Converting Social Media Relationships into Sales
Social media marketing has become the most cost effective method for creating relationships with your customers that has ever been available. For an investment in time and a small amount of money it is possible to reach a huge target audience that is comparable with mass media at a fraction of the cost. To be successful it is important to start your social media marketing with a clear set of guidelines and a plan for your contributions.
Social media sites like Facebook aren’t usually sufficient for marketing and they are best used in support of the company website. It is on your business’ website that the social marketing should begin and it is usual now to have a corporate blog to connect your social media marketing to. At the very least your website is the place where your social networking is going to direct your potential customers and where the conversion to customer will actually take place. For this reason your website should be user friendly and the product sales processes should be obvious and simple. Once someone clicks through from Twitter it should be easy for them to purchase your products.
More than half of businesses that are using social media in their online promotional campaigns are spending up to six hours a week on it. To pay an employee to do this can amount to a large hidden investment in advertising and it will be important to measure the returns and other benefits that you get from that investment. Social media tends to be more about introducing people to brands and a recent Mashable survey found that 77% of people interact with brands on Facebook by reading their posts and updates but less than one-fifth said that they actively share stories about brands in their posts. One astounding statistic found by All Facebook is that 95% of Facebook Wall Posts are not answered by brands meaning that they are missing nearly all of the direct sales leads that have been generated on their Facebook business pages!
To be sure to convert those Facebook acquaintances into customers it is important to engage them in conversation on the site and build a relationship. Find the groups in your niche and follow the conversations in them. Look for opportunities to offer insightful comments and solutions to problems that people post to establish your knowledge in the niche. People expect sales pitches on Facebook but hard sell comes off as spam on social threads and so it is better to suggest links to your webpage after you have offered your insights in the thread. Offering your Facebook or Twitter followers a special deal when they do business with you can also be an effective means of driving sales directly from the social sites to your business. It is also an excellent way to quantify the ROI that you are getting from your social media marketing efforts.
It is easy to over commit your time to social media sites as it takes a considerable effort to genuinely contribute to your online communities and so it is important to stick to your schedule for using them. Find out when users in your niche are most commonly logging on and time your posts accordingly and be prepared to follow up when they first engage you in conversation and then make it into an opportunity to take it to your own website with a link to a blog post or product that you are offering. The key to converting social media contacts into customers is to take advantage of the opportunities that it generates to engage them when they come along.