Sure, Facebook and Instagram are thriving. So whenever there's talk about new platforms, one can't help but be a little skeptical. Mainly because the social media...
Brands can truly benefit from being on social media. We've talked about it a lot here before and today we're going to dive into how to increase sales with it. Brands who use social selling in their marketing strategy will be ahead of the curve when it comes to brands that don't. The ones that do have a unique opportunity to build brand awareness with potential customers before they even enter the online sales funnel.
Social Media 101: Increasing Sales
The best way to think about social selling is that it's a modern approach to traditional sales. Which is great for the brand because it connects them with targeted prospects. It also provides value while adding resources to establish awareness and trust. So how does a brand take advantage of an active online presence? The answer is to be socially savvy in order to increase sales through social media.
What is social selling and how does it work?
Social selling uses a variety of social media platforms to build more connected relationships with potential customers. The whole idea of social selling is to increase brand awareness in your target audience. Brands can do this whenever they use a social media monitoring tool, develop a better understanding of their unique needs, and establish a connection with their audience.
Your brand needs to reach your ideal customer first. In conjunction with a strong social media strategy, social selling makes it easy for potential customers to actually make a purchase. When you use the right tactics to engage with your target audience, you can maximize your digital selling and marketing abilities. Below are see a few ways in which you can use social selling to your advantage and increase sales on social media.
Tactic #1: Build Relationships with Your Target Audience
Social selling takes a lot of dedication. It's important that you take the time to develop a meaningful relationship with leads and prospects. The best time to do this is before they enter into your online sales funnel. That means that the content you create and share on social media must be relevant, valuable, and actionable.
Whenever you share useful content that can be used immediately, you build a connection of value between your brand and your audience. This can be done in a myriad of ways like blog posts, webinars, e-letters, and infographics. Whenever you establish a connection before they even enter the sales funnel you are solidifying your position. This allows your brand to become their first thought whenever they need a service or product that you have.
Tactic #2: Establish Yourself As An Industry Expert
Not a lot of people read content on how to open a brick and mortar store from an author whose online presence doesn't validate any previous experience. In order to be taken seriously online, you need to build a rapport with your audience. It's one of the best ways to be seen as an industry expert. I'd be lying if I said that social selling doesn't take time because it does.
In order to prove that you have insider knowledge, you need to have past proof. You also need to share relevant and valuable content that your audience can actually use to their advantage. Go ahead and share content from your own blog to other platforms (like LinkedIn). This is a great way to prove that you know everything there is to know about your niche.
Tactic #3: Share Your Brand's Story
Nowadays brands have access to a plethora of social media platforms. Not to mention a lot of professional web design templates to choose from. This definitely works to the brand's advantage - it allows them to tell their story in a meaningful way. Emotions are powerful and when it comes to social selling, you need to be able to harness it and use it to your advantage. As a result, you'll get a lot of followers who are curious about your brand.
It isn't as hard as you might think either. You can create a series on Instagram that showcases your beginnings. Or you can even do a Facebook live video sharing your story. Social selling is all about creating an interesting narrative of your brand's journey. The more people know about you and feel as though they can relate, the better.
Tactic #4: Choose the Right Social Media Platform for Your Specific Audience
Your brand can't be everywhere at once. Especially if you're a smaller brand without a marketing team. And honestly, your specific audience isn't going to consistently be on every social media platform either. Chances are they spend the majority of their time on one platform. For example, if you're using social media as a way to generate interest in your line of baby items, LinkedIn isn't really the place to be.
Last year Mark Zuckerberg reported that Facebook reached 2.01 billion users. And it’s estimated that by the end of 2018, they will reach 2.3 billion active monthly users. That number is huge, right? The sheer number of active users on Facebook is almost mind-blowing. Therefore it's a must for those who want to develop any type of social selling strategy for their brand.
As an added bonus, Facebook makes it easy to share content on other social media platforms like Instagram. This tactic could greatly increase the reach of each post. You can also do a lot of paid advertising on Facebook. Just keep in mind that Facebook doesn't work 100% for every brand and that's okay.
The main goal is to maintain an active presence on the platforms that your target audience actually uses - wherever they are.
Once you develop brand awareness, it will lead to more prospects who are ready to move into your optimized online sales funnel. A well-curated approach on 2-3 platforms is the sweet spot for when it comes to brands aligning with their target audience. But sometimes finding one platform that your brand excels on is what matters most.
Your brand needs to be able to find what works for them and stick with it. Maybe that means being on Instagram and putting out a weekly e-letter. Or maybe it's being on Twitter and Facebook and dropping Instagram altogether. Maybe Instagram is what makes the most sense. Whatever it is, go where your audience is and you'll flourish.
Tactic #5: Keep Your Content Fresh
If you post the same type of content all the time, your social media accounts won't get a lot of attention. Even if your content is relevant. The best way to optimize for social media selling is to share a wide variety of content. This will give your brand a well-rounded presence. Some of the most popular types of content that drives engagement are:
- User-generated content
Tactic #6: Aim for A Professional Feel
The best way to increase your social shares is for your brand to maintain a professional online presence. A lot of this comes down to the quality of your content, consistent branding, and your engagement with your followers. A streamlined, professional presence does take time. Therefore you should always take time to review comments, engage with your audience, and answer questions.
Another professional aspect is to fill out information about your brand on all your social media platforms. Don't forget to share your contact information and continue to make sure that it's always up to date. If someone decides they want to get in touch with you and they reach a wrong number, chances are they'll find another brand that offers the same thing.
Tactic #7: Create A Social Media Community
Your marketing strategies should feel organic. Anything other than that will feel too spammy. Your content needs to be natural and unique. Take some time to figure out your brand's voice and stick with it. That way a user can identify your offering as a solution to their problem - all without being prompted. Try to keep your content light, meaningful, and truthful. Answer comments and questions even negative ones - it's the best way to maintain high levels of engagement. This is also a great tactic when you want to assure your spot as an expert in your niche.
Tactic #8: Optimize Your Social Media Channels
The best way to transform your leads into prospects is to make it easy for them to get more information about your brand. Review your user analytics and take note of what posts receive the most engagement and figure out the conversion rate for your channel. Some make it a lot easier for users to access your products/services. For example, the "Buy" buttons on Facebook allow users to purchase items directly from the platform itself.
Tactic #9: Research Your Target Audience
Analytics and monitoring tools can be extremely useful when it comes to understanding your target audience. You can develop buyer personas based on the age, gender, location, etc. In addition, you can also monitor industry-wide trends that can help you determine what type of content and topics get the most engagement. Some social media monitoring tools can even help you understand your industry.
This type of market research can help you optimize your social selling and increase your sales on social media.
As you can see, social selling isn't all that hard if you have a plan set in place.
You can start with a few tactics at first and then slowly build up to using all of them. The choice is yours! Whatever route you decide to take, just know that social selling is an integral part of any brand's social media strategy. And the best way to increase sales your social selling strategy needs to include more than a few ads and endless blog posts.
When it comes to the success of a brand you need to focus on brand awareness. Not to mention a community-based social media presence. If you can connect with leads before they even make it to your online sales funnel you're on the right track.