Online loot: Finding followers’ funds

Online loot

Most businesses are sold on social media for the purposes of branding and building customer trust, but justifying social media ROI can be challenging because of the sometimes tenuous link between followers and buyers.

Nevertheless, certain strategies can increase the likelihood your followers will turn into actual paying customers, and that’s been proven true in both the B2B and B2C worlds. Here are some tips for improving social media lead generation:

  • Choose platforms most likely to reach your target audience or demographic, considering Facebook, Twitter and/or industry-specific outlets. Observe how users interact and communicate before forming your strategy.
  • Create a long-term plan that incorporates multiple messages, anticipating holidays and special events through the year. It’s generally recommended to post once or twice daily.
  • Think of followers as floating outside the widest part of the sales funnel; they may not be close to buying and as such will resent too much salesmanship. Industry standard the “Rule of Thirds” dictates a third of your posts should build your brand via personal posts and responses; a third should promote your business and its bottom line; and, finally, the final third should provide visitors useful information or opinions related to your industry.
  • Keep posts fairly concise but include easy-to-access links and buttons directing followers to more information if they opt in. Once they show an interest, they can be categorized “hard leads” who are more open to traditional sales tools like product demonstrations, company webinars, the downloading of decision-oriented content, etc.
  • Try out different post content, paying close attention to the most responded-to subject matter.  Try announcing special offers, coupons or sales; addressing FAQs and responding to common sales objections. Help followers solve a problem by providing inspiration, giving them direction and expanding their knowledge, reminding them you can help with problems they can’t solve. Incorporate breaking news, trends and research about your industry; related commentary; recommendations; profiles of clients or employees; surveys; contests; previews of coming events; descriptions or photos of new products; inspiring quotes and humor. Use compelling photos, infographics or videos. If you’re too busy, source content from a specialist. Tools like Fanpage Karma or Post Planner offer examples of popular images and content.
  • Encourage conversation and commentary that can help you tailor your campaign.
  • Gather valuable metrics by applying Google Analytics and HootSuite Pro to the links you post; they can inform on cost per impression, cost per engagement, cost per soft lead, cost per hard lead and cost per sale.
  • Consider paid ads on Facebook and Twitter. In a recent Facebook and Salesforce study, one online retailer was able to combine email and Facebook advertising to reach 77 percent more of its audience than with email alone.

“Social media requires significant resources, thus it is no longer about merely generating brand awareness or the most “likes” on a Facebook page,” notes Mitch Duckler in a recent American Marketing Association blog. “Successful brands already know this, and are defining their audiences online, optimizing their content and turning their social media communities into lucrative sales channels.”