Using social media platforms and websites to promote products or services has been a popular marketing method for over 10 years. “Surprisingly,” says Inc., “most companies struggle to do it well, usually because they haven’t mastered…three basics.”

1. Learn  How to Create Clickable Headlines

“Social media is a waste of time and effort if nobody reads your content,” declares Inc.  “People decide to read a post or a comment on the basis of the title line or the first sentence.”

You might be surprised to learn that professional bloggers spend almost as much time creating headlines as they do the content itself. In fact, for premium content like blog posts or newsletters, Inc. suggests writing at least 30 versions of your headline before choosing the one you feel will get the most clicks. For conversational content such as comments and tweets, you should draft at least three “openings” before selecting one that will prompt people to click “more.”

So how do you know if you’ve succeeded at writing a clickable headline?

Mentally “step” away from the content and ask yourself: “Would I click on this?”  Additionally, you can use metrics (like open rate) to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t for the kind of content you’re writing. It’s also a good idea to keep a journal of other people’s headlines that have gone viral. You can then use this information as a model for the headlines you create.

2.  Define The Outcome You Want

It’s hard to achieve goals when you don’t have a plan. Unfortunately, while marketers may understand that the ultimate purpose of social media marketing is to get more sales, they don’t really have a clue how it’s going to happen.

Before you invest time in social media, ask yourself the following question: “How is this going to drive more sales?” If your answers to that question are only vague ideas like “create awareness” or “build brand image,” you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

Inc. advises that you link your sales process to social media activity with specific goals like “get consumers to browse our online catalog” or “get customers to sign up for a free product trial.”  Having a clear purpose behind your social media involvement “will keep your efforts targeted and (most important) measurable.”

3. Customize Your Website to Achieve Your Goals

After you’ve mastered the art of getting people to read your social media contributions and you’ve defined their purpose, now you need to make it as easy as possible for your social media marketing efforts to succeed.

Typically, potential customers you’ve generated from social media will end up on your webpage. If it’s just a common business webpage, though, you’re wasting traffic.

Why? The majority of company webpages are designed as if consumers are looking for “destination” websites that feature lots of information and options. The thing is, today’s social media sites are the information hubs.

This means you’ll want to streamline your business website so that it “will drive the behavior that you want your social media marketing to generate.” If you’re trying to get people to sign up for a free trial of a product, for example, the trial usage signup is the content that should dominate your landing page. That’s not to say you can’t have links to supporting information, but they should be inconspicuous.

In Summary

The goal of your social media marketing efforts should be to create clickable content that prompts a particular buying behavior in potential customers. To achieve this, you need to make it as convenient and easy as possible for potential customers to carry out that buying behavior.

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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