Use the power and reach of social media to prospect ideal customers, build active communities, and drive sales.
By Lindsay Timperman
The days of using social media solely to build brand awareness are long over. Smart marketers are now taking advantage of the potent tool that social media has become to engage target customers, as people continue to demand a more personalized and convenient buying experience.
With over 4.5 billion internet users around the globe, and 346 million new users coming online in the past 12 months alone, it’s no wonder that a majority of companies are now turning to social to drive sales and generate new revenue streams.
Here are five tips to help make sure your social media strategy is geared toward success.
Developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) is the cornerstone of any successful sales and marketing approach. In a nutshell, it’s a method for identifying the perfect-fit customer for your unique offering. This includes identifying key info about the companies and consumers that you intend to target.
You also want to develop a buyer persona to pin down demographic and behavioral information, such as age, lifestyle interests, and online consumption habits (where they turn for information, inspiration, and entertainment).
With this critical information in-hand, you’re ready to determine the social platforms where your ideal customers are most active — and how they prefer to interact with each one.
For example, if you’re a retailer selling clothing to a largely millennial audience that makes purchase decisions based on easily-consumable, visual inspiration, Instagram may be the way to go.
On the other hand, if you’re a SaaS provider and target executive decision makers who prefer scannable, educational content, you may be best served providing thought leadership on LinkedIn, or explainer videos on YouTube.
Determine how and where your targets engage with social, and then make a commitment to engage with them regularly.
There are many ways to interact with your social communities. One of the very best is to tap into the reach of social influencers. Simply put, people follow influencers because they place trust in them and aspire to be like them.
A research study by Twitter and Annalect revealed that nearly 40% of Twitter users were compelled to make a purchase decision based on an influencer’s tweet. Business Insider reports that almost 80% of brands utilize Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns.
Brands turn to influencer marketing because it flat out works. It is, however, of utmost importance to align with influencers who genuinely believe in and can get behind your brand. The influencer/follower relationship is based on trust and authenticity. These same factors should ideally be in play when they ‘advertise’ your product or service.
You can have an influencer feature a product in one of their photos or videos, or request that they provide a testimonial about how your service changed their life, to name just a few approaches. Whatever you choose, make sure that your influencers reflect and inspire your target buyers and approach your partnership with mutual interest and enthusiasm.
Rather than hard-selling and over-promoting, use the immense power of customer testimonials and user-generated reviews to inspire confidence and trust in your brand. If consumers come to trust that you’re committed to sharing authentic content and facilitating easy communication, they’ll naturally be more inclined to make a purchase when they’re ready to buy something you sell.
People have more confidence making a purchase decision when they know that another buyer has had a positive experience. One telling statistic is that over 80% of consumers say they make purchase decisions based on word-of-mouth recommendations.
Testimonials and UG content are powerful tools because they allow you to show rather than tell. Instead of asking a buyer to ‘take your word for it,’ you’re asking them to listen to an honest account from someone they likely already trust within your shared social community.
Paid social advertising has become a go-to for the majority of sales and marketing departments; 72% of B2B marketers who use paid online channels advertised on social platforms in 2020.
Paid social allows brands to amplify their reach and achieve instant visibility with target audiences. It caters to a wide range of budgets, can be consumed easily on mobile devices, and allows companies to gather valuable insights from the ways people interact with the ads.
The data doesn’t lie. According to Hootsuite, social ad impressions increased 20% year over year, and 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads.
In many ways, paid social is helping to level the playing field for brands that might not have been able to compete in a pre-internet advertising era dominated by the brands with the biggest budgets.
Now that we’ve established that social media is effective for nurturing and closing leads, it’s important to point out its effectiveness as a top-of-the-funnel sales tool. LinkedIn allows you to easily prospect and connect with potential customers, and even the free version allows for targeted search with an array of filters.
In 2019, LinkedIn was voted the most trusted social network. It’s the clear leader among social platforms with regard to sales prospecting, especially for B2B companies. Leaders and decision makers often turn to LinkedIn for thought leadership and to vet an individual or organization before deciding to do business with them.
There are, of course, other platforms to consider, depending on your audience and the nature of your offering. Just keep in mind that 80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn, as does 46% of all social media traffic to company websites.
Social media is no longer the wave of the future, nor is it simply a tool for increasing brand awareness. Brands who fail to appreciate the potential it holds for sales and marketing may find themselves falling behind at a time when the digital landscape is only becoming more competitive.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you leverage the power of smart social strategy to drive revenue and achieve greater ROI.