A question on the mind of many small business owners is whether social media is a worthwhile investment for driving sales. Social media has been and continues to be a boon for large brands, but many smaller companies are still on the fence. In fact, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association reported that 59% of small business owners don’t see a quality ROI from their social media efforts. However, many consumers are heavily influenced by what they see on social media, with 75% of online shoppers reporting that they purchased something because they saw content about it on social channels. With this much influence, social media offers a great opportunity for your business to acquire new customers and engage with them to build long-term relationships. The trick is ensuring you’re posting the right content on the right channels. Here are a few tips to kick your business’s social media presence into high gear.
Understand What Social Platforms Your Customers Use
Every day it seems like there’s a different social media platform attracting national attention, whether it’s a mainstay like Facebook and Twitter or a newer platform like Snapchat, and it might seem daunting to figure out where to concentrate your efforts. Use what you know about your customers to identify the top platforms where they’re the most active. If your business specializes in B2B services, LinkedIn is typically a safe bet for drumming up new leads since it’s considered to be a social network for professionals, but the B2C space is a little trickier to navigate. Do some research to find out what social media networks your customer use on a regular basis, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. With so many possibilities, it’s essential to know whether your customers prefer one platform or split their time between several. You should also look into when your customers are typically logged in and actively viewing content. With so much content flowing through newsfeeds nowadays, you want to make sure your posts are live during the times your customers are most likely to see them.
Follow the 80/20 Rule With Your Posts
The quickest way to lose customers and potential leads on social media is to bombard them with constant sales pitches. Turn your social media account into a place where users want to visit regularly by following the 80/20 rule with your posts. In other words, only about 20% of your social media content should promote your business, while the other 80% should be content that interests and engages your audience. The 80% part of your posts could include a wide variety of content, such as posting links to industry or community news stories, sharing posts from other social media pages relevant to your business, or asking questions to get your audience engaged in conversation. By sharing engaging content that brings your customers back to your page on a regular basis, you’ll have a better chance of catching their attention with the 20% of your posts that do promote your business.
Use Clear Call-To-Actions to help driving sales through social media
When you do post content that promotes your business, always make sure there’s a clear call to action (CTA) that you want your audience to follow. The best CTAs are brief and use verbs that encourage customers to perform a certain task, such as clicking a link to your website, downloading an infographic or watching a video. In addition to having a clear CTA, you should clearly show how customers can contact you for more information. Most social media platforms include sections for phone numbers, email addresses and personal websites, so make sure everything across all of your social media profiles is up to date. If you’re looking for inspiration to make your CTAs more engaging, then check out some examples of creative CTAs collected by Hubspot.
Consider A Targeted Ad Spend
One of the benefits of social media is that you don’t have to spend a dime on post promotion if you don’t want to, but adding a little money to the mix can go a long way towards attracting new fans and converting them into customers on social media. One of the tricks to effectively using social media ads is selecting the appropriate targeting parameters. Facebook, in particular, has a robust number of filters that allow you to target specific demographics, including broad ones like age or location as well as narrow ones like interests and hobbies. You can even target posts to appear in the newsfeeds of users who have expressed interest in products or services similar to yours. These filters can be especially helpful if you only want to reach a niche audience who live near your business’s location.
If your social media efforts are successful and your audience starts to grow, it can be tempting to recycle old content and post the same material over and over. Avoid this trap by exploring new ideas for keeping your content fresh, authentic and engaging. You just might find yourself having a little fun along the way as you increase sales through social media.
Written by Melissa R. MacCaull
Director, Marketing, Union Savings Bank