How to Best Utilize Social Media to Increase Sales

Photo courtesy of @glendalenest on Twitter.

The great thing about social media is that it is the best for building virtual community.

Through social media, users are able to connect with people across the city, nation, and globe about the things they care about.  This provides an invaluable opportunity for businesses to create communities around their brand that could result in more sales.

But how do you build social media communities that increase sales? Here are five beginning steps.  

1. FLIP CHANNELS

It is important to find out which platform your target audience is already using. If they use Instagram 60% of the time and Snapchat 40% of the time, for example, you will know which channels to invest time into (and which ones not to).

Question: What social media channels does your target market use?

2. LISTEN UP

Unlike television or radio ads, social media provides a way for you to have a two-way conversation with your target audience.  Before you speak, though, you have the opportunity to “listen” to what that audience is saying by scrolling through pages where conversations are already happening.  This can allow you to strategize in creating your social media plan according to not only your business goals, but also what your market actually values, wants and needs. And listening helps your business adapt its message according to changes in these areas over time.

Question: What hashtags does your target audience use? What are some current conversations happening among the members?

3. FIND A VOICE

Social media is a great way for you to communicate the heart and soul of your business. After listening to your ideal customers and assessing your brand’s strengths and goals, what kind of personality would authentically create community around your brand? Perhaps your content will be witty, generating posts that shows the skilled yet comical side of your company. Or maybe it will be confessional and professional, focusing on the challenges and successes of the journey to success, with a more peer-to-peer voice. In short, find your brand’s distinct personality, and stick with it!

Question: With what audience does your brand need to connect? What kind of content would they want to show up in their feed?

3. ASK ‘SO WHAT?’

So you sell something awesome. So what? When it comes to social media communication, users don’t just want to hear about your product or service; they want to see and share things they care about. The best way to facilitate that on your brand’s page is to share not only your own content, but others’ as well.

Heinz Marketing relays TA McCann’s 5-3-2 Rule for social media marketing, which states that out of 10 posts:

  • 5 posts should be content you find from outside sources that align with your brand’s voice
  • 3 posts should be content by your business (that do not mention any promotions or sales)
  • 2 posts should be non-business related and are simply meant to show your brand’s personality

The 5-3-2 Rule is one way to keep your brand’s communication focused and relevant to your audience.

Question: What pages, blogs, accounts and other places does my audience follow? What kind of images, posts, articles, or links do they share and engage with?

5. TALK BACK

The first four steps pave the way for what makes social media so useful: engagement. Ideally, engagement is conversations on a post and shares. When your audiences takes time to comment on your post (whether positive or negative), it demonstrates that they are invested in your post’s message, whereas shares demonstrate that they are invested enough to encourage others to listen. (Note: Likes should not be the goal, as they are the most minimal form of engagement and don’t reveal much about the audience’s attitude at all.) Answer questions, respond to insights, seek to understand complaints. Social media is a two-way street and comments are the opportunity to humanize your brand and talk back!

Question: How will your team respond to comments and other forms of engagement?

As you use these five steps to generate meaningful content day by day, you will eventually build an authentic social media community that is loyal to your brand. And loyalty translates to increased sales. What will you social media community look like?

This article was written by Spirit Factory, a DECA National Advisory Board partner and Corporate Social Media Correspondent. Learn more about Spirit Factory and how it can help your DECA chapter here, and check out the Spirit Factory Blog for more SBE tips!

Categories: Chapter Development, Chapter Resources, Comprehensive Learning Program, School-based Enterprises

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