Simply put, you’ll be hard-pressed to bootstrap your site’s traffic via social media. People really don’t want to leave social media sites when they arrive. They’re there to be entertained and connect with friends. Unless your store deals in pure entertainment, you’ll have a hard time competing. You simply don’t have the pull to rip them away from social media’s powerful magnets.
The bottom line is that I’ve never heard of any store having positive ROI with a direct sales approach to advertising on social media.
So, how should you use social media?
Social media is the best platform for running a fan club. Social media should be used to engage with your most fervent fans. These are your best and most ardent repeat customers. These are the people who buy almost every time you send out an email. They’re the ones telling their friends about your site. These are your apex customers. Engage them in order to enjoy the multiplying network effects of word-of-mouth advertising.
You should only cater to your apex customers on social media. Your best customers have decided to follow you because they like your store, your policies, and your overall approach. You don’t need to sell them. They’re already sold! Instead, you need to peel back the curtain a bit and let them know even more about you, your philosophy, your employees, your culture, etc. These people are interested. So, give ‘em the goods!
Don’t just regurgitate everything that’s on your website. Your best customers already know your website. They’ve come to your social media presence to find out more. Give it to them! This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t announce new products, but that you should go above and beyond. Your social media presence shouldn’t simply be a facsimile of your website catalog.
Go ahead, post inside jokes! Again, this is a fan club. If visitors are here, they are fans and they should “get” the joke. If they don’t, even better. That means they’re new and eager to learn. It’ll be a mystery for them to solve.
Share special deals and coupons. Only your best fans are going to check out your social media pages, so you should reward them. Always remember that repeat customers are the lifeline of a small business. I think this is a far better policy than trying to sucker new customers with absurdly low deals. This simply trains them to only buy when there’s a special.
Get personal. The bottom line is that people buy from the person they like the most. All things being equal (price, service, etc.), you’re going to buy from the site you like best. You can’t like a site if you don’t know anything about them. Use social media to really put yourself out there. Be personable. Make it clear that there are really people running your business. Make connections with your fans. It’s called a social “network” for a reason.