SCORE

Social media management has become a typical task for small business owners. But while you’re expected to tweet, snap, or post, it takes strategy to turn those surface-level connections into loyal customers you can count on.

The secret to social media success is to use it as the start of your sales funnel. Social media isn’t a place for hard selling; after all, social channels were designed for casual conversation and spontaneous interaction.

Here are a few tips LYFE Marketing pros Sherman Standberry and Keran Smith shared in a SCORE webinar packed with social media secrets. Take note of how social media takes an important role in the sales process, rather than serving solely as a promotional tool.

Install social media widgets on your website

It’s important to place your contact information in a prominent location on your website. But you can make it even easier for people to find and follow your social media accounts. Social media widgets and embedded feeds pull your most recent Facebook, Instagram, or other social media posts and present them in an area you choose on your website. Not only can your visitors preview your recent social activity -- they can also like or follow your account right from their browser.

These widgets allow you to connect with a potential customer on a second platform (your website plus a social media channel) without directing them away from your business website.

If you use a website host like Squarespace, Wix, or some Wordpress setups, adding a social media widget may only require a few clicks. Otherwise, you may need to do some research to determine what HTML code you’ll need and where to place it.

Network on social media like you’re at a social event

Sherman Standberry, one of the hosts of our social media secrets webinar, makes such a great point when he says, “If you start a conversation by telling people, ‘Hey, go to my website,’ you’re probably not the best networker.”

You would never walk up to someone at a cocktail party and hand them your business card without first striking up a conversation. Social media works the same way. Social media outreach that’s too sales-oriented or looks like advertising will be shunned by your followers and potential fans.

Social media allows you to connect with people one-on-one without paying for advertising. So connect! Once a follower is confident that there’s a real person on the other side of the keyboard, they’ll respond to your special offers, event invitations, or inquiries about their specific needs. Remember, it takes time to develop these relationships.

Create a landing page to capture contact information

Once you’ve developed a relationship on social media, it’s time to direct your potential customer to a landing page. Think of the most important action a customer can make once they arrive at your website. Is it signing up for your email newsletter? Downloading a free ebook? Registering for an event?

Ask for that one important action on a landing page. It might be the very first page a visitor sees when they arrive at your website, or it could be a prompt that pops up once a visitor has clicked around your site. A prominent landing page keeps your visitor on task and moves them into the sales phase of your funnel.

You don’t need advanced software to create a landing page. Google Forms are free, and services like Wufoo and Jotform offer free starter levels of service. These tools can help you set up a system to capture the most critical information about your leads, like their email addresses or phone numbers.

Remember to keep your landing page simple. Add your landing page URL to your social media profiles to make it easy for people to get more information about your business.

Engage first, sell later

Once you’ve forged connections on social media and captured lead contact information, you can start to think about selling to that potential customer. Thank your customer for their interest and provide value, whether it be in the form of an educational email newsletter, free product download, or consultation offer. Continue to build relationships with consistent communication that will get your customers excited about doing business with you.

Your initial social media interactions can impact how smoothly your entire sales process goes. Don’t ignore these powerful, free tools -- use them to your small business advantage!

Want to add social media engagement to your sales funnel? Meet with a SCORE mentor to discuss best practices and action plans.

About the Author(s)

Bridget Weston Pollack

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association.

Vice President of Marketing & Communications, SCORE
Social Media