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How Social Media Can Ramp Up Sales for Your Business
Marketing Trends

How Social Media Can Ramp Up Sales for Your Business

March 11, 2022
Shelly Parker
Content Manager
Table Of Content
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If your business is not on social media right now, you are missing out on a potentially very lucrative source of sales. Everyone’s heard the stories of businesses going viral and growing their operations overnight, but you don’t have to be a viral success to leverage social media to your advantage.

Many small business owners feel daunted by the sheer amount of information out there on mastering social media, as well as with the different platforms that it seems as if you need to master. Others are not convinced that social media will supplement their existing marketing channels.

Social media advertising/marketing can help you grow your business in many ways, by increasing your reach, driving traffic to your website, and creating a new funnel for leads and sales. Through paid advertising, as well as organic growth, social media makes it easier for businesses to reach their target audience.

Knowing that social media can help your business is the easy part. Figuring out how to incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy is a different story. Thankfully, this guide can help you navigate social media for businesses and find out which platforms and strategies are best for your business.

How Can You Drive Sales on Social Media?

For a while, social media had the reputation of being something frivolous, a platform that people used to entertain themselves and watch funny cat videos. However, business owners have long ago stopped laughing. Social media has now become a valuable tool to drive sales and otherwise grow businesses.

Many people go on and on about the importance of social media, but few take the time to explain how a social media presence leads to fulfilled orders, happy customers, and money in the bank. Here are a few ways that social media can help your business.

Increase Brand Awareness

One of the best ways that social media can serve your business is to increase awareness of your brand. Ignorance is the kiss of death for businesses of any size—your customers can’t buy from you if they don’t even know that you exist. Social media is the digital equivalent of a “we’re open” sign.

However, a consistent social media presence does more than just let people know that you exist. Consistent engagement, posting, and even paid advertisements helps build brand awareness and trust. Customers begin associating your brand with your products or services consistently the more that they see your presence on social media.

A consistent social media presence also builds trust, which is important particularly for younger consumers. For example, if customers suddenly need shoes, they will think about your brand whose content they’ve seen consistently because they know that you are an established presence in the industry, compared to a random brand they’ve never heard of.

Building an online brand may not manifest in sales right away, but it is the first step in building a dedicated customer base. Through paid advertising, you can get your social media profiles into the feeds of more customers, but it’s only through consistent posting and engagement that you establish your brand.


instagram profile
Social media presence


Provide A Service to Customers

Modern customers don’t like feeling as if businesses are just using them for profit. Instead, they prefer to build relationships with brands that feel mutually beneficial. One way that you can show customers that buying from your business will also benefit them is through social media.

Most of your content on social media (and other online platforms, such as your website or blog) should be value-added content. Value-added content is the term for online marketing content that benefits readers by giving them information or insights that they can’t find anywhere else.

For example, sticking with the earlier shoe store example, an Instagram graphic asking customers to buy from your shoe store during your latest sale is not value-added content. A graphic carousel explaining how to tell if your shoes were produced following ethical labor practices is value-added content because it informs your customers about the industry (and implies that your shoes are ethically produced).

Social media is a great tool to connect customers with this type of content, whether you are publishing it directly on your social media profile or linking to it on your website. By publishing the right type of content, you establish your brand as a trustworthy source of information, services, and products, and make customers more likely to buy from you.



how can you drive sales on social media
Value-added content


Generate Leads

In marketing, a lead is anyone who expresses interest in a business. Once you connect with a lead, you can then follow up with that person and target them with specific communication to finalize the lead into a purchasing customer. 

Social media instantly gives you access to countless potential leads without needing to go through the effort of cold-calling people that maybe don’t want to hear from you. By growing your following, you are also growing potential leads that could be pushed to convert with the right marketing on your page. That is how a higher follower count directly connects to more sales.

Paid advertisements on social media are important tools to help you reach more people and generate potential leads. Advertisements can direct customers to your social media accounts or your website, and you will often reach more people than relying on the algorithm to promote your content.


lead generation
Lead generation


Funnel Leads to Other Platforms

Once you grow your following on social media and generate leads, those leads are not confined to your social media platforms. You can funnel leads to other online platforms, such as your website, that eventually lead to more direct sales. Thus, social media can be an important tool for your website growth as well.

You can even use your social media following on one platform to grow another. For example, ask your Facebook fans to follow your Instagram account and entice them with a giveaway. This is helpful if you are breaking into a niche that requires a new social media account later in your marketing journey.

