We all know by now that to see success in 2021, businesses need to spend time marketing themselves on social media. Despite this, many organisations struggle to turn their social media marketing efforts directly into sales and growth for their business.
While it’s nice to see your follower count growing, people liking, commenting and sharing your posts, these metrics don’t pay the bills. Ideally, you want your social media marketing efforts to translate to an increase in customers and profit directly.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how you can effectively boost your sales with social media marketing to boost your sales and grow your business effectively this holiday season.
Table of Contents
Why should you use social media for business?
Over recent years social media platforms have evolved into powerful marketing channels for modern companies. Social media platforms can provide a consistent stream of leads and sales for a business with proper attention.
There are many reasons to use social media for marketing your business. Some of these are:
- Raising brand awareness – posting regularly on social media, commenting on other posts and sharing industry-related content helps to keep your name on people’s minds throughout the day. It is an effective way of growing your brand following.
- Increasing site traffic – by promoting your content on social media, you’ll drive likes, comments, views and shares. This exposure should correlate to an uptick in traffic to your website.
- Driving sales – growth in your social media following and more traffic to your website will lead to more potential customers moving down your sales funnel and give you more of an opportunity to turn these potential customers into paying ones.
- Increase customer engagement and loyalty – you can use your social media channels to interact with your customers, solve customer queries and improve your customer engagement, which in turn should improve your customer retention and customer loyalty.
Choose the right social media platform
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to marketing your business through social media, but to see these benefits, you need to be spending your time on the right platform.
To do this, spend some time working out where your customers spend time online and target your efforts towards that channel. The first step in working this out is to analyse your target customer thoroughly and your target demographic.
You can do this by looking into the demographics of your current customers; ideally, you’ll know the age, gender, purchasing history, income level and profession of your customers. If you don’t have these demographics on hand, you can run a variety of customer surveys to get as much information as you can about your customer.
These demographics should give you an idea of your current customer base and who is buying your products. You then begin researching different platforms to find out which platform your target demographic spends their time on.
For example, suppose your customer analysis reveals that the majority of your customers are business executives. In that case, you’ll want to focus your social media marketing efforts on the social media platform where business executives spend time, which is LinkedIn. Or, if you discover through your customer analysis that most of your customers are millennials who purchase visually appealing products, then a platform like Instagram would be the best place to focus on.
You can also see what your competitors are doing to get ideas for your own social media strategy. Suppose you see that one of your competitors is gaining many followers working with a certain type of influencer or producing a certain kind of post. In that case, you’ll be able to gain some insights into what might work well for your own social media marketing strategy.
Set clear objectives
Once you know the platform, you can start setting objectives and goals for your social media marketing. To do this, start with a clear purpose and break it down into smaller steps. Using the SMART goal-setting framework works well for this. The SMART acronym stands for:
Specific – your goals should be clearly defined
Measurable – you should be able to measure your objective through clear metrics and analytics
Achievable – are your objectives achievable with your current set of resources?
Realistic – similar to ‘achievable, are the goals you’re setting realistic with your current resources?
Time-sensitive – what will the time frame for your goal be?
When you’ve got your objective in a framework, you can start thinking about the metrics you’ll need to measure to determine whether your objectives have been achieved. For example, a business may have a LinkedIn follower count of 500 and set a 12-month goal of reaching 1000 followers. To measure this objective, the business can monitor their follower count on their LinkedIn company page each month to see if they are on target to achieve their goal.
The business would also need to think about what content they plan to post and how often they’ll post. From there, they can keep an eye on how many visitors their page is getting and how many likes, shares and impressions each post is getting to see if these metrics are moving in the right direction.
Using social media to boost your sales
Work with social media influencers
An effective way to boost your sales through social media is to work with influencers related to your industry, services, or products that have a following on the social media platform you’re using. The type of influencer you’ll want to work with will depend on your business and the size of your following. The most common types of social media influencers are:
- Bloggers and vloggers
- Mega influencers (influencers with more than 1 million followers)
- Macro influencers (influencers with 500,000 – 1 million followers)
- Mid-tier influencers (influencers with between 50,000 – 100,000 followers)
- Micro-influencers (influencers with between 10,000 to 50,000 followers)
- Nano influencers (influencers with between 1,000 – 10,000 followers)
While large brands can afford to partner with Instagram influencers with thousands or even millions of followers, smaller brands have to be more strategic about the type of influencers they partner with.
