I originally wrote this article for Entrepreneur. It was published on Entrepreneur.com on September 14, 2016.
We all know the importance of digital marketing. Since people now access most information online and through applications, this is the most influential way to reach new consumers.
Despite it's importance, some of us have trouble understanding how social media impacts the bottom line.
Getting your brand out there to gain awareness and mind share is great, but you're missing out on a greater opportunity to boost sales if you don't have an easily actionable path to purchase. Below are four steps for how to convert those social media followers, engagements, and impressions into sales.
1. Let people know you exist, organically.
First, people need to discover you. There are several strategies to increase brand awareness online, including banner ads and sponsored posts on social media channels.
Paid ads are appealing because they can be super targeted, but unfortunately, people naturally tune out paid ads. How annoyed do you get when sponsored Instagram posts clutter your feed? Or when pop-up ads are keeping you from reading an article on a website? This most likely frustrates your target consumer as well, and could leave them with a negative sentiment, causing them to block, report or unsubscribe.
Action point: Reach your target organically through strategic partnerships. Find influential people and/or brands that are like-minded and aesthetically similar to your brand to collaborate with. The right partnership will increase your awareness and following and grow your consumer base .
2. Inspire your followers.
Produce high-quality content that will inspire your followers to buy your product. What is the purpose? How is it used? What value does it bring?
If the content is good, you'll create a positive sentiment with your audience and they'll "like," comment and share with their friends.
Action point: Produce spectacular content that creates connections with your followers. Make them need your product. Influence them to share their discovery of your brand with their friends.
3. Create depth through your website.
Social media is not a replacement for your website. If your business objective is solely to increase awareness online, then sure, having a social-only presence will do the trick. But, having a user-friendly website is the key to turning your fans into paying customers.
Where do you expect your fans to find out more about your brand? All of this info could be scattered across all of your social channels, but it will become frustrating for your potential customers when they're looking for something specific (where to buy, recipes, job openings).
Your website is the centralized location for all of the info about your brand, where your followers can keep engaging.
Action point: Make it easy for people to find out more about your product/service. If you don't have a website already, find a solution now. All of your social channels should have links to your website. Your website should have a contact form (services), or a store locator/ ecommerce site (product).
4. Create a call to action.
At this time, your followers are two clicks away from becoming a customer.
Let them know how easily they can buy your product, or sign up for your service, by creating a call to action in a social media post. These people who discovered you on social media may not know you have a news letter, or recipes on your website or an ecommerce store. Remind them.
For most businesses, the call to action be something along the lines of: "click the link in our profile to buy" or "sign up on our website now."
Action point: Direct your followers to your website or ecommerce store in a social media post. Close the deal.