Lead funneling is the process of funneling customers from people who are interested in your business to people who purchase from your business. Your social media platforms give you access to multiple leads, and you can funnel them towards steps of the process that are more likely to result in purchases, such as visiting an online shop.


lead
Lead funneling


The Importance of Communication

As mentioned above, modern customers value businesses that they perceive as trustworthy. One aspect of establishing trust is establishing regular communication prior, during, and after purchases. Social media is an important tool that enables business owners to connect directly with customers like never before.

Previously, if a customer had a question about products, the only option was to call an official business number or never get that question answered. Now, a customer can reach out directly to you through social media. By responding clearly and promptly, you establish your business’s reliability.

Direct messaging tools on social media, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, are important for establishing your reputation as a clear communicator. However, don’t underestimate the power of responding to comments on other platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter. Responding to comments gives you the power of establishing trust, responding to customer concerns, and even minimizing the effect potential negative reviews may have on your business.


the importance of communication through social media
Customer communication


What Social Media Platforms Are Best for Business Owners?

Any social media platform, if used right, can give your business the benefits mentioned above. However, there are so many platforms out there that it is difficult to choose which ones to turn to. As a business owner, you have limited funding and capacity to run countless social media pages in addition to your business.

The following individual guides to each platform can help you decide which ones are the best investment for you and your business.

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Facebook 

There has been a lot of noise lately about how Facebook is growing irrelevant in the ever-changing social media landscape. However, it is still indispensable for many consumers—and many businesses as well. Research by The Manifest found that consumers were more likely to buy a product after seeing advertisements on Facebook than on any other social media platform combined.

With a massive user base, one of the advantages of Facebook marketing is that you are reaching a large base of potential leads. Facebook makes it easy to integrate many different types of content to your page, including videos, photos, and posts. You can even use Facebook creatively to market. For example, you could make Facebook Groups for your dedicated customers.

Another benefit of using Facebook is the developed infrastructure that Facebook has for ads. Facebook advertisements are customizable and highly specialized, making it easier for you to target specific segments of your potential consumer base. Facebook ads also make it easier to funnel people towards your social media pages or your website.

However, many business owners have had difficulty with Facebook. One problem is the algorithm, which changes frequently. Facebook wants to funnel people towards paid advertisements, so it does not do as good a job promoting organic content to an audience—many business owners have complained that Facebook shows their content to only a fraction of their followers. Another problem is the often-negative atmosphere on Facebook’s unregulated platform and the prevalence of negative reviews.

Facebook is an important tool for business owners to connect with potential customers. However, it should not be your only platform.

facebook
Social media platfrom: Facebook


Messenger

One aspect of Facebook that many business owners underutilize is Messenger, Facebook’s built-in direct messaging tool. When you open a Facebook page for your business, you can install Messenger as well.

Messenger for business has a few features that regular Messenger does not. For example, you can make it so that the chat window pops up automatically when customers visit your page, along with a pre-set greeting. Messenger makes it easier to respond to customer communication with instant notifications, pre-saved responses, and automated away messages or responses.

As mentioned above, customers value communication and trustworthiness. If you respond to 90% of messages within 15 minutes, Facebook rewards your account with a “very responsive to messages” badge that lets potential customers know that you are a reliable source.

Messenger also decreases the barriers between turning a lead into a customer. By directing customers to your Messenger, you can take orders directly without needing the customers to put in more effort. Some Facebook ads even allow you to add a widget that takes customers directly to your inbox if they click on it.

If you have a Facebook page for your business, you should make sure that you have Messenger for business as well to ensure that you are giving customers as complete an experience as possible.


facebook messenger
Facebook messenger


Instagram

Instagram is another social media platform owned by Meta, Facebook’s parent company. Instagram marketing is one of the best ways to reach consumers, particularly if your target demographic is on the younger side. With millions of users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps out there, particularly among millennials. Your business has many opportunities to market on the platform, from a dedicated profile to paid, targeted ads to strategic partnerships with influencers.

One of the advantages of using Instagram for marketing is the high rate of engagement. Audiences on Instagram are far more likely to like, comment, or react to your content than on Facebook due to the different algorithms and nature of the audience. As such, your organic content, including posts, stories, and Reels, has a higher likelihood of reaching audiences on Instagram than anywhere else.

Instagram also gives you a lot of return on your investment if you pay for social media advertising. You can pay to sponsor Instagram posts or stories that will show up in user’s feeds and direct them to your profile (although the targeting is not as specific as it is for Facebook ads). Another form of paid advertising on Instagram is influencer marketing. You can pay trusted influencers to show off your product on their feeds, giving you instant access to a new audience.

