The struggle is real for every brand when it comes to social media conversion and getting your audience to become your buyer. I bet you’ve faced this question many times before: “We made some fans now how do we get them to buy?” If you have landed on this page looking for a marketing magic wand that creates immediate social media conversions, you are going to be disappointed.
Social media is a powerful marketing channel if harnessed and executed correctly, but it is also typically the most mismanaged and undervalued channel in a marketer’s bag of tricks. Overlooking the power of social media for sales conversion is one of the biggest mistakes made by brands, as it’s one of the easiest ways to build a trusted relationship with your consumers early in the sales funnel.
Social media should be thought of like a sales person — an extension of your brand, working overtime to close a deal with a new client. While the deal is rarely closed within the first encounter, your digital sales person (social media) is creating relationships for your brand to convert prospects to buyers. Think of what you look for in a good sales person and apply that directly to the qualities you need in your social media strategy.
Mere Exposure Effect
Social media marketing is heavily reliant on the social psychology theory of the "Mere Exposure Effect.” This is the idea that over time people will prefer something just due to long-term exposure, mainly the more you see or hear something, the more you like it. In other words, we tend to like things more when they’re familiar to us. This ability to persuade consumers via exposure is utilized in many types of marketing campaigns.
Focus Group Approach
Marketing focus groups have been around for decades and have been proven to be a handy campaign strategy tool. Strategic and purposeful social media accounts are like focus groups on steroids. Social media channels allow brands to collect information from broad and varied audiences, without having to gather a group in a room for hours to ask them questions doctored up to tell you something as simple as a preference for salty or sweet foods. Now it’s possible for brands to gather insights about their customers such as their demographics, geography, lifestyle and purchase behavior at the click of a button. The ability to get qualitative and quantitative data in real time is invaluable.
A huge benefit of the social media as a focus group approach is that is allows you to get a more holistic view of customer behaviors by looking at a much longer timeline of engagements. In contrast, focus groups are confined to the self-selected group of people, who have zero relationship with your brand and are willing to give up their time in exchange for a small financial payoff.
Brands tend to get so obsessed with new customer acquisition that they lose sight of loyal customers. Social media is helping brands connect with audiences in a way that traditional focus groups cannot. Technological advancements have empowered brands to cut through the noise by using social media to fuel research efforts by including qualitative trend-assessment as part of a digital marketing strategy.
The Tipping Point
Now you have your audience’s full attention, they are engaged, you gathered some seriously insightful data and they are giving you love in return for your carefully crafted content, we are back at the question that started it all, “How do we get them to buy?”
Lead the Way
Focusing on the immediate and not the possibilities creates missed opportunities. To be successful, your conversion strategy needs to rely on a rock-solid lead generator campaign. While conversion rates are not the highest via social media, the conversion rates in email are, at times, brag-worthy. Give your fans a reason to give up their contact info. Use that collected information for an email campaign tailored to what they find valuable. Whether it’s a great coupon, information-based content, or even a daily joke; send your audience what they want. Always give them a clear way to engage on the next level or give them a way to buy. A successful landing page should be in your wheel house.
Be there. Always.
Humans are fickle beings. You can never fully nail down the motivations and timing of a purchase, but do you want to have a missed opportunity? Plan out every possible point of sale, and decide where to invest so you are covering your bases. Whether it be a sales app, a well-paired influencer purchase code, or a perfectly placed print campaign, know that the consumer is in the sales funnel and be ready for them to buy at any moment.
Clear and Easy
There will come a point after all of your hard work, when the customer will want what you are selling. This is your time to shine, but if they go to buy and can’t figure out your website or there are too many steps to the check-out process, BOOM! After months of nurturing, your opportunity for conversion is gone in as little as four seconds.
The process needs to clear and easy for your audience, so the step outside of their cozy, fun, social bubble to your point of purchase, is worth it.
- Clear CTAs: Give them clear CTAs that eliminate any concern for what the next step is in the process. “BUY NOW” seems overused, but this is for good reason. It works. Never underestimate how obvious you need to be for people to take action. Need clarity? Bring A/B testing in to confirm what works best for your audience.
- Timing and Tone: Urgency and emotion based CTAs show a much higher conversion rate than passive messages.
- Social Integration: A smart e-commerce platform will have social integration to make the process of getting your inventory to your consumers seamless. Many social media platforms even have digital catalogs or shop-able galleries, so your buyer doesn’t have to leave the page to see what there is to offer.
- Social Account Login: Use social media log-in technology for account set-up. This streamlines the process and allows the content to be more easily shared.
Conversion rates for social media are some of the lowest (averaging around 2 percent) with highly successful conversion rates only coming in at about 5 percent. Social media is a long game investment, but with the right tools in your pocket, a data-based approach, and a thoughtfully built strategy you can turn those likes and hearts into real ROI.