The Beginner’s Guide to Generating Sales Through Social Media

social sales

Brand awareness is great. Traffic is better. Ultimately though…

Revenue and profits matter the most for creating sustainable small businesses.

When you’re marketing on social media, the scenario is twisted. Your target audience hangs out on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms, because they are social platforms.

Users want to learn about the latest life happenings of their family members and friends. They want to see cute baby and cat pictures. And, they want to watch funny videos.

So, while they might have liked/followed your brand to stay current with your updates…they just aren’t in the mindset to press the ‘buy’ button.

Social networks, therefore, are essentially a means of brand exposure and a top of the funnel contender.

But, don’t get frustrated and abandon these social platforms….it’s the freaking fastest growing trend in the world. It’s the biggest source of referral traffic for small businesses. If Facebook were a country, then it would have the largest population in the world.

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You can reach 1 out of every 5 humans on earth through Facebook. Yes, that’s where the number of currently active monthly users stands on the social platform giant.

Now, you might revolt…

Monthly active users and traffic numbers are vanity metrics. Small businesses cannot sustain themselves using the brand awareness that these platforms bring alone.

So, let me tell you another truth about social networks…

It’s possible to extract sales from your target audience through these platforms. That’s why Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and even YouTube have started offering product advertisements to brands.

Download this quick beginner’s guide to generating sales through social media.

I, myself have generated $332,640 from Instagram in 3 months. And, in this article, I want to help you create an environment that actually helps you to achieve impressive conversion rates and get more customers. Here’s tip number 1 for closing more sales from social media. 

1. Create a tightly knit social community and engage with them

Social platforms are all about conversation rates. Unless you genuinely interact with your fans and target audience on your social media pages, you won’t be able to build a relationship.

One great way to earn the trust of your consumers is by evoking positive emotions. Keep your posts light-hearted, casual, witty and inspiring. Look at the great engagement I received when I shared a fun photo on my Facebook page.

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I encourage you to share non-product related posts. They keep conversation rates flowing on your page and show your users that you care about them. From a psychological standpoint, love and belonging is at the third level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

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To make your social network community feel even more special, I would recommend sharing exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, videos and events from your company. Fashion brand, Everlane, leverages transparency brilliantly to engage with its followers on Snapchat.

They give an offer to their followers to buy their product lines before anyone else.

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They also chat with their target market and share behind-the-scene exclusive moments.  This breeds trust and improves connection.

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Another brilliant way to engage with your target audience is in social media groups. You’ll find many closely-knit communities around your brand’s commercial interests on all social platformss. I am a part of many LinkedIn groups on digital marketing and share my content regularly with them.

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But, you’ll want to carefully read the membership guidelines – confirm if they allow you to promote your brand. And, also confirm that the last few posts got engagement inside the group and are not dominated by spammers. Otherwise, your efforts would be a complete waste.

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A better way of leveraging groups that comes with more autonomy is…

Creating your own group.

Debbie Hodge promotes her free Facebook group, as a lead magnet, through Facebook Ads. Mridu Khullar also invited her email list members to join her special six-figure freelancing Facebook group.

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The group has grown to 800+ members and gets great engagement. And, besides adding value to members, Mridu has now built a great channel to occasionally promote her courses.

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Similarly, Noah Kagan from OkDork offered special access to a Facebook group for his free email 1K course. These VIP members had to encourage a couple of their friends to sign up for the course to gain access. The group grew to 5000+ members.

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I’ve already written complete guides on growing your own Facebook group and LinkedIn group. So, if it interests you, then get started with creating a new group today.

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2. Build relationships with influencers and social media celebrities

Have you heard of YouTube star Zoella?

Her first novel, “Girl Online,” sold 78k copies in the first week, beating the sales that JK Rowling had for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 1998.

Social networks are a terrific opportunity for creatives to build their following with their skills. And, most consumers are influenced by the recommendations made by these social media celebrities.

92% of consumers trust recommendations from individuals that they don’t even know over brands.

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That’s the reason affiliate marketing is one of the hottest strategies for bloggers to make money online. Pat Flynn makes over $100,000 every month by recommending that his subscribers buy Bluehost, Leadpages and other online products.

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Calculate the actual revenue that Pat generates for these brands that pay him commission.  Wow!

Another great influencer that has tremendous influence on a wide array of niches is Tim Ferriss. He has a built an engaging and huge podcast audience that converts staggeringly for his sponsors. Kevin Lavelle praised Tim and shared exact numbers here of how Cross Fit went out of stock on Tim’s recommendation.

@tferriss is talking about @CrossFit on his podcast and @MizzenAndMain is the first thing on it. We may have no inventory left by Sunday.

— Kevin Lavelle (@kevinslavelle)

Alright, now that you understand influencer marketing, here’s a framework that you can use to launch your first campaign and engage with your target market groups.