However, don’t underestimate the amount of work you will have to put in to grow an Instagram presence. Instagram is a very visual medium that demands high-quality content, meaning that you or someone on your team needs to have excellent photography, graphic design, and even video editing skills (thanks to the growth of Reels). 


instagram
Social media platform: Instagram




Snapchat

The reports of Snapchat’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Although many people said that the disappearing photo-sharing app is no longer popular, it is still the favorite social media platform for about 35% of teenagers. If you are targeting a young audience, Snapchat is a great way to reach them, and one that many other businesses are ignoring.

There are a few ways to interact with users (and potential customers) via Snapchat marketing. One is through sponsored stories: quick snippets of disappearing content that Snapchat shows to users via the Discover section. 

One of the best ways that you can use Snapchat is to make use of the platform’s ephemeral nature. Use Snapchat to promote a specific event or sale, particularly to your local audience. You can create a sponsored filter or lens and encourage customers to use it, which will drive brand awareness and engagement. You can even collect user stories into one giant story to promote your event, lens, or filter.

Snapchat is a fun challenge for creative marketers, but the thing that defines the platform, its disappearing nature, also makes it difficult to build consistent brand presence. Snapchat may not be worth it if your target demographic has aged out of using it.


snapchat
Social media platform: Snapchat


TikTok

Another social media platform that is vital if you are targeting a younger audience is TikTok. TikTok, the short-form video sharing platform, has millions of users worldwide. Besides viral young influencers such as Charli D’Amelio, TikTok also is a successful platform for brands. Duolingo is probably the brand that capitalized on this trend the best, but others are also finding success. 

TikTok marketing can take a few different forms. Your business can (and should) make short-form video content such as unboxings or responses to popular sounds and trends. One benefit of TikTok is its interactivity, and your business can take advantage of that by commenting on viral videos and partnering with popular influencers. 

TikTok can also be an opportunity to show off a more laid-back, cheeky side of your business with humorous videos. All it takes is one successful viral video, and you instantly increase your reach. TikTok also has opportunities for paid advertising, although it is comparatively more expensive than other platforms.

However, making content for TikTok is more rigorous and time-consuming than making content for other platforms as you need to be an expert video editor that can work with time limits. The user base on TikTok is far less receptive to sponsored content than on other platforms, and your brand may be ridiculed if you seem too artificial or as if you are trying too hard.


tiktok
Social media platform: TikTok


Pinterest

When listing the top social media platforms, many people neglect Pinterest. Although the star of this social media platform has fallen since it was a tastemaker in the 2010s, it is still the fourth-most popular social media platform in the United States. 

Businesses have a few opportunities for Pinterest marketing. You can make sponsored pins showing off your product in a high-quality visual format. Pinterest also allows you target users for sponsored posts via their demographics but also their interests, keywords, and behavior. Pinterest ads are more interactive than paid posts on other platforms because the company encourages users to pin ads to their own boards for inspiration.

However, the same features that make Pinterest a good idea for some businesses make it a bad idea for others. Pinterest’s demographics are heavily skewed towards women younger than 45, so if your target audience falls outside of that demographic, Pinterest isn’t for you. The nature of marketing on Pinterest is highly visual, which works better for a company selling clothes than a business selling freelance web design services.


Twitter

Twitter is another platform that many marketers dismiss as a valid avenue for lead generation. However, Twitter is more than a forum for journalists and politicians, it is also a great way for businesses to reach a new audience.

Twitter allows you to grow your reach organically and with paid advertising. You can make your own account with short-form tweets and link to longer content on your website. Twitter’s features such as hashtags make it easier to widen your reach.

 A particularly useful facet of Twitter marketing is the opportunity to sponsor tweets or your account. This places your content in people’s feeds or on a suggested following list.

Twitter is important for tracking the conversation around your business and your industry. You can conduct marketing research by scrolling through relevant hashtags and seeing what people are saying about your industry. Twitter also makes it easier to respond to people with concerns about your business, they can either DM or tag you.

However, one of the main drawbacks of managing a Twitter for your business is the sheer amount of effort required to build a consistent presence. The conversation on Twitter is constantly changing and requires a lot of effort to keep up with the latest trends.


twitter
Social media platform: Twitter


YouTube

YouTube receives billions of visits a month, and some of those visits could be to your channel. By making educational videos, you can reach more people and drive them to your website. By optimizing your title and description with searchable keywords, you reach more people.

Paid advertisements are also an important aspect of YouTube marketing. You can pay to have your content play before a video or display a sidebar or pop-up during a video.

