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When social media first appeared: your Six Degrees, your MySpaces, the prehistoric version of Facebook that today looks like a whole different place, there was no intention to use them to circumvent the traditional sales process.
Now, with the rapid expansion of online markets and a two-year pandemic that has made everyone much more knowledgeable about technology, we are beginning to see the integration of commerce and community in a way that the ancestors of networks socialites never dreamed, and probably never intended.
But this is the reality in which we live as digital marketers and social media specialists. And if we want our brands to thrive on social media, we need to follow the new rules of social media. Almost every platform will allow you to monetize opportunities, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll make sales. Like anything in marketing, it takes strategy to make a profit on social media. And to be honest, the strategy for getting your social media out of the way and generating conversions is not that different from how you would set up a physical business to succeed. Here are some tips to help your brand thrive on social media:
Use the right platforms
First, you need to have the right location or, digitally speaking, use the right platforms. If you set up your lemonade stand in the middle of the woods, you’ll come home empty-handed.
Let’s face it – you have a small business that makes and sells unique and bespoke furniture. If your main selling point is Twitter, you’re hooked. This is a work of Instagram and Pinterest almost exclusively. Knowing where to build your social showcase is an integral part of generating revenue. (Professional advice: Don’t try to sell things on Twitter).
Related: The business of harnessing the power of social media
Spend money, make money
Please note that the oldest language in the business world also applies to social commerce. What will any Business 101 class tell you? “You have to spend money to make money.”
Social media is not strictly paid, there are success stories of brands that have built a presence mostly organically. I say “mostly,” because even in those cases, they still had an advertising budget, no matter how tiny. However, in today’s social media landscape, due to the sheer amount of competition, almost every industry requires companies other than family names to put a certain amount of money behind their social channels.
Where should these funds go? In my personal opinion, you should use them to increase the content of social media to a larger audience instead of paying for Facebook ads. Content is what attracts consumers and turns them into your brand. Make sure that the attractive copy and design you are producing reaches the widest possible segment of your audience, and you see that sales start to grow steadily.
Related: Social commerce is the future of marketing. Are you ready?
Meet your buyers
And speaking of content, he’s really the king! But if you try to use it only to generate profits, you are wasting it.
Let’s make another hypothetical one. If you live in a modest-sized area, you probably have several grocery stores within walking distance of you. And yet, even though travel time is the same, you have a favorite store. What brings you from grocery store X to grocery store Y?
Whatever the star factor of the grocery store X, this is also what your digital content needs. Not only must it be modern and well-designed, but it must also serve the audience most likely to interact with your brand – your buyers.
This comes down to creating timely buyer profiles that can accurately predict what kind of challenges your buyers are facing and how you can position yourself as a solution. With no buyer profiles, you’re just throwing a net into a body of water, not sure if it’s a lake or a pool and waiting for you to bite.
There’s no right way to create a buyer profile, but to create one that helps you dictate your content, you’ll need to get it into your audience’s mind. This means gaining your knowledge, whether through interviews or demographic research. Once you’re in your buyer’s head, you can start interacting with your brand the way they would start drawing content around their wants and needs that ultimately drive their purchasing decisions.
Social media has expanded exponentially since its inception, but at its core, it still maintains the sensitivity of the city square. It may be a place where brands drive growth and profits, but the social element of social commerce should not be ignored. Ultimately, running a business on social media is no different than running a business in real life. You need to choose the right platform, provide an X-factor to help you differentiate yourself from the competition, and get to know your buyers well enough to meet their needs. Whether you’re making sales through a payment lane or a landing page, the route isn’t as different as you might think.
Related: The evolving role of social media in e-commerce