Social media is one of those tools that experts all agree should be utilized, but can never agree on exactly how. Advice for campaigns are becoming increasingly numbers based, and that makes it confusing. They claim there is a magic formula of analytics, but you’d have to be part computer to really understand it.
I have a secret to let you in on: the numbers aren’t real. Not when it comes to having the “right” tactics and percentages to make social media marketing work. The truth is that it is a combination of factors, strategies, and often blind luck that leads to a successful social media marketing campaign. Of course, most marketers don’t want you to know that a fair chunk of their efforts before finding the right combo failed.
But that happens to all of us, and when it comes to social media, it is especially hard to find the right formula. Ultimately, these are the more tried and true tips for boosting sales on social platforms.
Remember the golden rule: social profiles lead generators. Visibility and engagement are your aims, if you want to make those sales.
This is the number one tip, and while it might seem like common sense, it is violated more often than it is maintained. You are going to have dry spells when it comes to engagement, at least until you have created an insanely active social profile (which takes a lot of time). If you get discouraged and stop posting, that is never going to change.
Don’t feel like you are wasting your time just because your post only gets a few likes. Others will end up with thousands. Consistency is key when it comes to any social marketing.
One of my hugest regrets when it comes to social media marketing is that it took me years to realize that I need a better way to manager my social media contacts to engage in longer-lasting relationships and manage leads. I should have done that on day one!
These days I make sure that I optimize my website for my social media activity referrals. Sumome is a good easy tool for that. If you are into ecommerce or SaaS, Salesmate is your friend. It’s the easiest way to collect and store social media info for your important contacts to engage with them properly.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just post anything. While you should be posting several times a day if you want to grow, you would be better off posting once a week if what you are publishing is crap. Uninteresting, irrelevant, old and dated content is not better than no content at all.
Think of it this way: the Internet is burst with things to see, hear, read, and watch. A good chunk of it is going to be interesting, entertaining, and informative. At the very least, a lot of it is going to catch the viewer’s attention. If your content is no good, they aren’t going to waste their time. Not when there is so much else out there competing for their views.
What is a surefire way to make sure people keep coming back to your social profile? Be an expert. People love influencers, who act as the celebrities of social media. If you show that you know more than the average joe (or better yet, other influencers) you have a great way to tap into the customer base on a regular basis.
Becoming a recognized expert takes time, and you have to make an effort to prove your authority. Outside content is going to be a big part of that (think blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc). But once you prove that you are worth listening to, people are going to come back again and again.
They are also going to share your content around, spreading your influence and increasing your sales once you manage to nail those conversions.
Social media can act on a local level, but that isn’t really the most effective use for it. The point of the Internet is almost unlimited access on a global scale. So you should be thinking beyond your own backyard with your social media profiles, and attempting to catch the attention of countries where you might not be making sales.
Why? Because if they share your content (which should appeal to more than just your usual customers, by the way), you will increase the authority you talked about before. Which is going to help you in the long run.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be acting on a local level. Targeting some of your engagement and content specifically for your customer base is going to improve sales, even as your visibility stretches beyond your profit potential. So focus on both if you really want to make a splash.
There is an oft repeated rule of thumb out there: 80/20, with 80% of your content being helpful, 20% of it being promotional. I hate this rule, because it makes it seem as though there is a one size fits all approach to social media marketing. There isn’t, and this might not be the balance for you and your customers.
Are your customers big ticket item buyers who only occasionally make purchases with a bigger price tag? Or are they frequent shoppers who are going to spend money over time, not just all at once? Your percentage of informative versus promotional is going to be impacted by that.
For example, say one company sells home appliances that range between $1200 and $3500. Another company sells clothing that ranges between $30 and $100. A customer who is looking to buy a water heater is not going to buy it three times over. They are going to buy it once, and will be looking for promo opportunities like a sale that one time. But someone buying clothing is going to buy it during different seasons, and will want sales and coupon codes on a regular basis.
The water heater customer will probably enjoy DIY articles 90% of the time, and promo stuff 10% of the time. But the clothing customer is going to be the opposite.
Here’s a great list of marketing blogs and resources for further reading.
Testimonials (or reviews) are pretty much the standard for marketing these days. Yelp, for example, has changed the way people shop, and really shifted brand loyalty to something unlike it has ever been before.
Social media pages make the perfect testimonial platforms. If people are happy, they are going to come and say so. On the other side, if they are unhappy, they are going to say so even more loudly. Keep quality high, monitor your social media profiles, and highlight testimonials when they come. Here’s a good example of Tweets used as the product reviews (click “Twitter” tab).
Have you cracked the code and become a social marketing genius? Had something you tried fail spectacularly? Either way, leave us a comment!