This post was originally published on 11/23/15 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
You are frustrated. Your company’s using tried-and-true marketing methods, with slow-but-sure diminishing results.
There’s probably a variety of contributors. Do any of these ring true for you?
You don’t think digital marketing works for YOUR industry.
You don’t know how to combine traditional and digital marketing tactics.
You’re balancing available marketing resources (like personnel, technology, skills and budget).
You have so many marketing options, you’re not sure what’s the best way to deploy your resources.
You’re dizzy from how quickly things change in the marketing field.
And the list goes on.
Back to social media. It’s a digital marketing tactic that can work, regardless of whether you’re a manufacturer, ecommerce, SaaS or other company.
You’re worried about spending too much time on social media trying to boost sales without a viable ROI. You’re probably embarrassed because you’ve been touting how effective social media is to the higher ups (and sales), but if you don’t get results, you’re credibility – and more – is at stake.
We’ve brought together some help from the top content marketers using social media to grow their companies. We asked them the following question: What`s your #1 advice for using social media to boost sales?
The common answer probably isn’t what you’re thinking. Bookmark this page and come back to consume these great tips at your own pace.
Evan Carmichael from Evan Carmichael
“Stop posting promo offers and start posting things that matter to the world. I’ve used this strategy help me get over 130,000 YouTube subscribers and 14 million views.”
Scott Eddy from Mr Scott Eddy
“My advice is simple, invest your time in starting conversations. Every sale starts with a conversation, developing a relationship with a potential customer. Nobody does it better than KLM, their formula for turning social media conversations into direct ROI is priceless…”
Jeff Goins from Goins Writer
“Don’t do it. Use social media to build trust and send people back to your website. Use an email list to boost sales.”
Ted Rubin from Ted Rubin
“Today’s knowledge-hungry consumers often know as much about a product as the people trying to sell it. So what’s your sales edge? Learning to build stronger relationships with your clients. I was reading some great information recently on social selling and how social media has changed the sales process. The power now is in the hands of socially savvy buyers who come to the table armed with as much—or even more—information than the sales professional. These days, the consumer’s sales journey can be 90 percent complete before they even think about interacting with a salesperson. So what’s a traditionally trained sales professional to do? Research has shown that sales professionals who use social media to network and build relationships outsell their peers who don’t. And let’s face it: Sales is all about building relationships. It all comes down to trust. The trust that others put in you goes beyond any form of measurement. Trust is closely tied to integrity, and brings with it boundless opportunities and possibilities, and it’s contagious! Every person who trusts you will spread the word of that trust to at least a few others. And remember: A brand is what a business does, but a reputation is what people remember and share. So instead of thinking in terms of quotas, sales figures and bottom line when you’re talking to people, think in terms of how you can weave integrity and value into how you connect and converse with them. Relationships are like muscle tissue… the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become. #RonR”
Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe
“Trust. That’s what tips the scales between a successful social media strategy and a sales dud. And that’s where I see a lot of brands fail on social media – they love to talk AT their followers, but forget to talk TO them. Yet talking to people (engaging, responding to questions, asking questions, being useful and helpful) is the simplest and the most powerful trust builder there is. I’ve tested it myself too: the second I dropped automation, ‘showed up’, and just talked to people, my social media response went through the roof.”
Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers
“Don’t! It’s suuuch a rookie mistake to expect friendly marketing acts to tie directly and clearly to a dollar figure on a spreadsheet. Of the three core stakeholders in any business – that is, the employee, the customer and the shareholder – social media is solving first for the customer. So why try to make it solve for the shareholder directly? If it solves for the customer, it ultimately will solve for the shareholder. Don’t be the mooching friend on Facebook. It’s fake, it’s inauthentic, people can tell, and people will quickly start to avoid you. All that understood, to boost sales in the long run, you can certainly treat traffic referred by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc as potential leads and try to capture their info on your landing page. Nurture them with a high-value drip campaign. Use retargeting to keep your brand front of mind. And once you’ve established a relationship where they’ve received great value from you, nudge them to convert. Eventually. There are far easier paths to a fatter bank account than filling Buffer with a bunch of sales tweets and posts. ”
Ricky Figueroa from Blog Launch Insider
“The first thing we need to understand is… boosting sales has almost nothing to do with social media, and it has everything to do with how well executed is the process your social media audience goes through (inside your marketing funnel). Social media is all about engagement and branding, which can boost sales as a by-product or indirect effect of your engagement and strategic positioning. Of course, we have the potential of driving traffic from social media. However, with a poor executed marketing funnel… your social media traffic is worthless. You need to understand that what matters is Revenue and Costs. In a nutshell, here is the basic equation to succeed online: Traffic + STRATEGY = Conversions. The problem is: Most marketers focus on traffic and skip the strategy and that equals little to no conversions, no revenue and a big cost. To succeed with Social Media: – Develop a clear and strong strategy (Who your target audience is? What their main problems are? What they are already buying to try to resolve those problems? In which social media platform exactly they are more engaged? What kind of copy is inspiring them to buy? Etc…) – Create a Clear Message (based on your research) for Your Campaign and make it part of your marketing funnel. – Build the Marketing Funnel and Test it by sending some traffic through it. Track your numbers (traffic cost, optin rate, sales conversion, the cost to acquire a customer through your new funnel, the cost to acquire a lead, understand what your earnings per click (EPC) is, etc). KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. By doing so, you will be able to identify which areas in your funnel you may have to tweak or improve. Perhaps, you will find out that your advertising campaign is not resonating with your social media audience. Maybe you find out that you need to improve your squeeze page or sales page. Perhaps, the way your offer is positioned sucks and you need to improve it. By knowing your numbers and the feedback you get from your audience, you will be able to do a better job with social media. If you don’t know how to do any of that, you have 2 options: 1. Outsource it to someone who know how to do it. 2. Stop being lazy, stop the execuses and get to work! Study, develop the necessary skills and understand the language of conversions. Social Media is as good as your own ability to understand your audience, provide relevant valuable content and your ability to convert. Traffic is the easiest part of it all and the last thing you should worry about.”
Josh Coffy from Flight Media
“Like any good inbound marketing funnel, social media falls under the “Top of Funnel” strategy. Before you get too excited and begin some plain-Jane posting strategy, consider the end result.
Does your sales team need leads? Are you looking to increase ecommerce sales? Get more customers through the door?
With the end-goal in mind, get specific and then work backwards.
For example: If you want to add 300 new leads per month for your sales team, then find out your visitor-to-lead conversion rate.
If you convert 5% of visitors into leads, then you’ll need to drive 6,000 visitors from social media.
Based on your audience size, create a posting & advertising strategy that will (combined) acquire 6,000 visitors/mo to your website.
Conclusion: determine your end-goal, then work backwards to social media.
Andrea Beltrami from The Branded Solopreneur
“There’s one super secret technique for leveraging social media to boost sales, it’s called engagement. Sassy smackdown delivered! All joking aside, social only works as well as you work it. The best way to approach it is to choose one (two MAX) social platforms and learn everything there is about it. You want to learn the best practices, test what type of content is the best to share and when it’s best time to share it, AND you want to know and connect with all the movers and shakers in your area of expertise that hang out on there. The goal needs to be engagement. Engagement with your peers and with your audience. Having a direct connection to people ready and willing to listen to you will give you the ability to share your expertise, position yourself as a expert in your niche, and help you sell your products and services. Converting cold leads on social media into loyal brand ambassadors and customers is going to be an uphill battle, unless you’re utilizing advertising. So keep your efforts on meeting and courting your social connections from social media to real estate you own, like your email list. Your list and community is where you can truly create tight bonds and carry the conversation to deeper levels… which is how to use social media to boost your sales. Sales are at the bottom of the ‘funnel’ for a reason. There’s a lot of steps to get folks there, so focus your social media efforts on building real bonds. It’s your ‘we’ space where you have the most rewards to reap!”
Ryan Biddulp from Blogging From Paradise
“The best way to boost sales on social is not to try to boost sales on social. Give all of your attention and energy to sharing your value, to promoting your friends, to making friends, to asking questions and to sharing answers. When you do sell, asking for eBook downloads or course sign ups, take a carefree, light, “this is an extra or bonus and I could care less about the sales” type attitude to your work, and you’ll do A-OK.”
Ramon Ray from Smart Hustle
“Give 80% – 90% useful information. Leave 10% for the “ask” – the link back to your site or etc ANOTHER QUOTE Keep F.R.E.A in mind – Frequency (out of sight is out of mind), relevancy (share with the right audience), engagement (don’t be boring) and analytics (measure what you do).”
John Meese from John Meese
“Social media is actually a terrible place to boost sales—but it’s a great place to create new relationships. Invest in those relationships through what you share on social media, and get those people on your email list. That’s where the relationship matures and the sales actually happen.”
