The following article was contributed by Carol Wood, People Operations Director at Homebase.
Your business has an account on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and beyond… but are you able to convert those social media followers into customers?
1. Ask questions of your followers
Engagement is the name of the game if you want to convert social media followers into customers. The same goes for friends on your birthday; the ones who you talk to often are much more likely to show up to your birthday party, compared to your first Facebook friend from 10 years ago who you haven’t talked to since.
Want to remodel a store or thinking of adding something new to your menu? Ask your social media followers! Your loyal followers know your business inside and out and can generate some great ideas. If you decide to go with their new dish or seating layout, be sure to give them credit by thanking them on the social media site on which they made their suggestion.
If you already have a few ideas and want to validate or debunk your hypothesis, set up a poll on Twitter to get feedback in a more structured way. Be a good friend to your followers, the kind that listens and checks in often to convert social media followers into customers.
2. Offer social media exclusive discounts
Everyone loves a discount, especially when they feel they are being rewarded for something. Following a company on social media certainly doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, and offering an extra incentive to continue following in the future doesn’t hurt. Figure out which social media site is most effective for you (most followers, most comments, most reshares, etc) and create an offer that customers can’t pass up.
Maybe you run an ice cream shop and create an appealing graphic for Instagram with a buy-one-get-one-half-off on a day when a heatwave is predicted. Have each person who comes in for the promotion pull up the image and show that they’re following you to redeem it. You could even point your followers on other social media sites to your Instagram to gain more followers and traffic on the day of your promotion. The key here is to keep it simple and be as specific as possible. When your customers know exactly what they need to do to get the offer, it will make it a lot more likely that they will take the actions you set out.
3. Get holiday specific
If you go on social media often, it seems like every single day there’s a new “holiday” popping up. From national best friend’s day to international beer day, if there’s a way to fit what you do in with the holiday, then do it! Keep track of what holidays are coming up (traditional or on the newer side) and plan promotions accordingly. The easiest way to do that is with Clover’s monthly installments of its promotional calendars like this one.
On national best friend’s day you could ask your followers to bring their best friend into your donut shop for a buy-one-get-one-free deal on a popular item on your menu if they check in or post a picture together. This is a great way to stay current and experience the benefits of these growing holidays.
4. Create contests
Just like everyone else, your customers love free stuff. When trying to convert social media followers into customers, what better way is there than to give them a little something for free? Giving out your products free to anyone who shows up is asking to move you from the black into the red, but having a contest that creates buzz about your business and gives away a few things is a great alternative.
As mentioned in the social media exclusive offer section above, the key is to be as specific and simple as possible. Make sure your instructions spell out exactly what followers need to do to qualify to enter your contest. Do they need to follow you, repost the image with a certain hashtag, and tag a set number of friends? Determine what’s best for boosting your followers in a way that incentivizes them to also make it into one of your locations. That way, when you pick a winner, they’ll be happy to share their positive experience with you and encourage their friends to do business with you as well.
5. Be helpful
You are an expert in your field, to say the least. That means you have endless knowledge to pass on to your followers and customers, beyond just the products you sell. Highlight unique tips you might have that relate to what you sell on your social media profiles. You could even offer classes or workshops at one of your locations that could help turn social media followers into customers. Millennials in particular can’t get enough of experiences, as 72% said they planned to up their spending on experiences.
Beyond that, answer questions from followers to show that you’re listening. If you use Hootsuite, or another social listening tool, you could stay on top of what people are saying about your business and step in when someone is having an issue or repost their content (with permission!) when someone is singing your praises.
With a little bit of effort, you could take your followers and turn them into lifelong customers. These are just a few ideas and we welcome you to share any strategies that have worked for you in the past in the comment section.
Once you’re able to convert social media followers into customers, you’ll need a happy workforce to greet them. Boost employee satisfaction and retention with employee scheduling and time tracking from Homebase, which integrates with all Clover point of sale systems.
Carol is People Operations Director at Homebase. With free online tools and mobile apps for managers and employees, Homebase eliminates the paperwork and headaches of scheduling, payroll, and team communication for local business.
At Homebase, Carol focuses on providing thought leadership, tips and tricks, and scalable HR solutions for the 50,000 businesses that Homebase serves. Prior to Homebase, Carol focused on helping small and medium businesses navigate the tricky waters of human resources, working with companies across the retail, food service, oil and gas, and healthcare industries through her roles as HR Director at Fuddruckers and Achilles Group, a Houston Based HR consulting firm. In her free time, Carol enjoys spending time with her son Dayton, and watching Alabama football (RTR).[image: A Man’s phone is his castle by Daniel Enchev on flickr]
To learn more about Clover, visit www.clover.com.