How to Convert Social Media Followers Into Paying Customers

Any experienced online marketer or website creator knows that social media is not just another place to blast product and service messages. It can be a constant source of engaged leads if used correctly.

person holding checking their social media on their phone

Unfortunately, there are those who don’t know how to use these platforms to their greatest potential and end up making mistakes that cost them dearly. Considering that social media websites are free to use and you don’t need a lot of budget to advertise, you should make the best out of social media. In this post, you will learn:

  • Using the bottom-up approach to social media marketing
  • Using social media polls and discussion to get feedback from customers
  • How to define your audience
  • Which content promotes instant and long-term engagement

The Transformation of Social Media Marketing

customer interacting with business' social mediaTraditional marketing used to be of the kind where companies would solely spread messages about its products or services through radio, television, and print.

In today’s age, companies have transitioned into the digital media space and focus their marketing more towards social media. As they create larger budgets for social media marketing, they forget to change the their older messaging methods, and don’t give consumers what they actually want.

With new media platforms, there comes new rules of engagement. The old, top-down marketing approach no longer works as it used to. People don’t often engage with typical product or service based advertisements.

Instead, customers now expect companies to provide them with a community of like-minded consumers who can engage with each other and tell their own stories. If we think of traditional marketing as top-down, this new form of successful social media marketing can be considered a bottom-up approach.

Rather than using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for one-way company broadcasts, auspicious companies are now providing a community for customers to connect with their products and services, share their stories and ideas, and connect with each other.

Through this approach, fans can tell others about their unique experiences with your company and pay homage to their passion through your product.

When customers are in charge of the storytelling, they are indirectly endorsing your business to other members of your community.

To be successful on social media, your company needs to understand it’s not who’s telling your story, but it’s whose story you are telling. Otherwise, your customers will become indifferent to your brand.

Share Content Beyond Your Company

If you’re going to keep your customers’ attention, you will need to provide them with resources or content that isn’t always coming from your company’s agenda. This is, otherwise, known as content curation.

Content curation is important because it provides your audience with value. Value is the most important thing a business can give to a potential customer. After a business provides value to someone, they build trust in the business. Trust is key in any purchase decision. If a person trusts your company over another, they will purchase from you.

If you only ever post about your company, not only will your company’s social media become boring to a potential customer, but it will feel like your business is only interested in selling its products.

People do not like to be sold to. They want to have their own autonomy, so they can make a purchase decision themselves. By incorporating outside content, it doesn’t feel like your business is selling to them; rather, they feel you are helping to educate them where they can make the choice to buy for themselves.

This is not to say, you will only ever provide curated content. That’s not the case at all. Supplementing your social media with outside content is likely to help you build trust among your audience faster, so when you do share posts about promotions, they are more likely to hit harder and convert more followers into customers.

Link to Reputable Pages

Link your social media page to your websiteWhen sharing content outside of your business, make sure to link to the sources of the content as well.  Share the love and build your company’s authority by associating it to other reputable sources.

Look to link to other businesses or leading industry experts who are doing well in your niche to link to. By connecting to these bigger players, your fans will get a feeling that your company is a respectable and reputable player as well.

Create Polls and Discussions

Polls are a great way to keep a pulse on what your fans like, and fulfilling those desires, on your social media. You can create polls about anything as long as it is related to your business. Sometimes, all you need to do is to find a current and trending topic in your industry to create a poll about.

Polls can be invaluable sources of feedback for business. Through making simple polls, businesses can learn a lot about their customers preferences and attitudes (psychographics). With better understanding of your customers, you can tailor your messaging to help your audience understand the benefits of your business offerings. This isn’t just related to social media. The info you glean from these polls can help to better your onboarding emails, website sales pages, and other advertising copy.

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Define Your Audience

defining a customer segmentBefore your business creates a social media content calendar, you will need to understand who your customer is. Since the various social media platforms all attract different audiences, knowing something even as simple as your leading customers’ age group can help you choose the best ones for your business. Once you know who your target customer is, you will understand which platform to use.

Our suggestion is to create a detailed customer profile for your most engaged audience. This means you will be creating a sample customer based on your most engaged audience. This persona will help you get in touch with which types of messaging to work best to serve that particular audience’s needs.

When developing your customer persona, you will need to ask yourself what demographic information is related to my audience:

  • What is their geographic location?
  • What is their age?
  • What is their gender?
  • What is their martial status?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their ethnicity?
  • How much income do they make?
  • What is their occupation?

