If you’re in the business of sales, odds are good you can find the vast majority of your prospects and customers on social media. This means it’s critical to learn where your clients spend time online and how to craft content that will drive new business and increase sales.
To give you a sense of the massive outreach potential of social media, here are user numbers for some of the top platforms:
When you pay attention to both where your potential customers spend time online —and combine this with an awareness of your company’s core strengths and brand—you can develop a strategic approach to online sales. Let’s take a closer look at how various social media platforms can integrate with your sales strategy.
Before signing up for an account, it’s critical to learn the core uses and demographics of a given social platform. Here’s an overview of 12 of the most useful social platforms for driving sales.
If your goal is to build community among your consumer base, then Facebook is the place to be. It’s especially good for facilitating conversations between brands and their users. Because it’s the most popular social site with the most active user base, Facebook is also a valuable platform if you’re trying to reach a broad audience. User data reveals that demographics span the full range of ages, gender, education, income level, and location.
On Instagram, a strong visual identity and high-quality imagery are a must. The site is growing like gangbusters, especially among young, urbanusers. The site pairs well with Facebook and/or Twitter, which allows you to share text-based content that wouldn’t be appropriate on Instagram.
LinkedIn is all about professional networking, which means your brand will appeal to users if you share career and industry insights. LinkedIn is also especially fruitful for B2B companies. Users tend to boast high education levels, high incomes, and a nearly even distribution across age brackets.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is best for brands with a visual component. Just slightly more adults use Pinterest than Instagram, and Pinterest skews heavily toward women: Approximately 44 per cent of online women use Pinterest, compared to only 16 per cent of men. The site also trends young, with 37 per cent of people under the age of 50 using the site. If your target demographic falls into these categories, then Pinterest can be a goldmine for engaging users.
Twitter is all about trending topics and topical conversations. It’s a great option for reaching urban and/or suburban consumers: 25 per cent of Twitter’s user base resides in urban areas, while 23 per cent are in suburban areas. If you’re attempting to cultivate a hip, active, and vocal brand, then Twitter is an exceptional platform. Like Facebook, it’s great for facilitating conversation between consumers and brands.
YouTube is all about video, and is rapidly becoming a platform where brands can differentiate themselves as funny, creative, or unique. And withmore than 1 billion users, YouTube has the potential to generate a truly massive audience. It’s especially primed for capturing younger demographics: The site reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network. But as brands catch on to the power of YouTube, the competition for all those eyeballs is high.
While less well known, Meerkat commands an audience of 120,000 users and growing. The platform allows users to live-stream video from their phones directly to their Twitter followers, so it’s best for visual content. The platform is unique in that it skews heavily toward males: 78 per cent of users are male.
Periscope is a direct competitor to Meerkat: It allows users to live-stream video from their phones to Twitter. The app is owned by Twitter, so integration is seamless. Periscope also has a significantly larger user base, with 10 million users (1.85 million of whom use the app daily). Similar to Meerkat, the app skews toward males: 71 per cent of users are men.
Reddit boasts approximately 36 million user accounts, 9,800 communities, and a young, active user base. (Eighty-eight per cent of users visit the site multiple times a day.) It’s also one of the most difficult platforms to penetrate due to its dispersed user base and because users are skeptical of self-promotion on the site. Subtle content marketing is the name of the game here.
What began as a private sharing app between friends has grown into an impressive platform for brand building. Snapchat allows users to create captioned videos and photos that disappear once they’ve been viewed. The site’s users tend to be young; 45 per cent of adult users are between 18 and 24. The key to success here is creativity, humor, and being quick to the punch.
Success on this video-sharing site requires polished, high-quality content. If your brand is highly visual, investing time and energy with this platform can be well worth it: With 160 million monthly viewers, Vimeo has the potential to generate a large following.
The 6.5-second looping video app had its heyday a few years ago, but it’s still a viable platform for brands and has launched a number of viral stars over the years. Vine is particularly effective for showcasing products, telling short stories, or simply sharing goofy content. With 28 per cent of adult users between the ages of 18 and 24, it’s important that Vine content be hip, engaging, and fun.
The wide array of social platforms available to salespeople means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to social media. Instead, building a successful online sales funnel requires identifying your brand’s strengths and target demographics, developing high-quality content and a distinct brand voice, and being open to a process of trial and error as you discover the social platforms that boost your sales most.