You’ve been using social media to engage with fans and grow your brand. But you want to start using the channel to make more sales. That is an excellent idea. In fact, Econsultancy found that social media is one of the top five marketing channels to generate a solid ROI.

You’re probably already investing in other channels, like email marketing, content marketing, SEO, and PPC. Now it’s time to amplify your social media marketing strategy, and really get those sales rolling.

In this post, you’ll learn some of the most effective methods for using social media to drive sales and revenue. While many of these will generate direct revenue, some play an important role in driving indirect revenue as well.

1. Be Where Your Audience Is

The first rule of social media marketing is to use the platforms that your audience uses. You can’t just sign up for Instagram and expect to find your target B2B customers there.

First, look at your target demographic and try to find out where they’re most active. You can choose to be everywhere, but that might be a bit too time-consuming.

If you’re targeting a B2B audience, LinkedIn may be a good starting point, along with Facebook, because each one has a massive user base. Interestingly, Sprout Social found that the 18-29 age group dominates all of the popular social media platforms, including LinkedIn.

Keyhole is an excellent tool for discovering where your target audience is most active. You can choose a popular hashtag that your competitors use for their campaigns, and then conduct a search using Keyhole.

Let’s try tracking the #AsSeenOnMe hashtag from ASOS, as an example to see how it’s done.

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If you scroll down, you’ll find a section called “Top Sites.” This provides a chart of the top domains on which the hashtag was used. That will give you a better idea where your target audience is most active.

In this case, if ASOS was your competition, Instagram would seem to be an excellent choice.

Once you’re on the right social media platform, you will have a better chance of reaching your target audience. Consequently, when you can reach your target audience more effectively, your chances of driving sales improves dramatically.

2. Work with Social Media Influencers

You’ve heard of influencer marketing, and are wondering what all the hype is about. Influencer marketing is such a popular marketing tool because it works. Twitter and Annalect found that almost 40% of Twitter users felt compelled to make a purchase after seeing an influencer’s tweet.

The study also found that the amount of trust people place in influencers is comparable to the trust placed in their friends. This simply goes to show that promoting your brand and products through social media influencers is very likely to drive sales, and has been shown to deliver ROI as high as 600% in some cases.

If you want to make more sales through social media, you need to utilize the power of social media influencers. Get them to strategically feature your product in their photos or videos, or have them tell a unique and engaging story about your brand. You can also work with influencers who will give honest reviews about your product, and/or provide tutorials and how-to content regarding your product.

The opportunities are endless, but if you want to drive sales, an effective way to do so is to have your influencers promote unique discount codes.

Daniel Wellington, for example, has been successfully using this strategy since 2011 when they were founded. The wristwatch maker was able to sell one million watches within just three years, all with the help of influencers. And in 2015, the brand generated revenue worth $220 million, which was a 214% increase from 2014.

To date, you can find both top-tier influencers and micro-influencers promoting discount codes for Daniel Wellington products. Here’s an example from Dilara Kaynarca, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 150,000+ followers on Instagram.

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You can leverage influencer marketing platforms like Grin to find and connect with relevant social media influencers for your brand.

3. Turn Loyal Customers into Brand Advocates

If you want to promote your products using real people, you don’t necessarily have to always rely on influencers. Your existing customers can become effective brand advocates if you can entice them to promote your products in exchange for freebies and discounts.

Conducting keyword and hashtag searches related your brand or product name on social media will help you find people who are already posting content about your brand.

Let’s say you want to market MVMT Watches. Naturally, you would search for #mvmtwatches on Instagram. However, in doing so, you find that many of the top posts are from influencers you’re currently working with, or have worked with already.

Remember, those are just the top posts. Scroll down. Find some appealing photos that feature your product, posted by a user you haven’t worked with. Then check out their profile.

Here’s an example of a post from an Instagram user named, @lifeslittlecrafts.

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The user who created the post has a little more than 1,700 followers, and has taken the time to post about the brand on their own. This Instagrammer would make a nice addition to MVMT Watches’ community of brand advocates.

If you worked at MVMT, you could offer them a free watch, or an attractive discount that could be used toward their next purchase. And in exchange, you could ask them to create a couple of posts featuring your watch.

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4. Share User-Generated Content

Before buying something online, consumers tend to read several reviews to make sure the brand and product are trustworthy. These types of reviews ease the anxiety about buying from a brand that a customer barely knows, or about investing in a product they’re not familiar with.

When these reviews are the opinions and experiences of other consumers just like themselves, then they feel a kind of honesty that they can connect with.

When it comes to social media marketing, you need to make the most out of the content created by other consumers to drive more sales.

According to an Olapic study, 70% of U.S.-based respondents are more likely to buy products after being exposed to a relatable or positive image created by other consumers.

