I’m stilling meeting business owners, business development executives and sales professionals who complain that social media is a giant waste of time, but feel they must dive into it because everyone says they must. Truth is, when this type of thinking is prevalent any business or marketing activity is a giant waste of time.
Social media participation and integration is an important aspect of marketing and while the social technologies may change (ex: MySpace to Facebook), the fundamentals involved in making them generate a return on investment are the same.
Marketing is about educating and building trust these days through multiple engagements. This is also true for selling, advertising, lead generation, and customer service — and it’s certainly true when it comes to using social media platforms.
The key to success with social media is to create enough value that someone would want to want to learn more and signal so through a define action or event.
Below are seven steps to turn social media particpation into sales.
Step #1. Create and Deliver Content Strategically
The first step is to create and optimize content that can survive in social media outposts such as Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr, or other social media platforms. You can also use paid media such as advertising on social media platforms to generate and drive attention to your content, offer, or call to action.
Step #2. Incorporate the Use of Landing Pages
The next step in your participation to sales approach is to build a series of unique landing pages for each social channel. In other words, create a landing page that is native in context to the channel you’re using, have a Youtube call to action, Twitter call to action, Facebook call to action, LinkedIn call to action and so on for each channel.
The difference in these pages may be subtle, but this is an important part of the personalized engagement. You can build these pages yourself, but using a landing page service, such as unbounce, is a great way to keep track of and measure results from lots of pages.
Step #3. Match the Landing Page and Message
It’s important that the message on each page matches whatever your content and call to action in social media is. You can start by communicating with a simple message to the visitor who followed a specific link on LinkedIn and that they are indeed in the right place.
My point here is to personalize the page by matching some element of how the visitor got there.
Step #4. Create a ‘learn more’ Call to Action
The real point of your engagement on your landing pages is to capture permission to share even more. The simplest form of doing this is to offer valuable information in exchange for an email address. (For an alternative you can offer following you to those that don’t want to give up an email address.)
Your Pay Per Click ads and ads on platforms like Linkedin or Facebook can point directly to their own landing page promoting your free information or offer. In some cases this may be a direct product link, but this will be far less effective.
Step #5. Test Every Element
Landing page design and conversion is a bit of a science so you need to test every element — headline, imagery, call to action button, social media connection, message, offer, and even video and audio.
You can create A/B tests using a tool like Optimizely or Google Website Optimizer.
Step #6. Enable Social Sharing
Since you’re playing in the ultimate word-of-mouth space here make sure that people can spread the message that they just got your awesome information or that they “Like” your landing page. Use social media plugins to make this easier on WordPress or static pages.
Step #7. Personalize Follow-up
Once you’re captured permission you can really amplify the personalization by using CRM services that integrate with email and landing page services to create customized follow-up based on the email address and social media graph of each person that signs up for your free information.
While set-up of this program may take a bit of work in the beginning, once you have all the moving parts automated, you can focus on using social media as a lead generation and conversion platform.