Social selling has become something of a buzzword that helps fuel business growth, but it is much more than that. Rather, it is the process of relationship building as part of a sales process to find, connect with, understand, and nurture prospects and customers. In other words, by engaging in activities like sharing relevant content, interacting directly with potential buyers and customers, personal branding, and social listening, you can build a predictable growth engine for your business. The key is social media content. Learn how to make social media content your business growth engine.
To conduct social selling effectively, it’s necessary to have the right social media content based on four foundational elements:
- Creating a professional brand
- Focusing on the right audience of future customers
- Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert by engaging your audience with industry insights or research
- Building trust with current and future customers by providing helpful content and perspectives that address the challenges they face
Take the global logistics market as an example. This market alone was worth $1.2 Billion in 2017, and this value increases every year. A.P. MOLLER-MAERSK, an integrated transport, and logistics company claims its share of this industry through social media marketing.
They have a massive following on Facebook with over three million subscribers and over half a million followers on LinkedIn. Posts like this one help the company engage with its target audience on social media:
How to make social media content your business growth engine
If you are wondering how to create a predictable growth engine for your business, this post will show you 10 proven social media content strategies to grow your business faster and more easily.
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1. Choose the Right Platforms
Today, multiple social media platforms are available to achieve anything from connecting with old classmates to engaging in social activism, and everything in between.
With so many options, how does a business choose the right ones for their social media audience?
Ask your target audience what platforms they prefer and monitor where they interact the most. Then pick one or a couple of platforms to focus on. It’s likely that one or more of the 6 major platforms below will feature on your list.
Facebook: With more than two billion active monthly users, the site is ideal for Business to Consumer (B2C) companies that want to generate leads and build relationships.
LinkedIn: The platform for business networking is useful for both Business to Business (B2B) and B2C businesses to create trust, build authority, and engage audiences.
Twitter: This platform is perfect for businesses that need to stay on top of time-sensitive information like breaking news, announcements, and trending topics.
Pinterest: This photo-sharing site is ideal for B2C companies with visual appeal (think fashion, beauty, consumer products, art, travel, weddings, etc.). Allowing purchases directly through the platform helps drive direct sales because many users look to the site to plan their purchases.
Instagram: This visual and photo sharing site is one of the fastest growing social media networks, and businesses can leverage it by sharing user-generated content, short videos, stories, and exclusive promotions while building relationships with influencers to drive brand recognition and loyalty.
Snapchat: The platform is not quite as popular as it once was when it was known as the expiring content platform. However, businesses can still leverage it by offering promotions, providing personalized content, giving exclusive access, and building relationships with influencers to drive brand recognition and loyalty.
2. Increase Leads
According to Social Media Examiner’s 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, more than 70% of marketers use social media to generate leads. Additionally, Ascend2 reports that improving lead quality is the top priority for businesses.
To use social media content to generate quality leads, you can promote gated content that’s valuable to your audience.
MarketingProfs, for example, regularly promotes online events like the forum below to its audience. By using images of recognizable speakers, they attract the attention of their target audience. Moreover, by keeping the message clear and straightforward, they can set expectations for the audience.
This lineup for our Content Marketing Online Forum this June is FIRE 🔥🔥🔥 And it's free! Free fire? Heck yes. Get in now ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ https://t.co/6X7OkVghhe @JoeLazauskas @contently @Uberflip @jschiss pic.twitter.com/PCQcmss9fD
— Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs) May 24, 2019
You can do the same by:
- Designing graphics that are visually appealing and consistent with branding guidelines
- Writing specifically for your social media audience
- Including a call to action that creates a sense of scarcity and or urgency
3. Tell Stories
According to a study by The Manifest and Smart Insights, 24% of social media marketers said that their top challenges included developing a formal strategy and building a community of followers.
Engaging your audience on social media isn’t particularly difficult. But it does require you to share your brand story in a way that resonates with your target audience. The idea of storytelling has not changed over time, but the mediums we use have. Telling a great story requires you to evoke a reaction.
