It can take time to build up a strong social media following - and longer to convert those engagements into leads. Most companies believe the best way to convert their online following into sales is by simply creating great social media posts. Whilst that is true, there are other ways you can improve your social media sales funnel.  

The following seven tips could be the key to moving the customer from a brand awareness to a product purchase.

This blog post is part of Your Definitive Guide to Lead Generation blog series. 



1. Define the Channels

Many businesses make the big mistake of thinking that all marketing channels perform the same function: to drive sales. This is incorrect. Different networks will have different conversion levels.

Let's take a look at Facebook. This is a fantastic social media network for increasing awareness and driving leads, but most of these leads don't tend to become conversions, unfortunately.

On the other side of the coin, you have email blasts. While they are not great for brand awareness, they are an excellent source of conversion.

For example, according to Experian, transactional emails have 8 x more open and click through rates than any other type of email, and could result in 6x more revenue.

By defining the channels and their functions, you can identify the best tools to drive sales to your business.



2. Identify the Customer Journey

In order for you to succeed with a social media sales funnel, you must understand the customer journey. This will ensure you produce marketing content that aligns with their behavior. You must, therefore, identify the buyer's challenges, as well as any potential solutions.

It might be helpful to create a buyer persona, which is a semi-fictional representation of the average customer and the common pitfalls they may come across when buying a product or service from you.

By learning why customer leads fail to convert into sales, you can develop social media marketing strategies that will not only encourage engagement and leads, but will result in an increase in sales.




3. Build Relationships

Trust is everything when it comes to buyer behavior - so you must build on your brand awareness. Most customers will not want to shop with a company they do not know. 

It is your company's job to build a relationship with the customer, by encouraging them to like your different social media channels, subscribe to your email marketing newsletters and sign-up to your RSS feed.

The more visible you become to a buyer, the more they will trust in your services.



4. Produce Buyer-Centric Content

Now you have permission to directly communicate with a potential customer, you must review your marketing content.

Are you producing buyer-centric content or product-centric content? You probably think there isn't much of a difference, but there really is. Product-centric content has a primary focus on a product's features, while buyer-centric content is a communication of value for money products and services.

You must, therefore, discuss the buyer's needs and concerns with various sales reps, who can help you develop buyer-centric content that assures the reader that you are the right business for their needs. Speak to reps about the content the marketing team is currently generating and listen carefully to their feedback.

Also, your content marketing and social media team could also regularly attend sales meetings, which will allow them to adapt their strategies to suit the common problems or pitfalls the sales team has faced recently. 

By highlighting customer issues and providing a solution on social media, you can convert a lead into a sale.


Get started creating campaigns that convert with your free Guide : Introduction to Lead Generation today!


5. Test and Tweak Campaigns

Unfortunately, not every idea the marketing team thinks up will improve your social media sales funnel.

Trial and error is the biggest part of developing a successful social media campaign.

Try out different ideas, such as:

  • Short, long and medium sized statuses
  • Instructional videos
  • High-quality images
  • Memes
  • Adverts

The best way to keep track of social media engagement is to create a spreadsheet that measures: reach, comments, clicks, shares, etc. This will ensure you can keep track of your best performing campaigns.

Eventually, you will hit on something that works, as people will start engaging with your brand. If the engagement fails to lead to sales conversions, tweak a campaign until it does both. For example, you could add a contact number onto a video, or alleviate a buyer's concern on a marketing advert.

The more you test and tweak your social media campaigns, the more sales you will generate in the long-run.



6. Learn from Your Mistakes

Many companies love creating content calendars, because they provide a company with organization and efficiency. However, how will you be able to learn from your mistakes if you are restricted by the content scheduled for each month?

In order for a company to move forward, they must review the campaigns that did not work and are preventing their growth. If you want to improve your social media sales funnel, schedule a content calendar for the week ahead, not the next month or year.

While it's a nice idea to stay one step ahead, it isn't realistic in regards to the ever-changing online behavior of social media followers.



7. Establish a Knowledgeable Company

You don't have to be an industry leader to be viewed as a knowledgeable company. You simply need to offer a great product at a great price, and have the knowledge and content to back up your offering. Your goal should be to educate the buyer, inspiring them to take action by shopping with you over a competitor.

To become a thought leader, you can:

  • Open a buyer up to new ideas
  • Publish ebooks
  • Create helpful product guides
  • Provide case studies
  • Feature customer testimonials

You can highlight all of the above on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which will encourage people to click through to your website, which could result in an increase in sales.

The more knowledgeable you appear to a reader, the more they will trust your services, which could result in a significant increase in sales.



Conclusion: How to Improve Your Social Media Sales Funnel

Social media is as much a gift as it is a curse. It can exponentially improve your brand awareness, but the wrong campaign can result in a lack of sales.

You must, therefore, develop, tweak and swap your marketing campaigns to suit the changing demands of the customer.

Every company should, therefore, identify the average customer's buying journey, whilst identifying the right channels to meet their long or short-term goals.

Once you have done so, you can start to build relationships with a prospective buyer, while altering your campaigns to boost your online engagement.

Get started creating campaigns that convert with your free [Guide] Introduction to Lead Generation today.

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Originally published February 27, 2017, updated August 7, 2018
Tags: social media strategy Inbound Marketing Social Media Marketing Advertising inbound sales