Deep Sales Strategies

Every new marketing platform generates a tremendous amount of excitement, due to the disruptive impact it has on the medium that came before it. Just as radio provided an alternative to newspapers, and TV provided an alternative to radio, social media has offered new ways for companies to connect with their customers.

But as social media marketing itself is evolving, many businesses are looking for more than just conversations and engagement with their target audiences on these platforms. We’ve profiled a number of tangible business success stories using Twitter, and of course successful sales strategies can be found on other social media platforms as well. Here are three examples of social media strategies that generated positive sales results. Consider implementing some of these strategies in the next phase of your social media marketing campaigns.

1. Facebook Promoted Posts

Facebook Promoted Posts
Matthiew Klinck is an independent film producer based in Belize, Central America. Just this month, Matthiew and his company Make-Belize Films, released the first movie ever produced entirely in Belize. It’s a milestone that Klinck and his team are particularly proud of, and as with most important events, he took to Facebook to promote the release of the film on the company’s Facebook Page.

In this particular case, however, Mr. Klinck decided to experiment with an advertising feature known as Facebook Promoted Posts. This feature is virtually identical to posting any content to your Facebook Page, except that before posting, you’re given an option to “promote” your post (for a fee). The effect is that a post that would normally only be seen by fans of your Page can now be seen in the timelines of all the friends of your fans as well. This expands the potential reach of your original message well beyond your normal target audience.

Klinck says “I spent about $150 on the campaign, and the results astounded me. A week ago our Facebook Page had less than 1,300 likes, and we’re now up over 6,900. Over 10,000 people clicked through to the website, and over 3,000 people paid $2.49 to watch the HD movie online (from over two dozen countries).”

Klinck is unequivocal in his excitement and enthusiasm for the Promoted Posts feature in Facebook. As he put it, “this Facebook promotion has been an overwhelming success. We never expected nearly this much traffic or support so quickly, and it’s due to one simple Facebook tool — Promoted Posts!”

2. Ad-Hoc Facebook Promotion

Facebook Coupons
Brian Coughlin, a marketer at OpticsPlanet also opted for a DIY marketing campaign, using Facebook as the medium. Coughlin told Sprout Insights that OpticsPlanet is not a newcomer to the concept of social media sales and marketing; the company was named one of the top 300 companies for social media marketing in 2012 by Internet Retailer.

“Our Facebook engagement is normally very high, but I like to push for ever more Likes, Shares and Comments,” Coughlin says. He got the idea to post a small photo on the OpticsPlanet Facebook Page that said, “If this post gets 300 likes, we’ll post a seven percent-off coupon.”

The results were impressive. “Not only did we get the 300 Likes we were after (we got over 800), we also generated over $10,000 in sales from that single coupon.” Even better, according to Coughlin, was that the “increased engagement on our Page led to more people visiting our wall, becoming our fans, and being available for future sales. It was a great post that only took me a few minutes to implement.”

3. Targeting LinkedIn Groups

Target LinkedIn Groups
Even with its official moniker as the “professional social media network,” LinkedIn sometimes gets overlooked as a viable, active marketing platform. Dave Tang of business document marketplace Flevy would probably beg to differ.

Since its products involve things like business frameworks documents, financial models, PowerPoint templates, and so on, LinkedIn is actually a natural fit for Flevy. “We’re a bootstrapped startup that has primarily been relying on LinkedIn for our marketing and sales efforts,” confirms Tang. A LinkedIn marketing campaign that’s been particularly effective for Flevy involved promoting a free PowerPoint plugin called Flevy Tools to targeted groups on LinkedIn.

“We mostly target groups related to management consulting, marketing, and corporate strategy,” says Tang. To receive the PowerPoint plugin, people were required to share Flevy’s PowerPoint plugin page on LinkedIn. “This was the viral component of our campaign.” An automated script then emailed the participants the plugin files to the email addresses they entered on the sharing page. “This also adds them to our weekly newsletter, which is how we drive sales later,” adds Tang.

How have you moved beyond customer engagement to generate actual sales through your social media marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments.

[Image credits: Dick Penn, The Bay Area’s News Station]