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If you target industry influencers:

You’ll first need to earn their trust and nurture your relationship by adding value to their lives without expecting anything in return.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s book title “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” explains this perfectly. It loosely translates to adding value to an influencer’s life three times before going for your ASK.

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You also need to target influencers carefully and personalize your outreach campaign to get better results. I share tools and tips on identifying and targeting influencers in this article.

If you can shell out dollars, then I recommend that you hire social media celebrities for conducting contests and generating traffic to your landing pages. That’s what I did to make sales from Instagram. UWheels generated over a million dollars in sales, by leveraging Instagram celebrities and models to promote their products.

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I share specific strategies on executing Instagram partnerships with influencers here. And, if you want to quickly grow your Snapchat audience, then refer this article for tips on launching an influencer campaign.

3. Keep expanding your horizons with paid social media marketing…especially leveraging this UNIQUE one

I’ve mentioned before that social media platforms are increasingly directing marketers to launch paid marketing campaigns. The number of marketers leveraging promoted posts on Facebook has risen by 80%, in the last two years.

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Getting started with paid marketing on Facebook is easy and affordable with incredible targeting capabilities across 1500 data points on an average user. You can get started with as small as $10/day and tweak your campaign to earn a solid ROI.

Facebook Advertising expert, Jon Loomer, drove close to 251,000 monthly visitors from Facebook in Aug, 2014. And. his Facebook page only had around 70k fans back then.

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So, how did he manage to get such a huge traffic influx from Facebook?

He targeted the fans that didn’t see his posts with paid Facebook ads at a modest budget of $10/day. And, he aimed for 10-15 cents/click.

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Obviously your efforts might not pan out as expected. So, if the cost of the ad doesn’t deliver a good ROI for your small business, then optimize the campaign or stop the ad. Jon used to stop running his Facebook ads if they cost him more than around 20 cents/click.

If you’re interested in setting up your first paid Facebook advertising campaign, then refer my beginner’s guide. And, if your target audience hangs on Twitter, I’ve compiled paid advertising resources for the platform in this article.

One major mistake that many marketers commit, when they begin paid advertising, is distributing their budget equally. Paid marketing expert Larry Kim advises against it.

Rather, he recommends you to “only promote your unicorns.

So, send out organic posts on Facebook and Twitter to cast a wide net. And, after analyzing their performance, promote the ‘winners’ on social platforms.

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One backdoor way of quickening your growth is exploring paid partnerships with influencers (I already outlined this earlier).

The other important paid marketing tactic (officially offered by most of the popular social media platforms) I want you to explore is…

Remarketing.

Simply put, “it’s the act of marketing to the same prospect multiple times.”

How is it achieved tactically?

You cookie a visitor that lands on your website and follow them around on social media.

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Wordstream found that conversion rates increase with more ad impressions, rather than creeping out the customer.

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Moreover, Wordstream client data reveals how cheap the social remarketing ad clicks can get.

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I’ve already written two detailed articles on remarketing.

Once you’ve picked up your pace with the strategy, I recommend that you filter even your remarketing cookie pool of customers – by their recent browsing history, interests and demographics data. Larry hails this as, ‘super-remarketing.’ It’s only possible, though, to execute the strategy on Facebook and Twitter, for now.

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4. Experiment with the ‘buy button’ and native shopping carts

Not all social media platforms require you to leverage them purely for brand awareness. On visual platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest, many prospects have the buying mindset.

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But, the classic social platform ads don’t provide a great shopping experience to the consumers. Other than being inconvenient, it also shoves a user away from the social media platform and thereby is bad for their small business.

Enter….

Native social platform commerce.

They are “in-app” advertisements that allow the user to make a purchase without leaving the social platform. You can set up shopping carts on your Facebook page, with an app like Ecwid.

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You can offer a native Facebook buying experience that allows the user to checkout without any hassle (even credit card information can be saved, leading to one-click transaction).

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In June 2015, Pinterest also announced its buyable pins with the ‘Buy It’ button. They have partnered with Apple Pay to ensure secure transactions.

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Instagram and Twitter have also been testing the commerce versions of their ads that offer enhanced targeting to the advertisers.

This can be a great tactic to lift your sales, because it smooths the mobile shopping experience through social media, especially for impulse buyers.

So, if you’re an eCommerce small business owner, I would recommend that you experiment with these ‘buy now’ ad formats on various social media.

Here’s an infographic, by Shopify, showing the affinity towards various types of products coming from different social media audiences.

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Conclusion

From the outside looking in, social media appears to be a brand awareness medium for small businesses. It doesn’t look promising for generating sales.

The landscape with millions of small businesses leveraging social media has got even more fierce. It stands as the top marketing tactic among start-ups. But, don’t let these numbers demotivate you.

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I showed you four effective strategies to close more sales in this article. Now, it’s on you to step out of your comfort zone and try one of these strategies to engage with your target market and generate some sales.

What are the strategies you leverage to close sales from social media? Let me know in the comments below.

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