By: Tom Demers
While having thousands upon thousands of social followers is certainly something to brag about, the number means little if those followers largely ignore your brand. Engagement is the key to success for social media marketing—brands that drive more engagement from their audience are generally rewarded with better visibility and organic reach.
All of these things—a large number of followers, an engaged audience, and a boost in organic visibility—are lofty achievements in today’s tough social media climate, but they’re not the end goal. Ultimately, the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your social media campaigns should translate to leads and sales.
The good news is that if you’ve already mastered social media engagement, you’re partway to the finish line. But how do you translate ordinary social media conversations into actionable sales leads?
STEP 1: Dive Into Your Data
Dig into your data to find out what social media platform generates the most sales leads for your business. Start there. Then, find out what your audience is talking about on social media and how it relates to your brand.
Don’t stick to the conversations happening on your social media pages and profiles, though. Instead, branch out into relevant groups and topic pages where people are engaging in real conversations (although, hopefully, that’s happening on your pages, too). While tapping into the search capabilities (#searches, for instance) of social networks like Facebook and Twitter is an easy way to discover these conversations, social media listening tools make it easy for you to stay on top of hot topics.
STEP 2: Use Conversations to Uncover Hidden Objections and Customer Pain Points
Social media users aren’t shy about sharing their real opinions, so dig into the conversations your target customers are having to glean valuable insights about the struggles they’re facing and what stops them from buying. Start engaging in these conversations and asking questions—on your brand’s social media profiles and off.
Followers who feel ignored don’t often turn into regular customers and raving fans, so once you’ve engaged them in conversation, you must follow through. Use a social media management platform to leave no comment unrecognized and no question unanswered.
STEP 3: Create Offers That Deliver More Value
It’s easy to get your followers to sign up for freebies, which generates engagement. But to keep them coming back for more and move them through the sales funnel, you have to deliver real value every step of the way. That means going beyond, “Here’s a free ebook.
Buy my stuff!”
Use the insights you gained from conversation and data mining to develop targeted offers and valuable content that answers questions and helps to overcome buying objections. What does your target customer need the most? If costs are a common objection, use case studies and storytelling to showcase how your products or services can help them increase ROI. Or, bundle value-added packages and services to create an irresistible offer. How about a discount or a chance to win a free product or free six-month subscription?
STEP 4: Make Sharing Simple
When you need to get more eyes on your content and offers, your followers are the best marketing tool in your arsenal. When you offer compelling content and valuable experiences, make it simple for followers to share. Incentivize sharing for a bigger boost in reach.
Most users know how to share a social media post within a social network, but what about people who click through and read content before deeming it worthy of a share? Make sharing a no-brainer by strategically placing social media share buttons on your site. Not only do they serve as a reminder to share, but they make sharing practically effortless. With conveniently located, prominent share buttons, you’ll lower the risk of losing out on a potential social share because someone doesn’t want to bother with copying and pasting the URL to create a new social media post.
STEP 5: Incorporate a Call-to-Action
If you don’t ask for what you want, you’re not going to get it—so don’t shy away from incorporating a clear call to action in your social media posts. Even something as simple as “Learn more” can get users to your landing pages. The key to effective calls to action on social media?
Actionable words, such as:
Secure your spot
Click here to…
Get your copy
Build a sense of urgency by using phrases such as:
Only 2 spots left
Remember to be authentic and not too promotional. If your followers know full well that you have half a million products in your warehouse, they might find the claim that there are only five left in stock a bit hard to swallow. Never sacrifice trust, but do leverage the knowledge you gained from conversation mining with messaging such as, “Back by popular demand,” or “You asked for it, so we delivered,” to make it clear not only that you’re listening to your audience, but you actually care what they have to say.
STEP 5: Build Social Media Platform-Specific Landing Pages
Make sure the messaging is perfectly in sync with your calls-to-action and offer messaging in the social media content that drives users to each landing page.
This is where the magic happens. Once you’ve earned that coveted click, you’ve gotten their attention—but now you have to keep it. Landing pages should be concise and compelling, offering a value substantial enough to earn the prospect’s email address or other contact information. Once you’ve crossed that hurdle, you’ve successfully converted a social media follower into a bonafide prospect. From there, you can qualify them, kick off automated, personalized drip campaigns, and implement the other lead nurturing measures to continue moving them through the sales funnel.
Although this process will help you turn social media conversations into actionable sales leads, it’s not a once-and-done initiative. Like all things marketing, doing this right means constantly monitoring conversations to stay in-tune with your audience, testing and optimizing your messaging, and targeting your offers to their current and most pressing needs and wants.