A few years back-
Brand Owner: Why do you want my brand to be on social media?
Me: Social Media is the best place to connect with your audiences, engage and build a community.
Brand Owner: What are some of the benefits of being on social media?
Me: I already told you. It is a credible platform. It helps connect you to your audiences. You can also do many product promotions on your pages.
Brand Owner: Is your Social Media Marketing service free?
Me: Absolutely not. We charge a monthly retainer for our efforts.
Brand Owner: Will I get actual sales and increase revenues from social media?
Me: You might. However, that is not the purpose. It is more about community building, branding, marketing, etc.
Brand Owner: Let me discuss it internally, I will get back to you.
Me: Ahhh, Ok…
No matter who you are, or how you started, this conversation will find a resonance if you have ever been a part of a Creative Agency.
For every one brand that took up social media five years back, there were three others, which did not. Now the times have changed, with more and more brands opening up to the possibility of maintaining a social media presence.
However, the single biggest hesitation, at least for some of the smaller brands back in the day was-
How to generate revenue from social media?
For brands, who had very little investment budgets, building a community was not just good enough. For them to start, they always looked for revenue or sales assurance.
This article will help brands and creative agencies discover some sure ways of increasing sales from social media.
Social Media Sales or Social Media Marketing-What is the main Priority for Brands.
There is a reason why someone back in the day coined the discipline of social media marketing. They could have very well have coined it social media sales. They chose not to.
Social media’s primary intention is that of a marketing nature. Loyalists still swear by what the platform helps with- marketing!
However, given the affordability of the platform, brands, and people wanted more from it- they wanted actual sales.
No CEO of any digital or creative agency could promise that. KPIs for social media were-
- Increase in number of followers
- Increase in engagement rates (likes, shares, and comments)
- Traffic flow to the website
The first two were the main KPIs fixed by nearly 90% of the brands. The last one was something that not a lot of brands did.
Nobody could guarantee revenues from social media. In their benefit, the platform had not yet evolved enough to guarantee that. Nor were agencies and social marketers aware of tools that would help generate revenue from social media.
From 2018 onwards, social media platforms started evolving. They realized that in addition to them being excellent platforms for marketing, they needed to have a sales dimension.
This was also because of the fact that the boom in the e-commerce industry happened at the same time. Social platforms could see the benefits of aiding direct selling from their platforms.
They were already doing 90 percent of the work in winning over consumers through rich visuals. Why not complete the cycle and complete the user experience as well.
Why Brands push for Revenues and Sales from Social Media?
We already know that there are major benefits of being on social media from a marketing point of view. In terms of building communities, driving customer loyalties and engaging with people- social media tops the list.
However, there have been other developments, which have taken place in the meanwhile.
For starters, social media has also become quite a competitive platform. Millions or brands are fighting for followers, likes, and shares. The scenario has gotten more complicated given the decreasing organic reach on platforms.
On the one hand, investments on social media are rising.
Ad spends are getting more expensive.
Organic reach is decreasing.
Retainer fees are going up.
Marketing options are opening up big time.
What are brands supposed to do given this scenario?
As we move towards tougher times and areas where investments are involved, a term keeps propping up- ‘Return On Investments’ or ‘ROIs’!
In many ways, ROIs are replacing KPIs as brands push for better shows on their investments. Likes, shares, and comments do not cut it anymore. What matters are lead generations, referrals to landing pages, redirecting to e-commerce platforms and similar actionable and quantifiable data?
If you are a brand, you know that there are some obvious benefits of social media. You are also aware that there are some not so obvious benefits of social media. Making sales and revenues from social media falls within the second.
Top 5 Ways to Generate Revenue from Social Media: The List
1. Lead Generation through Social Media:
Social media is a dynamic platform. Like Google, it has slowly evolved into offering brands various ways through of doing paid advertising.
One of the best ways to increase direct sales and revenue from social media is through inbuilt lead generation forms. The best platform for this- Facebook.
Facebook still enjoys the distinction of being the biggest of them all. Small brands, who do not have the marketing budgets to redirect users to another Landing Page, always explore this feature on Facebook.
From automobile brands to fashion brands, all have found lead generation on social media as having direct impacts on revenues.
2. Store Feature in Social Media Platforms:
As social media giants try to recreate the platform as an e-commerce destination, store features are getting better. From the Facebook Store to Instagram, almost every platform is experimenting with this.
