If your business is not using social media to drive sales, then it is time to get on board.

By now, social media use is the norm for businesses small, medium and large. Many have long used popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more as a convenient, new marketing tool.

In fact, social media has always been a great resource for driving brand awareness. But it’s time for businesses to step up their game and start turning their social media followers into paying customers.

Brands already use social media for marketing

About 90% of brands today use social media in efforts to create awareness of their brand, according to Hootsuite. Still, only 58% of brands say they can effectively measure how well their social media use is performing. Even fewer still - 34% - measure for social ROI at all.

However, as Hootsuite reports, 28% of marketers have already begun rolling out or plan to soon roll out a social commerce plan. This is not surprising, since 40% of digital consumers use social media to research new brands and products.

So, if some of your potential customers are already doing their research on social media before they decide to make a purchase, doesn’t it make sense that your business should be out there trying to create sales leads and drive consumers toward sales funnels.

Social media works for B2B and B2C sales

Of course it makes sense to use social media for sales! And this is true for businesses that sell to other businesses, as well as those who sell to consumers. As Social Media Examiner reports, more and more companies are coming to realize that they need to prioritize generating revenue from their social media strategies, especially as pressure to prove social ROI has increased over time.

To make social media work for your business, though, you need to follow a few best practices that some of the top social media marketers adhere to.

Define your target audience

Now that you have decided to get serious about turning your social media followers into customers, you first need to define which of these followers (maybe all, maybe not) fit within your target audience.

One of the simpler ways to do this is to research and define your current customers. Try to find out exactly how the service or product your customers purchase from your business helps them solve a problem. Perhaps you already know. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Consider sending a survey with a question, that includes contextual information about your business, that can help you see how your customers solve their problems with your product or service.

The content you create from these answers should focus on the solutions provided in your customers’ answers.

Create and understand your social sales funnel

Businesses must have a clear understanding of their sales funnels. This is no different when it comes to creating a social media sales funnel.

Make sure to figure what marketing channels are currently sending leads into your funnel, how those leads are followed up and how long it takes to close a sale.

As far as social media is concerned, businesses need to test how leads gained from social media will fit into existing sales and buying processes. You should know that social media leads are typically fairly early in the buying process, so your social media content needs to build up awareness of your brand with them before moving toward sales.

Stay active, post good content

Once a person follows or likes your social media page, you can start to build upon their awareness of your brand. To do this, have a plan for how much content you want to publish to each social media account and keep at it.

You can also consider using an automation tool so that you can schedule posts in advance and not have to worry about remembering to post.

But staying active doesn’t just mean throwing posts on your profile and walking away. You should also respond to comments and messages. This is where you can build relationships with potential customers and begin the conversion process.

Nurture your leads

After you have begun consistently engaging with people across your business’s social media platforms, you can look to nurture the leads you have generated.

Now, it’s important to remember that social media leads are likely earlier in the buying process. You should create content that helps them make decisions about whether they wish to continue along in your social sales funnel.

Some tips for how to do this include posting content that answers common questions about the business’s products or services and enforces how they can help the customer solve their problems.

With some social networks, such as Facebook, you can even pay to advertise directly to retargeted leads. Facebook allows retargeting through contact lists, website visitors and app users.

Set a goal, track results

Finally, you need to set some sort of goal for your social media sales funnels, otherwise it will be difficult to track true social ROI. Think about how many social media users you would like to see progress in someway through your sales funnel, whether that is with an actual purchase or a transition from a soft to hard lead.

To measure whether you are accomplishing your business’s goals, you need to track results. You will want to look at audience growth, engagement with content, progress in the sales funnel (i.e. requests for information, email signups, purchases or sales that can tracked with analytics, etc.). Some social media automation tools and other services offer analytics that can help you gather and analyze this data.

Determine your social sales strategy

The social media landscape is always changing. Platforms are always jockeying for popularity among certain demographics and adjusting how they treat posted content.

Emagine can help you keep your business’s social media sales strategy at the top of its game. From consulting, strategy development and social media management, we can help create a stronger brand identity and convert more followers into customers.

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