After your build out your audience’s demographics, you can move on and ask secondary questions that build out their psychographic profile. Demographics answer ‘who’ buys, but psychographics answer ‘why’ they buy. To understand why your customers buy, you can ask:

  • What is their lifestyle like?
  • What are the personal characteristic of your customers?
  • What activities do they like or which interests do they have?
  • What are their beliefs or attitudes?

Once you determine these core questions about your customers, you can build out a persona that helps you understand them better. When you understand your core customers better, magically (not so magically), you create better content and learn how to engage them at a higher level. This is because you know who they are and what they like.

Which Social Media Platform Do You Choose?

a woman deciding to buyFocus on 2 to 3 different social media platforms your customer persona is most active on.

Lucky for you, Bookmark has analyzed the latest comScore Global Digital Future in Focus study, so you don’t have to. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the comScore website to find further insights.

Our breakdown of comScore’s study is below.

There are 2 considerations for each most used social media platform, which is percentage of audience reach and average minutes per visitor (assuming it’s from an annual perspective). Lastly, the study is targeted towards 2 primary age groups:

  • 18-34
  • 35 +

The first age group’s (18-34) most used social media is listed top to bottom:

  • Facebook (88% reach, 500 minutes)
  • Instagram (65% reach, 160 minutes)
  • Snapchat (48% reach, 450 minutes)
  • LinkedIn (47% reach, 20 minutes)
  • Twitter (44% reach, 80 minutes)
  • Tumblr (17% reach, 95 minutes)
  • Google + (16% reach, 10 minutes)
  • Pinterest (12% reach, 5 minutes)

The second age group’s (35+) most used social media is listed top to bottom:

  • Facebook (90% reach, 550 minutes)
  • LinkedIn (45% reach, 25 minutes)
  • Instagram (36% reach, 50 minutes)
  • Twitter (35% reach, 60 minutes)
  • Snapchat (21% reach, 80 minutes)
  • Google + (17% reach, 10 minutes)
  • Tumblr (11% reach, 5 minutes)
  • Pinterest (9% reach, 90 minutes)

This is just one helpful step in determining where your ideal customer persona spends their time interacting with social media. Be sure to follow up with customers and ask them demographic and psychographic questions directly through polls.

Instant Engagement: Exclusive Promotions

When something is limited in availability, it naturally becomes scarce. When something becomes scarce, it instantly has allure. That is why exclusivity is a marketing tactic that works wonders, especially if what is being exclusively offered is of value.

In order to capitalize on this tactic, offer promotions specific to the platform of your choosing. Make the offers available for a limited time and only on the one platform. If anyone can get access to the offer, the allure is gone.

Discounts and promotions often work best. However, exclusive giveaways and action-based offers can help boost your social media presence and customer base.

For example, an action-based promotion is when you hold a giveaway for the first 100 social media shares of a certain post or with a certain hashtag. Trading items of value for social awareness is a tried and true formula for instant engagement.

Long-Term Engagement: Anticipatory and User Generated Content

Speaking of engagement, you want to keep engagement soaring over the long-term. How do you do that, you ask? You can do so through making anticipatory posts and creating user generated content campaigns.

Anticipatory Content

One way to secure the interests of your followers for a future product or service is to tease it on your social media to garner awareness and excitement.

In order to create anticipation, create sneak peaks into the inner working of your company leading up the release of your product. Showing these behind-the-scenes posts about your company builds excitement for the product’s eventual release and humanizes your company.

These anticipatory posts can be anything from showing pictures of prototypes, event pictures, employees hard at work, before and after photos, and more.

User Generated Campaigns

user reviewing their own postUser generated campaigns are effective marketing tactics because your brand awareness is spread among your audience without you having to lift a finger.

If you create a contest designed to reward the audience member who can make the most clever use of your product, your brand will gain traction because they will post the content on their own profiles. This will result in their following seeing your brand. This naturally leads your brand to gain more followers.

Not only does your brand benefit from increased viewers, but it is also viewed in a more favourable light when it’s coming from someone else.

Take Away

Now, you understand how to tailor your social media strategy to convert followers into customers. Remember, customers want to feel empowered to make their own decisions when purchasing, so encourage their empowerment most of all. People also trust others, so create a social media presence where the focus is centered on the customer first and foremost. As you will see, this is what will encourage your sales the most.

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