At the beginning of 2019, Instagram announced the Checkout feature. This will enable users to buy things directly from a brand’s Instagram pages. This announcement shook the industry, with e-commerce giants like Amazon taking notice of this development closely.
For brands, social media all ready serves many purposes in terms of-
- Attracting newer audiences
- Product Promotions
- Community Building
To reach the sales tip, it just needed to do five percent more.
3. Social Media Influencers:
One of the most concrete ways to generate revenue on social media is by working with social media influencers. More than the film starts, Instagram and Snapchat influencers sell more toiletries and holidays!
By investing in social media influencers, you can fix a definite number of sales figures from the engagement. The biggest influencers are proud of how many sales they can drive. They will even be able to show you some case studies.
One Instagram Post = 100 Sales
One Story = 50 Sales
Of course, it is impossible to fix actual figures, but you can definitely aim for an approximation.
Source: Aashna Shroff
4. Drive Traffic to the Website:
A successful social media marketing strategy always has a traffic element built into it. Most of the best strategies involve driving traffic to a brand’s website.
The perfect social strategy drives traffic in the following ways-
- If done intelligently, the traffic is directed to a resource page first.
- The aim is to push the traffic for at least the first 6 months. This helps in building credibility and loyalty).
- Once you have a steady flow of traffic from your social media to the website, you can redirect the traffic to the product and services page.
If there is traffic on your website, you can monetize the same in any number of ways. The biggest thing is to create content that will help people click on the link.
5. Launch Alerts and Pre-Bookings on Social:
This point is straight from the playbook of the world’s biggest cosmetic company. I am not taking any names here.
The key is to build a stellar launch campaign and work with social influencers. You can announce that the product will only be available through social media. This will drive an insane amount of traffic to your social media pages.
You can use a Booking Form on your social pages, and ask consumers to pre-book the product from social.
In terms of data, this is the best way to generate revenue from social media. However, pages, which have a lot of followers and engagements, will be able to pull this off more successfully than smaller brands.
6. Bonus Tip- Secret Facebook Clubs:
There is some form of mystique associated with secret Facebook Clubs. Unlike closed groups, where you need an admin nod, on secret clubs, you do not even know that they exist.
Some of the biggest brands in the world have a secret, highly exclusive clubs, where people get limited edition items. The members are also intimated about some of the most private launches. You do not need to be someone big. The idea is to create some form of a mystery around the establishment.
How to Promote Sales on Social Media
After you have found out the ways in which you can drive actual sales and revenues, let us now look at some of the major ways to promote the same-
1. Create Excelling Content:
Gone are those days when stock imagery was in charge. Today, people on social media like images, which are real. They do not want stock photos dominating their feed.
If your content is real and exciting (images, videos, GIFs, and copy) you will aid and abet the sales process in a big way. Social media is a visually driven medium. For people to engage in actionable decision-making, great content is a big catalyst.
2. Images that are In-Action:
The best way to make people buy things on social media is to show it in action. It can be anything- from a jacket to a lawnmower. People want to see things in real-world surroundings and not some made-up artificial studio.
By showing real human beings use real products in real time, you can increase the relatability quotient. This becomes a real asset especially in the world of fashion and cosmetics.
3. Have Multiple Channels of Sales:
You will be surprised to know that brands and people are carrying out full-fledged businesses just on Instagram. I am not saying that they have any store option or any website.
What most brands are doing is this-
- Putting up an Image Album of 6 products.
- Writing in the copy how many pieces are available and in what sizes.
- Asking people to DM them if they are interested.
- Ending the Sale there.
- Shipping Privately
You would not believe the kind of revenues these brands are generating. They do not have a website. They do not have any physical store. While some may call this process as ‘Drop Shipping’, I will agree to disagree.
Social Media: Challenges and the Future
The past years were quite bad for social media platforms in general, and Facebook in particular. With controversies surrounding Cambridge Analytica and influencing American elections, Facebook lost a lot of credibilities.
In 2019, Facebook has come out stronger, advocating a stronger data privacy problem. Last week, Facebook removed more than 20 million fake accounts. This practice of removing fake accounts was also done by Twitter.
A serious accountability crisis is affecting the social media world. This is at a time when people want to see and be real and authentic. I have mentioned that the growth of Generation Z is going to be the next watershed moment for social media.
The striving for truth, honesty, and credibility is the direction, which social media giants are moving. This is both a positive development, as well as a challenging one.
If you want to add value to the article by highlighting on any particular aspect, please feel free to comment.