A type of influencer more accessible to smaller brands is micro-influencers. While it may seem counterintuitive to seek out influencers with smaller followings to promote your brand, the chances of a small brand working with a significant Instagram influencer are pretty slim.
Interestingly, in a study looking at Instagram engagement, Markerly found that as an influencer’s number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers decreases.
The study also highlighted that micro-influencers could have better engagement rates than larger accounts. Markerly discovered the following:
- Accounts with less than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time.
- Accounts with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes 4% of the time
- Accounts with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time.
Markerly’s study concluded that brands should pursue micro-influencers with Instagram followings in the 1,000 – 10,000 range for maximum engagement. To find the right influencer, try and think about how influencer marketing will fit into your overall social media strategy and create measurable goals. You’ll also need to know who exactly you’re trying to influence. Creating audience personas and analysing your current customer base are helpful first steps to take if you want to define your audience.
Turn your customers into brand advocates
If you already have an established following or you regularly interact with your customers, then you’re well set to turn some of those customers into advocates of your brand. There are many different ways to do this.
One of the most effective is to ask your followers to submit user-generated content. User-generated content is any content (videos, text, images, reviews) that people create, typically a brand’s followers or customers rather than the brand. A brand will then share this content on their social channels to expose their products to a broader audience.
The biggest advantage of sharing user-generated content is the level of trust it promotes to your audience; research suggests that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content that brands create. You can also use user-generated content to drive sales and increase your follower count on your social channels.
You could run discounts and holiday-themed giveaways that encourage your audience to submit user-generated content, such as asking your followers to submit a picture of them using one of your products. You could then give those who submit an image the chance to qualify for a discount on one of your products or the chance to win a prize.
Another strategy would be to use user-generated content to use it in your ads. Research suggests that ads based on user-generated content have a four times higher click-through rate (CTR) and a 50% drop in cost-per-click (CPC) than average ads. You can also encourage your audience to start a hashtag trend; this could involve asking your audience to start a branded hashtag campaign to promote your products or products they own from your brand.
Invest in social media advertising
As we’ve already noted, social media platforms have millions of users worldwide. While promoting your products organically on social media is worthwhile, running ads can be a more effective way of boosting your sales if you have the budget. Every social media platform contains the option to create ads or promote your content.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with a staggering 2.45 billion monthly active users using the platform. With Facebook’s detailed targeting options, you can hone in and drive leads from your target audience. If you’re running Facebook ads, your advertising campaign will tend to have one of three objectives:
- Awareness – to build your brand awareness and increase your reach
- Consideration – increase engagement on your ads, drive more traffic to your website and generate leads
- Conversion – increase purchases or increase leads.
The main types of ads you can run are:
- Photo ads
- Video ads
- Poll ads
- Carousel ads
- Collection ads
- Slideshow ads
- Instant experience ads
- Leads ads
- Messenger ads
As Instagram owns Facebook, you can use similar demographic filters to hone in on your target audience through the platform. There are a range of different ads you can run, including:
- Stories ads
- Photo ads
- Video ads
- Carousel ads
- Collection ads
- Explore ads
- IGTV ads
- Instagram Shopping ads
The different types of ads you can place can be a little overwhelming initially, so if you’re just getting started with Instagram advertising or you’re on a tight budget, start by promoting one of your existing posts. To do this, navigate to the post you wish to promote and click the ‘promote’ button.
Once you’ve clicked ‘promote’, you can configure who you want to see your ad, where you want those who interact with your ad to be directed to, and how much you want to spend.
After configuring these options, hit ‘create promotion,’ and the process is complete.
LinkedIn is possibly the best platform to use if you want to engage with company executives and a general B2B audience. According to LinkedIn, out of their 690 million members, 4 out of 5 those members can impact business decisions.
There are a few different types of ads you can use, including:
- Sponsored content
- Sponsored messaging, including inMails
- Text ads
- Dynamic ads
- Carousel ads
- Follower ads
- Spotlight ads
Whichever type of LinkedIn ad you choose to use, you’ll be able to select your audience demographics with LinkedIn’s advanced search filters and monitor your campaign results in real-time in your LinkedIn campaign manager dashboard.
Wrapping it up
Social media should be a key tool in your marketing arsenal. Spend the time analysing your current customer base, creating audience personas, researching best practices for the platform you will be marketing on and creating achievable targets.
Doing so will help you develop a strong social media marketing plan that will drive sales and help you grow your business during this holiday season.