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New customer acquisition was pretty tough in the old days of marketing. After spending months pouring as much creativity and research as possible into a campaign, all marketers could do was hope that their ideal audiences would eventually see their television commercials, highway billboards, or magazine ads. 

The internet — and social media in particular — has forever changed customer acquisition for the better. Whoever your ideal customers are, chances are they’re on social media — this includes U.S. adults who use Facebook and YouTube (68% and 73%, respectively) and 18-24-year-olds who use Instagram and Snapchat (71% and 78%, respectively). 

Today’s marketers can now use audience data to identify the customers they want to acquire with precision, and then use a strategic mix of social media platforms to engage them directly with personalized and relevant content.

Here are four ways to leverage audience data and acquire new customers through social media:

 

1. Listen to your target audiences

 

You need to learn more about your target audience before marketing to them. Through social listening, you can glean useful feedback from the real discussions your target customers are having. This can help you understand, in detail, why customers feel the way they do about your brand and products — which can inform your social marketing strategies.

 

“Can you gauge success by looking at sales numbers? Probably not. Listening for interaction and engagement can confirm your messaging is on track — and helps assess your brand’s impact.”

- Success Through Social Listening

 

With a comprehensive social media engagement platform like Social Studio, you can even monitor audience discussions on topics of your choice, using machine-learning sentiment analysis and image recognition to take your social listening to the next level.

 

2. Engage your target audiences with content

 

Listening to and learning about the customers you want to acquire allows you to collect valuable data about them, made even easier with the help of tools like Salesforce DMP or Data Studio. Insights derived from this data can be used to inform your social customer acquisition campaign strategies.

As you build these social campaigns, keep these key tactics in mind:

  • Produce high-quality visual content unique to your social media pages, including images and videos that tell your brand story.

  • Create unique content types (like videos, polls, or interactive Instagram Stories) to inspire engagement with your social ads.

  • Riff-off current memes — or even launch a branded meme account — if it’s a logical fit for your brand (like Denny’s or MoonPie).

  • Collaborate with on-brand social media influencers to promote your content and amplify your message.

  • Invest in building a personalized customer service presence to better address the needs of both current and potential customers in real-time.

 

3. Create immediate opportunities to shop

 

In addition to creating social media content that drives brand awareness, there are certain types of content that can directly and immediately drive conversion.

For example, on Facebook, you can add a shop section to your page, and then tag products from your Facebook shop in the images and videos you post. When customers click on those products inside your posts, they’ll be taken to the product page in your Facebook shop to make a purchase.

Instagram is also home to robust shoppable content. Similar to Facebook, you can tag products from your online store — and even your Facebook shop — in an Instagram post or story, again bringing new customers straight to the product page to make a purchase.

 

4. Measure and refine campaigns in real time

 

Not long ago, once a campaign launched, its fate was out of the marketing team’s hands. Companies sometimes waited weeks, if not months, for vague metrics to roll in about the impact of their campaigns.

Now, marketers know how social media campaigns perform in real-time and have the tools to respond instantly to audience feedback. With a Marketing Command Center, for example, you can clearly see a campaign’s impact and success across multiple channels, including how a single customer’s journey unfolds on those channels. These tools also allow you to engage with and respond to individual customers directly through social media.

 

“By 2020, 90% of customer service will be done via social media.”

- Gartner

 

Lids powers social acquisition with Salesforce 

 

Having a dedicated and responsive social customer service presence is an essential component of any new customer acquisition and retention strategy. A few years ago, LIDS launched the internal LIDS Press Box, a command center powered by Marketing Cloud and Social Studio. Customers have reaped the benefits. The Press Box allows them to track social trends in real time, keep an eye on their competition, engage customers in conversations, and more.

Six months after launching the Press Box, LIDS’ Facebook follower count nearly doubled, from 495,000 (which took years to attract!) to 800,000. “We know we need to become more digital and social, and more loyal,” says Jeff Pearson, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Ecommerce at LIDS. “That's the expectation of the consumer today. They want to interact with brands socially.”

 

Take advantage of social for customer acquisition

 

Today’s digital tools make customer acquisition more precise and effective than ever before. When you listen to your target audiences on social, you can learn what will engage and resonate with them most. Additionally, by integrating opportunities to shop seamlessly into your social content, you can acquire new customers anytime, anywhere — and at the moment when they’re making purchase decisions. And lastly, being able to measure and refine campaigns in real-time means you can adjust messaging and offers based on customer demand, so you’ll never have to fully invest in campaigns that don’t convert.

To learn more about using social media to acquire new customers, check out this ebook on 50 Social Media Best Practices and this list of time-tested social media tactics.