Having a social media presence is a prerequisite for starting your own business these days – and for good reasons. Creating a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites can help expose your brand to potential customers around the world, and provide free advertising for your business, products, and services.
Although many advisers will tell you how to increase your number of fans and followers, you might be left wondering how to make your social media accounts profitable, and convert those followers into paying customers.
Here are several tips that will help you bridge the gap and transform your social media fans into paying customers.
Target the right type of followers
Your social media fans and followers will consist of people who genuinely like your brand, lurkers (who follow, but never interact), and professional peers. The first category are the most likely to convert to customers, so focus your marketing efforts on them.
Never pay a service to buy extra followers or “likes”, as it’s the quality of the people who follow you, rather than the quantity, that matter. For this reason, you should also be wary of offering promotions or discounts to people in return for their “like” or follow, as this is more likely to attract people who aren’t genuine fans.
You should also look at the proportion of followers who are professionals or peers compared to potential buyers. Unless you offer consulting services, professionals are more likely to use social media as a networking tool, and therefore are less likely to actually buy products from you.
Build your credibility and give fans and followers a taste of the type of products and services you offer through generosity. Design giveaways specifically for your social media followers, and host competitions through Facebook and Twitter that encourage social sharing.
Try looking for the most active members of your community and publicly reward them by gifting them discounts and coupons. Not only does this help them feel special, but it also shows your other followers that they will be rewarded for being active members of your social media community.
You can also provide incentives for repeat or loyal fans through your social media profiles. For example, you can offer followers a discount on your products or services. Alternatively, you can reward fans for purchasing one product by offering a reduced price on a second.
Be consistent in updates
Being consistent in your social media presence will demonstrate to customers that they can trust you. Show up consistently and prove to your potential clients that you’re loyal to them, as this increases the likelihood they will be loyal to you. You can show consistency through the type of content you post, and when you post it.
If you don’t post new content every day, try selecting specific days each week to post. For businesses that do show up every day, set a minimum number of posts to make each day, and stick to this. Social media strategists say that even if you set a goal to post every day, you can still take time off, as long as you tell your followers that’s what you’re doing.
Interact with your fans
Whether you’re posting on behalf of a large company, or you’re running the business alone, your followers want to know that they’re interacting with a human being. Communicating with followers on a personal level can make all the difference to how they experience your brand. It can help them feel visible, valued, and more connected to your organization – all of which make them more likely to take the step from a follower to a paying customer.
If you’re finding it difficult to interact with your followers because they’re not engaging with your posts, include a call to action, asking them for their opinion, and telling them to leave a comment.
You won’t have time to connect with everyone individually, especially if you have an established social media presence, but developing personal connections and responding to followers’ and fans’ comments, queries and suggestions will help improve your reputation!
Vary your content
The style of social media content varies, so you need to stay up to date with the latest trends. In an age where picture and infographics are soaring in popularity on Facebook and Pinterest, profiles on these sites that post only text updates look outdated.
Vary the content you post to keep customers engaged. Twitter is more suited to text and links, however videos and images work well on Facebook. You also need to ensure your content provides value. If 75% of your Facebook and Twitter posts consists of product promotion and sales, this could have the opposite effect to that intended and actually deter people from purchasing.
Providing value and keeping sales talk to around 10% of your posts will keep followers coming back and help build a loyal fan base.
Testimonials are crucial to the success of a product, as they reassure potential buyers that the product or service is good. They can also help persuade customers to commit to a purchase, so are an invaluable tool for turning social media followers into paying clients.
Existing customers might send you positive feedback via email or through your social media channels, so take the opportunity to re-post this to your followers. You can also share snippets of testimonials from your sales pages that demonstrate the value that existing clients get from your products or services.
If you decide to do this, it’s very important to ask for permission to re-post first, especially if you’re publicizing personal information like the client’s name or location. Whenever you ask for feedback or send a survey to existing customers, ask if they’d be happy for you to post the feedback on your social media profiles, and always offer them the option to do so anonymously. This demonstrates respect for your customers and their privacy, which goes a long way towards building your brand’s reputation.
Your fans and followers might frequent your social media profiles, but rarely visit your website. They can’t buy your products and services if they don’t know about them, so you need to make sure that they can find out all about your offerings through your social media profile.
You can promote your products and services through marketing posts, which should be used sparingly as already discussed. When sharing information about your products in this way, consider using a mixture of mediums including links, images, and videos. You can also get creative and use features like Facebook apps, as well as customized Twitter backgrounds and links to alert your fans to your range of products.
Successful social media marketing revolves around a balance between providing valuable content, and demonstrating to fans and followers that you can solve a specific problem or need in their lives. By implementing the social media tips and suggestions above, you’ll surely improve your brand’s credibility, and make the time you spend on social media more profitable for your business!