6 ways to boost your sales through social media

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The question of return on investment (ROI) from social media spending continues to linger in the mind of many social marketers. And while many companies and business owners still tell themselves “I don’t have time to spend on social media, it doesn’t generate real sales,” others are finding ways to find a strong ROI for their social media strategies, building what some call “social commerce”.

Just as online consumers are becoming increasing “social”, the products they buy and interact with have to be "social" as well. But it’s not just about being present on Twitter or Facebook, it’s about using these social networks to your advantage to change the traditional purchasing process.

This is actually easier than most people think. To get you started, here are a few tips on how to use social media to increase your sales:

1) Make it easy for potential customers to find you. It's important to find an easier way for customers to purchase your products via social networks; promote Facebook and Twitter channels on your packaging, storefronts and in traditional advertising campaigns.

If you have an e-commerce site, make sure to integrate Facebook Open Graph by creating a custom story for your brand on Facebook, making it possible for users who are on your website to share and recommend your products to their friends. And be sure to post links on social netowrks redirecting users directly to your e-store and specific products.

2) Listen and react quickly. Social networks are the easiest place for marketers to find what consumers want to buy and what they don’t. Implementing a monitoring program based on keywords around the products and services that you offer can help you to better target your audience and increase sales.

For example, if you are running a beauty clinic and want to increase the sales of your massages, monitoring keywords such as “massage” or “spa” could connect you directly to a possible customer who just tweeted something like “I’m so stressed out, I wish I could have a massage right now” and offer them say a 50% reduction on a massage at your clinic.

3) Encourage fans to share their purchases online. Implement a simple widget on your e-commerce website offering “5% off a future purchase” if the shopper shares his purchase. This allows you to build a database of the top most influential customers whom you can target with other similar social opportunities later.

4) Push for users to review your product.  Set up a user review system and reward loyal reviewers with special rates and discounts. Positive reviews and testimonials make shoppers more likely to buy; establish a review system on your platform to encourage readers to stay on your site longer and increase your chance at making a sale.

5) Offer social media coupons. Hold a promotion (with Facebook Offers for example) to engage fans around one of your products or services at a lower price. The ROI for this type of campaign can be easily measured and you can see if your efforts are actually driving sales and you can monitor which products sell best and when people are most engaged.

6) Implement a loyalty or rewards program. A loyalty program is different than encouraging users to share their purchases online for a discount because helps you to build a long-term relationship with your shoppers while they collect some sort of loyalty currency that can be traded for discounts, free gifts or special promos.

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