Want to learn how to get real results from social media, rather than just vanity metrics? Well you're in luck, because I'm going to show you exactly how social media can add to your bottom line.

Businesses today live and die through social media. It doesn't matter if you're a solopreneur or the digital marketing director at a Fortune 500 company. You have to develop an online presence.

Social media is part of the whole package and a pretty important and public-facing component. I believe in using a mix of organic and paid growth because the former takes a lot of time, but the latter directly targets the exact followers you want and more followers --more potential for sales.

Here's how you can build up your audience on social media and get them to buy from you.

1. Jump on the bandwagon with trending hashtags.

I want to know what people are talking about, and you should too if you want to get a lot of social media action.

Keyhole.co monitors hashtags for you so you know when to jump on those trending hashtags, but you can also just look at that bar on the left on Twitter for a free and flash in the pan approach.

You can even have a lot of fun with this, like this creative real estate broker who had her husband pose in a dinosaur costume in a house she was selling. T-Rex was trending on Twitter so she thought it'd be fun to have people look at a real literal T-Rex buying a house and it went viral.

Jumping on trending hashtags can have mixed results, but remember to research on that hashtag first and see what it means. I want you to be an ingenious real estate broker, not DiGiorno's epic fail with the #WhyIStayed hashtag.

2. Follow accounts that have the followers you want

For Twitter and Instagram in particular, you need to follow accounts that have the kind of followers you want. If I follow accounts for digital marketing and social media management, that opens the door for me to also pick up some of their followers.

By following accounts that have the kind of followers I want, it will show my profile to other users with similar interests and posting history and be more likely to get me the kind of followers who are most likely to become my customers in the future.

3. Use highly-targeted paid social media traffic

This would include things like Facebook ads, sponsored Tweets, and sponsored Pins. Don't confuse it with buying fake followers because that never ends well!

You're paying for traffic, not bots that will artificially increase your follower count.

When that traffic is targeted really well to things like interests, career, and location then it will work wonders for getting followers who are interested in what you're offering.

Here are some situations where you should use paid social media traffic, and one of those situations is when you don't have a following at all.

Paid social traffic basically turbocharges your efforts to get more followers likely to buy from you because organic growth that you get through following accounts, content strategy, and people you know is important but also takes forever.

4. Give your audience what it wants

I'm fond of the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be helpful, inspiring, timely, and/or entertaining while 20% is promotional.

Your content has to be helpful and shareable. If people aren't sharing your content, then they definitely aren't buying what you're selling!

Blog posts, articles, infographics, and videos can be hot shareable content but it shouldn't exist solely to sell your products. People share things that are helpful and relevant, and your content should also reflect your brand voice (and develop it if your company is really young.)

Sharing content created by other people who have your kind of following is also important, because it will help you get followers who will expect you to keep posting all this great stuff.

5. Use a social media automation tool

Social media is important: but also time-consuming. Social media management is something you should outsource if you find you're not just that good with it or you don't have enough time to do it.

Automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite will make your life a lot easier so you're not constantly posting in real time. These tools also provide some sweet analytics so that you can determine the times of day your followers are most likely to be paying attention and what posts get you the most traction in terms of shares, likes, and so on.

I plan my content schedule based on the analytics from these tools.

6. Respond and retweet

It's social media, isn't it? Engaging with your followers is valuable stuff. It's great for your image and more effective than any paid market research.

Responding to your current and potential followers will pay massive dividends in the long run!

This includes retweets and reposts, because it shows that you're paying attention to them and it makes them feel good. Lots of retweets = happy followers = more sales.

Constant retweeting also makes them more aware of your presence even if they don't follow you, and can effectively be free advertising.

7. Prioritize the platform(s) which bring you the most traffic and conversions.

We hear mostly about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest the most. But there's actually over 200 social media platforms out there.

Figure out which platform is the most responsive and prioritize it according to both your product and brand voice. Stick to the platform that brings you the most traffic and focus most of your resources there.

Conclusion

Organically, growing your social media following doesn't happen overnight. But you can speed it up significantly by following relevant accounts, creating and sharing helpful content, and investing in targeted paid social traffic.

It's important to engage with your followers and fostering a long-term relationship with them because it will make them more likely to buy from you. Sticking to the platform that has the most traction can also help with this.

What social media strategies are you using to drive sales?

Published on: Nov 3, 2016