How to Drive Sales Through Social Media In this special 'Ask Entrepreneur' feature, marketing expert Jason Falls discusses how business owners can convert followers into paying customers.

By Jason Falls

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this special feature of 'Ask Entrepreneur,' Facebook fan Amy Clark Braden from Austin, Texas, asks: Which social network is better for converting followers into customers? So far we haven't had much luck with Facebook. What about Twitter or Google+?

Converting customers through social channels is not as cut-and-dried as most business owners think it should be. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask, "Why would I engage with this brand on Facebook?" Often, the answer is not, "So I can buy stuff from them."

Perhaps a better question to ask is, "Where would I buy things from a brand?" Chances are, Facebook is not going to be the first answer for many.

'Ask Entrepreneur'
Expert Chats
You had burning business questions. We answered them. Don't miss our recent series of chats with top industry experts.
Grant Cardone's Strategies for Sales Success

Consumers see the social layer around a brand as one that supports their buying decision in providing engagement and information pre-purchase, then supports them after the purchase when they have questions.

There's a disconnect when brands say, "We want to use Facebook to engage our audience," but then expect the result to be purchases. It's also misleading to think that your Facebook fans are the same type of captive, opt-in audience that you might find in, say, your email marketing list. They clicked a like button. It's a virtual high-five. The barrier to entry there isn't much of an obstacle.

This doesn't mean you can't drive conversions or build a customer base using social media, but that you have to first understand that's not what customers are turning to many social networks for. Secondly, approach your social channel with a strategic plan and purpose to drive business.

My guess is, for a business that says its Facebook fans don't convert, it isn't providing content that attracts likely customers or asking them to convert. Sometimes you have to present a call-to-action and give them a compelling reason to click, download or buy.

One social network that seems to get the most nods when I ask, "Are you driving business there?" is LinkedIn. This makes sense because it's mostly used by business people for business purposes. Networking with sales in mind is more natural on LinkedIn. On Facebook? Not so much. But if you've approached your Facebook strategy with the conversion in mind, you'll see much greater traction than if you just "engage" and cross your fingers.

Still, it's not the channel that is often to blame, but the strategy at play. If you want to convert fans on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social channel, you have to drive likely prospects and customers there with promotions or compelling content. Then you have to give them the opportunity and reason to convert. If you've attracted the right audience with the right messages in the right place and the right time, they will.

Jason Falls

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Digital Strategist, Industry Analyst, Speaker, Author

Jason Falls is a noted author, speaker and influencer in the social and digital marketing space. He is the senior influence strategist at Cornett, an advertising agency in Lexington, KY. He is the author of three books on digital marketing, including Winfluence — Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand, from Entrepreneur Press. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Living

How Learning to Take Care of Myself Helps Me Take Care of My Business

For entrepreneurs, particularly women, balancing the myriad responsibilities of business ownership can be all-consuming. You can't pour from an empty cup — here's how I started putting myself first and how it made my business more successful, too.

Productivity

SMART Goals May Be Holding You Back — Try This Effective Goal-Setting Technique Instead

Everyone suggests SMART goals, but this framework is flawed. Learn why and how to create goals properly — ones that you can actually achieve.

Business News

A Billion Dollar Startup Is Trying To Resurrect A Woolly Mammoth — And You Can Watch It Happen

Filmmakers will go behind the scenes of billion-dollar startup Colossal Biosciences, which uses genetic engineering for de-extinction projects.

Business News

Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth

During a tough fundraising year overall last year, the value of cybersecurity and AI unicorns saw double-digit growth.

Business News

Woman Allegedly Fired for 'Theft' After Eating a Sandwich That Was Leftover From a Meeting

Gabriela Rodriguez worked as a cleaner at Devonshires Solicitors in London for two years.