Lessons About Social Conversion Optimization

Lessons About Social Conversion Optimization


Social media has given brands the ability to connect with large audiences and forge new opportunities for customers and relationships.

But social channels are meant to be just that: social, and are many-to-many, not one-to-one.

So how does a brand guide that relationship to a channel where it can connect directly with customers and prospects?

In celebration of the first International Conversion Rate Optimization Day (#CRODAY) presented by Unbounce, I hosted a panel of social media professionals to talk about ways to use conversion optimization in social media:

  • Shannon Byrne, Founder of asongaday.co and Chief Content Officer at CloudPeeps
  • Thayne Lewis, Director of CRO at Sprout Social
  • Nicole Miller, Community Champion at Buffer
  • Mackenzie Fogelson, Founder and CEO of Mack Web
  • Stephan Hovnanian, Owner of Shovi Websites

Give it a watch, and look at the highlights below (mm:ss refers to the time stamp in the video) for added info

(2:30) The network effect of publishing platforms

Shannon shared an example of how she launched a music site called asongaday.co. Shannon announced the site as a Medium post, to leverage their built-in distribution, and by choosing this platform earned more than just publicity and social signals.

The launch methodology Shannon explains in her segment also breaks down the conversion rates, which is refreshing because a criticism of using publishing platforms is typically that they keep the traffic on the platforms themselves, and don’t give you an opportunity to capture the audience into a signup.

(8:06) Using informed data to create systematic tests

Thayne shared a reminder that we have a very rich base of data about our visitors, especially when we’re using social media to drive traffic to our landing pages. In the example he gave, Sprout Social systematically removed content from their landing pages, and added in new content, to see what would move the needle (and in which direction). You’d be surprised which sections had a positive effect on conversion, and likewise which had a negative effect. Signups aren’t the only thing to test with conversion rate optimization; testing ways to get a more complete picture of a user’s account profile will help you connect more deeply with them on social channels as a brand advocate (or for customer service).

(20:07) Does Social Sign-In Improve Conversion?

Nicole is lucky, the Buffer blog is simply amazing when it comes to case studies and deep dives into social media optimization. When you have that kind of content drawing people to your site, converting them to their free and paid plans is an opportunity ripe for the taking. Nicole talked about how making it easy to take that step, using social sign-ins, resulted in a 100% increase in conversions! We could have stopped there, but Nicole talked about “gut-check” tests where they would use their community via Twitter to see the type of responses to potential headlines, and also other conversion techniques like a Hello Bar on top of their blog, and using customer feedback to develop new tests.

(27:17) The Long Game: Offering Your Best Stuff for Free

Mackenzie (Mack) and her teammate Ayelet brought up the important reminder that it isn’t all about social, but social can make a big impact in reach and distribution when you’re creating a piece that builds your brand and the community around it.

The piece, a community guide that’s had over 8,000 downloads to date, doesn’t ask for an email address. You can download the guide for free, no strings attached. The approach makes it a bit more challenging to identify specific conversion points, because it isn’t just signups that they are tracking. Brand mentions, speaking opportunities, and qualitative metrics like feedback are more holistic conversions, but they are conversions nonetheless.

This is a great example about brand awareness and platform building, which can apply to all types of businesses and not just digital agencies or SaaS companies (Software as a Service).

(38:41) We’re All Moving Toward Being More Relevant to Our Audience

At this point we were able to bring all four stories together to illustrate how the social and search engines are pushing us in the direction of relevance. The more they can place relevant content and interactions in front of their users, the more valuable they become to those users. As the businesses vying for those slots of relevant content, you can see how important it is to create customer experiences (using conversion optimization) that make it easy for them to work with you.

(41:03) Producing Socially-Engaged Webinars

My story was breaking down our Get Smart About Email Marketing web series, as well as its inspiration (Page Fights from Unbounce and ConversionXL), and the benefits of giving live audience members ownership of the conversation by engaging them directly during the event. In addition, when you are introducing social sharing to landing pages and content from which you wish to convert new visitors and new audience members, you won’t have as much control over the flow of visitors, making your landing pages more susceptible to leaks. To help plug those leaks, make sure your social sharing meta data is set up to point shares back to pages with signups, and that you have signup forms on all pages of content.

Bonus Round! Panel Questions

We asked each other a few questions that would be really cool to know the answers to. What do you think?

  1. (48:15) Where do you see the biggest room for improvement with respect to brands on social?
  2. (53:45) What do you wish you could do with conversion through social media that’s not currently possible?
  3. (57:50) When creating your social strategy, how much of it is focused on driving conversions vs. driving goals that are more challenging to measure – i.e. brand awareness, thought leadership, etc.?

And to wrap things up, this fantastic tweet from one of our live audience members:

About Stephan Hovnanian

I own Shovi Websites, a website design and email marketing company located outside Boston. I spend my days managing websites and staying up to speed with all the latest trends across the web so you don't have to.

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