Social media is supposed to be the prime frontier for business conversions, but for many companies, the results have been flat. In fact, a recent CivicScience survey revealed only 4% of respondents over age 13 had made a purchase through an Instagram ad, while Snapchat, the hot new communications venue, has a meager conversion rate of only 1%.
What do these results tell us about social marketing more generally? There are two potential interpretations; first is the possibility that social media marketing just isn’t worth the effort, or at the very least you’re targeting the wrong social channels. If that’s the case, then social conversion is essentially a myth and doesn’t yield results, making it a time waster and financial loss. The other possibility, though, is that businesses just aren’t managing the process correctly. Your own approach to social media marketing could be holding you back.
One of the simplest explanations for poor social conversion rates is that your company isn’t testing its posts or that you’re testing too many variables at once. Just like you should use A/B testing for blog titles, images, and layouts, you should also A/B test social media posts. For example, do Twitter posts push more conversions with different headlines? What are the performance differences between a homepage link on Facebook and a product link?
A/B testing is an ideal starting point for improving your social conversion rates because it offers insights into effective social media practices more broadly. Over time, you’ll begin to see trends in post-performance even without formal testing.
Another factor that could be holding back social conversions in your business is a failure to simplify the process. If there are too many steps from social ad to purchase, users won’t make the leap. This often happens when companies overemphasize the use of an app for purchases rather than developing a better mobile site. Remember, customers can click directly on a mobile link, but if they don’t have your app already, they’re likely to abandon purchases before they can even download the tools.
So if app use is hurting your social conversions, how can you get the feature intensive, fluid functionality of an app through a website? Widgets can help push conversions by adding functions to your website without major coding modifications. For example, if your business is reliant on speedy onboarding and appointment scheduling, there are simple add-ons like SimplyBook.me that can cut down on the steps from click to conversion by booking your services right away. Other widgets like those offered by AddThis can help bridge the gap between your site and your social presence. You don’t need an app to do that.
When seeking social media conversions, many companies assume that they happen independently, without any significant effort on the part of the company. You build the campaign and customers interact with it – or at least that’s the narrative at work. What gets overlooked in this equation is customer service. Luckily, technology has made the element of service easier to implement.
By employing chatbots on your website you can offer customers personalized support in the conversion process without the need for round-the-clock human monitoring. Chatbots can help guide them through a sale, answer questions, and make product recommendations. This “personal” touch has historically made a big difference in whether or not customers close a sale, and it can bring life to otherwise stagnant conversion rates.
Finally, if your business hasn’t honed social key performance indicators (KPIs) or is using the wrong ones, you’re holding your business back. And though KPIs won’t drive conversions independently, they will give you valuable information about your customer base, what’s working, and where you need to improve performance.
All businesses should emphasize a few core KPIs if they want to improve social media conversions. That includes looking at reach measures, such as how many impressions a social campaign receives and acts of engagement such as likes and shares. Those campaigns that get the most engagement relative to their reach are doing something right and you should look to replicate that kind of content, pushing it further to move from engagement to conversion.
Businesses really can thrive on social conversions, but it isn’t easy and it takes more engagement on the company side than is typically offered. Rather than expecting your social media campaigns to drive conversions all on their own, it’s time to start measuring, testing, and tracking. Social media conversions can work, but you’ll need to be hands on.