a reward for potential customers who follow you on social…a chance to participate at a more intimate level.”
Another key to turning your social media pages into part of your sales funnel is to optimize them for conversions. For example, Facebook allows businesses to include a “call to action” button, as well as other custom opt-in forms and tabs so customers don’t even have to leave the page to get what they’re looking for.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A MEANS TO AN END
Social media failure usually comes from the common misconception that being on social media and posting regularly is enough to boost sales and visibility.
Think about the things that you like to see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and approach your campaign with the mindset of the consumer. Just like every other form of marketing, social media success comes to those who have a set strategy, conduct their research and make adjustments where necessary. #Winning.