Read our first article in this series, The Top Social Commerce Trends Small Businesses Should Watch in 2022. 🛍️

Whether you’re trying to increase your brand visibility, scale website traffic, or connect with your followers, social media is one of the best channels small online businesses can use.

That said, a 2020 study showed that 34% of global marketers struggled with quantifying their return on investment (ROI) for their social media efforts. This can be problematic, because you could be wasting valuable time and money if you’re not converting your social media followers into paying customers.

To achieve these results through a social media marketing strategy, you need to make sure that your social content guides your followers through the social media funnel. This framework involves bringing your customers through five phases:

1) Awareness
2) Consideration
3) Conversion
4) Loyalty
5) Advocacy.

By creating a social media strategy sprinkled with content aimed at reaching followers at all stages of the funnel, you can transform passive social media followers into active and paying customers.

Not sure where to begin? Here are our top tips you can start implementing today to boost your business’s social media ROI and start seeing quantifiable impact with paying customers.

1. Study your target audience to determine the best social commerce approach. 🕵️‍♀️

All good strategies begin with some research to get a feel of the landscape, and social media is no different.

Start by determining where your audience is most active, and which platform(s) your business should be using. After that, you need to study your target audience. In this case, your target audience ideally should be people who would be interested in buying your products.

The easiest way to do this is to look at what your competitors are already doing, combined with some trial-and-error. Some questions you should have in mind as you’re doing this could be:

  • What type of content should I be creating?
  • What type of brand voice should I adopt? What resonates with my target audience?
  • When should I be posting content? Is there a specific time of day or a certain day of the week that outperforms the rest?

To get these answers, it’s important to increase your social media posting schedule and continue to experiment. Not only will increased productivity help you push out more content to make social media users aware of your business, it’ll also provide you with data to analyze.

Using analytics (either built-in analytics such as Instagram Account Insights, or third-party tools like Hootsuite or Buffer) can help you benchmark KPIs, discover granular details about your followers, what content is performing the best, and much more. With the data, you’ll be able to make more knowledgeable decisions to increase conversions.

2. Use the ecommerce features social media platforms offer. 🛒

Many platforms offer powerful ecommerce features that make your products easy to discover and interact with. Let’s look at how Instagram has streamlined the user ecommerce experience.

Through Instagram Shopping, your small business can have its social media “storefront” right on Instagram, where social media users can browse through your available products. However, Instagram Shopping has a more powerful feature that you can embed right into your social media feed.

With Product Tags, you can highlight your products and link to your product page, right from your feed posts or Stories. All followers need to do is tap on the dot on the product, and they’ll be redirected to your catalog, where they can complete their purchase, completely in-app.

Other social media platforms also offer similar features, such as Pinterest’s slideshow for collections or Facebook Shops. Ecommerce features like these reduce the steps social media users need to take to purchase your product. With Product Tags, they’ll even see your offerings directly on your social media content, allowing them to immediately take action.

3. Team up with influencers. 🤳

One great way to expand your reach beyond your own followers is through influencer marketing. Social media influencers can serve as a reliable third party to not only vouch for your product, but serve it up to your target audience on a larger, hyper-focused scale.

For example, if you’re selling women’s athletic wear, it’d make sense to approach an Instagram fitness guru, as they’ll likely have (hundreds of) thousands of followers interested in fitness-related content. By having them promote your product through content that’s both true to their style and your brand, you can help build authenticity for your brand while also increasing overall engagement.

Most importantly, the results do pay off: according to Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2020 report, influencer campaigns average a return in earned media value of $5.78 per dollar spent, with some earning up to $18. If you want to nudge your followers further down the social media marketing funnel, influencer marketing is a surefire strategy to adopt.

4. Use powerful CTAs. 💬

Using a killer Call to Action (CTA) plays a big role in convincing your followers to take action. Try to include stronger action words such as “buy” or “shop”, or make it clearer what the benefit for your readers is. Above all, you should try to keep it direct and simple.

For example, this post utilizes Instagram’s Product Tags for easy tapping, but also mentions a promotion in the caption. Plus, they included the website URL in case their followers prefer to shop directly on their website.

While this post could have referenced tapping the link in their Instagram bio, they use a catchy CTA incorporating their brand name. Plus, they add an extra fun CTA of “grabbing your bestie,” in line with their brand voice — which can help make your brand feel more human.

Finally, while this post doesn’t utilize a traditional CTA, the caption reiterates the T-shirt’s powerful message, then includes 3 different ways to purchase the product, as well as the Product Tag. The results? A lasting impression.

5. Be creative with how you showcase your products. 📸

To stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to think of different ways to introduce your products to your target audience while growing your reach.

One method you can use is paid ads. While this may require having a dedicated budget, the benefits include allowing you to specifically target your demographic and ensure they see your offerings. Paired with a strong CTA, it’s a surefire method to lead to conversions.

Another method is to run a giveaway of your product on your account. After all, everyone loves winning free stuff! Just use relevant hashtags, ask entrants to follow your account, tag a friend to follow your account, and you’ll quickly start generating buzz. As a result, you’ll have plenty of new followers exposed to your product, who can convert into buyers down the road.

6. Engage with your audience. 🤝

Communication should always be a two-way street. If you want your audience to feel valued and connected, you need to engage with your followers. This can be as simple as taking a few minutes to reply to comments they leave on your content.

If people are making the effort to leave a comment, they should be recognized. Plus, comments signal to social media algorithms that your content is engaging, which could increase your organic reach.

There are other ways to engage with your audience, from running polls or surveys to generate user feedback, or hosting Q&A sessions, such as on Instagram Live.

While these methods may be time-intensive, they can have significant ROI, even if you don’t always directly plug your products. By making the effort to truly engage with your followers, you’ll be able to foster a real connection between you and your audience, leading to conversions and purchases.

Wrapping it up

At the end of the day, businesses use marketing strategies to generate leads and convert customers. Social media can be an invaluable tool in your marketing arsenal, but it definitely takes some research and dedication to increase your social media ROI.

But with a little bit of strategy, and applying the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to turning your social media followers into buyers.