The term ecommerce is no longer a phenomena. In fact, it’s the now the norm and almost expected for brick-and-mortar stores to also have the ecommerce option for customers to purchase goods online. Will selling on social media soon become the norm too or is it just a fad?
We’re here to tell you that selling on social media is most definitely not a fad and is absolutely here to stay…and grow! Now you may be thinking “I have an online store. I thought that was enough.” And you very well may be right. Depending on your industry, selling online through Shopify, BigCommerce, or Lemonstand may be enough for right now, but if you want to stay ahead of your competition and keep up with changing consumer preferences. Then you need to take your digital selling a step further and start selling on social media.
You want to make it as convenient as possible for consumers to purchase your products. How do you do that? You position yourself where they are most of the time – browsing and conversing on social media platforms. The average American spends around 2 hours per day on social media. Think about how many more minutes they would spend on social media if they could browse your products on Facebook without ever leaving the app.
But what apps are they spending their 2 hours on? Well, there’s no clear answer here because there are so many popular social media applications. The average person has five social media accounts that they use frequently. How are you, as a business, supposed to know where to sell your products? How often should you promote them? Who should you promote your products to? We’re answering all of these questions for you today. Just keep reading, and you’ll learn all the tricks of the trade to selling on social media.
What Exactly Is Social Selling?
Selling on social media, otherwise known as social selling, is when businesses choose to upload their products to a social platform. They then use that platform as a means to reach their audience and sell to them through social media versus a web page. Selling on social media is gaining steam, and it’s doing it fast! Everything in the digital marketing world grows at lightning speed, so don’t let this one pass you by.
The Rise of Selling on Social Media
74% of consumers say they rely on social media for information to help them in future purchases. Additionally, 43% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after learning about it on social media. With these kinds of statistics, you can’t afford not to be on social media or not to advertise on social media. And you especially can’t afford to lose out on the opportunity of selling on social media.
Recent studies have found that business who practice social selling generally see a $5 return for every $1 invested.
As a business you can’t just make a social media profile and wait for people to come. This isn’t like fishing on a Sunday afternoon at your grandpa’s pond. You’re swimming with big fish in the sea, so you have to make an effort with your social media account. The best way to do that is through social selling. So let’s get started in learning how to do that.
Choosing the Right Platform
When it comes to selling on social media, you have a number of platforms you can choose from. But how do you know which one is right for your business? Should you be selling on more than one platform? What about all of them? Choosing the right platform to sell on is similar to choosing the right platform to use as your social media outlet.
Take a look at the platforms that you have business accounts with right now. Is it just Facebook? Great! Then sell on Facebook. Are you on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram? Then take a look at your metrics from each. Which one are you receiving the most engagement on? That’s a great indication of which platform would bring you the most revenue when is comes to product sales.
You may also take your audience demographics into consideration. If your target audience is comprised of mostly millennials, then you may want to sell on Facebook and Instagram rather than Twitter and LinkedIn.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that Facebook is easily our top choice platform for social selling. Let’s review all the features Facebook offers you as a business when it comes to selling on social media. We’ll also discuss which industries might have the most success selling on Facebook as well as some tips that are specific to selling on Facebook’s platform.
One feature offered by Facebook that other social media platforms do not have is the Product Catalog. With the feature you can link your inventory in your ecommerce store to your Facebook business profile and begin selling those same products directly on Facebook! Your online store and Facebook talk to each other as purchases are made, so your inventory is always correct and you have more revenue in your pocket!
You can link the items in your Product Catalog directly to your Facebook ads, so you can reach your customers in a highly targeted way – making them more likely to make a purchase. You can also use your catalog when remarketing to customers using Facebook’s dynamic ads.
If they already visited your website and looked at an item but abandoned it, just use the Product Catalog to show that item to them again in ad form. Remind them what they are missing out on!
That’s how social selling works!
Best industries for Facebook
Facebook has a lot of features that make it a compatible platform for virtually any business in any industry. But in our past experience our clients in the following industries have seen the greatest success with selling on social media via Facebook:
- Clothing & Apparel
- Consumer packaged goods
- Gift products
- Home furnishings
- Beauty products
- Fitness companies
Tips for Selling on Social Media via Facebook
- Less is sometimes more. When selling on Facebook, you’ll always have the most success when you boost posts or run ads for your products. However, it’s important to remember not to overwhelm users or they may be likely to unfollow/block you.
