Social media has been helping brands large and small add fuel to their sales engines, driving growth, brand appeal, and building trust. When Nike developed it’s now famous Colin Kapernick campaign, they knew exactly who they were speaking to, and how this audience would respond. The results speak for themselves. Nike added roughly 170,000 Instagram followers around the timing of the release of its ad campaign, and their online sales rose 31% in the days after, according to Edison Trends, a digital-commerce researcher. 

Digital platforms and the fluid content and social commentary it facilitates gave way to a deeper engagement with Nike’s message, involving consumers and sparking conversations in which A-list celebrities became proponents and influencers, allowing them to become a part of the brand’s story.

Let’s look at five (5) key activities to optimize your social media for higher sales. Read on, come on, “Just do it”!

1. Refine Your Audience     

Chances are you already have a full grasp of who you serve in business. If you don’t, that is okay, starting with creating a buyer persona is key. A buyer persona helps you to refine your potential customers down to interests, habits, key demographics details, etc. As its name suggests, it helps you identify down to the smallest detail, the persona that best matches your product. Its purpose is to help you match your solution more accurately with customers that have the pain your service or product addresses. This will inform your social media strategy and is key to deciding what platforms you use to engage the people you want to serve.

Assessing which networks your target audience frequents will save you time and money. To sell effectively to your target audience, you think about where they gather, you will have insight into the types of conversations they are having, become apart of that conversation, eventually make them apart of the story you share and even make them the ambassadors of your brand’s story. 

Almost 40 percent of users on social media are following their favorite brands and 1 in 4, are following brands from which they might make a purchase (Forbes). Increase your chances of conversion by understanding your audience and fostering relationships.

2. Generate Leads

So, you’ve optimized your social media pages to suit your audience, they follow you on social, they might even become engaged and respond to your content with more than just a Like or a double-tap, but, where do they go from there? Your job is to lead them somewhere.

According to research done by Hootsuite, 90 percent of top decision-makers say they never respond to cold calls, while 76 percent of buyers are ready to have a conversation on social media.

A part of your target audience will readily have a conversation with you on social and become willing to give you their contact information in exchange for something they consider valuable, this can be a free consultation, an audiobook, or quick industry report. This value may be directly related to your product or indirectly, but it must be enticing to the audience. It’s also good to make these (lead magnets) bite-sized and easy to consume by your audience.

One great way to implement and capture leads is by using a staple link (stays on the page) that goes to a page on your website that captures your leads. This link can be used in your social media profile info or bio. Tradition has it that the link directs the view to the main webpage, however, a link in your bio that goes to a ‘lead capture’ page is more likely to convert into possible future sales. You now have a chance to get more information on the viewer and build a relationship both digitally and physically.

3. Monitor Unbranded Conversations

Leads are everywhere! According to Brandwatch.com, 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ own profiles. These conversations allow you to listen in on what consumers think about your brand as well as what their needs are. It’s your job to listen and take the actions necessary to help improve your product or service.

Several tools can be used to monitor mentions of your brand/product/service online, this also called social listening. An example is Mention.com or Google Alerts, this too can be used to track every time your brand or company name is mentioned online, as well as your competitors. 

How you use this information can have a positive impact on your sales, you can highlight positive reviews that will gain credibility for your brand and also use negative feedback to make positive changes to your brand or product. It can be used to respond quickly to a suggestion or to build customer confidence and reliability in your product/service. And finally, you can reach out and actually sell! Don’t be shy, if they are talking about you, and engaging with you, they are almost certainly ready to buy from you with a bit of a nudge.

4. User-Generated Content

Encouraging your customers to share their experience with your brand, services or products through photos or videos brings about a deeper level of interaction and loyalty. These unsolicited testimonials assist in converting new consumers because of the concept of social proof. It’s only natural for a brand to sing its own praises, but when a customer does so on their own merit, it creates authenticity so important to consistent sales. That said, the use of both solicited or unsolicited testimonials prove to be a more effective conversion tool on social media.

User-generated content campaigns create testimonials that are permanent, credible and viral.

5. Run Social Ads/Campaigns 

Businesses have been given the opportunity through social media platforms to do more than just create conversations. All social platforms have created a tool for businesses to run ads and promote targeted content. Setting up quantitative goals for campaigns and targeting the best-fit audience with ads, gets you in front of potential customers. 

A key area in running ads and campaigns on social is to set goals for each campaign before you set up the ads, whether it is to collect leads, drive website traffic or build awareness and reach, careful consideration of this step will make the conversion more certain.  If you compare ad spends through traditional channels versus spend via social media, the difference is the spend to reach ratio. While a TV ad will reach persons who happen to be on a specific channel at a specific time, social media ad spends are more targeted to customers wherever they are. Its advantage is a ‘tailing effect’ that searches customers based on a derived grouping/segmentation and tails that potential customer across the platforms. 

Finally, by implementing a robust, targeted social media campaign that educates, inspires, entertain, converse and convinces your current and potential viewers, using high-quality content that tells a story can make a world of difference to your bottom line.

Are you ready to use social media to drive sales and build brand awareness? Connect with us today.