Do you think your startup has a strong social media strategy? Without actual sales backing your social media savvy, you might be losing out.
Recently, I have come across a lot of posts, tweets and images from the startups that I follow on various social networking sites. The focus of these recent discussions has been about the effectiveness of their social media campaigns.
In this day and age, everybody seems to be doing what’s right according to specialists and marketing gurus in the following areas:
- Great image shares;
- Interesting content;
- Focus on interaction by asking questions to consumers;
- Not increasingly talking about themselves;
- Timing their tweets & posts;
- Links; and,
- Including product information in content.
This seems to be a perfect marketing 101 technique, right? Your tweets are being retweeted, infographics and images being pinned, links are being shared on people’s timelines, and Instagram followers are increasing day by day.
But if you look back to your first marketing class/lesson you might remember that the main reason for marketing to exist for startups, is to drive sales.
The other day I met with an online luxury clothing startup. With over 1,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, they had excellent content, great images and would geo-tag all their images giving out the location of their images. Each content asset shared stood alone with an image, description, well written tags line. It acts as a great content to look at on your wall. But it doesn’t necessarily work together with the sales side of the business.
The content shared must lead to sales of that particular product and/or links to your other products that might suit the taste of the consumer.
Likes do not necessarily equate to sales.
One online retail startup in Singapore told me that their marketing was doing well because they pay for likes on Facebook. Their Facebook page grew from 300 likes to over 2,000 likes in three months. It is so cute that they think increasing the likes automatically means great marketing. But is this what social marketing is all about?
When it came to sales, more than 80% of their sales leads came from referrals of people who had never seen their Facebook page. Out of their so called 2,000 fans, only five to seven people shared their posts occasionally.
Do you see the problem here? Marketing + promoting + branding –> (must always lead to) sales.
It is true that online sales don’t just happen with a click of a button. Rather, the consumer needs to take informed decisions before committing to buy anything online. Breaking down the buying process of a consumer in different sections is important. The consumer is on your fans list is just the start, but enticing him/her into purchasing your product and getting that person to share their experiences of your product should be the end point.
This is where Social media “strategy” comes in.
The modern day startup has to keep multiple social networks in its arsenal for marketing its products, choose the right ones that fit consumers’ personality traits, and fits the niche, knowing the right market is equally important as getting the content right.
Great ways to engage your audience
Asian consumers are most outspoken while purchasing any product on social networking sites. 41% of Asians are likely to Like your ads on Facebook, whereas 31% will share about the product that they purchased as compared to other races and nationalities. Now isn’t this a great news for startups selling on social media.
Here are a few tips on how you can drive sales by using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook. I believe that facebook commerce is heading on the right track, and the most talked about concept of bringing a “want” button would do wonders for e-commerce.
Startups dealing in online products should definitely explore to make a small shop on their Facebook page. Best to have only your flagship products featured on Facebook. To buy or explore more products, the customer must come to your website for a complete experience.
Pinterest. We have sung songs about how Pinterest is leading the way for driving sales for startups. Make it your primary source of driving sales on social platforms. Don’t forget to add the price of your product, as well as a link directing them to your website or online shop.
Instagram. Use Instagram only for leisure. Nobody buys on Instagram, yet. Make potential customers fall in love with you by seeing your image posts. If the person likes one image, follow them, tag them in comments, interact with them.
Twitter. Twitter is to keep content coming and going. Share links of your blog posts. The point here is to encourage your customer to tweet their queries, feedbacks and experiences. It is very important to respond to their tweets in a timely manner, making them feel that they are being taken care of. Your startup shows its attitude if you keep things transparent, by keeping discussions open.
Around 70% of people take time to hear about other customer’s buying experience and feedback. This means, for a startup it is very important to make sure that the first 1,000 customer are super happy. With customers sharing their experiences, you cannot delete their negative feedback. But still, reply to them, and accept — and correct — your mistakes if any. For any criticism you get, tell customers you are still learning, and thank them for taking the time to share.
What engaging tools have you tried? Have you had success in converting these into sales? Please share your experiences with us.
About the author
Rohan Kapadia is an entrepreneur, adventurer, expeditionary, amateur barista, and Jugaad specialist. He exited his first start-up, Arkin Comics at the age of 21, before getting a Masters degree from NTU, Singapore and Stanford, USA. He is currently involved in my second startup, LUWAQ – Specialty Coffees. Drop a line to say “hi” on Twitter and Instagram at @rohankapadia or connect on Linkedin.
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