A friend of mine says she could not help but be swayed by what people were saying about the importance of social media for increasing sales. Some people kept rhapsodizing about how they were able to achieve rocket sales by establishing brand recognition and strengthening their brand's presence in social networking sites.
So this friend opened an account on Facebook, created a blog, squeezed in a post here and there, and sent out newsletters to introduce her product—and generated no significant increase in sales at all. Why?
The truth about the use of social networking sites
My own research shows that I should not rely on luck to sell my brand—not even when I use social networking sites. I cannot expect mere presence in social networking sites to work magic and automatically land me great sales.
How can I successfully market my brand in social media? How can I increase customer conversion rate?
I looked into case studies and marketing research. I read up on what the technical marketing experts had to say. Here's what I found.
Put your brand where your target market is
Alex Chris is an author and Digital Marketing Consultant. He is an expert in Internet Marketing and SEO. He says that based on updated surveys, Facebook dominates the social media scene today. A massive 1.79 billion people actively use the site monthly.
Alex says that you have put your brand where your target market is. With 60% of people on the Internet using Facebook, there is no greater tool to promote your brand, find new customers and gain a loyal following.
He suggests that you create an optimized Facebook page, add friends to your personal Facebook page, and get as many "likes" as you can. He suggests putting a "like" box in your website. You have to put this "like" box in a conspicuous, readily accessible spot.
Create relevant content
Alex and a great number of other marketing specialists, say that it is not enough to create social presence. You have to create high-quality content for your followers. If you are able to do this effectively, you have a greater chance of turning your followers into constant website visitors, and eventually to customers.
Connect with your audience before selling your product
Kristen Matthews is a creative digital strategist. As an influencer marketing consultant, she has worked on a variety of case studies with innovative brands.
A Huggies case study highlights the need to create not just any content, but one that emotionally connects to your target market—even before you push your brand.
Speak, listen & respond to your audience
Brittany Berger heads the Content & PR Division of Mention.com. She says that when you send out newsletters as part of your marketing campaign, you speak directly to your target market.
Make your audience feel that you are listening to them. You create positive vibes when you respond as soon as you can to any queries or points that they want to clarify.
Do not be too promotional
When I create posts, I am representing a vision, specific objectives, and explicit principles. I am also creating awareness and recognition of my business brand.
I am not simply selling. I am informing and educating my audience.
If I become too promotional and focus exclusively on trying to sell my brand, people may see my posts as self-serving. I may lose my audience.
Online entrepreneur, writer, and founder of UpFuel.com Chris Guthrie agrees that you have to find the right blend of marketing and educational values. The right mix provides true value for your customers. It will also give you the opportunity to sell your brand.
Cater to your audience
I have a website on social media. I have a responsibility to my followers. I have to come up with content that has to do with my particular niche. I have to create posts that are engaging and useful to my audience.
If I want to maintain a loyal following, I have to go out of my way to share relevant posts in a variety of interesting ways that include written articles, videos, info graphics, images, and charts.
I want my followers to feel that they are important to me. If I send out e-mail, I have to respond to queries as soon as possible.
If I do not think my content through and create posts that do not offer anything substantial, I may end up hurting my business reputation instead of helping spark brand awareness.
In a nutshell: what to do
To sell a product or service to people, build a strong social presence.
Elicit interest. Build trust.
Provide appealing and relevant content.
Use storytelling effectively.
Find out your audience needs and wants. Tell your story based on these.
When you are able to do these, you will be able to generate more traffic to your website. You will be able to create a bigger following. And you will be able to enjoy a higher conversion rate.