Dove markets its DermaSeries products in a low-key fashion through stories of real customers who use their products. After all, people who struggle with eczema, psoriasis, or dry skin know how troublesome and sensitive these conditions can be. Their Instagram feed shares stories like the one below.
View this post on Instagram
“I am beautiful because of my skin, not despite of it. The bumps remind me of the mountains I had to climb to get to where I am. The redness reminds me of the pain I’ve already endured, and the stares people give me remind me to be kind. By posting this I hope it reminds you of the strength your scars give you 💙💙” – @sirenamarie.cruz #DoveDermaSeries #DermaSeries #Regram #Eczema #EczemaWarrior #SkinStories #LoveYourSkin #Scars #Strength #Confidence #SkinCondition
How can you incorporate storytelling into your social media content? Try this:
- Show the human side of your business by sharing what you are doing, learning, or sharing behind the scenes
- Share the evolution of your brand’s story and provide updates as it continues to unfold
- Work narratives into updates and features
- Share consecutive posts to tell a broader story
4. Beat the Competition
With more companies allocating resources, time, and money to content marketing than ever before, you will need to beat the competition to gain your audience’s attention on social media. A smart way of doing this is by keeping an eye out for what works for your competitors and then producing something better.
By using a tool like Buzzsumo, you can easily identify which content performs well on social media. In the example below, a search for the term “dog food” shows several popular articles, and shows that it is a topic that does well on Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter.
It is also possible to investigate further and identify the links that an article receives. In the image below you can see a list of several articles that have included a link to the article – “Popular Grain-Free Dog Foods May Be Linked to Heart Disease”.
After analyzing the content and identifying the reasons why people link to the article, you could create something that provides additional value or offers further insights to give it a higher chance of visibility on social media and even press coverage.
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5. Create Content in Different Formats
If you only share one type of content, then you’re likely to alienate a portion of your audience. To engage them, you’ll need to create different types of content formats that will build a lasting relationship with your social media audience.
Content formats could include:
- Opinion posts
- Case studies
- Animated graphics
Buffer, for example, shares their annual State of Social survey results in which they analyze the survey results of social media marketers.
Moreover, you can share snippets or updates on social media like the following Facebook post:
6. Convert Popular Social Media Posts into Blog Posts
There are millions of conversations happening on social media at any given time. While it can be difficult to keep track of it all, the good news is that these conversations could contain the information you need to create stellar posts for your social media platforms and blog.
Barry Feldman created an infographic called the A to Z Guide to Personal Branding, which was shared so much that, together with Seth Price, he co-authored a book, The Road to Recognition: The A-to-Z Guide to Personal Branding for Accelerating Your Professional Success in The Age of Digital Media that explored each of the elements outlined in the infographic.
In addition to monitoring the competition, search for relevant hashtags on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram and find the questions that your target audience is asking. Doing so will allow you to find trending topics of discussion and engage in relevant conversations.
For example, searching for the term “sturgeon spearing” on YouTube leads to this video by The Hunting Public, which has also done quite well on Facebook.
Searching for the hashtag #salesforce on Instagram brought up this video:
7. Educate, Entertain, and Inspire
With the incredible reach that social media platforms offer, it is possible to educate, entertain, and inspire your audiences with content.
For example, The Hunting Public used a video in line with their usual content to promote a product on Facebook; judging by the number of views, it was well received by their audience.
Author and aviation expert, Fabrizio Poli, who also specializes in aircraft sales to private jet management, creates several posts to address his audience’s questions. For example, he created a post on LinkedIn titled, “Should I buy a Boeing BBJ Max?”
Targeted posts that speak to his potential audience allow him to build connections on LinkedIn and, in turn, make sales as his audience begin to view him as an authority and expert in this space.
