Earlier this year, new data suggested that the number of active social media users has passed the 3 million mark, with no sign of slowing any time soon. This online army is a goldmine for any brand or company searching for potential customers, but turning browsers into consumers can be a challenge – how do you make sure the efforts of a digital agency in London manifest into the click of a mouse on the other side of the country? Here are some of the simple methods any brand or social media agency can use for turning social engagement into immediate sales.
Social media – a whole new sales approach
Once upon a time, in the early days of what came to be called Web 1.0, users of the internet were limited to being passive observers of online content that they could view, but never interact or fully engage with. When this changed with the advent of Web 2.0 and its emphasis on dynamic, interactive and user-generated content, one of the most significant developments was the birth of social media.
Understanding this core dynamic component of social media engagement and how it differs from other marketing channels is essential to creating sales. According to SME Insider, 71% of social media users are more likely to make a purchase from a company they are already connected with online, meaning the emphasis is better placed on engaging and maintaining attention instead of capturing it with bolder, broader efforts.
Speak to, not at
Think of it as the conversational approach rather than a megaphone tactic – social media is, at its most fundamental level, about interaction, and people are wary and suspicious of anyone who seems to be there for an ulterior motive without properly joining in. A guideline suggested by many for ensuring that your audience feels engaged with rather than sold to is the 80/20 rule – only 20% of the content you post on any given platform should be attempting to directly bring about sales.
Once this attention has been won, however, it needs to be converted into a sale as rapidly as possible, or risk dissipating away entirely. On the whole, our attention spans are short and wander easily while we’re browsing social media, and customers aren’t going to appreciate jumping through multiple hoops to reach the point of sale. If the content that first piqued their interest doesn’t link as directly as possible to the product on offer, they’ll be back to scrolling through pictures of their friends’ dogs before you know it.
Fortunately, an increasing number of social media platforms are introducing the capability for immediate selling, by which consumers can make purchases without ever leaving the platform. Facebook and Twitter both introduced a ‘Buy Now’ button back in 2015, while Pinterest followed soon after with its buyable pins. There are also a number of easy to use apps, such as Shopial or Shopify, that can be used to transform existing ecommerce sites into functional Facebook stores. These simple plugins and apps remove the number of layers between buyer and seller – transactions can be completed without the user ever having to stray too far from the comfort of their social media feed.
Social media has been a great leveller, with ordinary people interacting freely with celebrities, brands and companies without a second thought. Although this has provided plenty of opportunities to try and secure sales, content that reminds people they’re actively being sold to achieves little beyond scaring them away. Simply using social media as social media, rather than an advertising billboard, is the most effective way possible of creating native content and turning engagement into sales.