Nobody really wants to talk about this. They’re too busy counting Twitter followers, Facebook likes, pins and YouTube video views, but how is all of this social media activity contributing to your bottom line... sales? Better yet, does your social media marketing strategy even involve sales? Brands, businesses and organizations are learning that social media is great at getting attention, building awareness and sparking engagement. But then what?
At some point you have to stop playing around and ask for the order, tell people what you want them to do, buy, download, try, join, call now about, subscribe to or sign up for. Here are some ways to make sure you’re converting as much of that social media activity as possible.
1. REMIND "LIKES" AND "FOLLOWERS" WHY THEY'RE THERE
The reasons fans like you and the reasons you like them may be two very different things. Always be transparent in your desire for them to take an action that moves them closer to a sale. At some point you have to be the guy at the magazine stand that says “This isn’t a library... are you going to buy something or not?” That doesn’t mean you have to give them the stink eye or kick them out if they don’t buy, but at least remind them now and then what this is all about. It’s marketing, not a social club. You don’t have to say that. Just know that.
I know, you're thinking “but we want lots and lots of fans to interact with our company!” No, you don’t. You want fans to buy from your company. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. Or, you at least want them to influence someone who will. No company ever moved forward by having millions of likes and followers unless a good percentage of those likes went out and bought something or influenced someone else to do it. Otherwise, why are we even doing this?
2. THE "ONE CLICK RULE"
One way to turn fans into action is to make it easy for them! My agency has what we call the “One Click Rule,” which maintains that the execution of any important call to action should be no more than one click away from the marketing assets being displayed. For example, if a fan of your brand is watching a video that asks them to download something, the link to the download page should be right there in the video description or on the embed page. If you’re asking someone to sign up for something or make a purchase, have the sign up info or purchase forms no more than one click away. People have ADD when they’re online, and the more opportunities you give them to get distracted, or worse yet, frustrated, the fewer conversions you’ll see.
3. PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE THEY LIKE
This is true in both sales and social media marketing, but other than fans that are already buying your brand, products and services, most people are liking and following you to entertain themselves, get information, get free stuff, discounts, a cool game to play with, a funny video or to see and be seen for a minute. That makes your brand, business or organization very likable but doesn’t always translate into immediate sales. Position your social media approach so that when your fans are ready to buy, they’ll be thinking of you and they’ll know what they’re supposed to do, because you’ve been letting them know right along.
4. EVALUATE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
This one may seem obvious, but keep an eye on who your social media is friends with. One reason for a disconnect between social media and sales could be that you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd. Strategy, targeting, content creation, curation, scheduling, updating and active social media engagement all require a substantial investment of resources including time, people and budget, regardless of whether you’ve hired an agency to do it for you, or you’re handling your social media internally. Someone has to pay for all that and then some. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing. Just like with traditional marketing, you have to make sure your fans are the most likely to either buy or influence others who will. If they’re not, you have to get out there and find new friends!
5. TRACK YOUR ANALYTICS
There are so many ways to measure social media now it’s ridiculous. Look at the metrics across each social media channel you’re on. Determine how all that info relates to how much stuff you’re selling. Measure the resources you commit to social media against the results you’re getting. Look for trends, cause and effect and draw connections. Then, measure those results against sales. This will ultimately tell you which parts of your social media marketing are working and which are not.
Social media represents one of the most disruptive, transformational and effective changes to ever take place in marketing. It can also be a time-sucking waste of time, energy and budget. Your choice. Stay focused. Don’t get lost in the social media adventure and lose sight of the destination.