Anthony Tran from Marketing Access Pass
“What`s your #1 advice on how to use social media to boost sales? Social Media is a great medium to connect with people and build relationships. My best advice is to simply focus on that, “Building Relationships.” At the end of the day people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. I have boosted my website design service sales by simply focusing on that one principle. Treat people like people and not as a number on your follower total count and you’ll be amazed at the results you’ll receive.”
Brian Lang from Small Business Ideas Blog
“There are a few ways to use social media for social selling. One popular technique is monitoring social media for relevant conversations. Tools like Mention.net or Buzz Bundle make it easy for people to set up email alerts or automatically scan social media for specific keyword phrases, brand mentions, or mentions of competitors. If you want to track a list of prospects and build relationships, social CRM’s like Nimble can help you to streamline and track social media communications.”
Ashley Faulkes from Mad Lemmings
“My number one piece of advice for using social media to boost sales is to help your brand actually be seen. There is so much noise on social media today which makes it hard to stand out. And right now, one of the best ways to stand out is through stunning, surprising, catchy, branded images. I use a combination of free (not so stock) images with related text that are put together with simple to use tools like Canva. The key is to be consistent in your branding (color, logo, font and messaging) on all platforms (blog, social etc) and to make an effort. Because most people do not. I still don’t see many images on Twitter for example, so get on it people!”
Sonia Thompson from TRY Business School
“My #1 advice on how to use social media to boost sales, is to use it in the way it was intended. As a way to be social, and to connect with an audience. So ultimately, it’s not really about spreading your message – it’s more about having conversations, and getting to know others, and being helpful. As people get to know, like, and trust you – because of your 2-way social interaction with them, rather than 1-way, that’s how you’ll get the boost in sales from the medium”
Daniela Uslan from Daniela Uslan
“The best way to use social media to boost sales is to use it to build relationships. Instead of thinking of social media as a place for broadcasts and promotion, shift your thinking, and approach Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. as places to find and connect with your people. Take time to respond to and ask questions, to share other people’s stuff, and to give back. When your potential customers trust you and see that you care about them, they are more likely to buy from you. ”
Nellie Akalp from Corp Net
“Social media can boost sales, as it has worked wonders for my company! But it does not come fast or easy. There is a fine line when using social media as a business to promote your products and/or services as you cannot come across as too self-promotional as it will backfire. You have to build a reputation and create a strong relationship with your followers by providing them with useful resources, tips, and content so you are looked upon as an expert resource in your industry. As a result, the pedals of your actions and efforts will turn into metals and sales. Be patient, be original and be natural; the traffic and sales will come in.”
David Leonhardt from THGM Writers
“Don’t sell! Social media is the place for information, not sales pitches. But certain types of information can really boost sales. Information that demonstrates expertise and quality, not to mention service, can really help sell. For instance. If somebody tweets or posts on FaceBook anything flattering about your company, retweet it or reshare it or even cross-share it (Tweet about the FaceBook post). If you get a positive comment from a client, use it in a tweet or status update. If you see somebody using your product, call it out. Don’t sound like you are selling, though: “OMG. I can’t believe Lady Gaga was carrying my book into the studio!” Or “I’ve seen three of our bikes on the streets of #Toledo this week. #FeelingPumped!” Of course, you need to mix those in with a lot of helpful posts that are just informative or interesting with no self-interest at all. And there is nothing wrong with making a friendly sales pitch every now and then, so long as you keep it social. “Just got in five new styles of scarves. Check out the pics!” Or “Woo-hoo! Everything in the store 20% today. Looking forward to seeing everybody down here.” But the social media posts that will really sell over the long term are those that establish your incredible reputation: “I can’t believe I’m working for three repeat clients this week! #KeepingBusy.”
Fabrizio Van Marciano from Magnet 4 Blogging
“The number one choice for me would be to use powerful and emotive images, especially on Facebook and Pinterest. Images as we all know get a lot of shares and likes particularly on Facebook. I combine this with the right amount of text, a compelling call-to-action and a link to the product page, and this has proven to work very well many times before, especially when I’m maybe promoting a new eBook or service on my blog.”
Vladimir Gendelman from CompanyFolders
“You can use social media to boost sales by connecting with your audience. Connect to the community your business targets. Promote your posts, and use custom images with bold, warm colors to get customers’ attention. Share content that will make your audience’s life easier and answers their questions in a way no one else is. This helps build trust and gives customers confidence to purchase from you.”
These tips from experts about boosting sales on social media will help you go far. As Napoleon Hill said in his book “Think And Grow Rich”: Knowledge is not power. Application of knowledge is power.
Pick one tip and implement it today!
What’s your experience with boosting sales on social media?