How to Use Social Media for Sales

How to Use Social Media for SalesEarlier this week, my fellow CEM staff writer, Ross, shared some great tips about how to use social media for jumpstarting your company’s SEO strategy. He pointed out how strong use of Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, when paired with an aggressive keyword strategy, can improve overall SERP listings. While Ross can help you out with keywords, I want to help you leverage those social media pages for sales.

Your Social Media Campaign

What makes a good social media campaign? If you have the answer to that question, any marketing agency or business on earth would pay an astronomical price tag to find out. While there’s no secret-one-size-fits-all formula, I have one example of an effective campaign to share with you.

Check out Social Media Examiner’s case study of Crestview Doors, a small business with a mediocre social media presence. Crestview Doors had a Facebook page like most other small businesses: fewer than 1,000 followers, low engagement rates, and wasted dollars in Facebook advertising. Then, the “disaster” came when a Lowe’s Facebook contest bestowed a Crestview Door with an “Ugliest Door” award.

Crestview took this as an opportunity to turn negative press into awesome exposure. They grew to 4,795 fans, nixed their Facebook budget, and saw a total of 7.1% of all sales coming through Facebook (read the case study to learn more).

While this all took place on Facebook, there’s nothing inherently unique about Facebook (or any social media platform). Crestview achieved their success by getting personal with their audience. They didn’t try to downplay the Lowe’s debacle. Instead, they responded to it, laughed at it, and saw their reach soar. Of course, they didn’t stop there. Crestview continued to engage with customers and brand advocates by pushing original visual content, interacting with fans, and measuring their results.

The CTA

Crestview Doors shows us how to use social media to get engagement rates up, but we’re trying to generate sales – not build elaborate fan pages. Here’s where your call-to-action comes in. Your call-to-action copy is what gets visitors to go from your Facebook page to your website.

HubSpot shares these five tips for writing CTA copy that are absolutely essential. There are dozens of qualified bloggers out there who can tell you how to write a CTA, but I’m sharing this one from Magdalena Georgieva because her advice is most applicable to social media copy. In a nutshell, here are her Top 5 Tips:

1)      Stick with nouns and verbs, especially verbs.

2)      Titles and copy with numbers tend to do well.

3)      Adverbs, on the other hand, are a turn-off.

4)      Aim for 90-150 characters.

5)      Use practical language.*

* For more advice on practical language, I recommend this blog post from Michael Aagaard.

Bringing It Home

So, you’ve got an engaging social media campaign and great call-to-action working for you, but what happens when your guest finally clicks through to your website? Where are they landing?

It’s a rare circumstance, indeed, when your call-to-action directs a visitor to your home page. Remember, you are calling your visitor to action. You want them to do something. Why would you simply point them to your home page?

Here are a few of the types of pages you could send your click-through visitor to:

  • A guide you’ve written.
  • A special offer page exclusive to Facebook/Twitter/etc. fans.
  • An educational resource about your industry/product.
  • An introduction video about your services.
  • A successful how-to blog post that’s generated past results.
  • An infographic that details the effects of your product or service.
  • A link that prompts the visitor to sign up for your email list.

Need I go on? There are hundreds of different things your landing page could encourage a site visitor to do. Just make sure that your intentions are clear. If a visitor clicks through your link to arrive at a generic home page or ‘About Us’ page, they may poke around and leave, never to return.

Assuming your landing page isn’t going to make the sale that very moment on the spot, you want to lure your visitor into a drip marketing campaign…

The Drip Campaign

The drip campaign is a key part of your content marketing strategy. With a drip campaign, you send automated messages to your leads, slowly providing them with more information and materials until they’re ready to become customers. (For more information, I recommend this infographic from Pardot.)

Your drip campaign is a great way to bring visitors who aren’t quite ready to buy, but who are interested, into your content marketing machine. Not all drip campaigns have to be email-centric either. Your drip campaign could work through a series of blog posts, weekly video series, or some other medium. If you don’t have a good grasp of whom you’re bringing in through your social media pages, pay for some market research to provide insight. (Or take a DIY approach with Google Analytics.) When you know precisely whom you’re targeting, you can choose the appropriate medium for your drip campaign, achieving the maximum results!

Still hungry for more content marketing tips and tricks? A lot of the information I just went over, as well as strategies that take place before and after this lesson, can be found in our guide, Content Marketing: From Hello to Sale and Back Again. Check it out!

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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