Social media sales are the new craze for marketing specialists all over the world. Contrary to an outdated belief, social media sales can be profitable for any industry — doesn’t matter if your target audience is millennials or generation X, schoolers or huge business owners, fixers or college professors. Considering the fact that there are about 3 billion active social media users worldwide, can you really say that there are no people who would like to buy your product among them? Your job is to find these people.
In comparison to traditional marketing, social media sales have many advantages — this channel of communication is relatively cheap and is seen as more authentic and trustworthy, which makes it perfect for conversion. You don’t need to take my word for it – just look at how much companies are spending on social media marketing. So how do you actually use social media to make profit?
Analyze Your Sales Process
Research is the Holy Grail of marketing — you can’t sell anything without deeply understanding how the person who would like to buy your product acts and makes decisions. That’s why, first and foremost, you need to analyze the sales process behind your sales funnel.
The questions that you need to ask yourself to analyze your social media sales opportunities are:
- Which channels are currently bringing leads to your funnel?
- What is the sales process?
- How much time does it take to close the deal?
The answers to these questions might surprise you: maybe you’ll find out that you’ve been focusing on the wrong platforms all along. In this case, you may find it useful to do a little research dedicated to choosing the best social media platform for your business.
You can do it by following the social media activity of your competitors and seeing which platforms are the most valuable for them, but there’s a much more effective and elegant way to do it. All you need is a social listening tool like Awario. With it you can monitor mentions of any keyword on social media and the web in real time.
Let’s say you’re making a SaaS for startups — you just put in “startup” as one of your keywords and see which platforms have more mentions and, therefore, more discussions applicable to your product. That way you’ll be able to understand where your target audience is and prioritize relevant channels.
Keep in mind that on social media you typically reach potential buyers earlier in the sales process: now brand awareness stage is divided into three (exposure, influence and engagement). That means that you’ll need to shape your social media sales strategy accordingly.
Monitor and Encourage Social Media Reviews
The age of traditional advertising is coming to an end — social media have brought back the most effective way to influence someone’s buying behaviour. Wonder what it is? It’s the word of mouth. In fact, according to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of marketing, and 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. It’s only natural that you choose to trust people you know over a brand.
Social media is a perfect place for referral marketing: all these platforms were designed to let us share experiences and amazing discoveries with our friends. So what you need to do to make money from it is to encourage people to post about their experiences. You can even offer them small incentives, like a small discount or a sample.
Don’t forget to respond to all reviews, positive and negative alike. 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. Active social media engagement from the brand’s side creates relationship between a brand and a customer and makes them feel heard, which is very important for retention.
Take up Social Selling
Not only people like to share their thoughts about brands on social media, they also quite often turn to social media to get recommendations. There you already have potential leads — you just need to identify them. You can find them through monitoring relevant communities like Facebook groups, subreddits, Twitter chats ect. You can also use a social listening tool for that, but make sure that it has something like Boolean search mode, which allows you to customize your queries so that you can make your search precise and comprehensive at the same time.
Considering the fact that in many instances you’ll be responding to strangers who weren’t exposed to your brand before, take your time. Don’t go right into it with an emotionless sales pitch — ask a question, explain how they could benefit from your product, use tone and voice that is appropriate to the platform and their request, and make this interaction meaningful and authentic. This way you’re much more likely to influence their decision than by sending a cookie-cutter message to every lead you’ll find. And of course, make it easy for them to buy — give them a link, which leads directly to the product.
Optimize your Social Media Path to Conversion
Speaking about links, they are extremely important. We’re lazy customers who often need to be told how and where to purchase a desired product. If a potential client can’t just click a link to your website right away, it’s very probable that they won’t bother searching for it.
What you need to do is to put links in each and every of your profiles and make them visible. If you’re posting a promotional post — put a link there, if you’re just casually mentioning one of your products — put a link there as well. Even when responding to referrals, which we discussed earlier, you can put a link to a product that is being discussed.
Revise Your Social Media Landing Page
When you get a lead, you want to make sure that they’re just one click away from conversion. It would be a pity to create an amazing social media sales strategy only to have the sales process halted at the last stage. That’s why you need a perfect landing page that will definitely convince your potential client to make a purchasing decision. Here are few things that you need to keep in mind revising your landing page:
- Loading speed. Customers are not just lazy, they’re also impatient (sorry, customers!). They are expecting your page to load in 3 seconds, whereas average loading time is 15. So make sure they don’t have to wait!
- Short and simple. There is no need to list every single reason for why your product is the best in every single detail.You don’t want to distract your potential client with all the additional information. Make the message restating your value simple and clean and put additional information in separate easy-to-notice tabs — that’s it.
- Once again, credibility and referrals To complete the conversion you need clients’ trust. Credibility is extremely important for buyer’s decision. Make sure you have your logo or client testimonial at eye-level in one of the margins or in the header — somewhere they can quickly see it without having to scroll.
Do Soft Conversion
As we already discussed, social media leads enter the sales funnel earlier than traditional leads. For that reason they may not be ready to make a purchasing decision, but that doesn’t mean that you can neglect them.
Here you can create opportunities for soft conversion. A classic way to do it is to offer an email subscription. Of course, you should justify this to customers by providing them with entertaining and valuable content. Making engaging content that demonstrates how your product works (tutorials and case studies) is a great way to convert these soft leads into potential buyers.
A new emerging trend right now is messenger marketing, so, instead of asking people to subscribe to your newsletter, you can simply ask for a permission to message them. It’s been proven that people are more likely to read a message on social media than an email. Studies show that messaging apps have open rates, read rates and CTRs as much as 10X those of email and SMS. Moreover, you reach them right where they first came across your brand — on social media.
Include a Strong Call-To-Action
If you don’t ask for anything — you won’t get anything. Even though sometimes it may seem like a call-to-action can be too pushy, it’s a very effective tactic if you do it right.
Your CTA should be clear and relevant to the post — this way it will seem organic and appropriate. It may be an invitation to leave a comment and share their thoughts, learn more about the topic or an encouragement to purchase your product. Adding CTAs to your Facebook page can increase click-through rate by 285%. Don’t forget to make sure that if you include any links, your landing pages are optimized for immediate conversion.
Offer Social Exclusives
After all, the best way to get new customers is to offer something exclusive in return — people love feeling like they are a part of a chosen group. The most blatant way to do this is to offer discounts to your followers — you probably can’t do it often, but as a one-time deal to attract new leads it works magic.
A more creative (and cheaper) way would be to hold a contest among your followers. For instance, BeardBrand was able to grow their social presence by 300% and doubled their email list in less than one week with a well-thought-out online contest. You can ask your followers to share and retweet your post or to create their own content with your product or service in it. You’re killing two birds with one stone — getting more exposure and followers as well as gathering user-generated content that you can use both in your social media sales and traditional marketing campaigns in the future.