It’s the question that has stumped many a marketer and business owner since the dawn of social media.
As you will know, it’s not as easy as simply linking to your latest product or service, in fact you should rarely use social media to solely talk about yourself at all.
As of last year, a staggering 87% of B2B marketers admitted to using social media as a content marketing tactic and 72% of Twitter followers are more likely to purchase from your business after you engage with them online.
There is no doubt that social media can, and does, drive sales for small businesses and huge corporate companies alike.
This blog post will show you how to convert your social media audience into loyal customers and brand advocates by:
- Understanding your current lead generation and nurture process
- Understanding how social media will fit into that
- Creating a unique, tailored social media strategy
- Using social listening tools to engage with brand advocates/naysayers
- Utilising targeted special offers
- Knowing the type of content you should create and curate
- Utilising sponsorship opportunities
- Optimising your social media content for conversions
- Nurturing leads
- Measuring results
Align social with current lead gen/nurture process
Whilst conversions and sales are the ultimate goal of most marketing efforts, before you focus on optimising for them you must take and step back and understand how social media will fit into your current overall structure.
When on social media will you be focusing on customer service? Brand awareness? Outreach to influencers? A mix?
What tone and voice will your brand be using on social media? Brand continuity is vital. Your brands tone and voice should align across all of your online and offline marketing and be chosen based solely on your target audience.
Take Irish bookmakers, Paddy Power, for example. They understand that their target audience are predominantly young, working class men and so cater for this across their social media accounts, rather than using a stiff corporate voice.
Warning: choose your brand and voice carefully!
Create your own unique social media strategy
Analysing your competitors’ social media activity is a good way to understand what works and what doesn’t in your niche. However, don’t take their results as gospel as there will always be ways to engage positively with your target audience, regardless of your industry.
If you are an SME, be careful not to simply try and emulate what the biggest brands in your niche are doing on social. Remember, already established household names will be spending millions in all marketing sectors so their overall success may not be reflective of their social media results.
Bear in mind what your most important goals are on social media and base your KPI’s on these.
Use social listening tools to converse with audience
There is a wealth of great, real time social media monitoring tools out there, such as mention, which allow you to track mentions of your brand, keywords and phrases across various platforms.
Jump into conversations, answer customer queries and turn negative mentions of your brand into positive ones.
By letting fans of your brand know that you are listening to them online, you can turn one time customers into influential advocates of your company.
Unlike traditional forms of media, social is instantaneous, immediate and two-way. There is no excuse for any business not to take the time to thank and reward those customers who positively review and recommend them online.
Go one step further by targeting special offers, discounts and rewards for your most influential brand advocates. Consider asking them to write on your blog or give them your product or service to review.
Creating and curating the right content
Social Media intertwines with every other aspect of online marketing and making sure you are producing and sharing relevant, interesting, entertaining and helpful content on your accounts is vital.
You are often told that content is important for online marketing and this can be seen in the fact that 93% of B2B marketers admit to using the method.
If you’re not sharing images, infographics, statistics and generally stimulating content on social media, your followers will not only be much less likely to visit your website and convert, they may also dwindle in number.
How do I know what to share?
Although researching your competitors and niche is again important for understanding what content engages your audience, the best tactic is to test.
It’s recommended that Facebook posts do not exceed 200-300 characters, but will your audience respond to less or more?
When collating other content to share make sure you thoroughly research to find reliable and top quality writers/blogs. Sites like Alltop are great for finding popular content in a variety of industries.
Consider sharing stories, experiences and emotive questions that will elicit interaction but always make sure there is a clear call-to-action (CTA) within your content.
Optimising Social accounts/content for conversion
Whether it’s a micro conversion such as directing someone to your website to read more or a macro conversion such as a sale, without a CTA your conversion rate will be much lower. Even your videos should include a clickable CTA at the end of them.
But don’t stop there. You can optimise your account profile on most social media networks by adding things such as tabs on Facebook which let your fans subscribe to a blog/be directed to a product page.
We Internet users don’t like to trawl through multiple pages to get to what we want. Make it as easy as possible for users to convert. Add CTA’s to dedicated landing pages and your blog as well.
It’s important to categorise and nurture leads from social media differently to the rest of your marketing efforts.
Email campaigns for social media leads will need to reflect this difference and include more decision-making content than regular sales funnels before they become a hard lead.
Mixing decision-making content with topically relevant information will help you to identify which leads can be considered warm and join the traditional sales process and which are not and should be continued to be nurtured.
As with all marketing, measuring your results is crucial. Take a look at this in depth look at how you can measure the ROI of Social Media Marketing.
To start with you will want to track the link clicks of every post you share. This is easy with many of social listening and automation tools which offer easy to digest reports.
Measuring and testing is very important as not only will it justify the time and effort you spend on SMM but it will also present data which may lead to new opportunities.