Another way you can drive more sales through social media is by encouraging your customers to share their photos online. Also, be sure to go one step further by sharing these user-generated photos on your own social media profiles. This is an easy way to increase loyalty with your existing customers, and to add credibility to your brand whenever potential customers visit your social media profiles.

ASOS has an ongoing campaign in which they invite their customers to share photos of themselves wearing ASOS products on different social media platforms.

The customers just have to use the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe for a chance to be featured. ASOS then collects the images, and features some of the best on their As Seen on Me Instagram profile.

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They even have an entire webpage dedicated to these user-generated photos. When shoppers click on the photos featured there, they can view, and purchase the items being worn in the photo.

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5. Create Valuable Content to Educate and Entice Your Audience

Social media is an excellent platform for brands to provide bite-sized, yet valuable content to their audience. This content should be engaging to your audience, and compelling enough to entice them into making a purchase.

In addition to promoting your blog posts on social media, you can also create bite-sized informational content that will provide value to your social media audience.

Ideally, you should provide guides and how-to content. The goal is to provide customers with the kind of information that will entice them to try your product.

For example, Betty Crocker uses their Facebook page to share videos of short recipes as a way to better inform their followers. These recipes are simple enough to entice viewers to try them, and use the ingredients from Betty Crocker.

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Similarly, you can provide useful tips on how to use your products in combination with other things. In case of fashion accessories, for instance, you can put together an outfit that matches the accessory. Or in the case of tech gadgets, you can showcase some of the cool things people can do with it.

Making use of this kind of “informational” content gives your product a broader context, and it give potential customers ideas about how to use it. As a bonus, this kind of content provides your target consumers with more reasons to consider buying your product, which can lead to more conversions.

6. Invest in Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms have millions of users. Even when you’ve found the perfect social media platform to engage your target audience, your marketing efforts may not be effective if none of them have heard of you before. You can make sure that they take notice of your brand by investing in social media advertising.

Every social media platform has an option to either create ads or promote your content. This will ensure higher visibility for your brand among a relevant target audience. Increased visibility will further improve your chances of driving sales from social media.

On Instagram, you can advertise through Instagram Stories in addition to regular advertising. By advertising through Stories, online luxury fashion retailer YOOX experienced a 6-point increase in brand awareness, and an 11-point increase in ad recall.

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Through Facebook advertising, gift book publisher LoveBook was able to raise brand awareness, and increase conversions. They created video adverts, which resulted in three times higher purchase rates. They experienced a 57% increase in return on their social media advertising costs, while spending 53% less on other advertising platforms.

Similarly, you can invest in ad campaigns on Twitter, or sponsored posts and InMail to reach the right audience on LinkedIn.

You can even customize your ads by displaying products that a user has recently viewed on your website. This might remind them about the products, and entice them to go through with a purchase.

7. Use Rich Pins and Buyable Pins to Simplify Purchase Process

Pinterest is an excellent platform to market your products because it is such a visually orientated site. According to Shopify, sales derived from ads/postings on Pinterest have an average order value $50 higher than on other popular social media platforms. It’s also the second most popular social media source for traffic to Shopify stores.

When planning to market your products through Pinterest, it is a good idea to simplify the purchase process by using Rich Pins and Buyable Pins. Rich Pins can be used to display important information about your product or service, making it easier for people to make purchase decisions.

For example, you can display the price and availability of a product. That way, people won’t have to look anywhere else for the information.

Buyable Pins make shopping from Pinterest easier because they allow people to complete their purchases right on the platform. They don’t have to visit the product page to complete a sale.

Here’s an example from The Driftwood Haus. As you can see in the screenshot below, customers can see the price of the cushion cover, the stock availability, and the product dimensions.

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There’s also an, “Add to Bag” button, which makes buying the product that much simpler.

After adding a product to their bag, customers can complete the checkout process right on the Pinterest site. Shipping information and payment details can be added without having to switch to another platform. Because the process on Pinterest is simplified and easy to follow, there is a good chance this method will result in increased conversions.

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You can further optimize these pins by promoting them. making the pins more visible to relevant users, just like with advertising on other social media platforms. By promoting your Rich Pins and Buyable Pins, you can enhance their visibility and improve your chances of driving conversions even further.

Conclusion

These are some of the most effective ways your brand can increase sales by using social media. As you can see, these tips mainly involve winning the trust of your target audience through other people – influencers and customers alike.

You also need to ensure that your brand is highly visible to a relevant audience. And take advantage of the opportunity to use content that will engage, entice, and compel potential customers to try your products or services.

It’s also crucial that you make it easy to purchase your products through social media platforms when the option is available. The goal is to minimize any hassles or steps that might dissuade people from making a purchase.

Got any questions about these tips or any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.