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You’ve spent the last 24-hours straight engaging with your audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram and even a few stray customers hanging out over at Snapchat. You’ve nailed your brand voice, read all the stats about including videos in your Tweets and how to attract a following, and managed to build a legion of fans who regularly interact with you.

Yet none of your social media followers are actually converting from fans into paying customers. Is the rumor true that social media is over? Or is it just your campaign that’s falling flat? The answer may lie somewhere in the middle…

“The social media phase of the Internet ended.” Venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote these infamous words in a post entitled, “What Just Happened” reflecting over the year 2014. There may be some truth there isn’t as much innovation in social media as there was when Mark Zuckerberg was tinkering with Facebook from his dorm room. But how we’re using social media and social sharing has certainly continued to evolved.

Take a look at a recent 2015 survey from Pew Research. This survey represented the first time Pew’s team of researchers asked participants about mobile messaging apps – and their results were surprising. All told, they found 36% of smartphone owners use apps like WhatsApp, Kik or iMessage, and (unsurprisingly) that 49% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use messaging apps.

“Social media influence will soon replace financial influence” – Thomas Koulopoulos, founder of Delphi Group

So social media isn’t dead, it’s just made a paradigm shift into a new era of messaging and social sharing. Understanding this shift is the key to figuring out how to get your social media traffic to successfully convert. Fortunately, there are companies out there doing it right. According to Salesforce, 77% of B2C companies acquired customers from Facebook and 43% of marketers have found a customer via LinkedIn.

If other companies are successfully converting social media traffic, then what are you doing wrong?

Reason #1 – You’re not maximizing your impact

It’s time to dump your post-and-sell strategy and instead focus on how your audience talks about brands on social media. Seventy-seven percent of all brand conversations on social media were people looking for advice, information or other help from users. They’re not there looking to buy directly, but they may still end up learning more about your brand and making a purchase down the road. Google research shows social media drives awareness, but not necessarily direct purchasing habits.

Start by using a platform like HootSuite for Social Listening to monitor what people are saying about your brand and where they’re saying. Contribute to the conversation and offer help for all of the pain points your customers are experiencing. Join meaningful conversations that expand beyond your own products and tap into your knowledge base.

 

 

The results could pay off big. Seventy-one percent of consumers are likely to recommend a brand to others after receiving a prompt brand response on social media. Meanwhile, 67 percent of Twitter users are more likely to buyfrom brands they follow.

Reason #2 – You’re using the wrong platform

Do you know where your customers are coming from and why? Dig into Google Analytics to figure out which customers are coming from your social media platforms. If your audience is primarily coming from Facebook, head to the source and find out why they’re there in the first place. Offer them the customer service, free resources or coupon codes they’re looking for and stick around. The more they want to talk about your brand, the more you can engage.

Knowing which platform to use in the first place is also key to converting your social media followers. Find clients interested in niche, high-end business coaching packages on LinkedIN and join a group to take the time to give advice and really dive into your knowledge base. For every 5,000 members in a group, you could see roughly 15,000 visitors.

 

Reason #3 – You’re acquiring the wrong traffic

Crazy Egg said it best, “Acquiring the wrong traffic is the single biggest reason your high traffic website isn’t converting.”

Wrong traffic goes hand-in-hand with the perils of using the wrong platform. Let’s say you’re constantly tweeting about the innovations and advancements of the wearable tech industry. Your efforts will likely attract a tech crowd who also want to talk innovation. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you’re actually selling high-end wearable tech accessories that have less to do with technology and more to do with aesthetics. If your audience is interested in how they look and will integrate into their lifestyle, you’ll attract the wrong readers by honing in on tech specs.

Don’t decide what your customers want and why they buy from you without bothering to ask them first. Use Survey Monkey to collect more feedback on what they need from your service and what made them buy it in the first place. Then spend some time following what your potential customers are saying about your brand, as well as your competitors. The more information you have on why your customers like your product or services, the more insights you have on creating a social media dialogue that converts.

Reason #4 – You’re sending traffic to the wrong place

After your audience clicks on a Tweet or a LinkedIN post, where is your traffic even going? Do you know? Posting about the features of a new project management platform, yet sharing a link to your pricing page, won’t get you very far.

Kissmetrics lays out three possible scenarios for lead generation paths from your social media channels.

  1.     Social channel > Blog post with link to a relevant landing page (gated content) > lead
  2.     Social channel > Gated content > lead
  3.     Social channel > Blog post > Visitor signs up for mailing list via signup forms strategically placed on your blog (lead)

Each scenario requires a different content strategy to take your customers from curious followers to active customers. Make each social media post relevant to whatever link you’re sending them back to. Tweets talking about social media conversions, for instance, should link back to gated content expanding on the same topic and solving your customer’s problem.

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