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8. Build Trust with Your Target Audience
Your social media content offers more than just a means to promote and sell your products or services. It allows you to build trust with your fans and future customers.
In the survey conducted by Social Media Examiner, 71% of marketers surveyed agreed that social media helped develop loyal fans.
So, how can you create content that builds trust?
Ensure that the content is authentic, unique, relatable, and engaging for your audience. Collaborating with an influencer not only helps promote your product or service but also incorporates trust-building qualities into your content.
When influencers share their personal experiences in using your product or service, their stories are real, engaging, and authentic, and offer relatable stories that your fans and future customers could easily relate to.
Platforms like Grin or Buzzweb can make finding relevant and trustworthy influencers easier for you. Their advanced filters can help narrow down your search based on several metrics like engagement rate, niche, and follower count.
Take, for example, a collaboration that GE entered into. Lena Dunham’s feminist online publication Lenny Letter has a loyal female audience on social media. GE collaborated with them to encourage more women to enter the tech industry.
The centerpiece of the weeklong campaign was an interview between Lena Dunham and GE Vice Chair, Beth Comstock. The interview covered women in the media, what a career in science looks like, and how GE encourages women in tech.
A key objective of the campaign was to humanize the company. The campaign tied in with a series of recruiting commercials designed to encourage young people to join the company as industrial internet developers. The Facebook post below is an example from their campaign
9. Establish Your Brand as the Go-To Resource
Social media platforms can help establish your brand as a subject matter expert. In other words, you can enable your brand to become the go-to resource or guide for a particular topic or niche. However, how can you use social media help you establish this level of authority? Post content relevant to your niche and do so regularly; search engines will then start to recognize your brand’s authority in that space.
If the domain where you post content has a high authority, it will help with ranking your pages and generating high-quality traffic to your website. A tool like Mozbar can help determine the page and domain authority of the site. In the snapshot of a Google search on Dog Food below, you’ll notice how Mozbar displays the domain authority and page authority below each link on the web page.
10. Maximize Conversions
If you are struggling to improve your ROI or want to generate more customers through social media, look at your social media conversion strategy by doing the following:
1. Get more eyes on your products and services by utilizing video
There is a reason why brands now use video-centric posts and ads so often; they can increase conversions and time spent on the page. BigCommerce, for example, ran a Facebook ad campaign by using social video and tripled their free trial conversions.
2. Add a strong CTA
A clear call to action helps motivate and directs potential customers on what action to take next. It is not necessary to issue a call to action directly, like “Buy Now.” Instead, an appealing call to action that addresses an issue for your potential customer could be quite useful. Consider, for example, the banner that Agorapulse uses on its Facebook page.
A similar banner or ad could be used anywhere on social media platforms to direct and motivate future customers to visit your website and sign up for a purchase. The key to a strong call to action is to make the step engaging; otherwise, it will demotivate people from acting on it.
3. Measure and split test your content and call to action
Like with any other form of marketing, your social media content also needs to be measured. Having marketing metrics in place and analyzing your social media conversion rate is critical. You could test elements like your headlines, visuals, captions, and call to actions in a phased manner to determine what resonates best with your audience.
Once you determine what types of content score the most engagement and drive the most traffic to your website, you can begin to understand your posts based on data. The data in turn, allow you to adjust your content strategy to align with your social media conversion strategy.
Remember, no brand will get it “right” on its first attempt. Increasing your social media content conversation rate means playing the long game of analyzing and optimizing your social media content.
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Fuel Your Business Growth Engine with Social Media Content
You now have a better understanding of how social media content can drive growth in your business. However, you must remember that the process of driving growth is not as simple as applying all the content or strategies mentioned in this post.
A better approach is to start by testing the ones you think would be easiest to implement first. Measure and analyze the engagement, learn from your findings, and continue to make improvements. Once you have a handle on one strategy, you can try another and repeat the process until you have a strategy that works well for you.
Do you have any questions or strategies to add? Please share them with us in the comments.