Ever thought that Social Media could be used as an additional Sales Channel?
Well, Social Media can indeed turn out to be a cost effective channel with better than expected ROI. However, for your Social Media Sales channel to be rewarding you cannot just throw spears blindfolded. You just cannot go to people and ask them to purchase your product when they do not even recognize you. You would rather need a well thought out strategy.
To assist you with your Social Media sales channel planning, we will discuss a few key steps that you just cannot afford to overlook.
Identify platforms best suited to your Brand
First identify Social Media Platforms that are best suited to your target market and which could effectively communicate your brand values and other relevant information. Facebook is a platform which can be used unambiguously irrespective of your domain. You may also consider using Pinterest if visual appeal of your products matter a lot. While Twitter is primarily used to reach out to all those who might be interested in products you deal in, LinkedIn is better suited for a B2B environment.
Build Social Media Community/Following
Once you have identified the platforms, the next step is to build significant following or community by creating a pleasant and a trustworthy persona. We would call this step branding, an important part of the strategy without which no digital marketing is complete. This is the most time consuming step and requires a well thought out plan.
Checkout what competitors are doing and what are they good at. To do so you will have to connect with other communities and follow those who might be interested in your products based on their interests and affinity to other groups. In brief, find people who are talking about your industry and then subsequently comment on their post, retweet, answer their queries and share their content to garner favourable attention. They will surely reciprocate by following you and be happy to become a part of your community.
Advertise and Engage
Post regularly about your products and services and be sure to follow AIDA rules. Your posts must be attractive to garner attention. Posts with an image generally have high engagement as the image succinctly conveys the gist of your message. Create interest in your posts by getting significant likes on them and request delighted customers to comment favorably to create desire among potential customers.
Do not forget to add relevant call to action button so that people could immediately and effortlessly be guided to the point of sale page/location. Inform people about various deals and sales offers or in short give them what they had been looking for. Depending on your advertising budget, you may also consider running display ads on Facebook or send in-mails via LinkedIn (for B2B sales). Follow the same AIDA rules to ensure favourable action from your to be customers.
Cache in on Possible Leads/Sales Opportunity
Use Social Media Tracking Tools such as Hootsuite, Social Mention and Sprout Social, to find out brand mentions, product queries and seller location/information. You can then directly respond to them in way that is pleasant and at the same time not too promotional. Build a case for your product/service and clarify all the queries that people may have. Be sure to add tracking code to all your call to action links so that you could monitor the performance of each activity, source and campaign. You may use Google’s URL Builder to tag your links.
Analyze and Harmonize your Strategy
Next step in the cycle is to analyze the performance of your campaigns. Google Analytics is a very handy application to analyze website traffic with respect to various dimensions and metrics. If sales are your primary objective, then you may compare “Conversion Rate” of different campaigns by source (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and medium (CPC, Banner Ads, Community Posts etc). You may then either dedicate more resources and time to high performing platforms/campaigns or review your communication on not so well performing platforms/campaigns.
Keep reiterating the cycle by gradually increasing your social media coverage to reach out to new potential customers. Even though this may take time and energy, do not lose your calm and rather remain focused and dedicated. Keep in mind that not each Social Media platform is suited for each type of Product/Service. If you do not reap benefits or significant returns from a particular platform do not cling to it just because you spent so much time and energy on it. Having said that, using Social Media as sales channel can result in significant returns if you hit the bull’s eye at the right time and place.