Although YouTube offers opportunities for organic and paid marketing, the barrier for entry is higher than for other social media platforms as you need to be familiar with video editing.


youtube
Social media platform: YouTube

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as the professional world’s social network. If you are a B2B business or otherwise looking to attract a more professional clientele, then LinkedIn marketing is a crucial tool.

One of the best ways to use LinkedIn is as an organic way to build your platform. By posting value-added content consistently, interacting with consumers and brands, and sharing updates about your business, you place your brand in many people’s feeds. LinkedIn also makes it easier to share external links than other social media platforms, meaning that you can funnel people towards your website.

While LinkedIn makes it easier to boost your engagement by search-optimizing your profile and using hashtags, it still requires a learning curve compared to some other, more intuitive social media platforms. It may not be the platform of choice if you are in a less “professional” industry.

linkedin
Social media platform: LinkedIn


WeChat

WeChat is a social media and messaging app popular in China and among those of Chinese descent living outside of the mainland. WeChat marketing encourages organic growth by driving people to your profile. Its profiles are multipurpose, and you can add sales and chat buttons to your profile, streamlining the process of communicating with consumers and encouraging them to buy.

However, WeChat is geographically limited in its popularity. If your target audience is not Chinese, it does not make much sense to invest in marketing via WeChat.


WhatsApp

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, and an underutilized marketing platform for businesses, particularly in regions of the world where it is more popular such as Latin America. Sending messages through WhatsApp is a great way to build direct communication with customers, personalize advertisements (for example, for a birthday), and nudge people towards a purchase.

WhatsApp messages have a higher interaction rate than other forms of advertising, as people have not developed skepticism towards brands in chat apps yet. However, WhatsApp is better for connecting with existing leads and funneling them towards sales then building new ones as the platform does not encourage discovery.


whatsapp
Messaging app: WhatsApp


Reddit

Reddit, also known as the front page of the Internet, is where many people go to get reliable answers for their questions and find community. By building a presence on Reddit, you can inspire great brand loyalty.

However, building a consistent Reddit marketing presence is not just about dumping a bunch of paid advertisements and leaving. Your business needs to add value to the community, and Redditors are, as a culture, hostile towards brands interfering in their space. Use Reddit as a tool to listen to trends, respond to customer concerns, and build community through events such as AMAs.

Reddit has the potential to reach large audiences, particularly if your target demographic is young and male, but it requires a very delicate touch.


Medium

Medium is a blog-publishing site that has a more social aspect to it because users can follow writers and publishers and easily share their work. If you are looking for a place to share long-form content, Medium is one of the best platforms to do so.

Medium is a great way to build an audience, often by republishing the same content that you already have on your website. However, converting leads on Medium is harder as there is no option to gather contact information. Writing regular long-form content is also a lot of work.


medium
Blog publishing site: Medium


How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Businesses

Now that you have an idea of the different social media platforms, their advantages, and disadvantages, you can start making your accounts. The first step is choosing the right platforms.

It’s better to have a few platforms where you post consistently than having inactive accounts on 10 different social media websites. Almost every business should have Facebook as most customers look to Facebook first to see if a business is reliable or not. Then, add two or three other social media platforms.

When choosing your social media platforms, think about your target demographics. What platforms are they using? For example, if your primary target demographic is millennial women, then you should have a presence on Instagram and Pinterest.

You should also think about the kind of content that you are willing and able to create. If nobody on your team knows how to edit videos, then YouTube and TikTok are not the platforms for you. It is better to do a few things well than to overexert yourself and have an unprofessional, low-quality presence on many platforms.

What Social Media Strategies Can Drive Sales?

Once you know which social media platforms you will be using, you can come up with your social media strategy. Your strategy should include the goals that you have for each platform, for example a follower count, engagement rate, or clickthrough rate. You should also plan out your content to give yourself time and energy to maintain a consistent presence.

Besides content, your social media strategy should include other strategies for driving sales.

Influencer Marketing

One of the most important strategies for boosting your brand’s social media presence is influencer marketing. Influencers are people that have many followers on social media and are seen as authorities in their niche. Their followers trust them so a recommendation from them holds more weight due to the personal touch (just as with Oppizi’s Brand Ambassadors). 

Research popular influencers in your niche and reach out to ask about their rates for sponsored posts, including different formats such as Instagram stories and Reels. Partnering with influencers is a great way to grow your reach and generate new leads that are more likely to convert.


influencer
Influencer marketing

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are another form of paid advertising on social media that can help you grow your reach. Many social media platforms have algorithms that boost sponsored posts over organic content, enabling you to reach more people.

