Building up your followers online won’t make you money; it’s the purchases they make generate revenue. But how can businesses convert interest into sales in the world of social media? Learn in this article.
Social media marketing must be a priority for every business, regardless of the industry that they hail from. Pouncing on emerging trends and using them to stay relevant can help create engagements with thousands of customers online while generating a more massive digital presence for a company.
Some brands are more successful than others at creating engagements on social media. Still, every business online faces the same hurdles to overcome once audiences’ attention has been won: what next?
Building up your followers online won’t make you money; it’s the purchases they make once they’ve discovered and built trust in your brand that generates revenue. But how can businesses convert interest into sales in the world of social media? You could have more engagements than all of your competitors and 100,000 followers. Building a presence online is hard work, and all the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve shed will be pointless if the interest you’ve generated can’t be converted into clicks.
So, with this in mind, let’s explore how building a fine-tuned conversion funnel for social media can optimize the followers you win online and convert them into fully-fledged sales. But firstly, let’s take a look at what a social media conversion funnel actually is.
What Is a Social Media Conversion Funnel
While many of us may be aware of sales funnels and might possess an idea of what they look like, social media conversion funnels are generally a little different in structure.
Social media is a vast space populated by billions of active users – many of whom, sadly, will have never heard of your brand. That is why the top of the funnel will emphasize brand awareness. By using social media as a tool to introduce your brand to the masses and leverage engagement opportunities through recognition of your content and products, businesses can make an impression on a vast sea of prospective custom.
The great thing about social media conversions is that it’s easy to quantify the funnel’s next stage: interest and engagement. When a user is exposed to your content, they can use cues built into the social media platform to express their interest – through the use of likes, shares, and comment sections built within the platform.
With increasing levels of interest and engagement within your content, there may be mounting evidence that your customer is set to enter the funnel’s consideration stage. At this stage, the consumer has engaged in enough content to consider making a purchase seriously. At this stage, it’s essential to set the right call-to-actions up to ensure that this is a chance that isn’t missed.
Finally, a prospective customer will embark on the final stage of their conversion journey from social media and make an action. Whether this action equates to an actual purchase, an email sign up or an online registration is entirely up to you and how you decide to set up your funnel.
7 Tips for Building and Optimizing a Social Media Conversion Funnel
There are plenty of different interpretations of how a business should set up their funnels. Some choose to continue with retargeting measures to convert social media customers into brand advocates. But for now, let’s look at the customer acquisition stages of a social media conversion funnel and explore seven key tips for turning the interest into revenue.
Expand Your Social Avenues
As we can see from the chart above, social media channels present business with the opportunity to tap into a market of billions of prospective customers. However, to see your presence receive a boost, it could be worth diversifying the channels you engage with users on.
For instance, engaging with the 2.5 billion active users on Facebook can be an excellent way to generate awareness for your company, but what about the two billion users on YouTube? Or the one billion active Instagram users?
Some businesses think that making themselves discoverable on social media is enough to leverage a successful social marketing strategy without the need for more profiles elsewhere. While Facebook is a great way of connecting with people online, it’s not enough to actively convert sales.
People favor different social networks for a host of various reasons. Depending on how you perceive your target audience, you may find other platforms to be more effective than ones with larger users’ volumes.
For instance, if somebody follows your business’ Facebook account, they may still primarily access the platform to share photos and news with their family and friends. They could be following you on Twitter, but they solely use the platform to read up on current affairs.
Casting your net wider is often a good thing, and this rule can apply to the online social space when it comes to connecting with a broader audience.
As the table above from SlideShare illustrates, major global brands like Nike have moved fast to create a broad presence online. The statistics from 2017 shows that the sportswear brand had amassed over 100 million followers by spreading its activity across major social media platforms.
