A small company just a few years ago would have been happy with a beautiful website, an easy checkout process, and a firm grasp of SEO and marketing.
This was successful because it accorded with the habits of actual consumers. They may have had moments of discovery elsewhere, but they never set out to shop without a specific goal in mind.
All of the aforementioned are still quite effective resources; they represent minimum requirements for any respectable online store. However, things have evolved in that people now spend a considerable amount of time on and inside social networks that are based on their interests and relationships. The consequence is a shift in the purchase process away from being primarily driven by shoppers’ intentions to locate something and toward being driven by shoppers’ serendipitous discoveries of relevant items within the context of an experience they’ve previously constructed. In short, there is tighter interweaving of purpose and revelation. The difficulty lies in being there for those clients at the crucial moments.
If you own a small business and want to use social media to boost your sales, consider these four strategies.
Tailor your social media strategy to each individual client
Do most of your sales come from teachers and headhunters? A young adult? A contemporary mother in need of an excellent cookie recipe? Perhaps your client is a technological pioneer or influential opinion leader. To help you decide which social media platform is best for your business, each of these descriptors is paired with one of four popular sites: LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Make the right decision, begin actively listening for issues you can address, and offer helpful suggestions. Building credibility is the initial stage.
Make sure you’re using the proper amount of content and volume
More original and interesting material is better for social media marketing. (Hint: always include a visual). You’ll need to strike a balance between how often and in what forms you post, depending on who your consumer is. Remember that retweeting or reposting content from other sources can be just as effective. The idea is to interact with the target audience by creating a personal account, starting conversations, and learning about the community’s expectations and customs.
Keep in mind that doing too little or too much can have negative effects on the goal. Potential clients may be turned off if you leave several comments obviously designed to drive traffic to your site. It’s important to keep in mind that different social media platforms perform distinct tasks; whereas a well-written instructional might win over LinkedIn users’ hearts, offering a time-sensitive discount code would fare better in the Twitter ecosystem.
Expand your contacts
There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll have to put in the legwork necessary to create your network. My best piece of advise in this regard is to set short-term goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis so that you can commit to a specific rate of activity right away. Find people who are discussing your sector or terms linked to it by searching the appropriate social media platforms. The next step is to start retweeting them, answering their questions, and sharing whatever they say that piques your interest. As you participate in the conversations of your prospects, you strengthen them and increase their value to their circle of contacts.
Relate it to the company’s goals
None of this would be worthwhile, though, if sales weren’t to increase; and that increase would be impossible without serving out meaningful calls to action to customers and non-customers equally. This is a major consideration. Due to the viral nature of social media, it is often the friends of your consumers that have the most sway. If they’re interested in what you’re selling, these acquaintances can essentially do part of the legwork for you.
In social media marketing, relationships are far more valuable than leads. The best way to conduct meaningful interactions with the right people and deliver “just the thing” they want or need at that moment is to take the time to listen to what they are saying.
The real innovation is happening in the last part, and that’s where the bulk of the money and attention will be spent in the next six to twelve months. Adding “buy” buttons directly into their platforms is an idea being considered by most of the major social networks. This is the “end game” of social strategy, and it’s incredibly potent. Let’s pretend you’ve done everything it takes to serve up a buyable experience at the precise moment a consumer realizes a need for your product: you’ve identified your customer, located where he or she spends time online socially, generated valuable content to improve awareness and interaction with those customers, and so on.
At that precise instant, you’ve accomplished three major goals at once: client satisfaction, higher sales, and validation of your efforts.