Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

How to Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Customers

by Missy Ward in Affiliate Marketing, Social Media  

How to Turn Your Social Media Followers Into CustomersNearly every marketer uses social media in some form for their business, but the real power in social media lies in getting fans and followers to make purchases. 90 percent of marketers consider social media very important for their business, but the same percentage want answers regarding the best ways to engage their audiences.

Since social strategy and community management is a significant investment, setting conversion goals and regularly measuring and refining them is key to a worthwhile return. Whether you're a B2B company focused on LinkedIn or a multimillion-dollar corporation with a presence on all the major social channels, here are key techniques to turn your social followers into buyers.

Optimize Your Pages

Every single social media channel you have a presence on should be optimized to the extent that your main website is. This means you should have full contact information for your business, a keyword-focused description of your brand and complete profiles. Think of each social media page as a new microsite for your business. You want it to properly reflect your service or products and give visitors an easy way to get in touch with you.

For example, on direct selling company Amway's LinkedIn page, the brand's “About Us” section presents a clear picture of the company, as well as includes a website where followers can learn more. It also includes regular updates from the company to keep LinkedIn users engaged with the brand, including news about the company and new hire announcements. By sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the company, Amway helps to build a relationship with followers and gain trust that can lead to sales.

Mix in Promotions and Customer Service

Offering social media followers exclusive access to limited-time promotions and products motivates them to keep up with your page to see new deals and get their hands on new developments. All your social media content should focus on helping, not simply selling, so it's best to focus content on how useful it is to your customers and not over-promote your brand, which can come across as spammy. An occasional coupon code or early bird deal, though, can be seen as a treat that users may want to take advantage of.

Fashion brand Express uses their Facebook page to share style tips they've curated on their blog with their 4.5 million followers, as well as fashion-related stories tied into special events like awards shows and random fun lifestyle content, like beautiful food photography. They also share discount codes for special offers and post fashion photography. Besides sharing a blend of useful fashion-focused content with clothing deals, Express also uses their Facebook page to respond to customer service queries. As loyal customers bring in more revenue at a much lower cost than acquiring new customers, using social channels to provide excellent and prompt customer service can increase loyalty and referrals.

Strategize, Measure, Optimize

Like any marketing strategy, performance-based optimization is crucial to maximizing results. Using an analytics tool tied to your website, such as Google Analytics,  allow you to create social media campaigns that you can track to see the journey social media users are taking on your website. You may learn that the blog you're promoting on Twitter is getting a significant amount of clicks, but customers move on once they've finished reading. In this scenario, it's not your social channel that needs tweaking — maybe your landing page needs a better lead capture tool, or maybe the blog is lacking a clear call to action to learn more information or make a purchase.

Social media management dashboard Hootsuite points out other social metrics to consider tracking with your analytics tool, besides referrals to your website, including reach, leads, and sign-ups.

It's vital to delve into the analytics of each channel to see what type of content is most popular, who your major influencers are and when the best days and times to post are so you can refine how you present content on your page and better serve your followers. Analyzing the paths customers are taking when they consume your content gives more insight into how you can optimize the user experience on your website and throughout the buying journey.

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.

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