Whether we like it or not, social media has changed the marketing game for businesses in general. To start, businesses and customers have gained a new way to communicate with each other. Instead of the one-way communication we used to have before (brands reaching out to customers), now the interaction goes both ways. Customers can interact with businesses in real time and get backed up by millions of people in social media platforms. In turn, this puts more pressure on brands to be responsive and attentive.
In addition to higher levels of communication, customers also have the power to create content. Thus, brands don’t only have to compete with other brands for attention, but they also have to compete with regular people making content — which is, many times, the content that goes viral! You know — the cat, puppy, and kids videos and memes that get shared thousands of times.
Put simply, customers have more power than ever before.
They have more power to express themselves, create, and block advertisements from businesses. While many businesses may see this lack of control as a disadvantage, I encourage you to see it and use it to your advantage. Customers are already telling you what they want, so listen.
They are already showing you what they like with the content they create, so create similar and relevant content.
Most importantly, make them your stars by showcasing them in your content.
With this mindset, I’d like to show you some creative ways to acquire new customers, drive sales, and keep them coming back to purchase again.
How to Acquire Customers with Social Media
Before getting into the tactics, I would like set some expectations and give you other valuable information to keep in mind. First, understand that your social media strategy may be a long-term investment, depending on the stage your business is in.
You’re going to have to have to make an effort to connect with your followers before you ask them to make a purchase, and building that connection takes time. The good news is that you can increase loyalty once the connection is built.
In addition, keep in mind that most people won’t make a purchase right away. Almost 20 percent of people need to see a social post or ad 5–8 times before making a purchase. Fortunately, you can get very strategic with remarketing advertising and get in front of your customers at the right time, with the right message.
1. Use Clever Ways to Sell Your Products Without Selling
The idea, here, is to find innovative ways to showcase your products in different contexts. It’s selling without directly selling.
People often use social media as a break from reality or a source for entertainment and are not actively looking to buy something, so they tend to block “buy from me” direct-selling ads. However, by giving them what they are looking for (entertainment), you can catch their attention and encourage them to make a purchase or, at the very least, follow you. Use the following ways to showcase your products:
According to Google, memes are “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.”
Memes are often comical, which makes them entertaining and highly engaging. Use memes to your advantage to increase engagement with your brand while promoting your products and creating a “feel” or personality for your brand. Memes work well across all social media platforms.
For example, see how Gucci promoted their new watch on Facebook with this meme:
It does not directly say “Hey, we have this new amazing watch, come buy it,” but it uses a comical meme with a strategically positioned picture of the watch to promote it.
If you think memes are dumb, or they won’t work for your business, see what happened with Vans and the “Damn Daniel, back at it again with the white vans” viral video. A simple video made by high school students became a viral meme and helped Vans increase their sales.
Business Insider reported that Vans reported first-quarter earnings, on Friday, and beat expectations for profits and sales. It said direct-to-consumer sales spiked 20 percent, while online sales jumped 30 percent. Steven Rendle, the COO of Vans also added: “Of course, how could we not mention Daniel, as in ‘Damn Daniel’, which, as you can imagine, did have a strong impact on the sales of White Vans, which saw 100 percent sell-through in both retail direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels. “
Wow … all because of a simple meme.
b. Videos and Other Innovative Ways to Promote Products
Another way to sell without selling is to showcase products in real life. This can be done with the help of lifestyle shoots or more innovative creations, such as the post below:
This was another post by Gucci on Facebook to promote their new watch. It’s a visually appealing reminder that their new watch is out, without making a direct sell. The brand wisely made a whole series of engaging posts like the one above to remind their customers about their new watch. They used a combination of memes, videos, and simple images in the series. It is a smart way to promote a product in different and engaging ways without repeating the same message.
2. Use Influencers to Build Trust
Some of the biggest drivers of sales in social media and marketing, in general, are reviews and recommendations. A product suggestion from a friend, family member, or person one looks up to builds instant trust toward the brand: “If a friend likes it, it must be good.”
Instagram, in particular, is a great platform to use influencers to a business’s advantage. Choose someone who is an authority in your industry and have them wear or use your product. This is how Mac Cosmetics used influencers to their advantage:
They sell cosmetic products, so they partnered with a trusted source for makeup recommendations on Instagram: a makeup artist with almost 80k followers.
The influencer’s followers and Mac’s followers will see these posts and make a connection between the trusted makeup artist and Mac. This builds trusts and support for the brand.
3. Use Remarketing to Close the Sale
Mixed in with entertaining posts, you have to also advertise the more traditional way. This would be the more common method of offering ads that provide buttons which are linked to your website. Use them wisely by tracking conversions with tracking codes.
These tracking codes and other Facebook tools will allow you show remarketing ads to people who have previously visited your site or shown interest in your products. Targeting these warm leads will improve your chances of making a sale. Use the following recommendations when creating your next remarketing campaigns on Facebook:
a. Custom Audiences
Facebook provides very powerful options to remarket to people who have previously visited a website with the use of Custom Audiences. You can create audiences based on the last time someone landed on your site and specific pages visited, or even create an audience using a customer list.
Using these custom audiences provides you a higher chance to drive sales because these leads are “hot.” They have visited your website, and they are familiar with your brand. These ads will encourage them to visit your website again and make a purchase or make their first purchase.
b. Engagement Custom Audiences
This type of custom audience allows you to target people who have previously engaged with your Facebook content. You can create an engagement audience based on people who have viewed your videos, opened your lead forms, or engaged with your Canva ads. Thus, these targets have not necessarily visited your website, just interacted with your content, but they are also “warm” leads. They already showed interest in your product or brand; it is just a matter of staying in front of them to encourage them to buy.
c. Lookalike Audiences
Once you set up your audiences, you can use lookalike audiences to expand your reach. These are people who are most similar to your audiences, so they will probably also be interested in your products. In addition, showing your ads to people who find them relevant can increase your relevance score and decrease your cost per lead. According to Facebook, eCommerce company Shopify saw a 2X decrease in cost per lead when using lookalikes of their website visitors.
Wrapping It Up
Social media can be a very powerful platform to gain new customers, nurture “warm leads,” and engage with existing customers to encourage them to visit your website again. However, you have to be innovative and strategic with your efforts. Use entertaining content to promote products without directly selling.
Also, use influencers to build social proof for your brand. Once you have built engagement and traffic to your site, you can easily remarket this audience to get the most out of your pay per click dollars and calculate your ROI. Finally, remember to manage your social media platforms closely and make optimizations as necessary.
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock