The Invisible Link Between Social Media and Conversion

How to turn conversation into sales and sign-ups.

social media and conversion

Kimberly Grimms is a Social Media Today writer. Follow her @KimberlyGrimms.

As consumers are getting more social, businesses are also turning to online gimmicks, viral videos and other creative campaigns to engage with potential buyers through social media marketing. While likes, retweets and comments are great, compelling them to buy a product or subscribe to a service is where the ROI lies.

The gap between social media and conversion is something that marketers should to learn to achieve and, more importantly, measure. In order to turn clicks into outcomes, marketers need to define what needs to be accomplished beyond conversations with the target market.

Seventy-four percent of all marketers say Facebook is important to their lead-generation strategies.

But how do social media marketers actually drive conversions from Facebook conversations? How can they increase the value of retweets? Read on for insights from across the industry on how social media can increase your ROI.

Practice Conversion Science
Once attention and engagement are earned, the question every social media marketer should ask is: “What are you going to do with it?” The answer is to introduce a “call to action” to drive intentional outcomes. This is where conversion science enters.

Conversion science is “the study of converting impressions into actions and how to then improve engagement and conversion rates over time,” according to Mashable. To do this, marketers must create campaigns with a concrete end-goal in mind and introduce other conversion opportunities to customers by learning about current and new touchpoints, and where user-click paths break down.

Mashable also added that conversion science is not new; in fact, search specialists, e-commerce developers and web designers have been applying the concept to gain positive results. By studying conversions and corresponding behavior in social media, marketers can make meaningful and relevant initiatives with every blog article, tweet or Facebook post.

Measure Results, Adapt, and Test
Effective social media programs are driven by data and insight, not assumptions. With data in hand, the next step is to identify key social media metrics — such as Avinash Kaushik’s — then measure your results, and adjust accordingly. Most web marketing is based around statistical data, and social media marketing campaigns should be no different.

Refer to Google Analytics data to see how many users are visiting your website from your social media channels. A/B test by varying headline copy and times of posting, and keep an excel tracking sheet to note how different wording and scheduling affect conversions. If you’re posting website links, consider using a URL shortener, which can provide stats on the success of specific posts.

Know Your Platform and Your Audience
Social media is an audience-oriented marketing channel, so it makes sense to communicate to your audience in the right way and at the right time to achieve maximum engagement and ultimately, conversion. Here are some tips for Twitter, Facebook and scheduling to help you out.

Twitter should be taken as the fast-paced social board that it is — not a medium for direct promotion of products and services. Users only take notice of a tweet that has their interests in mind. To gain your audience’s attention, use second-person words such as “you” to shine the spotlight on your customer instead of your brand.

Instead of tweeting, “Visit our website to know more about our new to-do app for iOS and Android,” make it, “Tired of missing your deadlines? Download your free copy of Calendar Plus.” Once you have a customer’s engagement, they will trust you more and be more likely to convert into an actual customer.

Facebook marketing is most effective with visuals, so make sure you are using video and pictures on your posts, and include a short text to encourage the user to click. Avoid using long text-based posts on Facebook, which viewers typically don’t enjoy (also, you don’t want to see your text cut off by the “read more” link). If you are looking to increase traffic to your website from Facebook, consider using a screen grab of your video with a link to the actual video on your website.

Finally, it is of utmost importance to consider when your target market is active on social media. Take the data from your analytics, and post at the right time. If you’re unavailable online during these times, take advantage of scheduling tools, such the native Facebook Page scheduler, Buffer or HootSuite.

Take Social Media Offline
Public relations and social media authority Heather Whaling says that brands that effectively incorporate mobile media add social layers to real-world experiences. She adds that creating unique experiences for fans that will build deeper relationships. One of her recommendations is to add a digital layer to non-social media activities, just like how DKNY used to live-tweet Gossip Girl every week. Using the show’s #GG hashtag, the brand’s Twitter accounts shared opinions and interacted with other viewers on fashion, style and relationships. This adds a social layer to television viewing — similar to what many reality TV shows do today.

Consider what shows or other channels align with your brand, and join others using a popular hashtag to interact with users and potential buyers.

Another effective means of taking your followers offline is the use of coupons. Coupons are one of the oldest methods of marketing, but are not always explored as a means of social media conversion. You can offer exclusive discount coupons on social media pages that will encourage followers to head to your store and make a purchase.

The true measure of success in any marketing campaign is conversion. By marrying conversion science and data analysis, integrating social efforts with offline channels and applying best practices, the gap between social media and conversion can be filled.