Yes, I love it when people retweet my posts, or like my status on LinkedIn, but that is not my only goal. Social media is fun, but I want it to do more. I want it to generate leads and sales.
If you’re looking for a new way to reach your target audience through social media, try out the easy to follow steps below.
Find out which social media platform your audience is using
Reaching your target audience is an essential part of boosting online sales. One of your key objectives is to bring in more visitors or traffic to your website. Before you can reach your audience, you first have to know where they are.
There are many ways to do this. The first easy and non-intrusive way is by using analytical tools. Using tools such as Google Analytics can help you pull out a variety of vital information about your target audience. For example, based on a quick look at my blog post, you can see that yesterday most of my traffic came from Reddit.
Maybe for your website, Facebook is the most popular option or maybe Twitter. The goal is just to find out where your audience is hanging out on.
Alternatively, you can also email them. Those who signed up on your email list (you do have one, don’t you?) is a good place to start. Create a simple survey using Survey Monkey and send them out and ask them what social media sites they are using.
If you’re looking for a faster, more direct approach to finding out where your audience is located, you can give them a call. These days, this approach is severely underrated. But I would recommend calling some of your customers and ask them what social media sites they are using.
Once you have this information, I believe you should focus your time and energy on those sites. Trust me you don’t have to be on every social media site. If Pinterest and Facebook are bringing in traffic then just focus on those two.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel doesn’t have to be confusing, it’s just a simple process that takes awareness and ultimately coverts visitors into buying customers.
For example, a sales funnel can be as simple as driving people to your website and then have them sign up using their email address. Then they will receive five emails and the last one is an offer. The last step of the funnel is a follow up call.
The goal here is to develop a process to covert website visitors into customers.
This process needs to be both effective and automated as much as possible.
Social media then just becomes a tool to drive traffic to your website. Just like Search Enginge Optimization or paid advertising.
Setting up your sales funnel
First, you need to have a small conversation, or ask to get the basic contact information. This includes giving them something of value or something that your target audience would really want. Some use whitepapers, and reports. Other companies use reports where you plug some information in and it gives you a report.
Building trust is the next step. This might include giving them a follow up email or even a call. From there it’s closing time; close the sale. Sending them to an actual sales page or even giving them a call are some examples. Don’t underestimate the power of the phone call. These steps may vary depending on your target audience. What it boils down to is knowing how to arrange these steps and knowing how much time to spend on each one.
Once you get this process down, then it’s all about making the process even smoother and increasing your conversions.
Create and/or share content
Once you have your funnel up an running you’ll need to create and share content. This will drive traffic to your website. Again, social media is a great tool for this. Two easy ways to drive traffic is by creating or sharing valuable content to your target audience.
This especially important if you’re on sites like Facebook and Pinterest.
You can set up a Google alert to find valuable content. Google has a function that will send fresh content directly to your email.
It’s up to you to setup the filters to make sure that you are going through the right type of content. Basically, you need to be looking for content that your target audience is interested in.
You can also use a RSS reader to stay up to date. Personally, I use Feedly and it allows me follow certain blogs, and then I can share it on my social media sites.
I also use BufferApp to share relevant articles on my social media profiles and with Feedly it’s really easy.
Additionally, you can create some awesome content that includes everything from creating blog entries, videos to funny social media and controversial content. The sky is the limit.
Engage in online communities
You should know where your audience is located in order to provide valuable information. You can find your target through an online community. This can be in a forum, social media group or even a website comment section. Some websites are dedicated to hosting a specific online community.
Popular social media websites such as LinkedIn or Google plus have their own virtual community platform or groups that allow people to create or join. These websites are great because there are already groups ready for you to join. Staying connected is easy with alerts. One of the most difficult parts of running an online community campaign is staying engaged. You need to reply to messages, comments and provide content in order to build your name. If you start posting links to your website right away, people will just look at it and scroll down. You need to establish yourself first. This takes time. If you bombard the community with tons of content all at once, that’s even worse. Just approach it like making a friend in real life. You can’t just win over someone’s trust over night.
If you’re bold enough, you can create your own community. The key to any community is the full engagement of its members. Early on while establishing your community, you will discover those individuals who are willing to share your message and push that message to their respective networks. Gaining the trust of individuals and providing them with a continued stream of shareable content provides ever expanding reach, which can bring in more traffic to your website.
For example, besides marketing I also love photography and I’m part of a group called Stunning Digital Photographers started by two photographers as an add-on to their book. The group provides tons of value but it also pitches products occasionally.
Share the content on your social media profiles
Sharing content is one of the main reasons that social media exists. Once you have content that you want to share, this step is very simple, right? Wrong. You need to know when is the best time to share content. This all goes back to knowing your target audience. Are they late sleepers? What time does your target market view your site the most? These are things to take note of when posting content on your social media website. If you don’t consider when your target audience is viewing their social media accounts, you risk the possibility of getting your content bumped to the bottom of the newsfeed. That would mean that all your research was wasted.
If your target market is viewing their social media newsfeed during odd hours, don’t worry. All you have to do is schedule posts. Facebook has their own built in system that allows this. You should take advantage of this feature. Other social media websites rely on third-party applications to get this done. By all means, you should also take advantage of such very useful apps and programs.
To conclude, social media is powerful but also an easy tool to get distracted by, if used for fun and games. This does not mean that when applied for business use, the tasks are boring. You just need to know how to make it work in your favor.
Don’t forget to research your target market well. Knowing your audience is a big part of your online success. How they respond to your content can help you convert and close sales. Content is all about finding what’s new and fresh. Creating new content isn’t that hard to do, but it does take a lot of practice. Never underestimate the power of online communities. Invest in them wisely, which may also take some time. Sharing content is all about timing. Lastly, make sure to stay focus and use it as an instrument to drive traffic.