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Performance Marketing

3 ways to turn social media reach into revenue through SMS

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About the author

Eric Wendt is a Content Marketing Manager at Attentive®—an Aspire Technology Partner and the most comprehensive text message marketing solution.

When social media users aren’t sharing selfies and scrolling through memes, there’s a good chance they’re looking to connect with your brand. In fact, more than 90% of consumers engage with their favorite brands in one way or another, such as by sharing referrals or joining loyalty programs. And with 70% of the US population using social media, odds are they’re primed to do so on social.

COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend. One report showed a 20% week-over-week increase in web traffic around the time stay-at-home orders went into effect, with social media usage rising as high as 40%. Social media provides brands a quick, affordable way to reach large audiences seeking engagement, but determining its return on investment is social marketers’ second-greatest challenge, only behind identifying and reaching target audiences.

So, how do you prove the value of social engagement in tangible terms? By harnessing the audience you cultivate on social media and driving it toward an owned channel proven to provide returns: text messaging.

Engage mobile-first consumers

No matter the demographics associated with your target audience, it’s a safe bet they’re viewing your social media posts on a smartphone screen. In fact, more than 50% of Americans now access social media platforms exclusively using mobile devices.

But when they’re not on social networking apps on their phones, they’re likely spending their time texting. Text messaging has been the most popular smartphone feature for years. More importantly, it’s how 79% of consumers want to hear from brands. Text messaging isn’t just convenient for consumers—it’s immediate and intimate. That’s why the average open rate for text messages is 99%.

Even better, it’s a channel that speaks directly to consumers’ wants and needs. Nearly 2/3 of consumers say they’d rather talk in private message threads with other people instead of on open forums and feeds. That’s why text messaging is the ideal channel to communicate with your social media audience and turn your reach into tangible revenue.

Bridge the gap between social and SMS

There are multiple ways to turn social media users into SMS subscribers.

Attentive® enables brands to easily grow text messaging subscriber lists via its Instagram Stories sign-up feature. Instagram users simply swipe up on a brand’s Instagram Story to open up their phone’s native text messaging app. From there, they’ll see a pre-populated text message giving the brand clear permission to opt them into the text messaging program. The user simply hits “send” to automatically be added to the brand’s SMS subscriber list.

Another option is redirecting social audiences to your website, where visitors are greeted by a branded SMS sign-up form. Lifestyle accessory brand Dorsal Bracelets implemented this strategy, driving Snapchat ad traffic to its website and incentivizing SMS sign-ups with a one-time discount.

Despite Dorsal Bracelets’ email subscriber list being 3x as large as its SMS list, the two channels provide nearly identical returns. In fact, only seven months after launching its text messaging program, sales attributed to Attentive-powered text messages accounted for 30% of Dorsal Bracelets’ total revenue.

Scott Kramer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Common Thread Collective—the e-commerce agency working with Dorsal Bracelets—explained how social media was key to the brand’s success.

“We wanted to find new channels for Dorsal Bracelets to try to scale up their business. Because we were able to send so much cost-effective traffic through Snapchat, their text message list growth was off the charts. And knowing that for them, text messages convert so much higher than email—it pretty much crushed it from a conversion and revenue standpoint.”

- Scott Kramer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Common Thread Collective

Data shows that many consumers follow brands on social media to learn about new products and services (57%) or discover promotions and discounts (40%). Additionally, more than half of consumers say they want to join a loyalty program.

Text messaging gives brands the opportunity to provide all of this (and more!) via personalized communications on a channel where consumers are already spending most of their time. And with only 21.7% of consumers saying their favorite brands do a good job of interacting with them in a personalized way, the ability to tailor communications to individual consumer preferences is more important than ever.

Create a community

Maximizing the revenue potential of social audiences isn’t as simple as publishing a post and expecting followers to become SMS subscribers. It’s vital to create connections with social users and demonstrate you’re a brand they can trust. And with 35% of consumers saying that they find new accounts to follow based on influencer mentions, it’s clear how valuable validation from brand ambassadors can be in this effort.

Community intelligence marketing platforms like AspireIQ make it easy to build brand advocacy at scale, helping brands identify their most valuable fans, develop authentic connections with them, and inspire social communities to campaign on their behalf.

But you must aim to stay consistent with your brand voice and messaging across all channels. A company that creates authentic connections on social media only to treat subscribers like just another number on SMS will fail to create long-lasting brand loyalty. On the other hand, leveraging text messaging to have more 1:1 interactions with your social media followers will allow your brand to create deeper relationships with valuable customers and build a strong community of passionate brand advocates.

Social media is a valuable tool in any brand’s arsenal, empowering businesses to raise awareness and create connections at scale. But in order to turn social media reach into tangible returns, brands should consider the powerful revenue potential that personalized text messaging offers as part of a larger marketing and community-building strategy.

About Attentive

Attentive® is a personalized text messaging platform for innovative brands & organizations that can quickly become a top 3 revenue channel—with results like 30%+ click-through rates and 25x+ ROI. Contact Attentive for more information, view recent case studies, or explore our 2020 Holiday Hub to discover how to sleigh your revenue goals this holiday season and beyond.

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