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Social Media Marketing Strategies for Lead Generation & E-Commerce

June 1, 2017
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It’s no secret that incorporating a well thought out social media marketing strategy into your business plan can be one of the most impactful tools that attribute to overall business success. And that’s not slowing down anytime soon.  Did you know that by the end of 2016, the number of people using social media was up by 21% from 2015? That means that 2.8 billion people were using social media by the end of last year.

Another fun fact? 83% of Americans have a social media account.

So, if you’re selling a product or service and looking to grow both your brand and your sales, social media is where it’s at. However, don’t just post to post. You need a strategy first. There’s a finesse in the way that you should be utilizing social media to grow your business and sell products. After all, not all strategies are created equal.

In this blog, we will walk through some social media strategies that you should be using in your marketing efforts to increase brand awareness, build engagement, and increase revenue. We will also showcase some companies that are “doing it right” by the social media Gods and exactly how they are doing it.

But first, what kind of company are you? E-commerce or lead-based?

The social strategy you choose to use depends on whether your business model is lead-focused or e-commerce focused. Although many social media strategies can and will work for both types of companies, the difference is usually in the way these strategies are implemented.

Before we jump into some social strategies, here’s a quick breakdown on the difference between lead gen and e-commerce.

Lead Generation Vs. E-Commerce

E-commerce which is short for “electronic commerce” refers to companies that enable sales transactions and the exchange of goods or services over the internet. Have you ever shopped online? If so, you purchased through an e-commerce website. The purchase is done online at your fingertips and there isn’t a sales pipeline in the process like there is with lead generation companies.

Lead Gen businesses are companies whose business model is based off driving marketing efforts with the purpose of sparking customer interest, initiating product/service enquiries, and acquiring leads that will then be moved through the purchase funnel. This is also known as Pipeline marketing.

Why & How Does This Work?

When you enter your information, such as your email address or phone number, through a business’s online form, you are showing interest in learning more about the company and/or their product or service offering. This is inbound lead generation.

In the simplest form, think about it this way: When people want to find out more information about something, oftentimes, they go straight to a search engine like Google. This is where lead generation companies position themselves in the market by providing some sort of incentive or offering (usually a free offering) in exchange for a user’s personal information.

Some of these free offering examples include:

  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars
  • Contest/Sweepstakes entries
  • Coupons/Discounts
  • Downloads

Of course the intent is to follow up with these leads and sell the company’s product or services to them down the line, but it’s important to note that no sale takes place during the actual lead generation process.

This strategy has exploded in recent years and has been incredibly valuable for many companies who are used to relying on cold-calling and outbound marketing efforts to fill their sales pipeline. The lead generation strategy is reverse-engineered cold-calling. You are attracting the most interested prospects and filling your sales pipeline with warm leads.

Social Media Strategies For Lead Gen & E-Commerce

Below are some tips and strategies for putting your social media efforts to work for you.

The golden rule is to post content that’s valuable, engaging, and shareable. The size of your audience on social is no longer the most important factor for achieving success through social media marketing. You can have all the fans and followers in the world, but none of that matters if they aren’t engaging with the content that you’re putting out.

How do you make your posts more engaging and shareable?This is easier to do for lead gen companies than it is for e-comm companies. But, it can still be done. E-comm companies just have to get a little creative.

Tip #1: Include an image in your social post.

Posts that include images stand out in social feeds against posts that are simply text only. In fact, tweets containing images are 94% more likely to be retweeted than tweets without images.[SOURCE]

At Power Digital, we call these posts “thumb stoppers” and that’s the exact mentality you should have when you’re creating your posts. Bottom line, if you are not currently utilizing images in your social strategy, now is the time to start.

Attention e-commerce businesses, did you know that Pinterest is the #2 source of of social media traffic to Shopify stores?! [SOURCE]

Here are 2 types of images that continue to gain momentum on social:

User-Generated Images User-generated content is a great way to build a bank of images that companies can use in their social strategy. For e-commerce companies, simply asking customers to send in a photo of themselves using your product can be extremely powerful. Or, ask them to post the picture and tag the company or include the company hashtag. This is a great way to engage with your customers.

Posting these user-generated photos and tagging the actual customer is a great way to show appreciation for their loyalty and it simultaneously builds massive social proof for your brand.

Why? When it comes to making purchasing decisions, people tend to trust the opinions of their peers more than any other factor. Showcasing real, everyday people using your products will humanize and build trust around your brand.

Coca-Cola hit the nail on the head with this strategy when they launched their “Share a Coke” campaign that introduced Coca-Cola bottles with personalized names on the labels.

This campaign urged users to upload photos of their personalized coke bottles, which resulted in a 2% increase in sales and the “Share a Coke” campaign quickly became the number one trending topic on social media during their launch.  [SOURCE]

As an incentive to encourage your customers, you can run a fun photo contest and select a winner to receive a free product or something of the liking. Contests encouraging user-generated content creation have proven to be extremely effective, especially for ecommerce companies, for building brand loyalty and awareness.

Quote Images Images that include quotes are some of the most shared content on the social web today, especially quotes that are inspirational and motivational. Why? Because they are quick, easy-to-share, and provide a feel-good result.

How to Implement This Strategy for Lead Gen

See the below example from The Draw Shop, a company that creates highly engaging, custom whiteboard animation videos.

They posted a motivational quote image that included their branded logo which increased their brand awareness when people started liking and sharing the post.

How to Implement This Strategy for E-Commerce

Here’s an example of how Ugmonk, an e-commerce clothing company, used a motivational quote to both spark engagement and promote their product at the same time. Ugmonk increased the likelihood of their product gaining a wider social reach by including a motivational quote alongside a photo of their product.

Tip #2: Include a question in your social post 

Posts with questions get 100% more engagement than posts without questions. WOAH.  [SOURCE]

This can be done by simply asking a question directly, which would trigger your audience to respond and thus creates a natural dialogue. Companies who understand the importance of sparking a two-way conversation with their end users are the ones who are experiencing the most success through social media. You don’t want to miss the mark here.

Remember, you want to talk with your audience, not at them.

You can also include a question in the form of the content that you’re posting. For example, sharing a blog post with the title “Does your social media marketing include these 5 critical strategies?” Or, “How much money is your ecommerce business losing to abandon cart sales?”

Formulating a question in your content title will spark your audience’s interest and encourage them to click through to your content in order to find out the answer.

How to Implement This Strategy for Lead Gen

Below is an example from inbound marketing and sales software provider, Hubspot. They posted a short, fun, engaging video alongside asking their following how they get through “the world’s worst work week” which triggered their following to post comments in response.

How to Implement This Strategy for E-Commerce

An example of a company that’s “doing it right” is Bob’s Red Mill. This natural foods company specializes in whole grain and organic products. In their post below, Bob’s Red Mill caught the attention of their audience by using an appealing image and sparked engagement by asking a question in the same post.

This is a prime example of a “thumb stopper.”

Tip #3: Always include a clear Call-To-Action 

In other words, tell your audience exactly what you want them to do. Some examples of clear call-to-actions are “Check out this blog,” “Like this Post,” “Leave a comment below,” “Share this with your friends,” etc.

Creating a post on your social networks with a clear call-to-action that links back to a valuable piece of blog content is a great place to start.

Here’s an example from Canna-Pet, a company that sells all-natural CBD nutritional supplements for pets.

In this example, Canna-Pet shares one of their blogs to their Facebook which triggered great interest and engagement because they included a clear call-to-action in the post to “Read his story and share yours here.”

The takeaway here? Don’t assume that people know what you want them to do. In fact, assume the opposite. Include a clear call-to-action to make it easy for your audience to quickly navigate to the next step you want them to take.

The same goes for the actual content that you are driving your social audience to. If you’re posting one of your blogs on social media with a call-to-action for them to “Read the blog post” then make sure that you have another call-to-action within the actual blog post, such as an ad to download a free whitepaper or piece of content.

How to Implement This Strategy for E-Commerce 

Dashing Diva is a company that sells nail care products such as gel polish, cuticle care products, and more. Their straight-to-the-point post below clearly directs users to “Shop Now” to get the perfect manicure in minutes. In many cases, there is no need to overcomplicate your post. Oftentimes, less is more.

How to Implement This Strategy for Lead Gen 

Here’s an example from Lead Pages, a company that provides a dynamic software that enables business to grow their prospect and customer base. In their social post below, Lead Pages directs viewers to read a blog post on their website.

Then, once you get to the blog and read the article, you’ll see a very clear call-to-action button within the content. The CTA button tells readers to “Click Here to download your ‘social platforms at a glance’ guide.”

This is a great example of a company who is utilizing social media to push traffic to their website where they are providing value to their audience in the form of blog content and simultaneously generating leads by including a clear-call-to-action.

If the content you are sharing is valuable and includes a call-to-action, you’ll start generating warm leads and filling up your sales pipeline quickly.

Hopefully these tips were helpful and you can begin implementing some of these strategies into your social media marketing efforts as soon as today.

Not sure if your content is up to par?

Ask yourself:

  • Is my piece of content engaging?
  • Is it visually appealing?
  • Does it provide my audience with value?
  • Does it include a clear call-to-action?
  • If I were to come across this piece of content, would I click it and share it with others?

If you can answer “yes” to all of those questions, you’re on the right track. Happy Posting!

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