Word of mouth sales have always been popular, but they’ve also been tough to track. Businesses can find it difficult to determine exactly how well word of mouth is working, even when their customers are eagerly chatting on social media. You want people to enthuse about your products to everyone they know. How can you be sure that your efforts are making that happen?
How Do Social Media Leads (and Sales) Work?
A 2014 Gallup poll claiming that social media influences only about 5 percent of shoppers left thousands of retailers wondering if they should even bother with the social media world. The answer is yes! But, if you want to use it as part of your overall mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to know how social media drives sales.
Social media is social. Users log in to their social media accounts to connect with friends, family, and co-workers – people they know and trust. When it’s time to purchase a new item or find a qualified service provider, people turn to their own social networks for awareness, research, evaluation, and advice, as one Google study discovered. Or they notice which of their friends have “liked” a product or company, and file that information away for later use.
In other words, if you’re trusting the click-through rate of your ads to accurately express your social media’s ROI, you’re missing most of the story.
How to Maximize the Impact of Social Media for Your Business
To leverage the power of social media advertising, think “awareness.”
Because potential customers are on social media networks to socialize and gather information, barging into their feeds with overt ads for your products or services can have unwanted effects. It’s a bit like walking into a strangers’ dinner conversation and trying to sell a product. You don’t know whether this group of people contains a single member of your target audience, and the diners are more likely to be annoyed than interested.
Instead, join potential customers at the awareness and information-gathering stage of their journey. Here’s how:
- Use referrals. Encourage current customers to refer their friends to your company. Referrals encourage new customers to associate your company with the positive feelings they already have for the referring friend. They also strengthen your relationship with the existing customer. A referral may be as simple as encouraging current followers to like and share your company’s content, or as complex as a formal referral and rewards program.
- Encourage user-generated content. An advertisement that is shared still looks like an advertisement. To integrate your company into your target audience’s conversation, encourage customers to create reviews or other content. When customers create content, they’re more likely to share it and to stand behind it. They created it, and they want to be heard.
- Stay top of mind. A combination of traditional, targeted advertising, shared content on social media, and user-generated content maximizes your company’s ability to stay top of mind. When the customer is ready to purchase, your name will be first in their thoughts – and they’ll be first through the door.