While a significant 27.6 million followers were active on Facebook at the time, it was engagements elsewhere that proved significant for the company. Today, Nike has built on its following online and boasts 8.2 million followers on Twitter, 34 million on Facebook, a huge 122 million on Instagram, and over 1.5 million on YouTube.
This uneven increase in followers over the space of three years is another reason for diversifying your social media strategy. Instagram’s rise has been meteoric, and Nike’s early presence there has helped the brand build a large following as the platform grew.
Understand Your Audience
One of the first rules of marketing revolves around identifying your target audience. With a sufficient research level, it’s possible to build a customer persona that can inform how to approach your acquisition strategies.
The image above illustrates just one demographic metric that can help businesses better understand where to advertise themselves to reach the right audience to generate the most conversions.
For instance, what is the age range of your target audience? If your business is aiming to win the custom of young adults, Facebook is, of course, a great option. Still, other apps predominantly used by young people like Snapchat and Instagram could be especially valuable and cost-effective to target.
As our previous point states, it’s vital to be active on many platforms online. However, understanding your target audience and where they’re likely to be will help illustrate how much emphasis you will put on each channel you’re active on.
Naturally, many businesses will be looking to market different products to different age ranges. In doing so, they may look to create campaigns specifically for various networks based on the demographic information available to them.
In this regard, it’s vital to take some introspection into account and come up with insights into who you plan to sell your products to.
Remember Your Search Engine Optimisation
Sadly, it’s not enough to simply have a presence online and create relevant content to publish on various social networks. Businesses need to engage in SEO strategies that can help get them noticed ahead of their competitors.
The social media landscape is already dominated by large companies vying for attention, and it means that frequently small businesses and startups lose out on customers. However, by understanding the topics, keywords, and, importantly in the social media landscape, the hashtags that your audiences are likely to use and discover, it’s possible to market yourself effectively without breaking the bank on advertising campaigns.
By learning what trends to pounce on as a business, you can craft winning campaigns that will draw attention to your brand while slowly building trust between your company and its prospective customers.
There are plenty of examples of hashtags working in the world of social media, but Disney World’s example of putting them in action illustrates just how much further a tweet can travel. By participating in the wildly popular #ShareACoke campaign and hashtagging their own #MagicKingdom, WDW managed to make a simple pictorial message visible for participants in Coke’s marketing campaign as well as their own – opening the brand up to engagement from a massive network of social media users.
It’s important to note that people typically use different keywords on social platforms as to general online queries, meaning that it’s vital that you don’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to your SEO campaigns. The world of social media discovery can be an entirely different proposition.
Make Sure Your Landing Page Is Fit for Purpose
Your landing page can essentially make or break your social media marketing campaign. Yet, because it only comes into play after you’re won a click from your audience, many marketers neglect this stage of your conversion funnel as an afterthought.
Did you know that only 20% of people carry on reading your content after seeing your headline? The power of the first words that attract traffic from social media can’t be underestimated, so it’s important to know exactly how to pique your audience’s interest and reward them with a strong level of engagement.
Remember that your landing page will be the first thing your new arrivals see, so this is your big chance to make a first impression. As you’ll have already taken the time to learn about your target audience, by now, you’re likely to have some understanding about the type of content that visitors will crave as they begin to convert their interest into a purchase. So, here’s your opportunity to compliment their interests with an enjoyable landing page experience.
Fortunately, plenty of tools can help businesses optimize their landing pages efficiently by active A/B testing with audiences. The more traffic that passes through a specific landing page design that ultimately results in a conversion will provide proof as to which page is the most popular.
Elsewhere, platforms like Optimizely offer businesses the chance to multivariate test their landing pages. That enables websites to display multiple versions of their landing pages with various features scattered into different layouts, providing website owners with a greater level of insight into what works and what doesn’t in aiding a visitor’s path through the conversion funnel.