Instead, put a frequency cap on your ads so you limit the number of times a user sees your ad.
- Get personal with it. Believe it or not, users actually prefer this. They rather see a specific ad for a product they would actually like than see a bunch of ads for items they don’t want cluttering up their news feed.
Promote products that are personalized or tailored to your target customer, and your sales are sure to increase.
Instagram was the first 100% visual and mobile platform. Snapchat is the second to join that category, but we will discuss that platform later. Instagram now has close to 1 billion users, and over 80% of them actually use the app to make purchases or to look at products they plan to purchase in the near future.
But how do they make those purchases? Through a fairly new feature called shoppable posts that Instagram introduced testing in late 2016 and officially launched globally in 2018.
When selling on Instagram, you can also connect your product catalog like you can on Facebook since the platforms are linked together. But the user experience for the customer is different. There’s no pro to using shoppable posts on Instagram over the Facebook Product Catalog. It’s just simply a user preference. So it’s important to really know your target audience when choose which social media platform to sell on.
You will know when you see a shoppable post on Instagram because it will have a small shopping bag icon. When a user taps one of these posts, he/she will then see the name of the item and the price. Tap it again, and you’ll get even more info. Then if you like what you see, you can make a purchase right there in the Instagram app!
Best industries for IG
Because Instagram shares a lot of the same features that Facebook does, the industries that will see success selling on social media via Instagram are about the same. However, industries that have more “Instagram worthy” products will see the most success. Retail apparel companies by far take the cake when it comes to selling on Instagram.
Tips for Selling on Social Media via Instagram
- Professional, high quality images. Instagram is a visual based platform. The image of your product is what people see first. Then they see the copy, so make sure your images are top notch.
Remember, you are trying to sell this product through a screen. The best way to do that? High resolution imagery that shows off your product in the best way possible.
- Make the customer think they need it. How do you do that? It’s simple. Lifestyle photography.
An image of someone actually using or wearing your product will generate double if not triple the sales than just a stand alone product image with a plain background. You have to show the user how much better their life will be after they purchase your product.
If you’re active on Pinterest, or also known as an avid pinner, then you know that Pinterest has its own social media lingo. Which also means it has its own way of social selling. Previously when users, or pinners, saw items on Pinterest that they wanted to purchase, they had to go on a scavenger hunt to find the product – sometimes with no such luck finding it. Pinterest solved this problem, and businesses cheered!
If pinners see a pin with a price in blue, then that means that product shown in the pin can be purchased. This is known as a buyable pin.
Your business can take advantage of buyable pins simply by connecting Pinterest to your ecommerce platform. Pinterest links to some of the well known platforms like Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce. Every time you add a new product, you just check Pinterest when making the product visible online, and it automatically becomes a buyable pin. No additional work needed on your part.
If you have buyable pins, then pinners can also go directly to your profile to find and shop your pins that are eligible for purchase.
Best industries for Pinterest
Selling on Pinterest sounds cool, right? It’s easy enough and you think you can do it. Well I’m sure you’re right, and I have all the confidence in you. But do you run a business whose products are searched by pinners? Any business that falls into the category of approved industries can sell on Pinterest, but if you fall into any of the below categories, you will see the most success selling on Pinterest.
- Home Decor or Renovations
- Gardening or Landscaping
- Arts and Crafts
- Food and Drink
- Health and Self-Improvement
Tips for Selling on Social Media via Pinterest
- Demographics. Pinterest users are approximately 42% female and 13% male. The age range among users is fairly evenly distributed, but with the majority still being in the millennial generation.
Keep these demographics in mind when crafting your visuals and copy.m
- It’s important to note that pins do not disappear. In fact, they stay around for quite some time after you’ve posted them because most pins are repins from other users. An item you pinned two years ago could very much still be circulating.
- Keyword targeting. Pinterest has a feature that other social media platforms do not when it comes to ad targeting. You can actually target keywords that your customers would search for to find your products. If you’re familiar with Google ads, it’s a similar setup.
Snapchat is probably the most social and least salesy of our list of platforms where you can sell on social media. However because of that, it’s also the place where your ads can look less like ads and more like regular snaps. This can work to your advantage.
