Social media advertising and marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to attract, grow, and convert audiences. After all, there are 4.80 billion people using social media.
Think of your followers as potential customers. Even if they are not yet ready to make a purchase, they are following you for a reason. Either they are interested in your offer and will come back to it later, or they enjoy the type of content you publish.
Every action you take on social media can contribute to the conversion of your followers into paying customers, both directly and indirectly. By building trust, widening your reach, and showcasing your values and products, you can increase conversion rates.
Here are six tactics for turning your social media audience into customers.
1. Make social shopping as easy as possible
The average social media user spends 2.5 hours a day browsing, watching content, and engaging with friends and brands. Their screen time is a window for you to influence their purchasing decisions. It is already estimated that global sales through social media platforms will reach $992 billion in 2022.
To make the most of social shopping, you need to tick two major boxes:
- Make it very easy to check out from your store.
- Keep exposing your audience to your products without going overboard.
Let’s look at a couple of brands that do it well.
ATH Sport uses its Facebook profile to showcase its products as well as to inspire its followers to reach their goals. If you scroll down their feed, you’ll notice that they’ve nailed the 80/20 of social posting: 80% of their posts are inspirational and motivational, while only 20% showcase their products.
Their sales tactic is never aggressive. They merely show the product and make sure each photo is linked to their store. From there, a customer can see more details about the product, choose different flavors, and head right over to the website, where they can check out in a couple of clicks.
Summer Fridays does something similar on Instagram. They share a lot of user-generated content and a lot of their campaign shoots, but they’ve only made some of their photos shoppable. Since they tend to organize their sales efforts into waves, i.e., focus on promoting one product at a time, a follower can easily find a shoppable image on the brand’s grid.
As an added bonus, they provide great captions for their product photos. They describe what kinds of effects you can expect, talk about the ingredients, or highlight the benefits. The captions are never repetitive. It’s clear that their social media managers take their time to provide a great user experience and create a very aesthetically pleasing grid.
2. Turn Reviews into Content
One of the best ways to leverage social media is to use it to establish trust and grow your reputation. And while you normally think of social proof as something you might grab on social media and place on your website, it works the other way around too.
By publishing product reviews or customer testimonials on your feed, you can show your followers what they won’t get to see unless they visit your website: how appreciated you are by past customers and clients. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to display your expertise and professionalism on social media.
Anytime Baseball Supply, for example, use this tactic on their Instagram profile. They’ve created a great custom collage featuring their product, a customer’s 5-star review, her signature, and their branding. The photo itself is great, as is the caption. It uses its usual enthusiastic brand voice and describes the product. Most importantly, it shouts out their community of baseball lovers.
This is a great way to show a product (especially one of your more popular ones) in a new light. As 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends and family, this tactic will be a great nudge toward conversion.
You can use this same approach if you are a service-based business, too. You can grab customer testimonials, mention them by name and company, and thank them for their support.
Point Visible does this on LinkedIn, as this is where their audience hangs out. They’ve asked a client to explain what working with them was like, and they’ve turned the blurb into a great asset. Most notably, they’ve bolded the key phrase in the testimonial: they have helped the client rank at the top position for various keywords.
Since this approach will rarely be seen as bragging, you can use it freely across all platforms. Just make sure to follow the 80/20 rule: less advertising, more enjoyable posts.
3. Create Compelling Product-Focused Content
For the 20% of your content that you do want to center around making a sale, you want to go the extra mile. Create compelling videos, images, or interactive pieces that will engage your audience and keep them excited.
Most brands will do roughly the same thing: shoot great campaign photos, a lot of which can be used on social media. If you branch out just a little bit, you can make your feed the one that stands out.
FOCL is great at doing this on Instagram. They create these little infographics that showcase the product in a clever way. They show the ingredients and explain the benefits. The images themselves are more attention-grabbing than a still shot of just the product.
Your followers are much more likely to check the product out when they already know something about it. If it solves something they struggle with or potentially has the benefits they are looking for, they will click through.
You can do something very similar just by using a tool like Canva. You can, of course, go even further and shoot product videos.
This is what Agatha Christie, or rather the company behind her legacy, does. Their social media team keeps finding new ways to promote books that have been around for a hundred years or just about.
For example, they’ve recently done a great video to announce the new jackets for their latest releases of Poirot novels in the UK. They also do all kinds of quizzes and “guess the book by the emoji” games. And, always include their audience and share some of their photos of the product. They have truly tapped into the power of Bookstagram.
4. Start a Conversation
Social media is all about meeting new people, discovering new brands, and making connections. As a brand, your task is to start a conversation and share content, sparking some interest in your product.
An interesting statistic shows that 37% of beauty product consumers will make a purchase after seeing positive comments about it on social media. A lot of beauty brands have thus taken to publishing user-generated content on their own feeds. When the content creator raves about a product, unbidden and unpaid, a customer will be more interested in buying.
Another advantage of this type of content is that customers get to see the product in action, used by someone who is probably really good at beauty, makeup, and filming content for social media.
Juvia’s Place often shares this kind of content on their Instagram, where they show their customers using some of their latest releases. It both shines a light on their community and allows them to pay it back to their fans. It generates lots of share-worthy content for them.
Domino’s Pizza, on the other hand, has a quirky social media manager who gets a lot of attention on Twitter. They will tweet about products, offer free gift cards, start a pineapple-on-pizza war, and even ask the brand’s followers for topping suggestions.
For a brand that has as wide a reach as Domino’s, tweeting often will increase their order numbers. People will start craving a pizza every time they see one on their feed. If you can also use social media to entice your followers to take action, post to get yourself back on their radar.
5. Show the People Behind the Brand
In order to establish a better relationship with your followers and make them more likely to become customers, try to position yourself as more “human” and less “corporation.” A simple and very effective way to do this is to showcase your staff.
The least you can do is introduce the person behind the profile. This will help people connect with it. They’ll view it more as a person advocating for a brand and less as a brand trying to make a sale through social media.
Depending on the size of your staff and how much they are ready to share, you can post interviews or let them take over the profile for a day. All the while, you should be tying their posts to your brand’s product, services, and values.
Sephora is famous for doing this effectively. Their Instagram is filled with posts from their Beauty Directors and the people who work in their stores. The brand believes in inclusivity and diversity, and they are proud to reinforce this message across social media.
Since their staff often talk about beauty and show their favorite products, chances are a customer will spot something they like and want to explore it further.
The Everygirl does the same on TikTok as well as Instagram. They often ask their staff members to show their outfits, comment on a product they are reviewing as a team, or just share their favorite Starbucks order. This way, their followers and readers feel they are getting recommendations from a friend, and they are much more likely to convert.
6. Go Live with an Ambassador
Finally, a great way to convert more of your followers is to leverage influencer marketing to its fullest potential. Don’t just ask the people you partner with to promote you or shoot campaigns for you. Join forces and create some content together or invite them to appear on your channels.
This will add a bit of “star power” to your social media presence, especially if the influencers you work with have a lot of followers. Even if they don’t, asking the influencer to share the time when they’ll be going live on your channel will get you more views and potentially plenty of new followers and customers.
GHD partnered with Zoe Sugg, for example, on several occasions. She has hosted lives on her own Instagram, always in partnership with the brand. She has also had guests over, hairdressers and stylists included.
This type of content is great for expanding your reach and having a brand ambassador talk about all the reasons they love your products. It will sound more genuine and relatable.
Consider how you can apply these tactics to your own social media presence. Depending on your brand and the interests of your followers, some might yield better results than others.
Don’t forget to also tailor each tactic to your own needs, and make sure to show your unique personality through them.