Do you know how your social media activities are driving offline sales? How many customers came into your store or called for more information after viewing your social media profiles?
Here's one of the biggest questions for businesses: Will the time they spend interacting on Facebook and Twitter affect their sales? Though they spend the considerable effort necessary to create thriving social media communities, small business owners and marketers often fail to drive floor traffic, inbound calls, store sales, and other offline business success metrics.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Savvy marketers will begin to tie the development of communities on social media networks to increased revenue if they implement a few of these simple steps that make sense for their specific business.
#1: Place Your Phone Number on All Social Media Accounts
If your business has a more consultative sales process, starting conversations on your blog or social networks is a great way to generate leads. A natural extension is to place your contact phone number on all of your social media presences and on each blog post for the customers who find you via search. Using a separate Google Voice number that forwards to your main account lets you track the number of inbound calls you receive from your social media activities. Though Google Voice is currently invite-only, invitations are available for $1 and less on eBay.
#2: Promote Offline Events on Social Media
Facebook has an especially robust function for creating events and promoting them. Facebook events allow you to post pictures and event location information, while also inviting your fan base to participate. You also can message all attendees to remind them about the event or give special instructions. Creating a Facebook event page then gives you a landing page that will direct visitors to your blog and Twitter followers too.
#3: Offer Coupons Exclusive to Social Media Channels
This is my personal favorite. Make specific offers through each social media channel you use, like 10% off a purchase if you print a coupon from Facebook, or “buy one get one free” if you use a code sent out in a Tweet. Keep a spreadsheet of the different offers and the response rate, and you'll begin to generate really useful data about the best way to optimize your marketing campaigns for each channel. Incentives are a great way to build the size of your social media communities. Also, giving fans and followers an incentive to follow you shows the importance you place on social media outreach.
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#4: Host a TweetUp
The best way to cement interactions online is to meet your contacts face to face, and there is no better way to do this than to host a TweetUp. While you probably won't bring more than 1,000 members to your event like Ford did in the largest TweetUp ever, TweetUps let you form more personal relationships with your local followers. Here's a great in-depth resource on how to host a successful TweetUp.
#5: Connect Social Media and Email Campaigns
Many businesses have established email lists they use to stay in touch with customers. Drive visitors on your social media accounts to sign up for your email list to receive more information about your business. Getting social media visitors on your email list can connect you with people you might not otherwise reach with social media. Bolstering your email list gives you an additional way to inform people about offline events and specials, in case they don't see a specific offer you make on a social media channel.
The best way to close the loop between social media and offline action is to promote your social media channels offline as well—adding another way for you to stay in touch with your customers in between purchases. I hope these suggestions help you start thinking about ways to convert your social media fans and followers into loyal customers. I'm sure you have many other great suggestions on how to drive offline action with social media outreach.
Have you tried any of these? Which ways did I leave off my list? Please comment in the box below.
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