With the right approach, social media can help increase sales and make a positive impact on your bottom line.
To grow your business, you need to find new customers wherever you can. Social media can be an integral part of your marketing tool kit and even more impactful if you use it to help grow your profits.
Brand awareness is an important benefit of social media, but most businesses need to grow revenue to ensure sustainability. You’ll need to create social media marketing campaigns that build visibility and engage your audiences, as well as increase your sales.
Can social media help increase sales?
Social media marketing can be a great way to drive sales, but the right approach is needed to ensure you aren’t wasting resources by posting without goals. Social networks give you valuable access to enormous audiences. Over 3.6 billion people use social media globally.
Now, many people use social media primarily for social connection. They’re on social media to keep up with friends and family, perhaps keep up on the news, and to a lesser extent, to follow and engage with their favourite brands. However, some of these social media users are spending money and engaging with their favourite brands.
According to Sprout Social, after following a brand on social media, 91 per cent will visit the brand’s website or app, 89 per cent will purchase from the brand and 85 per cent will recommend it to someone they know.
Five ways social can help you increase sales
Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your social media is helping you increase your sales.
Invest time in careful targeting
The first step to effective social media selling is to figure out where your target customers are likely to be spending time. If you’ve been investing in marketing in your business, you may already have robust buyer personas. They’ll help you stay focused on who you want to reach on social media.
If you haven’t created buyer personas, now is an excellent time to start. Make up a few fictitious profiles representing your primary customers and assign qualities and traits that will help you keep their specific needs in mind when you create social media content and sales campaigns.
Consider if your target audience is B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) to help you decide where you need to have a social media presence. You may not need to be on all platforms, and in many cases, you’re better off focusing on a few platforms where you can have an impact and where your audience spends time and makes buying decisions.
Do some research into social media demographics to see where your ideal customers spend their time and money. Look for data that shows your audience making purchases on the platforms you choose, not just engaging socially.
Power up platform features to make it easy to buy
Once you choose the best platforms for your business, review the selling features on each platform. Most have shops built into the platform or a way to enable users to shop directly from your posts. These features allow a seamless way for your customers to buy your products.
For example, Facebook shops allow you to set up a shop on the platform to sell your products. You can customize the design and visual elements, then add the items you want to sell. Users can then browse through your shop from your Facebook page or Instagram profile.
Instagram shops enable you to add shoppable tags to your posts so people can shop as they browse the items in your posts.
Selling on Pinterest is also popular, with the option of creating Product Pins to promote in the main feed as shopping ads or Rich Pins that allow users to shop your products right on Pinterest.
The simpler you can make the purchase process, the more people will likely buy from your social media posts.
Create high-quality social media content
Using a hard sell in every social media post is likely to backfire, but most business owners aren’t sure what else they should post. The trick is to balance promotion with content your audience finds compelling.
The types of content your audience considers valuable depends on your business and the types of problems you solve for your customers. Consider their needs when you plan your content, and you’re more likely to build a loyal following that will want to buy from you. Try to become a trusted source of answers and expert information.
Share a mix of carefully crafted text, visually appealing images and videos showing your product in action. If appropriate, sharing the occasional insider scoop or early access to offerings can help keep your followers engaged.
Use paid advertising to expand your audience
Organic reach can be difficult to achieve on most social media platforms, so you’ll probably want to consider paid advertising to increase your impact. Most social media platforms have a way for you to run paid advertising campaigns and some include excellent targeting tools. Always set your campaign objectives for conversions or other actions that support your sales goals.
With Facebook ads, you can create photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, collection ads, slideshow ads, Messenger ads and more. You can also take advantage of lookalike audiences, which allow you to reach new audiences that resemble your current fans and followers.
Facebook owns Instagram, so you’ll be able to cross-promote. You’ll also notice some similarities in the types of Instagram ads offered, including photo ads, video ads, carousel and collection ads. However, you can also create ads on Instagram Stories or IGTV.
Pinterest business accounts have a built-in ads manager that allows you to create ads to drive traffic to your website or specific products on your website. These ads are called Promoted Pins.
Advertising on LinkedIn is a strong option for reaching a B2B audience or when you’re looking to make connections and partnerships that will bring you increased sales and revenue. This platform has detailed targeting and the ability to advertise in the main feed or send message ads directly to users’ inboxes.
Depending on your business and what you’re selling, you may want to explore ads on Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitter or YouTube. Be sure to review users’ demographics and research their activity on these platforms to see if your target customers shop and make purchases.
Share content and reviews from your community
Another way to avoid a hard sell but still keep moving people toward purchasing is to share content from your community. Of course, this can simply mean sharing relevant posts as a part of your local community or business district.
Even more effective could be finding customers sharing their purchases from you on social media. Sharing user-generated content is a powerful way to reassure potential customers that others are satisfied with their purchases. How can you find people sharing your product online? Search your brand name or category hashtags and see what comes up.
Once you realize just how valuable user-generated content can be, you may want to consider ways to inspire your followers to create it. Try inviting them to share with a branded hashtag so you can easily find their posts.
Do brand awareness and visibility still matter?
Brand awareness and visibility will always get you in front of more people, which is good. However, vanity metrics and other numbers representing visibility don’t mean much if none of those viewers is buying. Plan your social media campaigns for both reach and sales.
The winning combination is to have a clear plan for social media marketing that includes conversion of audiences into leads and customers.
There’s a learning curve to using social media to increase sales, but it’s an achievable goal for businesses looking to grow their revenue. Just be sure to plan and execute your marketing with a sales focus for every campaign.
Staying up to date on trends and platform features can be time-consuming, so if you don’t have time to do it right, enlist expert help to ensure you get the most out of your available resources.