Few businesses create social media accounts just for fun. They post on social media in the hopes of converting their fans and followers into customers. Without a strategy and some information on how to do this, the likelihood is that they will feel like most of their social posts fly out into the ether somewhere – never to be clicked upon, and therefore never converted. Does social media increase sales? You bet it does.
Luckily, there are several social media best practices that will help you increase your conversion rate on social media channels.
Start at the Beginning
A lot of marketers develop a social media strategy a little late in the game. Rather than starting at the beginning, determining a strategy based on overall business goals and objectives, they start their social strategy way down the funnel. They decide to randomly post things, measure engagement, and then develop tactics. It’s a lot easier to craft social media marketing best practices for conversion when you start at the beginning. Ideally, your social media strategy will, in a lot of ways, mirror your overall marketing strategy. Social may be different from something like, say, email marketing, but it is a valuable practice to start thinking about social strategy in broad terms when you develop your initial marketing goals. This will put you a long way to meeting your desired social media conversion rates.
Some things to think about in the beginning phases:
- What is your social media goal in the scope of your overall marketing plan?
- How many conversions are you hoping to get from your social media marketing?
- Keep in mind that your social funnel DOES differ from your marketing funnel – while you need to think about social media in terms of the big picture, you do have to have a socially-driven strategy that is well-developed.
Build Fans and Followers
Once you have a clear goal for your social media accounts, you need people to market to. That means you have to do the hard work of gaining fans and followers on social media accounts. You can accomplish this,to some degree, by sharing your social links via marketing efforts that you already have in place – your website, your emails and your newsletter. You can also encourage employees or friends to share your accounts to try to get more fans and followers. Obviously, the strategy can change a bit from channel to channel, but with just a little effort, you can build a beginning fan base.
Some social media best practices to consider when building social accounts:
- Make sure you’re fishing where the fish are – your buyer personas come in handy here. They can inform you which social platforms your potential customers use, so you know where to build.
- Take the time to flesh out your social media profiles. People are more likely to like or follow you if you’re transparent about your business persona, where you’re located, your hours of operation and more.
- Post consistently. Odds are, your fans and followers only see, at best, 6% of your content. Don’t post too often, but post every day.
For those of you who want to combine the best practices for social media marketing with a clever Facebook hack, try looking at posts that were liked by people who are not yet fans. You have to be logged into Facebook on a desktop computer and you have to choose a post that was liked by enough people to have a “x number more” hyperlink in the “likes” information.
Click that hyperlink and you’ll see the list of people who liked the post. You’ll then be given the opportunity to invite them to like your page. Easy! This is one of the less-known social media best practices for business.
You can also use a tool like Post Planner to find high performing Facebook posts, as well as content from other sources.
Once you’ve gotten some fans and followers on your social account, you need to do what you can to keep them. Posting every day isn’t enough. You have to be very smart and strategic about what to post. Cute kitten pictures and memes aren’t enough. This is where your consumer personas come in handy, as well as your initial social target research. Ideally, you’ll be posting things that inform, entertain and influence your audience. Some social media marketing best practices to help you increase engagement are:
- Build credibility. When you become an influencer, people share your posts because they are valuable.
- Don’t just post third party links. Do the hard work of establishing your brand as a thought leader.
- Provide value through contextual posts and give your core audience content they want to see.
- Produce visually stunning content that pleases your audience.
- The easiest way to increase engagement is to post about holidays and events. PromoRepublic offers a handy content calendar loaded with holidays, events and trends that you can easily customize to post on your social account. Many marketers who do this experience a pleasing amount of social media conversion.
Use the Proper Tools to Market to the Right People
Many social media channels offer ways to target messages based on a number of different criteria. This is not an extensive list, but it should get you started so you can do the right research that will lead to social media conversion:
- Facebook Live Events
- Facebook CTA Tools (call buttons, landing pages on your Facebook page, etc)
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Remarketing
- Twitter Quality Adjusted Bids
- Idea testing (many marketers use Twitter as a first line of measuring potential responsiveness)
- Hashtags (consider creating your own and encouraging people to use it)
- Boosted Posts (coming soon)
Consider “Soft Conversion” Content
When you offer valuable tools, you engage your audience. Additionally, certain tools can result in “soft conversion,” where you can collect user information to formulate a more targeted marketing plan. This is one of the most popular, and most effective, social media best practices. You can use the information you collect to continue deeper and more targeted social campaigns, or you can use it to implement an email marketing campaign. Just remember what you’ve learned already. The post that contains the soft conversion content piece need to be visually attractive, written well and delivered to a targeted audience. Remember the social media marketing best practices and be sure to create engaging content for your revised audience.
Some “soft conversion” content pieces are considered social media best practices are:
- Webinars and Podcasts
How will you know if your social campaign is working if you don’t measure its success? Are you achieving social media conversion? You can easily monitor post reach, ad performance and engagement via Facebook Insights. This will help you hone your Facebook marketing strategy so your future campaigns will be more targeted, and more successful. As you know, Facebook Insights drills down into detailed analytics about your Facebook fan base.
Twitter for Business offers some tools as well. It offers month by month statistics, and drills down to each Tweet, telling you how many times they were seen, retweeted, replied to and liked. An audience insights dashboard tells you information about your Twitter followers.
Instagram recently rolled out their own Insights too, but it it requires you to link your Facebook account to look at your engagement. There are third-party tools available for Instagram measurement while the social media platform itself works out the kinks in their new system.
Many other social platforms, like Pinterest, also offer measurement tools.
There are also third-party tools available which offer more detailed analytics:
Measuring the success of your posts is one of the best practices for social media. The data speaks volumes.
Additional Reading: The Facebook Hack That Will 10x Your Reach
React – Hone Your Social Marketing Campaign
The best social media practices are always improving. Once you’ve measured your reach, engagement and existing conversions, it’s time to tweak your social marketing campaign. Thanks to the tools mentioned above, you can drill down to see who likes your posts, where they are, what time they’re online, what else they like, and even demographics like age, gender, and more.
Using that rich data, you can laser-target your social campaigns for more engagement, greater participation, and, more importantly, conversions into real sales.