As a video based platform, creating ads for selling on Snapchat can be a little more difficult, but worth the promotion it gets you. Although you cannot directly sell within in the all mobile Snapchat app, you can link to your site where users can makes purchases, place orders, register for events, and more!
Best industries for Snapchat
Selling on Snapchat is still very new, but the winners in this field are starting to shine. Any business that is able to give a fun “behind the scenes” look into what they do or how they make their products will do best selling on this platform. This would typically include:
- Retail apparel stores
- Tech gadgets
- Travel companies
Tips for Selling on Social Media via Snapchat
- Stay active! Snapchat is fast paced platform where constant and prompt communication is key to keeping a consumer’s attention. Your snaps only last a few seconds, which means your communication timeline with them is short. This can make for a fast conversion and speed up your sales funnel process.
But this time factor also means you can lose a customer quickly. As long as you keep constant communication through the sale of the product, then you should have no problem selling on Snapchat.
- Provide an experience. You have video at your fingertips to really show your potential customers what they could be missing out on – whether it’s a new dress, a piece of home entertainment, or tickets to the next music festival.
Give them a glimpse (in just 10 seconds) of their next purchase and how great it will be!
- Keep it short and sweet. As we mentioned before, Snapchat is fast-paced platform. Everything is supposed to be done “in a snap”. So don’t make any of your advertisements too long. Whether you’re promoting on a filtered ad or on your story, keep your snaps short (just a few seconds) and your stories short as well (no more than 10 snaps). This will ensure you keep users interested and coming back for more rather than dreading seeing your long snaps – or worse, unfollowing you.
- Save money. Snapchat ads can be expensive for some small business owners, so try this alternative instead!
Purchase a much less expensive geofilter that customers can use when they are at your event or in your store. Most Snapchat users love to put geofilters on their snaps so all their friends know where they are. They are doing the promotion for you, and all you had to do was design the geofilter.
Benefits to Selling on Social Media
The more places you are, the more exposure your brand will have. It’s just that simple. Look at the websites that receive a lot of traffic. They probably have extensive menus with a lot of pages, hundreds of blog posts and products. That’s because the more options you offer to consumers, the more consumers you will attract. Which brings us to benefit number one.
#1 More Consumers
When you attract more customers, you are giving yourself the opportunity to sell to that many more people than before. People don’t like to be inconvenienced by anything. Sure, they are on the internet everyday, but if they don’t have to leave their Facebook app to go to your online store, then you automatically just became their first choice in online shopping, aka social selling.
#2 More Revenue
With more places to purchase comes more sales revenue! Think of it this way: if you only had one brick and mortar store and then expanded to 5 you would make more money getting different customers from different parts of town. Selling on social media through multiple platforms gives you access to literally billions of potential customers.
#3 Increased Visibility & Awareness
Even if you don’t have purchases the first day you start selling on social media and running ads, you’re still growing your business. You’re building brand awarenessacross multiple channels and getting your business name further than it was before.
#4 More Engagement
By selling on social media, you are able to establish a relationship with your customers and offer a better shopping experience. Customers can ask you questions and you can answer them in real time just as you would if they were shopping in your store. The whole reason social media was established was to help people be more social in a different medium, so why not use it for its intended purpose?
Social Selling Don’ts to Avoid
- Don’t assume. That you’re going to sell out of your inventory on day 1 of promotion. Yes, social selling is a fast way for small businesses to reach customers across the nation or even the world. But it’s important to remember that social selling is still a new concept that not all users are comfortable with yet. That’s why it’s so important to have good quality images, product descriptions, and an easy check out process.
- Don’t just sell. Your brand needs to have a personality behind it. You want people to know more about your business than just it’s products. Be sure that you have consistency within your posts on your content calendar and stay engaged with your followers.
- Don’t ignore comments. People are definitely going to have questions about your products. Who wouldn’t? They are buying something they can’t feel, smell, etc. If they have questions, then answer them as timely as possible. The greater engagement you have with your potential customers, the more likely they will be to purchase from you.
The more you sell, the more questions you will receive. This can be difficult to manage. Consider hiring a social media marketing company to do your daily monitoring for you so you can focus on other areas of your business.