How Companies Can Use Social Media as a Sales Pipeline

It's crucial to understand how to use this game-changing tool to propel your brand-and bottom line-forward.

Social media is one of the web's most flourishing, ever-evolving phenomena, connecting people to a Cambrian Explosion of communities, information, and services. Just as the most powerful innovations-from electricity to computers-infiltrate nearly every aspect of our lives, social media has likewise come to play an integral role in not just our social spheres, but the vitality of business.

With social media's impact on client-business relations only picking up speed as time goes by, it's crucial to understand how to use this game-changing tool to propel your brand-and bottom line-forward. Let's start with why.

Why Focus on Social Strategy?

So much of business lies in interacting with your customers. But first, you have to capture the opportunities to do so. Social media channels provide a huge opportunity to touch base with your customers and stay on their radars. Through the channels of social media you'll be able to:

  1. Increase your brand recognition. This means you'll be more accessible, allowing people to identify and find your company more easily.
  2. Reach more potential customers. Since every single engagement gives a fan, follower, or visitor a chance to react (by liking a photo, commenting on a post, or sharing your content), social media can quickly grab people's attention and pave the way for them to become active customers.
  3. Improve your SEO. The more activity you have on social media, the more search engines will guide customers to your content. Even though effective SEO principles are always changing, strong, positive signals from social media represent a significant part of the puzzle.

What Constitutes a Successful Social Strategy?

In constructing an effective strategy, there are some solid methods for turning your social channels into pipelines for sales. You can:

  1. Link back to your website. Putting links that lead to your website in content is the bread and butter of any SEO campaign. As links to your website abound, the more search engines will recognize its importance in the scheme of web traffic and point people to your online presence. Moreover, linking back to your website will lead people to the next step in the process of conversion, whether they're able to simply learn more about your products or actually buy your products.
  2. Be personable-or, at least human. While the contemporary shopping experience has changed, customers still want to feel like they're doing business with people, not blanket, human-less entities. Some of the most successful strategies include using a more natural tone and fostering authentic interactions as if communicating one-on-one rather than presenting a bland "company voice" all around. Remember, even though you may be trying to reach a large audience, each person can only relate to you as an individual, not en masse as one giant organism. So, it's important to cultivate your posts as if you're connecting with a real individual person, not a concept.
  3. Contextualize. Social media can significantly help to shed light on what your customers really think, how they behave, and what's important to them. This, in turn, allows you to gain insight into what kind of information they may want to receive and what content is most compelling. Likewise, you can identify your top-performing posts and understand what type of activities are most effective in generating sales.

How Do You Enrich Your Customer's Social Experience?

Every single interaction with a customer, or potential customer, offers brands an opportunity to be helpful and enrich relationships. A little post can go a long way, so view these windows as prime chances to be your best self. Here's how:

  1. Respond quickly. If a customer complains or gives a compliment about your company, be on top of it. The online world is never stagnate and, as a result, not at all patient. Although it can feel demanding, timely communication can make all the difference in garnering more fans or losing loyal customers.
  2. React appropriately. It's not enough to just respond immediately to a customer's feedback, it's essential to do it properly. Many a company have experienced the pitfalls of reacting brashly to a customer's complaint; and the bigger the following, the longer the fall. So make sure to represent your brand within the most considerate mode of interaction possible.
  3. Show, don't just tell. It may be tempting to post a bunch of pictures showcasing company products and offers, but social engagement is largely dependent on treating online networks as an avenue for quality exchange instead of a billboard for the most ads. Instead of spotlighting only your own products, post a photo of your product in someone else's work, giving props to the people and companies involved. Like in life, it's most effective to let people see who you are and how you collaborate, rather than telling them what to think.