Nothing happens until someone clicks something. Whether it’s a click to comment, to share, to take a quiz or survey, or to link back to a blog post or landing page, your social media content has to compel readers to do it. When readers do click, they have engaged in their first conversion. That first conversion can then lead to many other things – a sign-up, a registration, finding great content on your blog, taking advantage of a discount, sharing your post with others who will also take that first step. This is how the sales funnel begins, and the more readers who enter the top of your sales funnel, the more who move on through it to that ultimate conversion – the sale.
It only makes sense, then, that you have to use your social media pages/accounts in engaging and unique ways. You want readers and followers to continue to come to you and make those clicks, because they like what you do and what you have to say. Here are the strategies and techniques that will make your social media presence popular, compelling, and entertaining.
Determine Who and Where Your Prospects Are
If you have never developed a demographic or persona of your typical customer, you are wasting your time on social media. If you have been in business for a while, you can use your own sales data to determine your demographic. But you should also consider the possibility that you are missing a potential demographic because you are not reaching it.
There is a wealth of research now that will tell you exactly who your target audience is, based upon your product/service, where your target audience is online, what time of day they access social media, and how you can find their conversations that relate to your product or service. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel here – use the work that others have already done. Just to give an example or two, here is some general information about where you should be based upon your target audience:
- If your target audience is Millennials, for example, and your product is a consumer good or service, then you need to be on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
- If your target is middle-class women in the 30-50 age group range, drop Twitter, and add Pinterest.
- If your product or service is B2B, drop Pinterest and add LinkedIn.
Here are some tools you can use that will help you identify and get to your target audience with the right social media platforms.
- Crazy Egg: Here you can get data on where your site visitors are coming from. This will tell you which of your social media platforms are getting the best results. You can either drop others or find ways to “beef up” what you are doing on them.
- Chartbeat or Simplereach: Either of these two tools can be used to find out where your audience is and when it uses each of your platforms. This should drive what platforms you use and when you post that content.
- HubSpot’s Keyword Grader will tell you which keywords you are using that are getting the best traffic, so you can be certain to use them more often than others. This will also help you find your competition and learn about their social media techniques and the kinds of conversations their followers are having.
Use Social Media Profiles to Distribute High Quality Content
Social media should be the place where you drive traffic to your other places – a landing page, your blog, or other pages on your website that hold important resources for your demographic.
Obviously you have to do this by inserting links to that content and doing it in such a way that makes your reader want to click that link. Here are some important things to consider:
- Consider the platform. The way you insert your link will be different on each one. If, for example, you are using Facebook or LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to add quite a bit of text. Imbed the link within the text, after some compelling statement, such as, “We found the best way to …” The reader wants to know what that best way is and will click the link to your blog post or to your YouTube “how to” video.
- You have very little space for text on Twitter; you can only provide a compelling statement or CTA and the link. Fortunately, you can now insert an image too, so take advantage of that.
- Use media to attract attention to your post or Tweet. An engaging picture captures interest – always. If you can’t find a great photo or image, then you can use a tool for creating them, and be a bit creative.
- When you do point traffic to a blog post, to a video, to a landing page, or to a download, be certain that the only thing that individual finds is what you promised. If you try to turn this initial conversion into a sales pitch, you are doomed.
- Be certain that whatever blog, website, video, or other content comes from that link is engaging, well-written and provides answers, solutions, education, or inspiration.
Use Your Page/Account to Entertain, to Develop Relationships, and to Point to Other Resources
The first goal of using social media as a marketing tool is to develop relationships and trust on the part of your target market. You want them to follow you because they find you valuable, interesting, entertaining and trustworthy. They want to know who you are how you do business. All of these things done well mean that you get the conversions you want.
While a good “rule of thumb” for your blog is 80% serious content and 20% entertainment/inspiration, it is really reversed on social media. So, here are all of the things you can do to provide that:
Tell Your Story
Provide pictures and video of you and your team. Do it periodically so that readers see you as a real human with a life very much like their own. Feature any community service or charitable projects your business supports. Millennials especially want to see that you have a sense of social responsibility.
This is accomplished by the things already discussed. Do not social media to make sales pitches; when you imbed a link for something do not use that link for a sales pitch or anything else other than what the reader believes s/he is getting.
If you have established a following through some very regular inspirational or humorous posts (joke of the day; quote of the day), do not fail to post. You can even come up with a long list of these things and use tools that will automatically post these for you.
Promote Your Products in a Way the Involves Your Customers
ModCloth, a female clothing retailer, does a great job of this. The owners solicit pictures of their customers wearing clothing they have purchased. They feature these photos regularly. The result? Conversations, comments, likes and shares have exploded as have their profits! If you can do the same, you will see your brand spreading all over that platform. And now that you can post images on Twitter, what a great way to boost interest.
One of the best ways to develop and maintain relationships is to check for any comments or feedback that occurs on any of your platforms every day. You need to respond to each and every one of these, even if they are not posing a question or inviting a response. This is how your target customers know you take a personal interest in them. People have an emotional need to feel valued. And, if you can determine a specific need or pain point, write a blog post about that and let them know you have done so.
Engage Visitors with Interactive Opportunities
Who has not taken one of those Facebook quizzes? Admit it. You have wanted to know what 80’s rock star you would have been and to share that with your friends. This is a compelling marketing tool, and now that interactive content is so easy to develop, you should use it. Here are some tools and types you can use:
- Interactive Videos: Yes, you can actually develop videos and have reader participate in them. Check out what Phillip Razors does:
Other ideas are to imbed more information within a video so that when a viewer click on some element, the info pops up. SnapApp is a great source for creating these easily and quickly.
- Reveal: Have scratch-offs to reveal discounts or give readers a puzzle to put together or a picture to draw. These will be shared.
- Polls and Surveys: these are amazingly popular on Facebook, and now you can create them quickly and easily. Check out PollDaddy as a complete tool for these. And the participant can even get real-time results as s/he participates.
- Quizzes: We’ve already mentioned these, but you can create great quizzes, along with some great ideas for them through Qzzr.com.
- Infographics: Infographics can be pretty dull unless they are designed well. And adding some “audience participation” really helps.
Anyone wanting information about Michael Phelps’s statistics only need to click on any of the numbers or symbols and get it. There are a lot of tools now that enable you to do these things. You don’t have to provide a post that is always related to your product or service. If the World Series, Super Bowl, or Halloween is coming up, put together an infographic that is related. Your readers will enjoy it, and they will see you as fun not just a business trying to sell.
Here’s a quick wrap-up:
- Using social media as a marketing tool must be carefully planned and implemented. You do not want to use these platforms for sales pitches. People will not trust or follow you. Social media is to be used to develop relationships and spread your brand above all else.
- Provide compelling engaging content that motivates readers to click the link that will take them to something important – something that will solve a problem, answer a question or give them something of value.
- Use social media to develop relationships and trust, as well as to entertain and engage. This is how your brand is spread by likes, comments and shares.
- Respond to all questions or comments on your posts
- Use media to engage, and especially find ways to use newer interactive media.
- Tell your story and promote the good things your business does
- Promote your products or services indirectly by using happy customers.
- Find a gimmick (joke or inspiration quote of the day) and be consistent with posts
- Create triggered popups, nudges, and lightboxes to boost conversions.