Today, if your’ business isn’t searchable on Instagram or Facebook, people will doubt your legitimacy or even your existence. Even if you have existing loyal customers, the only way to widen your reach is through social media. Whether you’re a traditional business transitioning online or a startup trying to grow your audience, social media is your key to success. But it’s more than a matter of creating a page and some posts. To guide you, we’ve listed the best ways to integrate social media into your sales strategy.
Prioritize the Customer Experience
Before starting a page on any social media platform, you have to ensure you have the resources and time to respond to comments and messages. According to Statista, 18% of customers expect an immediate response to questions and complaints sent through social media, while 37% expect a response within the day.
Don’t treat your social pages as just a platform for posting; social media should be used to connect with your customers. This also means that your posts shouldn’t always be centered around selling but rather engaging.
Nike has more than ten verified accounts on Instagram, including category-specific ones like Nike Women (@nikewomen). With over 145 million followers on its main account and millions in each category, Nike is easily one of the most successful brands on the platform. This is thanks to its consistent storytelling and soft marketing approach. Instead of hard-sell ads and pushing sales, Nike focuses on featuring inspiring athletes and individuals from around the world.
Being too pushy with ads might disrupt your customer’s social experience especially on platforms like Instagram. Instead, focus on posts that tell stories, show why your brand is worth supporting instead of spelling it out. Social media storytelling indeed triggers genuine communication from your audience.
Embrace New Social Platforms & Features
TikTok is one of the hottest social media platforms today, while the “stories” feature is available on almost every social media channel. Years ago, Instagram was just a photo-sharing platform, and Instagram Stories was viewed as a Snapchat copycat. Now more than ten years since its launch, Instagram has e-commerce features, live capabilities, and more than half a billion monthly active users on Stories. Social media is constantly evolving, and your brand needs to keep up to succeed.
Gymshark was one of the first brands to sign up for TikTok as it became the most downloaded app in 2018. Recognizing its wide reach, Gymshark partnered with TikTok influencers to launch a “66 Days Change Your Life Challenge”. The challenge invited users to change their life in however way they wanted. To join, all they had to do was post a “before” video and another 66 days later. Posts had to include the hashtag #gymshark66. The brand promised a year’s supply of Gymshark to winners.
The result? One hundred ninety-three million views and rapid, 14 thousand follower growth per week on TikTok. In total, the brand has amassed 2.7 million followers. While brands were still hesitant to sign up for TikTok, Gymshark did not hesitate to see its potential and was clearly rewarded.
To help you create content for each social platform’s different features and publish optimized content on your social media of choice, you can use photo and video editing apps that are readily available on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Hop on Trends
Even before social media existed, it was always important to research trends and determine your customers’ interests. The only difference about today’s trends is the speed of virality. The problems? On social media, trends die just as fast as they begin. As a brand, this means you’ll have to act quickly.
After the phrase “Ok, boomer” emerged from viral audio on TikTok, everyone started using it — brands included. Netflix (@netflix), who is popular for not taking itself too seriously on social media, made a meme out of it.
Before hopping on a trend, make sure it’s relevant to your target audience. Use social listening tools to find out what your customers are interested in and what excites them. It’s also important to discover what your competitors are doing or posting about. This insight can help you craft strategies on how you can join in on the conversation and perhaps start a trend yourself.
Utilize Reviews and User-Generated Content
Ninety-three percent of customers say that they read reviews about businesses to determine their quality. First-time shoppers are more likely to look to reviews to gather more information about your product or service, especially if there’s no way to sample your product or visit you in a physical store. It’s essential to gather as many customer testimonials and reviews as possible and use them as part of your social media sales strategy.
To promote its book subscriptions, Book of the Month (@bookofthemonth) regularly includes reader testimonials and user-generated content (UGC) as part of its content calendar. Using UGC also helps customers decide on what book to read.
Posting testimonials and UGC on your feed is not only an effortless way to populate your social media accounts, but it also serves as social proof that customers support and love your brand. You can use testimonials on ads to promote a product or for an awareness campaign to boost followership.
Be Where Your Customers Are
By now, you should already have a clear customer profile and audience in mind. The profile should include your customer’s age range and interests. Use this information to help you determine which social media platforms your customers are. While it might seem a good idea to create a profile on every popular social media platform, creating content for every one will be a waste of effort if you’re a small team.
For example, if your customers are professionals aged 35 and above, it’s safe to assume that not many of them are on TikTok. You might consider Facebook and Linkedin as your main channels.
Aside from being where your customers are, it’s also crucial to understand how they use these platforms. Check competitors and learn what type of content works best and apply a similar technique to your social media sales strategy.
Before You Go
As when crafting other sales strategies, your social media strategy should not work on its own. Your channels — including email newsletters, blog efforts, and website—should always be aligned and complement each other. Don’t sacrifice brand consistency for any channel.