One of the first things our new social media customers want to know is will social media marketing automatically lead to more sales? The simple answer is, of course, no. Nothing about sales is “automatic”; it requires a plan and it requires persistence.
Social media is about building relationships and connecting with your audience on a real level, not just posting one-sentence advertisements with a pretty picture and expecting to see results. Meeting your followers and building the “real-life” part of the relationship is key to a successful marketing strategy. Reaching out to new leads and contacts grows your network and promotes two-way visibility and communication.
BE SOCIAL, NOT SALESY
It’s easy, when you plan your social media marketing strategy, to want to blast your message, products or sales pitch to your followers (and when you’re starting out, they are few). The problem with that mentality is that this isn’t what your audience is on your social media channels for. Sure, people may want to have access to special offers and discounts that you mention but people don’t use social media to be sold to; they’re looking for genuine interactions and engagement with other humans.
It doesn’t mean you have to be “best buds” with every person on your Facebook page. By sharing relevant information and knowledge about your company, products and even related curated information, you are not only adding value to conversations but you are also showcasing your expertise in the process. This is important especially with social media because it doesn’t feel invasive to your social media audience.
Point to remember: Relationships lead to sales, not the other way around.
LEVERAGING SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media has become an increasingly important part of any successful marketing strategy, especially when social signals (such as Facebook “likes” and comments) are used with SEO. It provides a unique opportunity for small businesses to increase their online visibility, establish their brand, and drive traffic to a primary website where leads can be converted to customers.
A recent study by the Harvard School of Business found that consumers were highly influenced by social media, and that businesses with a social media presence saw an average increase in sales of 5%.
TARGETING YOUR AUDIENCE
A large part of digital marketing is data collection and research. You know what your customers are buying, how often they are making purchases, and what areas of your website they visit most frequently. This data can be used to personalize the customer’s online experience, keeping the products and services they are interested in foremost in their minds and allowing you to make actionable suggestions regarding future purchases.
Social ad management is one of the most popular services we offer here at Blue Cricket Media and there’s a good reason for that. Social media ads are confusing. It’s hard to define a target audience and it’s even harder to know when and how to start doing split testing to see what’s working the best and how to tweak your ads and target audience to work the best way for you. Without split testing different ads and audiences, you could be missing the boat.
Digital marketing isn’t just for big businesses and large corporations. It is a cost-effective way for small business owners to build brand recognition, increase their customer base, and improve sales overall. Like any marketing strategy, it takes time and constant attention to see results. But, social media marketing can be a real asset for small businesses, and the return on the investment can be substantial when done correctly.
THE POWER OF INFLUENCE
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) conducted a poll of nearly 23,000 online shoppers around the world. 45% said that reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behavior. 78% said they are influenced by social media in some way. On average, consumers will visit three different vendors before committing to a purchase.
Additionally, buyers might be anywhere up to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they contact a vendor, making it difficult for sales teams to influence the buyers’ decisions.
Clearly, social media influencers are a force to be reckoned with. This is in large part due to the nature of the beast – people are more receptive to individuals than companies on social networks. It has also been magnified by the reduction in organic reach from businesses brought about by algorithm changes on sites such as Facebook. Become a mover and a shaker in the social media world for your industry and you will have a much easier time connecting with your audience.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Social media marketing must:
- Help potential customers find you and your products
- Expand the number of potential customers for your products
- Uncover what your customers think of you and your products
- Find out how your customers are using your products
- Convert leads into sales
Social media allows you to talk with your customers, rather than to them, in an engaging process. While this interactivity plays a critical role in understanding your position as it relates to your competitors, it is not a substitute for tangible revenues and profits. The bottom line matters, so you need to regularly measure your results to ensure you receive the benefits you expect.