social media for bloggers How to Convert More Social Media Leads to SalesHow many times have you thought, “Well yes, social media is fun, but how do I know if it’s improving my bottom line?”

Social is notoriously hard to measure, but there are metrics that can help you determine what’s working and what’s just wasting time. Once you’ve got some sort of analytics program tracking your site you’ll have loads of information about where your visitors are coming from. The question is…why aren’t more of your social referrals turning into sales?

Here are a few suggestions for maximizing your social ROI and getting more people to buy once they hit your site.

First and foremost, fine tune what message you’re putting out on social. Sure, it’s great to post linkbait articles and get people to click through, but if your content isn’t related enough to what you’re actually selling – people just aren’t going to convert. Take a good hard look at your content plan and decide what’s driving the right type of traffic to your site and what’s just fueling empty click-throughs.

Next, figure out which mediums you’re currently using are converting, particularly within the social realm. If your Facebook referrals are converting at twice the rate of your Twitter leads, you have two options. One is to back off on Twitter a bit and focus more on building your Facebook presence. It’s always smart to dominate one or two mediums rather than being marginally effective on ten. Or, if you prefer, you can use your converting Facebook traffic to learn what’s working and try and apply that across different mediums.

As a general rule, the more engagement a social site naturally has, the longer a lead from that site is going to spend on yours. For example, Facebook has very high engagement – people spend lots of time using all kinds of features on the site – whereas StumbleUpon drives lots of clicks, but has relatively low engagement. Some sites are never going to drive converting traffic at a good clip. Accept that and move on.

You’ll probably need to invest in some split-testing. If you don’t have the technical capabilities there are plenty of websites and companies that can help you get there relatively inexpensively. It’s crucial to know what type of landing page keeps social leads on your site for more than 6 seconds at a time. Do some highly-organized testing to find out if a “sales-y” pitch works best or if your leads want more meat from your site.

Lastly, remember that everyone loves a good deal. What better way to incentivize leads to convert than to offer them a discount? Once you’ve developed a loyal, interested social audience you can spring a coupon or special offer their way. Since these messages don’t contain too much fluff, you can bet traffic that clicks through is likely to buy. Just don’t use this tactic too often or you’ll dilute the real value of your product.

Social is a moving target but it’s not all that hard to figure out. Like any scientific experiment you’ll have to test different things and measure for results, one variable at a time. Don’t give up on social – it’s a surefire conversion tool – but know where to spend your time wisely.

Ryan is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.

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