Five Steps for The Conversion of Fans and Followers Into Customers

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Everyone’s always super keen on talking about how amazing social media is for business – how great it is for lead generation and brand reputation and connecting with consumers on a personal level. While they’re not necessarily wrong about that, a good reputation doesn’t really pay the bills. Sure, if people like your company they’ll be more likey to do business with you, but at the same time…

There’s no real guarantee that a well-liked company or brand won’t still go under. It’s happened plenty of times in the past, and to businesses both great and small.  It sort of goes without saying that you want to avoid having your business be one of them.

One of the best ways to do that is through social media. See, if you play your cards right, you can turn a pretty decent percentage of your fans and followers into loyal, paying customers. Let’s talk about what’s involved in doing so – it’s actually simpler than you’d think.

First, You Need To Know Your Networks – And Audience

Before you start thinking about lead generation and the sales funnel, you need to be certain you actually know your audience and the networks they’re on. What sort of content do they like to see? When are they active, and what sorts of interests do they possess? I cannot stress how important it is that you’re able to answer these questions.

“You should have a fairly good understanding of where your particular audience resides (digitally) and what networks are popular with them,” writes Oktopost’s Ben Green. “Some brands fair better with Facebook, others with Twitter, and so on. In the best case scenarios, manpower and resources allow as many social platforms as possible to be used, with an emphasis on those that produce the best results. As a brand, you need to find the correct combination of platforms that will work for your particular social strategy. Once you have identified them, you then need to determine what amount of time and resources you will allocate to each.”

Content, too, is important – perhaps more important than anything else. Without good content, people will have no reason to pay attention to your brand. They’ll have no reason to explore your social media accounts, browse your website, or pay any attention to you at all. You’ll just get lost in the noise.

“The content you create, as well as the content you curate and share, helps you build a following of individuals who fit your customer profile,” explains Nate Riggs of The Karcher Group. “And sales conversion is usually preceded by many micro-conversions. For instance, someone who follows you on Twitter might end up reading your blog from a link you tweet. That same person might choose to subscribe to your email list if that content resonates and your blog is set up with clear conversion points. Over the next few months, that same person might continue reading or watching your content, which creates a sense of top-of-mind awareness for your brand, services or products.”

In other words, content is the key to not just attracting customers – it’s also a driving force in moving people down the sales funnel.

Second, Establish an Awesome Presence

So, to successfully generate leads on social media, you need to understand your audience, understand your networks, and generate awesome content. Piece of cake, right? Yeah…but there’s still more to it.

See, in addition to having great content that gives people a reason to pay attention to your brand, you also need to present them with an awesome – and more importantly – consistent brand personality.  You can’t just be an emotionless content mill. People have to get the sense that there’s a real person behind all the cool posts.

“Social media gives your business an excellent opportunity to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition,” says Social Bro’s Andy Vale. “With behind the scenes insights and the occasional fun tweet mixed into your professional social presence you can effectively promote your brand personality. It encourages people to engage with you, increasing the potential for awareness of your brand and exciting new connections that could lead to sales, investment or more! Becoming an active and well-defined brand on social media with a strong brand personality will help to position yourself as a go-to provider of your service.”

Third, Give Them Something For Free

Now we’re getting to the good stuff – this is the advice which, once you have amassed a nice crop of followers, will start turning them into sales leads. Fair warning, though. It might seem a little counterproductive at first:

Give them stuff for free.

Facebook-exclusive offers, discount codes for Twitter followers, special coupons that only people on LinkedIn are able to receive; you get the idea. People love receiving something valuable for free –especially when they know it’s a deal that isn’t open to everyone. It’s a little quirk of human nature that you can turn to your advantage in a very big way.

It worked well enough for Island Natural, after all. After promoting the brand on Facebook for a while, founder and CEO Nadia Roch generated a ton of business by giving every single Facebook fan a coupon that gave them a significant discount. The giveaway was a massive success, and in just one day, thirty fans came in to redeem their coupon – no small number for a small business.

Fourth, Never Stop Conversing, and Remember Where You Are

Social media is, at its core, about conversation. With that in mind, don’t ever stop interacting with fans, customers, and influencers – even those that you have transformed into sales leads. And don’t just talk about your products; think of yourself as more of a diplomat than a salesperson here.

Remember – the people on Facebook and Twitter are soft leads, not hard leads.

“Social media followers have not typically indicated any imminent intent to purchase goods or services,” says Green. “Liking a photo or retweeting a status is not a solid indication that the individual is a good potential lead. So remember, many of your social media followers have not taken any action that would portray they may buy. It is your job to provide them the opportunity to take those actions.”

Finally, Track of Your Efforts

Last but certainly not least, remember that social media is like any other marketing campaign – that is to say, you’ll enjoy the most success if you track your efforts, and keep a close eye both on what works and what doesn’t. By measuring the results of each shift in your campaign, you’ll equip yourself to tweak things as you move forward.

“To lead, you have to know where you’re going, then create a path for others to follow,” says Jonathan Crossfield of CMI. “It can require a lot more effort to design a strategy and create the content, particularly for those still harboring the belief that it’s possible to reap benefits from social media with a couple of automation tools and a few button pushes once in a while.”

Closing Thoughts

Social media can be a powerful tool for lead generation in the right hands. At the same time, never forget that this isn’t really what social networks are about. They’re about interaction – about connection and conversation and personalization. For that reason, you should always put your brand’s image and reputation first.

Attempts to drive sales can come later.