Social media strategies have become a boon to search marketers. Social media builds backlinks from authoritative sites, creates a stream of keyword-rich content and drives direct traffic to key pages.
While the “media” part of social media is almost completely free; the “social” part is quite expensive.
The “social” part of social media requires generating a steady menu of content and participating in the conversations generated around that content.
“Social” media isn’t cheap, but the things we do to generate great search engine results—creating content, encouraging conversations—are exactly the things that boost conversion rates and drive sales. This is what readers of this column are interested in.
Increasing conversion rates around social media requires that we change our tactics. I’m going to introduce you to the “social media landing page” and show you why you need to use this proven tool.
A different kind of conversion
For most of us, there is one kind of conversion. It happens when a visitor to our site fills out a form or completes a purchase. It is when a stranger becomes a prospect and a prospect becomes a customer.
In the realm of social media, a conversion can be quite different.
Dave Evans, in his book Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day defines three stages that a social influencer must go through to create word-of-mouth messages for our businesses.
He starts with a small number of individuals who have purchased our products or services. Ironically, we have to “convert” these customers into users of our products, so that they have the authority to speak about our offering. We then help them form an opinion of us—preferably a favorable one—with the ultimate goal of getting them to talk about their experience.
We will also want to give those that hear these messages a way to interact with us.
Needless to say, a traditional landing page isn’t going to get us there. These pages are designed to entice action long after the post-purchase process has run its course.
Unlike its counterpart, the social media landing page isn’t focused getting on one action from a visitor; it has to do more.
Don’t worry: you probably see social media landing pages every day. See if you can guess where I’m going with this.
Conversion to user
The social media landing page must educate a customer on how to use your product or offering in their situation. Therefore, the page must have an educational component.
Articles, videos and reviews with a “how to” or “10 ways to” orientation are classic examples, and you’re probably already generating such content for your search strategies.
Conversion to opinion-holder
It stands to reason that, if someone uses your product or service, they are going to form an opinion of it. However, studies tell us that “social proof” can often override personal experience in our perceptions. Therefore, a social media landing page should expose the opinions of others.
Testimonials are the time-honored tactic for communicating social proof, but savvy social networkers want more specific, transparent and relevant commentary from people in their social graph. The social landing page must expose social gestures—comments, retweets, subscriptions and “likes”—to influencers seeking to make a statement with their opinion.
Conversion to talker
Once someone in authority has formed an opinion of our brand and offering, our landing page must provide them with a way to spread their message. Fortunately, there are myriad ways for visitors to our landing page to share their opinion, from comments to TweetMeme buttons.
Have you identified a page design that provides all of the moving parts outlined here? If you said a blog, a forum or a Facebook page, you are right on target. Each of these provides opportunities to educate visitors and allows influencers to spread the message through comments and posts.
Conversion beacons bring new visitors full circle
All of this will do little more than grow our social graph. How do we get new visitors—those influenced by our customers to consider our offering?
Conversion beacons tell visitors how to start interacting with us. These are classic offers, ads or forms that will often lead to traditional landing pages. These form the link back to the traditional sales funnel.
It is the conversion beacons that offer us a measurable way to calculate ROI, as these drive new leads and purchases.
Optimize your social landing pages
Now that you know how important these pages are, give your blog or Facebook page another look.
Every good conversion scientist knows that testing is the quickest way to get better at online marketing, and the same is true for social landing pages. However, social landing pages aren’t as easy to test as traditional landing pages.
In my next column, I’ll show you the tools and tactics I use to measure the effectiveness of my social media marketing campaigns.
In the mean time, here are some good questions to start asking about your social landing pages:
- What content topics generate the most engaged visitors?
- Will more visitors comment if you simply ask them to?
- Where should your conversion beacons be: in the sidebar column, before or after the post or in the copy?
- What offers draw more clicks on your conversion beacons?
Give us a link to your best performing social landing pages in the comments.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.