In the early days of digital marketing, organizations created customers through email and simple display ads. Then Google revolutionized the way we find content online, and search engine marketing become a key component of any customer-acquisition strategy. With the rise of social media platforms around the year 2007, businesses began turning to these networks to acquire customers.
Otherwise unknown brands like Brandy Melville and Anastasia Beverly Hills used Instagram to create loyal customers. GORUCK is another example of a brand that used social media (Facebook in this case) to reach customers and build a community of brand enthusiasts.
Here are 10 strategies successful organizations have employed to quickly acquire customers via social networks.
1. Create a frictionless customer-acquisition process.
It can be challenging to motivate social media users to leave the friendly confines of their favorite platform to explore your unknown website. After all, their social network of choice is loaded with entertaining content and compelling personal stories. Given this reality, it is important that marketers create a frictionless customer experience.
It should be easy to sign up for the service, purchase a product or fill out a form in exchange for content. Creating a confusing or demanding process will frustrate visitors coming from a social network, and will mean that an otherwise effective social media strategy results in poor performance.
2. Select the right social media platform.
Each social network is different, both in the user base and in how brands should behave. The platform you choose to focus on should appeal to the target audience, and should offer you the right tools to create successful social media campaigns.
While LinkedIn is an effective tool for B2B products and services, Instagram (or Instagram Stories) is a better place for ecommerce brands to operate. Perhaps Twitter is ideal for a fledgling media company to use, but Facebook is better for a local small business.
Understanding the target audience and nuances of the major social networks will help you to focus on the platform(s) that is right for your organization.
3. Tell a unique and compelling brand story.
Brands that are able to amass a dedicated following on social media networks are usually more successful than brands that have a small following as a result of sharing uninspired content. To share something compelling, start by creating a unique and engaging brand narrative.
Organizations like Nike, Apple and Tesla are able to create compelling content in part because of their clear brand values. By forming a compelling brand story, it will be far easier for you and your social media team to think of creative and unique ways to share the story online.
4. Include a clear and motivating call to action.
A call to action is what motivates a social media follower to visit your website and make a purchase. Be sure to include a clear and compelling call to action within most of the content shared on social media. Ideally, this call to action should be contextually relevant to what is being shared. The call to action should also vary over time to keep followers engaged and interested.
5. Build trust with user-generated content.
User-generated content (UGC) is content created by the customer or by the end user that is then shared online. Brands as diverse as Williams Sonoma, BMW and Apple share UGC on various social media channels. They do this because customers rely on other users to make purchasing decisions, and because UGC helps brands build trust with the customer.
Coupling a piece of UGC with a compelling call to action is a great way to quickly acquire customers through social media marketing.
6. Provide outstanding customer support on social media.
According to a recent study, customers who receive positive customer support tell an average of 9 people about the experience. Providing positive customer support on social media is an even better way to create word-of-mouth business, as the support is provided publicly.
Business leaders should be sure to train customer-support reps to provide outstanding support on social networks. Doing so can drive word-of-mouth business, in addition to creating customer loyalty among the customers who were served.
7. Form brand partnerships to organically expand reach.
Creating a brand partnership is a great way to organically expand the reach of your organization on social media. Today, it is common for brands to “swap” access to various social media accounts in order to provide followers with new information and a new perspective.
By finding the brands that offer complementary rather than competitive products, you’ll be able to quickly grow new social media followers, and eventually customers as well.
8. Work with a social media influencer.
Influencer marketing works. One study found that over 90% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Working with a proven social media marketer who has pull among your target audience is an effective way to improve brand awareness, grow your own social media followers and acquire new customers.
9. Use an analytics platform.
There is a reason that marketing is becoming increasingly data driven: analytics help marketers to make smarter decisions more quickly.
Social media marketers who can get detailed Instagram analytics reports from a tool like Owlmetrics, for example, are able to quickly change their content strategy to better suit the target audience. Likewise, social media managers who can measure user engagement on Facebook will understand what content is working to increase customers and what content should be scrapped.
10. Create a mobile-optimized website.
For the most part, social media users access their networks via a mobile device. Among younger generations like Generation Z, more people use a smartphone than a desktop computer. The world is going increasingly mobile. Brands should adjust to this reality by ensuring the websites are mobile optimized.
With billions of monthly users, social networks offer business leaders a compelling forum on which to acquire new customers. To get started, be sure to think carefully about the networks you use to promote the brand, and put forth a compelling brand narrative once the platform has been selected.
Use a social media analytics tool to measure performance, and ensure you are providing users with a frictionless and mobile-optimized experience once they visit your website.