Are your social media followers the same people who buy from you?
You’ve started & grown social media accounts for your business because well, everybody does it and it’s trendy. You’re even struggling every day to foster engagement from your posts. For what?
But does it really contribute to your bottom line: sales?
While the goal of being on social media is not to sell per se, they can become a very powerful channels to boost your sales. And yes, social media are part of your sales funnel.
Let’s dive into social selling…
How Can Selling be Social?
When people first hear about the term social selling, their first reaction is “selling on social media? Sounds a little pushy”.
And it is if done poorly.
To put it in context, in this article we will not only see how to sell via your social media channels but also (and more importantly) how to integrate social media in your funnel.
A simple customer behavior to remember is AIDA: attention, interest, decision, action. And social media can play a key role in each of those states, or at least lead to them.
Like with traditional advertising, a very powerful way to use social media is for increasing impressions of your brand/product/company to your desired audience. The more people see you, the more trust you can build and before they know it, they’ll be ready to buy what you have to sell.
For instance, the famous SEO suite MOZ found that visitors needed more than 7 visits to start their free trial.
Keep in mind every additional impression of your product = more chances of closing the sale down the line.
First Things First
Now that I’ve introduced what social selling is and can do, it’s important to have a good understanding of your ideal buyers. Know where they hang out online and how they interact on social media.
Creating user personas is still very relevant in 2017 and a mandatory exercise. Here is how to get started.
The next step is determining where your persona are active on social media. Having determined your personas will give you a good idea about what social media they use and how.
If your users don’t use a given social media channel, forget about it.
How to Make Sense of Social Media vs. Your Global Strategy
I’ve talked about funnels at length before, and Social Media are part of your funnel. Some even define it as the social media sales funnel.
As a reminder, growth hackers consider funnels to be composed of five steps. Read more about the AARRR funnel here.
Here is what they look like adapted to social selling:
- Acquisition – if you’re active and doing a good job on social media, new people will discover your brand through them. Whether if it’s via social media SEO (indexed Youtube videos or Google Plus content) or by social following growth techniques (here’s one for Twitter), social media gives you visibility.
- Activation – after seeing your good quality content on social media, some might decide to subscribe to your free trial
- Retention – Retention is the trickest step of all, and social media give you an opportunity to 1) connect with your users or customers in another context 2) remind them about how great your product is
- Revenue – that when social media allow you to make the sale. It can be a direct sale or a combination of impressions, and great content shared that urge your followers to buy your product
- Referral – that’s the nirvana of social selling: when your users become your advocates and help you promote your product, adding social proof into the mix.
As everything in digital marketing with a growth hacking mindset, it has to be optimized. Every step of it!
For example about the referral step in social selling, see the section “Help Them Help You” below.
Why Posting Great Content Matters & How to Do It
Let’s get into more actionable tips with what you will be posting on your social media.
If you want your social media channel to help you sell more, you have to make sure that you use them perfectly! By that, I mean that you’re enjoyable to follow & always provide value. Would you buy from a boring corporate Facebook page?
You might now be wondering “Ok, what to post then?”. I’ve got you covered.
Well, kind of.
Remember your persona definition above? Same applies to the kind of post they will react to. And that also has to be tested. How? Try each of the post types below and see which ones get more likes, reactions, comments, re-pins, retweets.
Rinse & repeat.
Rather than giving your a magic recipe, here are some ideas of post types to test:
- Blog posts from your blog (that’s where you will move your followers down your funnel) because businesses with blog generate 67% more leads: mandatory
- Product promo (that’s where you will make the sale): mandatory
- Exclusive deals for your social media followers
- Images (funny)
- Videos (why not try live?)
- Ask for pics & content from them to publish
- Relevant, high-quality posts from others (you can use Snip.ly to add a call to action and not “lose” this traffic)
- Long text posts with insane value
- Offer free calls
- Organize chat sessions & AMAs
- Contests (my blog post on how to create a viral contest)
I bet you’re inspired to test new things out right now! Now let’s focus on how to post. Content is one thing, how it’s presented is another. Some other things to test there:
- The ratio of high-value content vs. product/service promo.
- The tone of your posts: friendly, professional, in between?
- Use of emojis
As for when to post, Buffer gives us some guidelines here. My advice: be omnipresent yet reasonable!
Go Specific or Go Home
Do you consume an Instagram story the same way you read a LinkedIn status? That’s what I though. Every channel is different, act like it.
Adapt your content to each channel!
I know I’ve talked about social media automation a lot. While I’m always encouraging you to what you can, it shouldn’t be the same generic social media post everywhere! Be smart about your automation, that’s where their real power lies.
Give Them a Chance to Convert
In the “Why Posting Great Content Matters & How to Do It,” I’ve mentioned that you should publish some content of yours in the mix. It can be a blog post, a new page product, a special offer.
What matters is that you will drive traffic to your website. That’s where you get a real chance to move those prospects down the funnel.
Few things to pay attention to here:
- Where you send your prospects: your Landing Pages. They have to be optimized for the next action. It it’s a new visitor, it can be an incentive to join your email list say for a reduction of an exclusive piece of content.
- Calls-to-actions: how they look, if they’re attractive
- Applying my tips on how to collect email addresses
As I’ve mentioned before, you should try to move social media followers down your funnel with email marketing. Not only does it give you a sure way of being to reach your subscribers when you want, but you can also educate them with a drip campaign (a series of welcome email) and, down the line, ask for the sale.
Give 2nd Chances with Retargeting
Most of the people visiting your website won’t visit it again. That’s sad but what if I told you there is a way to get them back?
Retargeting consists in running ads to people who have visited your website thanks to what we call a pixel (a few lines of code on your website). Same “omnipresence principle” with a call-to-action.
Keep your brand & message consistent no matter what the channel is.
If there is a mismatch between your social media profiles, posts, websites or emails you’re in for trouble.
Your prospects might not recognize your brand or worse, lose trust.
Listen & Show Up
Social media is, by definition, social. It’s not only about sharing great content, but it’s also about having a discussion.
Discussions can be had via comments, other people’s content or else. Be part of them.
A good way to monitor and be reactive about them is to us tools like Google Alerts or Mention.
Social Media = Social Proof
Social proof is a very powerful principle in every marketer’s arsenal. I’ve already talked about social proof for websites.
Social media is even more dependent on social proof. Use it to your advantage!
To do that you can use your users to generate social proof or work with influencers to boost your social credibility.
a. Work with Influencers
Who is better positioned than a recognized and adored expert to recommend products with a great impact?
That’s what makes influencer marketing so powerful. Apply it to your social media strategy to boost your social sales.
b. Help your Audience Help You
Who are better advocates than your actual users? Nobody.
As mentioned previously, why not organize a contest asking your users to post/send a picture of themselves using your product? What about asking for testimonials to enter an exclusive contest?
There are plenty of ways to gather social content from your current customers while giving something in exchange.
That also works for your blog & website’s content: make it ridiculously easy for your visitors to share your content!
How Will You Boost your Sales via Social Selling?
I’m dying to know!