3 Ideas For Using Social Media to Make Sales


Often when appropriating funds for social media asks itself “Are we spending money on Social because everyone else is, or do we stand a chance at making a return on our investment here?”

This is the age old question with social media, can you make real money directly from your effort in this arena.

Of course you can.

But the tactics are a bit different, a bit more aggressive, and some may even say they stray away from the general open mentality social media generally celebrates.

But if your aim is to make money using these truly powerful social tools, the following are some tactics to help you reach your goals.

1. Share Incentives

For most Social campaigns, having current customers share your products with their friends is the largest benefit you can expect.  These type of interactions directly bring in more people to your purchase pages and a few people can influence the behavior of a large group to this effect.

For most vendors, having a share button or even a pop-up share button on their purchase page seems to be the norm. And granted, you’ve established enough trust that they have bought what you are selling and are more likely than most people to share your product with friends. But what about offering them something more for sharing your product?

If you work out the math (of potential new customers)  something like a 10% discount for sharing your product on Facebook will seem like a no-brainer. How about free shipping? Or if you are asking them to share your product post-purchase you can offer them a discount on their next purchase.

2. Pyramid Sharing

In some cases you might have a product that costs you little to nothing to distribute; an online service or subscription, a digital copy of some good.  In this case, you can potentially give your product away without really losing revenue. Not that you want to give your product away for free, but would it be worth it if it opened up the opportunity to sell to more potential customers?

Perhaps you’ve found that 20% of people who join your email list eventually buy your product. You can then safely start a program where if someone invites 10 of their friends to sign up for your email list they get your service for free.

Obviously, you’ll have to do some recalculating of your conversion rate once people have a new incentive to sign up, but this could be a great way to expand your reach. In addition to having people sell your product for you, they are creating an ever-expanding network of people who have now heard of your product too.

3. Game With Purchase End Goals

Studying why and how people play games has become a hot topic lately. Games like World of Warcraft and Farmville have been called out for targeting human psychology rather than fun gameplay. But there is definitely something to be said for understanding that human beings love to play games. Including game mechanics or “gamification” as some call it into marketing has lots of upside.

Games like Farmville use a game structure and micropayments to see incredible success.  And much of the same philosophy there can be applied to your own social media brand game.

Some initial concepts to include in your game are:

Time investment – It often becomes more important for a player to continue on the game’s path because they have already invested time and energy to get as far as they have gone. The simple task of sharing your brand or purchasing a small product might be inconsequential when trying for that next level. The key here of course is making sure your game layer is worth investing time in to begin with.

Simple addictiveness – With a casual game, the premise doesn’t need to be complicated to capture a users attention. Time and time again the gaming world has revealed that simple games that are time-tested are often way more effective than complicated epics.

Social factor – Games are always better with friends. Include ways for friends to participate or help within the game and you have just killed two birds with one stone.

And once you have an addictive game layer or stand alone game with a user who wants nothing more than to see that next level or quest, you have plenty of opportunity to sell them on your product.


How have you used social media to get sales?


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