As you make your marketing plans for 2015, don’t forget to allocate budget to social media.  In 2014, both Facebook and Twitter began testing “buy” buttons, making it simple for social media users to buy products and services in a couple of clicks without leaving the platform.

This update is actually a really exciting opportunity for small businesses, who have dedicated time and resources to building a presence on social media, but are often left scratching their heads when it comes to, “How is social media driving ROI for my business?”

Buying products straight from a social media feed builds on another trend in 2015 – adding the human touch back to marketing. Here’s how this new “buying” power will be able to help small businesses provide a more human experience:

  • Instant social recommendations mean that consumers will be able to buy from small businesses that their friends and peers are liking and buying from.

  • With small business marketing automation technology, small businesses will be able to nurture new customers automatically, introducing them to a personalized selection of more products and services.

  • Like social media ads, small businesses will be able to target “buy” posts to their ideal buyer – offering the right products and services to the right type of buyer.

While Facebook and Twitter “buy” technology has only been rolled out to a handful of small businesses, you can bet it’s coming, and can prepare your small business in the meantime.

Brand awareness is going to tie in closely to the new buying features on Facebook and Twitter.  Getting your audience to talk about your business on social media today will pay off when you’re able to add that buy button to posts in the future.  

Build Conversation Around Your Brand

There was a time when small businesses could reach far and wide on Facebook for free.  That free ride is over. As Facebook has matured and introduced ads to help monetize the platform, organic reach has fallen, and small businesses have to “pay to play” to boost brand awareness.  Here are a few ways to keep the conversation going for your brand:

1. Keep building awesome content.  

Creating and sharing quality content helps extend your reach on social media.  Publishing great content to your website boosts SEO, attracting fresh leads to your site.  Offering a valuable resource to download gives small businesses a way to capture new prospects. As customers discover your small business through solid content, you’ll organically grow more likes and follows on social media.

2. Email nurturing will help prime prospects to hit the buy button when they encounter your brand on social media.  

Not everyone who likes your business on social media or visits your website is ready to buy – but some day, they will be.  Email nurturing helps keep your brand top of mind, educates your prospects on their pain-points and your solution, and shortens the sales cycle.  As you provide value to through email campaigns, prospects will be more apt to hit your buy button on social media than to buy from a brand they’ve never encountered before.

3. What happens after the sale can make a huge difference.

We focus a lot on helping prospects along their journey of “just looking” to “shopping” to “ready to buy.”  But as it becomes easier to make purchases on social media, a customer’s experience after the sale is just as important as their experience before the sale.  Stories of a bad customer experience travel fast – especially on social media.  Continue to nurture and provide value to customers after the sale.  Say thank you, offer special discounts, and ask for referrals.  They pay-off will be huge – accolades on social media paired with repeat purchases.

Ringing in 2015 with a focus on attracting new leads, nurturing your prospects and impressing your customers after the sale will put your small business in the perfect position to capitalize on the new social media buying trend headed our way.