If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably heard about the power of social media– if you’re not already using one or two of these platforms yourself. You might find that while you have been able to increase your followers, you just aren’t seeing them convert into sales. No matter how many followers, likes or shares your posts receive, if you’re not seeing an ROI, then you most likely aren’t using social media to its fullest potential.
The Role of Social Media
Consumers are turning more to social media and the Internet for information and recommendations on products and brands. In fact, 77 percent of online shoppers consult ratings and reviews before making a purchase. While your social profiles might not directly lead to sales, they do play four key roles in the sales funnel:
- Developing awareness – Whether it’s organically, through sponsored posts or influencer outreach, social media acts as the first interaction consumers have with your brand. Through repeated engagement and visibility, consumers will start to remember your brand.
- Generate interest – Once your consumers are aware of your presence, you can build up their interest by posting shareable, engaging and informative posts. But it doesn’t stop with your content. Social media is all about building relationships. In order to build a loyal community, you should put in the effort to interact with your followers. This helps develop trust and rapport by humanizing your brand.
- Empower customers – Customers want their voices to be heard and social media is the perfect outlet. Encourage feedback on these sites and immediately respond to any criticisms or issues. As well, harness the power of user-generated content to show off real people using your product. It’s another excellent way to drum up interest and build even more trust.
- Collect Data – Perhaps the most important role social media plays is its ability to collect data. Besides gathering more information on your consumers’ backgrounds and lifestyles, you can also use your networks as a focus group or free source of market research.
Now that you’ve generated some interest and grown your community, you need to convert these followers into leads. This is achieved through a landing page on your site. There are numerous options you can use, but the most common tactics are offering incentives in the form of:
- Long-form content
If a person doesn’t convert the first time they visit your site, don’t worry as 97 percent of new visitors will not convert. Instead, focus your efforts on remarketing strategies. Simply put, remarketing allows you to track visitors to your site by installing a cookie on the visitor’s web browser. This will then allow you to display your company’s ads to them on Facebook or via Google AdWords. Some companies have reported a 21 percent increase in conversions through remarketing.
Closing the Deal
It might have taken a lot of time to build up your leads and now you need to guide these leads to become customers. You can do this by using your various owned media to create interest in your products. Old-fashioned, email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience as everyone checks their emails at least once a day. Of course, other companies are also sending out emails so you need to tailor your emails to suit where the customer is in the sales funnel. As well, using your social media account to offer exclusive coupons, discounts and offers is an excellent way to reward your followers and see an increase in conversions. And of course, don’t forget about content. It might take longer, but creating blog posts that illustrate how your product can solve a consumer’s problem is sure to bring in sales.
Grow Your Loyal Supporters
With social media, it isn’t just enough to make a sale; you need to continually engage your customers to improve brand awareness and loyalty. Keep them interested with incentives and tweak your content until you’re getting the numbers you want. As you build trust, your audience will eventually become brand ambassadors and advocate your company to their friends and family, leading to a larger customer base and faster sales conversion.
Ivan Serrano is a business and social media journalist living comfortably in Northern California.