Turning Your Social Media Marketing Into Sales Results
Social media marketing is growing at an unprecedented rate. E-Marketer projects that spending will grow 33.5 percent this year to reach $23.68 billion globally. By 2017, this number will reach $35.98 billion, representing 16 percent of all digital spending. Advertisers are concentrating on social media ads, which will see a 31 percent growth this year to pass $10 billion for the first time. Facebook ad spending makes up 65.5 percent of all social ad spending, with Twitter coming in next, followed by LinkedIn.
But all this increased spending only sees a return on investment for companies that successfully translate their marketing expenditures into sales results.
Here are some strategies companies are using successfully:
Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing
The rise of social media marketing has been accompanied by a shift from traditional outbound marketing tactics, such as print, TV ads and Internet banners, to inbound marketing methods that concentrate on organically attracting prospects by providing value.
To illustrate how inbound marketing works, Calendars.com increased its email open rate 71 percent by integrating its Pinterest, Facebook and blog content into its newsletter sends celebrating the first of the month. This tactic created an ongoing conversation with email subscribers, which built brand loyalty and customer engagement. Blog posts, infographics, videos and other content can be used to provide value to prospects and draw them into a relationship with you through social media, search engines and email subscriptions.
To translate inbound marketing traffic into customer engagement, social media markets have found it useful to employ analytics tools to identify target markets.
Social media analytics tools such as Facebook Page Insights and website analytics tools such as Google Analytics can all be used to analyze your traffic to identify prospects who should be steered further down the sales funnel. Blog posts and product pages on websites also have social media analytics at the top of their pages. For example, T-Mobile’s Samsung Gear S2 page has a share button at the top that encourages visitors to pin, tweet and like the page. This type of engagement can then be analyzed to figure out who is sharing the page and when.
A major purpose of analyzing traffic is to better qualify leads by identifying where they are in the sales cycle. A Gleanster survey of B2B organizations found that 30 to 50 percent of qualified leads entering a sales cycle are not yet ready to buy, but do represent future opportunities. Gleanster also found that over three quarters of top-performing marketers take steps to systematically cultivate these future opportunities through lead nurturing.
For example, Salesforce leads visitors to its Marketing Cloud sales page that has a white paper report on how to manage social media engagement. This information is intended to appeal to visitors who are not yet ready to make a purchase or talk to a sales representative, but are interested enough in the product to seek further information. To download this information, visitors must enter their contact information, which gives Salesforce an opportunity for follow up after they have read the report.
Evaluating the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns requires tracking key sales conversion numbers. These include statistics on how many visitors your lead capture page opt in for email subscriptions, how many email subscribers open your emails, and how successfully individual sales emails deliver results.
Antiperspirant provider L’Axelle found that its homepage was underperforming on the conversion rate of a click-to-add-to-cart feature. Changing the sales copy to something more action oriented increased conversions by 93 percent, according to Kissmetrics. Testing and adjusting details such as sales copy, images and colors can have a measurable impact on your conversion rate.
Following Up With Repeat Customers
The most efficient way to increase sales conversions is to focus on generating repeat business from satisfied customers. Starbucks has effectively leveraged its Facebook and Twitter pages to engage repeat customers through promotional coupons. You can turn your social followers into repeat customers by using your social pages to distribute these types of sales offers as well as informative and entertaining content that keeps your brand in your market’s awareness and provides information to lay the groundwork for future sales.