Let’s take a glance at how an effective social media landing page works:
Here we can see a social media advertising campaign from Lumo Bodytech. The social content itself here acts as a call to action for users who have already reached the brand’s social media conversion funnel’s consideration stage. That means that those who click will already be close to making a purchase and that a standard online homepage may not be enough to prompt them into making a decision over whether to carry out a purchase.
As we can see, the social media landing page cuts out the waffle and immediately presents them with a call to action – alongside a countdown clock that instills a sense of urgency. If users require more convincing to leave the consideration stage of their journey, a promotional video helps them explore the product better. It’s clear that this landing page is the result of rigorous testing.
Let User-Generated Content Do the Talking
User-generated content is an excellent way of increasing conversions via social media. By simply sharing photos uploaded by customers, reviews, and videos, it’s possible to generate a significant boost for your social media conversion rates.
In fact, A/B testing on an eCommerce site has shown that including Instagram images on the product page of an item managed to boost sales by 24.3%.
Here we can see an example of how Starbuck uses user-generated content to its advantage. This form of content works because it helps to improve the authenticity of your brand. Users can directly see what your products’ experience looks like in the real work – helping to build trust among prospective buyers.
This approach can ultimately be more rewarding than the more expensive approach of influencer marketing, and by encouraging the submission of more video-based content from users, your business can enjoy engaging content that’s been readily created for free. However, it’s always worth remembering to ask permission from the original owner of the content before sharing it – tagging users in their content is a key form of digital etiquette.
Work on Your Posting Schedule
As you look more into the world of social media conversion funnels, it’s important to remember to optimize one of the more critical aspects of your content: the actual process of publishing your posts. When you post content on social media, it’s important to build a strategy for when you post content.
It’s particularly important to identify the ideal time to post content. Your target audience won’t always be online to engage with your posts, so it’s vital to find a sweet spot – a timeframe that’s sure to bring maximum engagement for your post.
Your publishing time must depend on the social network you’re using and your audience. These contributing factors can also influence the frequency of the posts you publish. Some sites work best if businesses publish multiple times per day, while others may benefit businesses that only post once or twice per day better. Additionally, be sure to utilize proxy servers or VPN to reach your audience more effectively by bypassing geo-restrictions and ensuring online security.
With the right level of optimization, it’s possible to access your target audience at precisely the right time to prompt better engagement and, subsequently, higher volumes of conversions.
Monitor Your Campaigns
Last but not least, it’s imperative that you monitor the progress of your social media marketing campaigns to ensure that it’s working as expected. If you’re keen to optimize your campaign consistently, there are plenty of ways to track metrics which will help you better understand how your efforts are faring.
It’s straightforward to monitor social media engagements by the number of likes, shares, retweets, and comments that your posts attract, and you can check for upturns in traffic volumes during the times that campaigns are taking place to see if you’re seeing more visitors arriving on your landing pages.
However, plenty of powerful analytics tools are available to help you gain more in-depth perspectives into whether your social media sales funnel is really working as you’d intended. Metrics like bounceback rates and traffic quality ratios can help you understand what’s really going on behind your campaigns’ scenes.
For example, Google Analytics can be used to analyze traffic sources to determine which campaign is bringing the most traffic that eventually leads to conversions.
If you’d like to determine the quality of incoming traffic automatically, a tool like Finteza is a strong option to consider. The feature automatically identifies the quality of traffic and assigns it a category, for example, “Clean Traffic,” “Spam,” “Cookie Manipulation,” and more.
When calibrated to suit the products or services that you’re offering, social media conversion funnels can help to position your business under the noses of billions of individuals around the world. In an online landscape populated by the financial might of large companies, creating organic, engaging, and optimized content can help businesses catch up with their wealthy competitors.
Author Bio: this is the guest article by Dmytro, CEO at Solvid, a creative, long-form content creation agency based in London, and founder of Pridicto, whose articles have been published in Shopify, IBM, Entrepreneur, BuzzSumo, Campaign Monitor, and Tech Radar.
Title image from Abstract pack on Ouch illustrations