We’ve already discussed a little about building communities through social media, some different methods to generate content, and how to cater to your audience’s needs. But what about generating viable leads from your social media pages? How do you take those comments and likes and turn them into sales?
In truth, it’s rare for social media to be an ecommerce brand’s highest converting lead generation channel. If it is, it could mean you’re missing out on opportunities in email marketing and organic search. That being said, it’s still advisable to regard social media not simply as a community building tool, but also as a potential source of leads for your sales funnel.
The challenge with social is that explicit marketing and promotional material can have an extremely intrusive effect – even more so than with email and other direct channels. Social media platforms are viewed as extremely personal spaces by their users; ones in which identities are safely expressed and intimate relationships are maintained. Privacy, spam and freedom of speech are serious issues, and users will aggressively defend their perceived freedoms (even if they’re not legally protected!).
It’s extremely important to respect your audience’s needs when posting and responding on social media. Keep your posts value-oriented and honest – attempts to silence, mislead or misrepresent your audience could lead to a PR disaster!
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most popular formulas for eCommerce lead generation on social media. We’re going to be balancing three distinct content types in equal measure. The goal is to maintain an attractive, value-driven framework through which promotional material can be leveraged without reducing your pages to a spam channel.
Post type one: Branded value content
This is the bread and butter of your social strategy; branded content that offers practical value to your consumers through informative, educational, emotive, problem-solving, or fun content. Ideal content for this post type could be a summary and link to a recent blog post, branded how-to videos, guides, recipes, stories, news, or any useful content related to your niche. Try to present the content in an engaging, conversational, and narrative way. People love stories!
The goal of this content type is to encourage your audience to regard your page as a source of fun, useful information, and to share your content on their own pages. This will stimulate interaction on your site, and raise your brand profile across the platform and in your readers’ minds. Remember, our goal here isn’t to encourage users to click or take any action, but simply to provide value on the page.
Content type two: Third-party (off-brand) value content
Type one content is great for delivering value to your audience, but it has its challenges. Firstly, it’s a huge amount of work to create enough branded content to fill an entire social media strategy. Secondly, by posting exclusively branded content, you’re giving the impression that you’re only concerned with promoting your company name. People want to see that you’re interested in sharing the best ideas in your niche, not just selling your own agenda.
By posting high quality off-brand content, you’re demonstrating a passionate engagement with your area of expertise – something your audience will be excited to relate to. You’ll also boost the value of your page without having to spend time and money building content yourself.
Remember though, that off-brand doesn’t mean off-topic. Your users are visiting your page for news and info about your niche; make sure your content is relevant to their goals and needs.
Post type three: Call-to-action content
This is where we really start to generate leads for your business. Call-to-action content is content that explicitly asks your user to perform some action, usually to sign up or buy your product. The key with a great call to action is to show clear, relevant value and promote the benefits of the action to your user. It’s also best to bait the lead with some kind of money-off promotion or a lead magnet (e.g. exclusive long-form PDFs, video content, webinars etc). Try to avoid asking your audience to do something without offering them something in return; they’re not doing you a favour!
If you’ve provided enough value with the first two types of content, don’t worry too much about being pushy or ‘salesy’ in your call to action. You’ll have built up a relationship of trust with your user and earnt their permission to market to you. Go for the hard sell and get those leads.
So there you have it: one part branded content, one part off-brand content, and one part call-to-action content – the holy trinity of social media for eCommerce. When these three elements are working in harmony on your pages you’ll be able to create a thriving community with leads and sales slowly trickling down into your funnel.
You can also use this schema to diagnose problems on your social media pages. Not getting enough likes and shares? Try improving your type one or type two content. Not seeing any leads from your pages? Address the value and frequency of your call-to-action content.
If you have any questions about generating eCommerce leads via social media, don’t hesitate to drop them to us in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!