You’ve built your fan base on Facebook and recruited followers on Twitter. Can you generate revenue for your company from those—or other social media—channels? Here are five suggestions for using social media as a sales tool. Pos
Post or tweet a promotion. Offer a discount or a freebie to your fans and followers. Offer a free soda with a meal, a discount on shoes, a free consultation, white papers on products, an exclusive gift—anything that you think will be of interest and will entice users to act. Use a specific promo code to track and measure the effectiveness of the promotion.
Create a contest. Advertise a contest to win a gift certificate or fun prize. Provide users with a link to register at your website or email an entry. Clearly spell out the terms of the contest and how the winner will be selected. Be creative. You might want to ask people to upload a pertinent photograph (like a favorite pet photo for a grooming business) or write a short paragraph answering a relevant contest question. To make it easy on yourself, specify that submissions become the property of your business and are not returnable. Make sure to post the winner(s) on your website so the participants know the contest is legit.
Announce new products and services. Roll out new products and services on social media and forum boards and include a link for people to respond directly to a page on your website. You can always keep the web page hidden from your site navigation to keep it “exclusive” to social media users and their referrals. Specially worded contact forms on that page can help you to discern customers who email you as a result of your Facebook or Twitter announcement. More specific information and a mechanism for customers to “act now” on that web page can help close the sale. If you have a good analytics program in place, you can gauge how much traffic you generated from the announcement.
Experiment with ads. If you have a Facebook business page, advertise your company to other Facebook users. Pay for impressions or for click throughs. Fine-tune the social demographic you are seeking to solicit, and select a specific dollar amount you want to spend daily on the ad. You can select specific days, or a range of days for the ad to display. If you opt to pay for click throughs, even if nobody follows through to your Facebook page or your website, thousands of impressions will help make you more visible to users. View reports to determine the success of any given ad. Linked In also offers the ability to advertise—to other professionals. You can create up to ten ads which will rotate and fine-tune demographics (including by industry and management position). Select the maximum daily amount you wish to spend, minimum bid per click or view, and end date. You can cancel the ad at any time. Like Facebook, you can view advertising reports. See which ads were the most effective, and pull unsuccessful ads from rotation. Twitter is rolling out the ability to advertise too—worth a look!
Reward referrals. Ask your followers to refer others to your business. If you have a small or manageable following, it may be easy to reward a follower for a referral with a discount or small free item if the referral becomes a customer. (A more complex response mechanism will likely be required for those with a larger following.) At the least, you can give a public “pat on the back” by writing a post or tweet directed to your follower thanking him or her for the referral. This acknowledgement will also spur others to direct referrals your way.