Driving Sales With Social Media: An Expert’s Guide
With the rise of social media over the last decade, information has become easier to access and disseminate than ever before. In creating a data-abundant and hyper-connected world, these online communities have become well-known tools to bring brands and consumers together in the mere touch of a button. Put simply, social media sites and applications offer business owners greater marketing opportunities. Social media allows brands to build and understand their market in a more intimate and efficient way than through traditional media’s one-way channels of communication.
Head of Vistaprint Australia, Melissa Haywood, believes that social media enables retailers to connect meaningfully with consumers and ultimately drive sales for their business. “When equipped correctly, social media is an important and almost essential way for small businesses to stand out from competitors,” Melissa says. “Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter should be at the forefront of retailer’s minds in effectively reaching consumers with promotions to increase their bottom line.”
Melissa’s career began almost 20 years ago when she graduated from university into a career in Direct Marketing. She built her career first by managing databases and direct mail, followed by an expansion into a Marketing Director role that also managed email, website, display marketing, search marketing, and social media.
Today, Melissa applies her skills to the exciting world of customised products for Vistaprint, empowering everyday Australians to grow their own businesses successfully, no matter the size. “Throughout 20 years of providing top-quality printed products at affordable prices, Vistaprint has empowered millions of business owners around the world to market themselves professionally,” Melissa says.
“From day one, Vistaprint has been committed to helping Australians build their business to be stronger than ever. Our company vision continually inspires me to consider innovative solutions to connecting brands and consumers, whether it be through Vistaprint’s premium variety of business cards or cutting edge digital marketing tools.”
To give you the shortcut to success, Melissa has shared her expert tips promoting sales for your business with social media. Whether you are already familiar with using social media or have had no experience, Melissa says maiximising social media as a marketing tool comes down to five key rules:
Be where your audience is
Why spend precious time and energy on platforms that your key demographic are not engaging with? Look at your target demographic and figure out where they’re most active. If your business is B2B based, then LinkedIn is where you should invest time and energy. However, Instagram is perfect for those targeting B2C, especially a younger demographic.
From here, you can build you audience by using relevant keywoods to find the right social networks and friend, follow, and connect with individuals with profiles related to your industry. Remember, no matter how suitable your platform or convincing your message is, without a following, your efforts will fall on deaf ears.
Show off user generated content
Social media is an opportunity for you to extend your relationship with the customers who have helped build you and your business up along the way. Whether it be reposting positive testimonies on your social media pages, or recognising their posts and tweets: like, follow, and share their messages- this acknowledgement will be recognised by your existing customers. These simple interactions are more authentic and effective than any forced advertising, as you are letting actual customers do the selling and convincing for you.
By engaging with market rather than writing at them with a message, you will create opportunities for conversation about your product or service to naturally develop. Social media should be used as a listening tool to increase the prospects that consumers will consider and remember your call-to-action among the cluttered market of brands vying for attention. Part of creating a community around your business is engaging with real people posting about your product. You can build this content from actual customers by creating a branded hashtag and incentivising its use through giveaways. Another strategy to generate interest and showcase real people using your product is by creating a Facebook group related to your product or service.
Boost eye traffic through ‘influencers’
Arguably the most important way to promote sales is through eye traffic. As almost every business’ sales campaigns are multi-dimensional, it’s important to utilise every available resource- and increasingly, social media- to share promotions, deals and sales with your customer base. The more people who know about your campaign, the more sales you will close.
A ‘go-to’ guide to social media marketing would not be complete without an influencer engagement strategy. The hype around profiles with audiences of thousands is exactly that- the mass of trusting followers that influencers reach with their daily posts. Identifying and negotiating collaberations with key influencers among your target market has the power to drive sales- so coordinate discount codes, product reviews, how-to-content, and product features with these thought leaders to promote your brand. Influencers are sources of increasingly creative content which you should leverage to tell a unique and engaging story about your brand.
Consistency is make or break
You must ensure to use the same handle for all of your social media platforms, as branding plays a significant impact on your growth across social media. If you are not easily accessible across platforms, it makes it near impossible for valued and dedicated customers to show their support by liking, following and reposting.
Creating a content calendar- that is, planning your social media posts- will also assist you in seeing consistent enagement from your audience. Preplanning your strategy has the multibenefit of making it clear for you to determine which activities to assign to each of your team members.
Always link back to the product
To make it easier for your customers to purchase your products, always ensure you have created click-through from all social platforms straight to your website. If it’s too complicated in any way, a potential customer will turn their attention elsewhere. Take advantage of social media features designed for business users through streamlined tools like Instagram’s product tagging and by including links in your bios and within your content.
Melissa Haywood’s career began almost 20 years ago when she graduated from university into a career in Direct Marketing. Today, as the Head of Vistaprint Australia, Melissa applies her skills to the exciting world of customised products, empowering everyday Australians to grow their own businesses successfully, no matter the size.
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