Over the last couple years it appears that everyone is talking about how to use social media to generate sales. Ultimately, the discussion comes down to “Can activity on social media be translated to actual revenue?” Simply put, yes. Social media can result in revenue for your business but it’s not as simple as turning on an account and sending out a few messages. The trick is to overcome the vanity metrics like number of followers and likes and focus on what actions translate into sales.

Here are a few ways that you can ensure that social media and sales are aligned and ultimately working together to achieve an increase in revenue & profits:

Develop a Lead Treasure Chest
Your treasure chest should include everything you need from a content perspective to close a sale. It’s not as simple as creating a few case studies and calling it a day either. You need to develop a wide variety of tools, tactics and pieces of content that can help your sales & social media team get closer to conversion. For example: Guides on how to use your product, success stories, email newsletters, niche landing pages, in-person events and audience relevant blog posts, all establishes credibility and helps customers find what they need.

Identify Success stories of Cold Leads
Some leads are better than others. They have a high probability to be closed and take less time to get from prospect to customer. For that reason, the industry tends to place a lot more emphasis and focus on generating warm leads instead of cold ones. These leads are great but social media presents businesses with an opportunity to turn cold leads warm quite quickly. Sales and social media must work together to identify how they have converting cold leads in the past and build a sales funnel that will increase their chances to convert.

Analyze Your Social Media Efforts
At the end of every quarter you should be looking closely at the results of your efforts. You need to be looking not only at the number of visits to your site and number of followers you have on twitter but also track where your new customers came from. Identify what channels are the most effective and see what type of process is leading to the success stories and what are leading to failures. Focusing on metrics is important if you’re focused on the right type.

Show Sales the Return on Social Media
While it’s common thinking among those who live and breathe social media that it can result in revenue; the folks leading sales aren’t always convinced. Thus, it’s important that the folks managing social media  on behalf of your brand communicate with sales to see the results. Whether that’s sharing an excel sheet with the leads that came in through the blog or the contact info for someone inquiring about a product on Twitter; anything you can show to validate the worth of social media internally is a great way to get everyone on the same page.

Clearly Identify a Sales/Social Media Strategy
If you’re still struggling to integrate social media and sales, it’s not the channel that is often to blame, but the strategy you’ve developed or haven’t developed. If you want to convert prospects on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Linkedin or any other social channel, you have to drive likely prospects and customers there with compelling content & items worth talking about. From there, you have to give them an opportunity and reason to convert. If you can do that, sales and social media will not align but also result in success.