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Your social media isn’t Kardashian-levels of crazy, but you’ve built up a steady following. They’re loyal followers who can be relied on to like and share your posts any day.
Now, you want to do more than just build a following. You want to build a customer base.
As any social media expert will tell you, there’s a big difference between a follower and a customer. But followers can be converted into customers if you know how. Here are a few essential tips to turn your loyal followers into loyal returning customers.
1. Know Your Audience
At the end of the day, social media is about marketing. And like any other form of marketing, you need to be crystal clear on your buyer personas before you can make a single sale.
It’s not enough to know that your audience is millennial women. What kind of millennial women are they? Are they social justice warriors? Are they hipsters? Where do they live? Where do they shop? What motivates them to buy—do they want to keep up with the crowd, stand out from the crowd, satisfy a need, help protect the environment?
Your buyer personas should be so clear that you can visualize your ideal customer right in front of you. If you met them on the street, you’d know exactly who they are.
Knowing so much about your audience will inform how you sell to them, as it will help you establish your customers’ pressure points and market to them. This can even inform what channels you’re on—younger people are on Snapchat, while those 60 and up are more likely to be found on LinkedIn or Facebook.
2. Look at Data
How do you establish who your customer is? And how do you establish if your marketing efforts are reaching them?
Among other things, you need to look at data.
The best way to do this is to learn how to use social media analytics tools smartly. For example, it’s not enough just to pull up a report—you need to know how to measure total engagement relative to your performance benchmarks (and if you don’t have performance benchmarks, it’s time to set them).
You also have to know how to leverage the data. For example, you can study engagement numbers to figure out the best time of day to post. Then, make sure to post during that time. And if a different age group is more responsive at a different time of day, target posts for that age group during that time frame.
3. Stay Active (and Use Automation Tools)
Of course, if you don’t keep your social media channels active, none of that data will do you any good.
The key to social media engagement is consistency. Between running a business and satisfying the customers you already have, it’s hard to find time in the day to consistently post to social media.
This is where automation tools are a lifesaver.
Social media automation tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and BuzzSumo take the work out of social media marketing by allowing you to plan your posts ahead of time, organize them, and arrange for posts to go up at a specified time.
They also allow you to manage all of your social media content in one place—no more worrying about replicating posts between social channels.
4. Build Trust
A key component of this whole process is building trust.
Remember, the average person sees about 5,000 ads a day. They don’t want to see another company that’s trying to sell them something—they want to form a relationship (or, at least, the perception of a relationship) with a brand that they trust.
One way to do this is by leveraging user-generated content.
People love to feel acknowledged, especially when they give a brand a significant chunk of their money. Leveraging user-generated content achieves two goals:
- It makes the user who made the content feel acknowledged and special
- It shows other would-be users that you’re paying attention to the experiences of your customers
Plus, viewers find this content more honest than ads—after all, it’s made by a customer just like them, who is just talking about their experience rather than trying to sell something.
5. Offer Clear a Clear Value Proposition and Benefits
If you want to turn a follower into a customer with real lifetime value, you need to do more than just post pretty pictures.
In today’s world of social media and personalized advertising, customers aren’t looking to buy products. They’re looking to buy experiences (or products that will lead them to the kind of experiences they want to have).
For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell a pair of running sneakers through a Facebook ad. That’s your company goal.
Your marketing goal is different. You’re not trying to sell sneakers, but rather the kind of person that your customer will be if they buy the sneakers. Ideally, it’s a slightly better version of themselves—someone they can recognize, but someone who’s sportier, who goes for runs every day and drinks kale smoothies and looks great in athleisure.
Since social media is about connections, it’s the ideal place to show your customers your value proposition by showing them the kind of life that they could lead as one of your customers.
6. Need to Bring the X Factor to Your Advertising?
Social media is a full-time job in its own right. It takes dedication to learn the basics and keep up with the latest marketing trends.
The trick isn’t constant posting, or running ads. The key to smart social media is to provide your customers with an experience that allows them to relate to your brand. Tell a story, sweep them in.
Then, offer them something that will make their lives better, and keep delivering. Show your followers that they can rely on you to deliver great content and useful products to them, whenever they may come looking.
Once you manage that, everything else—automation tools, posting for various platforms—is just background noise.