Selling on Social Media: 4 Tips to Turn Followers into Buyers

by Thaddeus Gerber | 6 MIN READ
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For the sake of this article, let's assume that your business has a decent following on social media. Your fans and followers are engaging with your posts, you're getting more of them on a regular basis, you have a feel for what they respond to and they have positive things to say about you.

How do you then take those fans and followers and turn them into paying customers without losing them?

It's the business equivalent of trying to get out of the dreaded "friends zone" -- don't try too hard, keep it casual and take baby steps. Basically, take an inbound sales approach rather than a hard-sale approach.

Here are a few important social media marketing and sales best practices to get you off on the right foot and ease you into the next level of your relationship with your followers. A revenue generating relationship!

Research First, Sell Second

It's best to start with questions related to your industry and buyer personas.

  • What are the motivating factors behind purchases in your industry?
  • Are there any trends that are driving sales that you can tap into?
  • Are your prospects having a problem that your product or service can solve that they don't know about?
  • Are your prospects having a problem that you don't know about that you should?

These are the kinds of questions that you need to ask yourself before you can even think of selling someone something through social media. Untargeted selling or using a sales pitch fit for a telemarketer will fall flat every time. You must speak directly to the problems and needs of your prospects if you want to be successful.

Here's a handy guide to creating buyer personas that will kick start this research.

Plan Your Campaign Ahead of Time

Just like any other ad campaign, you need to map out your sales funnel and plan the steps that your prospect will take once they click away from social media.

If you've done step 1, then you'll know which problem your prospects are having that you want to sell to. Now you have to craft a message that demonstrates your solution...

  • Should you create an article series that your prospect will subscribe to?
  • Should they sign up for a webinar with you?
  • Do you have an ebook for them to download that outlines your solution?

Any of these offers are viable options (depending on your personas) but whatever it is, you need to find a way to show them you understand the problem while providing the right solution. In this step, you have to capture their information while giving them something of value. Even if they don't buy from you right now, you're getting them into your funnel, granting you the ability to nurture them into buyers. 

Keep Your Offers Fresh

Every offer you promote or use as part of a campaign should feel like something new and interesting. Don't just rehash the same stuff and think that your followers forgot. Trying new things not only allows your prospects to stay engaged with you, but it allows you to see what converts the best and gives you the data you need to make increasingly valuable offers.

Going back to step 1, find out the top three problems your prospects have that you can solve and then create an offer for each one. You may be surprised at which one gets the highest conversions. Also consider mixing up your offer types.

Here are some ideas that fit within various stages of the sales funnel:

  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • Kits or Packs
  • Swipe Files
  • Educational Email Series
  • Webinars
  • Free Consultations/Assessments
  • Video Tutorials

Be creative and try new things until you've hit your stride and can consistently turn out well converting offers. Most importantly, use common sense in making sure that your offers are in-line with your buyer personas. If one of your buyer personas is comprised of elderly people, your webinar is going to be a ghost town.

Say Thank You

After you've converted your social media follower into a customer, always make sure that you show some appreciation.

A personalized thank you message on social media will make your new customer feel appreciated and more likely to give you a positive shout out on social media. Unexpected acts of kindness and appreciation will always be welcomed by your customers and will make a huge impact.

Start Seeing a Return on Social Media...

You shouldn't be afraid to begin your sales process through social media. You've put the work in, started the conversations, built the relationships and now it's time to turn that investment into revenue.

By following these simple process you can begin to integrate sales into your social media strategy and reap the true benefits that social media has to offer your brand.


Originally published August 20, 2015. Updated November 9, 2017.