Updated: Apr 2
With the ability to directly reach your customers, social media is an effective tool to build customer relationships and drive sales.
Through strategies like brand awareness, trust, and community we are going to talk about laying the foundation for a social media marketing plan that drives sales.
Basics to start driving sales using social media
Driving sales through social media is a long game and involves adopting a customer-first mindset. This means focusing on providing a great experience more than focusing on hard sales. While this might feel counterintuitive, it will build a stronger connection with your audience that makes them more excited to purchase from you. Let’s dive in.
Build brand awareness
Social media is commonly at the top of the sales funnel, so building brand awareness is one of the first steps. This step is important because it helps people become familiar with your business and what you offer. The more aware they are of your business, the more comfortable they become with making purchases.
Focusing on a great customer experience translates into showing the value you provide to your audience. Here are some thoughts to consider when focusing on providing a great digital customer experience to build your brand awareness and drive sales using social media:
What makes you stand out from your competitors? Is it where you source your ingredients or materials? Are you actively involved in the community?
What problem are you solving for your customers? How are you solving it for them? Are you providing creative solutions or going the extra mile for them?
What are you doing to create a great first impression? Is your content well thought out and consistent?
Answering these questions will not only build your audience’s awareness of you but it will also help with the content creation process.
Social media was first and foremost created for driving social interactions between people, meaning two-way communication. With this in mind, use social media as an organic way to open a direct dialogue with customers and potential customers and build trust.
Trust encourages your audience to purchase from you, make repeat purchases, and even refer your business to others. On social media, trust is commonly built through:
Interacting with your followers. Respond to comments in a timely manner! Use this opportunity to be as helpful as possible. This makes your audience and the social media algorithm happy.
Educational content. An educated audience is one that feels more empowered to purchase. Create posts that teach your audience about your industry, products, and services.
Familiarity. Part of building trust is being consistent with your content. This sets a precedent for what your audience can expect from you and helps them get to know you. Batch creation and content scheduling make consistency manageable. Ripl makes it easy to create and schedule content so you are able to consistently share content and stay top of mind to your audience.
A good rule of thumb is to create social content that keeps your audience informed and positions you as an expert in the field your business is in. Here are 7 ideas to get you started.
Leverage your community to start driving sales using social media
Once you have built a community that knows, likes, and trusts you, it is time to encourage their involvement. Not only does this reinforce their sense of belonging, it also helps to build trust with people outside of your audience.
Written and video reviews and testimonials are the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. Reviews are so important because they build credibility with your audience and provide a bit of social proof.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review! Once you have some positive reviews, use your social media account to showcase them.
Here are tips for sharing customer reviews on social media.
When consumers are trying to research a product before making a purchase, one of the first places they head to is a business’s social media profiles. While company-produced content is an important part of marketing, customers also like to see how their peers are enjoying a product or service. This is why sharing user generated content or UGC, is a great way to drive sales using social media.
UGC is seen as more trustworthy to consumers and can be the deciding factor for some. A study found that 88% of shoppers sought out UGC during their purchase decision-making process.
Encourage your customers to tag you in their posts so you can see how they’re enjoying your product or service! Another option is to create a branded hashtag your customers can use. For more information on this strategy, check out our do’s and don’ts of hashtags.
Advanced ways to drive sales using social media
If you’re looking to grow your community, give your customers a reason to follow your social media by creating a sense of FOMO, otherwise known as fear of missing out.
FOMO is a phenomenon already commonly associated with social media.It keeps users on social media apps by making them worried they will miss out on the “next big thing”. With marketing it creates a sense of urgency or exclusivity.
Businesses can use this in a number of ways:
Flash sale or limited time offer
Social media exclusive discount code
Feature UGC or reviews of customers already enjoying your product
It is important to note that using FOMO should be approached with care. With tools to research companies and saturated markets, shoppers are more savvy and empowered than ever before and can tell when a business isn’t being honest. As long as your tactics are meant to empower shoppers and not deceive into an impulse buy, incorporating some of these will make you and your customers happy.
After building a solid organic strategy on social media, the next step is to leverage paid social ad campaigns.
Paid ads ensure your content is visible to your target audience online. Once you have marketing goals defined, use those to create successful paid social campaigns to reach them.
Here are guides on setting up ads for two of the most common platforms:
These are a few of the ways you can start to directly and indirectly drive sales using social media. We always recommend focusing on the customer first by pairing great content with strong community engagement to help your business stand out and grow online.