There is a wide range of opinions on the practicality of social media marketing. There are the social media loyalists, who insist that social media marketing is the most innovative and important new marketing medium around, there are the naysayers who insist that social marketing is a fad and no real business would use it, and there are countless gray-area business owners in between.
It’s inappropriate to view social media as an all-or-nothing platform. Simply claiming an account and doing nothing won’t help you a bit. Posting regularly and engaging with your audience can help you build a following—but what then? What is the value of having 10,000 Twitter followers or 10,000 Facebook likes if none of those followers end up making purchases with you?
In order to capture true value from your followers, you’ll have to take further action. You’ll have to make the types of posts that engage your followers directly and call them to action on your website:
1. The Product Highlight.
The product highlight is one of the simplest types of converting posts you can take advantage of, and it’s one of the first most businesses consider. The format of your highlight is up to you, but the function of the post is to introduce a new product or service to your follower base and highlight the most important elements of it. For example, if there’s a new dress available on your e-commerce platform, you can post a flattering picture of it and briefly describe the unique benefits of the dress. It’s a way of making a direct appeal to your users, and attracting those who otherwise might not see the individual products you sell.
2. The Consumer Review.
If you have any followers who like your brand but haven’t made a purchase, a consumer review can push them over the edge. In socially connected digital world, the highest level of trust a brand can achieve is the approval of a peer. For example, if a follower sees one of his/her friends post a review of a given product on social media, he/she will be far more likely to make a purchase. On your own social media profiles, you can use this to your advantage—cultivate real user reviews, and post clips of them to your audience directly!
3. The Exclusive Discount.
Exclusivity is a powerful tool for two reasons. First, it makes the deal seem better, simply because fewer people have access to it. Second, it makes each of your followers feel more connected to the brand, like a clique. Your exclusive discount doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary—something like 10 percent off can be just as effective as anything else. The key is to let your users know it’s an exclusive deal, and not provide that offer through any other channels. This post will call your users to immediate action, and increase their loyalty to the brand simultaneously.
4. The Special Offer.
The special offer is similar to the exclusive discount, but there are many more options you can play with. For example, you can offer a free sample product to new fans in exchange for filling out a brief questionnaire. This is a common Facebook tactic that gets people to submit their information, ultimately resulting in a conversion (if acquisition of information qualifies as a conversion for your company) in exchange for something small. If your conversion goals are more tied to actual purchases, you can use something like a “buy one, get one free” offer to attract more purchases.
5. The Giveaway.
The giveaway is another tactic that has a dual effect on your conversion rates. The setup for the giveaway is up to you, but the bottom line is that you’re going to give away something valuable for free to one or more of your social media followers. You’ll select these winners from a pool of participants. It will cost a bit of money to front the giveaway item, but there are two critical effects for this type of post: first, you’ll get people more engaged with the brand. By taking action in a giveaway-style scenario, they’ll feel more connected to the brand and they’ll be more likely to take action in the future. Second, seeing the giveaway item will prompt people to purchase one for themselves once they learn they haven’t won.
6. The Social Incentive.
The social incentive can work in the context of other social posts—for example, it could work in conjunction with the giveaway or with the exclusive discount. But the goal here is to get your users to share one of your central posts. Hashtags are a useful tool for this, but the mechanism for social sharing is up to you. Getting your customers to engage your brand through social sharing will make them more likely to take action in the future, and will also serve as peer validation that makes your brand more trustworthy to other followers.
7. The Call to Need.
Rather than doting on a specific product or leading people to a specific page, sometimes it’s more advantageous to speak to a specific customer need. Look at why your customers would want a product rather than what they would want—and you can use user surveys to uncover this information. However you go about it, address the need specifically in your post. For example, if you’re selling windshield wiper blades, rather than showcasing the highlights of your new wiper blades, you can introduce them with something like “Are your wipers leaving streaks in the rain?”
8. The Individual Callout.
Another way to prompt users to action is to call them out on an individual basis. If a follower responds to something you’ve posted, show your appreciation for it. If a follower comments on your page and shows interest in a specific product, give them more information. Giving that level of personal attention looks great for your brand, and will go far to help drive users to finally make a purchasing decision.
9. The Time-Sensitive Deal.
The time-sensitive deal is exactly what it sounds like. When your followers feel like they’re under the pressure of the clock, they’re going to be more driven to action. Sales that last 24 hours or products that are only available for a week can immediately drive more traffic and more conversions—the trick is to post about the deal progressively, so your users can see the time actively running out.
10. The Content Pass-Off.
Of course, the power of conversion doesn’t rest solely on social media. For many business owners, it’s easier to write content that leads to a conversion onsite. If that’s the case for you, you can use your content as the anchor site for your conversions, then post a link to it through social media.
With these 10 types of social media posts, you can convert your army of followers to an army of real, purchasing customers. You may find that some work better than others, but through trial and error you should be able to find the right posts to translate your follower numbers to numbers that truly matter—bottom-line revenue. Just remember that your followers are people, and if you want them to stick around, you’ll have to keep nurturing the community organically.