Image credit: anitakhart via Flickr

People often complain that social media is a giant time drain, but one that they know they must dive into because everyone says they must.

Of course this is exactly the kind of thinking that makes social media, or any business or marketing activity, a giant time drain.

Social media participation and integration is an important aspect of marketing and while the names, technologies, and tools may feel foreign, the fundamentals involved in making them pay are the same.

Marketing is about building trust and these days any effective conversion approach is steeped in building trust through engagement. This is true of selling, advertising, lead generation, and customer service – and it’s certainly true when it comes to building trust using social media platforms.

The trick, like all good inbound marketing, is to create value and a reason for someone that might encounter your business to want to know more.

Below are seven steps that can help you create your own social media conversion system. (Warning: these are pretty much the same steps I would recommend for engaging any prospect, online or off.)

Put content out strategically

The first step is to create and optimize content that can live in social media outposts such as Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr, or other social media communites. You can also use ads placed on Facebook or LinkedIn as ways to drive attention to your content, offer, or other call to action.

Use landing pages for every choice

The next step is to build a series of unique landing pages for each community. In other words, create a page for your Twitter call to action, your Facebook call to action, your LinkedIn call to action and so on.

The difference in these pages may be subtle, but this is an important part of the personalized engagement. You can build these pages yourself, but using a landing page service, such as SiteTuners, unbounce, or FutureNow is a great way to keep track of and measure results from lots of pages.

Make the message match

It’s important that the message on each page matches whatever your content and call to action in social media is. You can start by identifying that the visitor followed a link on Twitter and that they are indeed in the right place.

Think about using widgets that place a live twitter stream or Facebook Fan box on the page for visitors from these sources.

There are many other elements to good landing page design, but my main point here is the personalized page that matches some element of how the visitor got there. Here’s a good article on improving your landing page results.

Create a ‘get to know more’ call to action

The real point of your engagement on your landing pages is to capture permission to share even more. The simplest form of doing this is to offer valuable information in exchange for an email address. (You can also offer following you in other social media platforms as an alternative to those that don’t want to give up an email address.)

Your PPC ads and ads on platforms like Facebook can point directly to their own landing page promoting your free information or offer. In some cases this may be a direct product link, but this will be far less effective.

Test every element

Landing page design and conversion is a bit of a science so you need to test every element – headline, call to action button, social media connection, message, offer, and even video and audio appeals.

The good news is that you can create what are called A/B tests using a tool like Optimizely or Google Website Optimizer or any of the landing page services mentioned previously.

ab testing

Image credit: Optimizely

Enable sharing

Since you’re playing in the social space here make sure that people can tweet that they just got your awesome information or that they “Like” your landing page. You can use social media plugins to make this easier on WordPress or static pages and most of the landing page services make this available as well.

Personalize follow-up

Once you’re captured permission you can really ramp up the personalization by using a service like Flowtown to add in lots of social media data about your landing page visitors.

Flowtown can integrate with email and landing page services to create customized follow-up based on the email address and social media graph of each person that signs up for your free information. Flowtown uses Klout scoring data to rank the social influence of each person.

You can create campaigns for people that are most active on twitter or Facebook or you can also create a scoring system that notifies you when a particularly active or influential social media user enrolls. This type of approach might kick out a list of prospects for a live sales person to follow-up with.

While set-up of this system may take a bit of work in the beginning, once you have all the moving parts automated, you can focus on content creation while using social media sites as both an inbound and outbound lead generation and conversion platform.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Excellent article!

  • CoreyOlo

    Great post! The point of making the message match is very important and one that often gets forgotten!

    • With newer easy to use landing page services, there’s really no reason not to tweak away

  • I believe the idea of separate landing pages for social media conversion can also be adapted to measure bought traditional media conversion as well. For instance, for each media you advertise, you can put up a unique phone number, or email address, or a URL of landing page for each medium you use. It sounds cumbersome, but if one would like to measure the impact of their marketing / advertising / communication effort, I believe that’s the way to go.

    • I do to – I even mention that idea in the article – technologies change, fundamentals don’t

  • Great article!!

    “It’s important that the message on each page matches whatever your content and call to action in social media is.”

    This really stand outs!

    • Yep, don’t confuse or you lose – resist the temptation to clutter the page with other ideas so you can broaden the appeal = kills conversion

  • This was good as I have been debating if Twitter and Facebook are worth my time. I have both, and actively participate in them with valuable content, but am having difficulty monetizing or building my business with it. I will plug on and hope to create some more connections and relationships.

    • If you can spend the time to create an effective system you only have to maintain it from there and that’s where the momentum comes from – creating multiple systems that are easy to operate.

  • Thanks John, there are some excellent tips in this article.
    The more I look at social media, the more my opinions polarise.
    You’ve either got to do it properly and be really committed (which is where your suggestions come in) or virtually forget it.
    Dabbling in social media marketing doesn’t seem to work since it can carve up chunks of your working week without making those genuine connections.

    • The one place I might argue for dabbling at first is to create ways to make sure you at least listen in to what is being said by your customers and competitors and first create social media outposts as a way to communicate more effectively with your existing customers.

  • Thanks for the information and the steps advice. very useful and very thought provoking. If you arent careful, its amazing how easy it is to stray from one of these steps and really mess things up.
    Time is the issue. If you cant make the time, you cant make a good social media presence. Always a tricky one for those who are working full time jobs :p

  • I have unique landing pages for my site for Twitter, FB etc. (it’s called the Twelcome page). Folks coming in from Twitter really like it.

    Also like the idea of a landing page service, will check that out!

    • Yes, I think there’s a feeling of “I got to the right place” when you make that little extra step.

  • Great post John. Thanks! FYI, since it is in context, thought you might want to know that the link on the Duct Tape Marketing formats incorrectly when sharing on Facebook, whereas the Social Media Today link does. See here:

    It is a pet peeve of mine to run into a great sharable link that forces a lot of effort to correctly appear to my audience. Hopefully it’s a temporary snafu.


  • Great advice, thanks John.

  • Verify the Optimizely links include the .com (the “Optimizely” text plus the image were both missing the .com)

  • Thanks, this really is vital if you want to get any success..

  • Like the “get to know more” idea and follow up is essential with any form of marketing!

  • We’re a small artisan business that is increasing our online presence. The whole idea of social media marketing is one that just makes me shake my head. I understand that it’s almost a necessity these days to incorporate social media into any online effort, but it’s the time factor that causes the hiccup for me. After all, I’m running a business… a hand’s on artisan business. A daily flow chart that adds in the social media somewhere would be a great tool, but until then I’ll probably just keep reading about best practices. Which, btw, this article certainly addresses. Great ideas here and I’ll definitely start putting them into practice. Thanks.

  • Great info, John. Getting clarity about using social media as part of your marketing is every bit as challenging as getting clarity around the purpose of your business. This not only points this out, but helps address some of the tools.

    • The key is to find one or two things that make sense and start doing them, then add from there. People end up sinking when they try to do it all.

  • Thanks for the links to the landing page services. Love the idea of using different landing pages for each account!

  • Tufail Shaikh

    thanks great help.i thinks this is extra tips i will work on my website that is based on online foods.