Direct Selling Through Social Media Marketing
Many small business owners do not feel their social media marketing efforts produce tangible results. In most cases, those feelings are on target. As an example, according to some studies, less than 10 percent of visitors to retail websites make that visit due to social media interactions.
It does not have to be this way. The proper use of social media tools can both drive direct sales and, more importantly, build and enhance long-term customer relationships.
Here are some ways to make social media marketing work for you:
- Offer special coupons or discounts. Provide special offers to Facebook or Twitter followers. Not only will they be glad they follow your company, they may share those offers with others, expanding your social media fan base in the process. Just make sure those offers are for a limited time.
- Create informational videos. Videos posted to YouTube are a great and inexpensive way to highlight your products or services, provide how-to information, and spread the word about your brand. Videos need not be formal or professionally produced. In some cases, the more "amateur" your video appears, the more credibility you gain.
- Extend special services to followers. Customers who interact with your business on social media tend to be loyal, satisfied customers. Reward them: create a customer appreciation event followers can access. Make the event worthwhile, and you not only cement the relationship with current customers, you create incentives for potential customers to follow your company.
- Run contests or other events. Say you want to give away a product, or promote a particular service. To be eligible, customers must visit your website and enter the contest. Spread the news through Twitter or Facebook. People are much more likely to share the information with their friends through social media than through other means, since sharing is incredibly easy. In the meantime, you drive traffic directly to your website.
- Expand search results. More and more people search for products, services, reviews, and other information on Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest. A presence on these social media sites can place your company higher on search results lists.
How do you know if your social media marketing efforts are paying off? The simplest way is to create promotions that are tied directly to the social media you use. For example, if you run a special on a product and publicize that event on Twitter, you can tie increased sales directly to your Twitter campaign.
Finally, keep social media marketing in perspective, and use other direct-response marketing strategies as well. As with any type of marketing, experiment, evaluate your results, and try new tactics when ones you are using don’t work. Over time, you can refine your social media marketing campaigns to better drive direct sales and build longer-term relationships with your customers.