Before paying for advertising, research your target audience. Many social media platforms allow you to target specific demographics, so knowing who you want to target before you purchase ads is important. Be sure to research formatting requirements to ensure that your ad is approved. Include a strong call to action and a clickable button (if possible) that leads to your page or messaging channels.


Tools to Manage Your Social Media Strategy

If social media marketing seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. That’s why companies have developed different tools to help business owners and influencers manage their social media.

Many social media platforms rely on creative visuals to get traffic, not just Instagram. Even if you’re not a professional graphic designer or video editor, tools such as Canva and Biteable make those types of content accessible to everyone.

Social media growth requires consistent posting, particularly during peak hours, but you’re not going to remember every time. Scheduling tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite make creating posts ahead of time and managing multiple social media accounts easily.

Finally, if what you need help with is tracking engagement and success, research tools such as Buzzsumo help you keep track of the conversations around your brand on social media.


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How Can You Track the Success of Your Social Media Accounts?

Just creating content and flinging it into the world is not enough. Ideally, you should know how well your social media marketing campaign is performing. That allows you to adjust future campaigns to have more success and to know where to invest your energy.

The first step is deciding which Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, to track. KPIs are metrics that give you concrete numbers that define the success of your campaign. Popular KPIs to track the success of a social media campaign include follower counts, engagement rates, engagement rates, and click-through rates. Which KPIs you track depend on your goals for a specific campaign.

Many social media platforms have built-in analytical tools that allow you to track these KPIs. For example, Instagram Business or Creator accounts have access to Insights, a tab that tells you the demographic of your followers, the click-through rate on links in your stories, and the performance of each of your posts.

If you want more detailed analytics, external apps such as Hootsuite also offer tools to help you track key KPIs. Knowing these KPIs can help you tailor content better to fit your followers or adjust your strategy to improve conversion rates.


the most important social media kpis
Social media Key Performance Indicators


What Are Other Ways to Grow Your Online Presence?

Social media is an important tool to help you reach more people, but it is by no means the only method of achieving website growth and a sizable online presence. Here are some other business practices to help you succeed in the 21st century.

SEO Reach

One of the best ways to reach more people is to focus on developing website content that is SEO-friendly. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it helps your website rank higher on search engines such as Google for certain keywords. People trust search engines to show them results that are relevant to their needs, so they are more likely to turn to your website if it ranks higher. It’s also common knowledge that being on the second page of Google is akin to burying your business.

SEO encompasses a wide variety of techniques, from keyword research to content writing to technically optimizing your website to fit Google parameters. If you are serious about reaching more people this way, you can hire an SEO specialist or take free courses to learn how to do it yourself.


Search Engine Ads

Besides ranking high organically, there are other ways to push your website in front of search engine users. You can buy advertising space on Google or Bing.

Google and Bing ads appear on the search page for relevant keywords or similar businesses and on the search engine’s other products, such as Google Maps. The ads are usually some of the first results on the search page, ensuring that your business will get in front of people’s eyes.

If you are interested in this form of online advertising, seek out resources specifically about this topic.


google search
Google search

Offline Advertising

Even though online advertising is rightfully attracting plenty of attention from business owners looking to smartly distribute their resources, that does not mean that you should neglect offline advertising. Traditional forms of advertising such as billboards and even word-of-mouth are beneficial because they help you reach people that may not be online, and target people within a specific location that are more likely to shop at your business.

Offline forms of advertising can also drive more people to your online business or website. A targeted flyer campaign through Oppizi can help you reach more people within your target audience. The memorable nature of your leaflets can also encourage more traffic towards your website. 

Even if your business is exclusively online, don’t underestimate the power of offline marketing. A successful marketing campaign will have a holistic approach that incorporates many tools, strategies, and technologies to ensure that you reach as many people within your target demographic as possible.


brand ambassador
Flyer distribution at Oppizi


Social Media Best Practices for Business Owners

If you are running your own business in 2022, you have to have a social media presence. Social media is how you can reach a wider audience, generate leads, and funnel leads to other steps, such as visiting your website, that will convert them into paying customers. Having a social media presence is also crucial to establishing trust among potential customers, who often check social media for reviews and useful content before deciding to purchase something.

Facebook is still crucial to business owners, but you should have two or three other social media platforms that can help you reach a wider audience (and generate more engagement than on Facebook). Choose your other social media platforms based on your capabilities to produce content and on your target demographics.

While organic content is important to generate a following online, don’t underestimate the importance of paid advertising. Paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms works with the algorithm to boost your profile and reach more viewers. By reaching more people, you reach more potential customers who will hopefully purchase something. 


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