The short answer is yes. Social media is something that has such a wide variety of platforms that make it up which means that it is constantly changing, the popularity of different platforms wanes over time and different audiences and target markets engage with different types of social media. This means that when it comes to increasing your profits that are several different ways that you can succeed.
Interaction and Increased Profits
Social media is, first and foremost, a social platform, that means interacting with other people, not simply posting and expecting people to come to you for your sparkling wit. Asking questions, posting topical content that is related to your small business, replying to people, commenting on events and reacting to them are all ways to raise your social media profile and get people coming to your profile and reading your information.
For example, when England and Australia were playing against one another in the Ashes cricket tournament at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, the local fire and police services were interacting with people on twitter – these tweets were topical and led to a huge increase in followers for both accounts as well as an increase in interaction.
Now imagine applying this to your own business – if you produce food or cooking equipment, then finding a topical event from Masterchef, Iron Chef or the Great British Bake Off – it doesn’t shout about what you do or what you have to sell, but gets people interacting with you. As soon as interaction increases, then you are one step closer to increasing your profits.
The golden balance is 80 – 20 on social media, especially fast moving networks like twitter. 20% of your post should be your products, your offers, where you can sell; the other 80% should be other content.
Honesty and Authenticity
Though there are lots of different platforms that are used by different people, there is one key rule that is universal across all social media and that is to be authentic. Whether you are promoting a sale or telling people about a new product, honesty and authenticity are what attracts people to a company and keeps them coming back.
As soon as you start lying to people or trying to tricks people with “oh my god, you won’t believe what this girl did to get 50% off” and other such buzz words, people are not going to buy from you. Sites like BuzzFeed, Cheezburger, Upworthy and Tickld use these kinds of titles to get traffic to their pages well, but for these four sites there are hundreds and thousands that do it wrong and have people negatively relating to the brands they are trying to build.
Ocado uses social media to talk to customers who post about their services with a social element – they don’t just post “thanks for your feedback”, they make their comments personal “Glad we could help save you time, we hate it when deadlines get in the way too.” This feeds into their public image of treating every customer as an individual and not only improves their company image, but their repeat business and gaining new customers.
Trying to copy the style or type of posts of other social media users may seem like a sound strategy to duplicating the success of other brands, but it’s more likely to fail than succeed. As a brand you need to decide what your social media image is going to be and stick to it, let people know who you are – Be honest. Be Authentic.
Increasing Conversion, Increasing Income, Increasing Revenue
Increasing conversion can directly lead to an increase in profits, and not only do you get more traffic to your website, but there is the possibility that you will gain more social media contacts and followers.
But you also need to realize that conversion, income and revenue are not the same thing. Conversion is how many people click on a sale link on social media (a referral) and then make a purchase. Income is the amount of money you receive from your sales before your costs are taken into account and revenue is your profits.
Increasing conversion leads to increasing income and increasing income leads to increasing profits. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that when it comes to the value of each sale and repeat business – you might increase your conversions only to have your total income drop because the overall value of each sale is lower than it previously was.
If this is the case then you may need to address the products you are promoting on social media or how your site is laid out.
When you are simply looking to gather first time buyers, sales and short term promotions work well, especially if it is on a product that has a wide appeal e.g. a bracelet with a Game of Thrones theme that you are releasing to co-inside with the start of the latest series being offered at 60% off could lead to an huge increase in conversion and income for your site in the short term, but it is how you then interact with those customers after that sale that will keep them coming back or recommending your products to friends.
Embrace the negative
The final thing you can do to improve your profits via social media is to embrace the negative. Respond publically to criticism or complaints in a calm and professional manner. Nothing screams bad press like someone complaining and the company they are ranting about telling them they are unimportant by ignoring them or worse – getting dragged into a slagging match, when all the customer wanted was an apology.
Companies like Virgin and Green Flag have excellent ways of dealing with customer complaints through social media. They employ teams to monitor twitter and other social media networks for negative mentions of the company and products. Then they instantly respond asking what they can do to help and actively solve customers’ problems. Being able to deal with customer complaints instead of ignoring them can get you noticed in a very positive way – people are much more willing to part with their money to companies they see as willing to bend over backwards to set things right if things go wrong .
There are so many different ways to address your social media usage no matter if you are new or have been using it for years, so how will you change your social media strategy to help increase your profits?