Social sales is defined as turning your social media from just another arm of your marketing operation into a platform that generates sales. The ever-growing popularity of social media means it can be a profitable landscape if understood well and campaigns are executed properly.
Social platforms are becoming more accommodating for integrating a sales process, so there’s never been a better time to experiment with these channels. Here are five tips for improving your strategy with a social sales channel.
Make sure it’s where your audience is
Your social media will fail as a sales channel if your target audience doesn’t exist on the platform. This is the first step of any marketing campaign and it’s just as applicable to generating sales from social media. Each social media platform is different, with a unique audience and set of reasons why that user base congregates on it. In this case, it’s not enough that your audience is on the platform, they have to be willing to buy on it.
A user on Instagram may be more inclined to shop than someone active on LinkedIn. They’re probably on LinkedIn for work-related reasons and less likely to start shopping than an Instagram browser, who generally use the app casually in their own time and enjoy the visual element of advertising on the platform.
Take the time to research what your competitors are doing and how they appeal to their base to convince them to start shopping. What platform are they targeting them on and in what ways?
Encourage and share user-generated content
User-generated content doesn’t just lessen the burden on your creative team, it’s one of the most effective ways of raising your profile on social platforms. Asking your customers to post themselves with your products creates a consistent production of content that acts as both an advertisement and a positive recommendation in one place. People trust other people more than they trust brands, so leverage that community trust through allowing them to show content.
This is another opportunity to add a sales point. Rather than posting the same product imagery again to promote sales, you can use this new user-generated content in your next campaign to create sales. Your audience will also be encouraged by existing user-generated content to create their own, because there’s a chance they will be featured on a bigger page with more reach that raises their personal profile.
Take Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign, for example, which appealed to people’s desire to have their creations featured and seamlessly highlighted the product feature.
Utilize influencers and brand advocates
Like user-generated content, influencers and brand advocates are a great way to use trustworthy, positive content without having to produce it yourself. Nothing drives sales like a recommendation from someone you trust, respect or want to emulate. Social media is based around people primarily. Using people with notoriety to promote your products and brand will improve reach and give you a new point of sale opportunity through sponsored posts.
Association with influencers and being seen to have a network of advocates will raise your own profile. There is a huge demand from fledgling influencers for brands to work with. Working on a sponsored post with the right influencer is one of the best ways to make money on Instagram. Influencers play a huge roll in developing modern brands, and being seen to work within one gives you more legitimacy.
Make it as simple as possible to buy
The key to making your social sales channel successful is to make the process as simple as possible. If it’s awkward or has too many steps you’re less likely to keep the customer engaged and will lose the sale. You wouldn’t make the basket process on your own eCommerce website inconvenient, so why do the same for a new sales channel you’re looking to launch?
Instagram and Facebook have shoppable post types, which allow users to go from browsing to purchasing in one click. These are subtle enough to not disrupt the flow of a user’s feed, but clear in what they ask the user to do.
Features like Pinterest pins also allow users to shop without leaving Pinterest, making the whole process feel streamlined. Shoppable tags on Instagram stories are one of the most popular methods of driving traffic towards sales, as with a swipe up you can go from advert to the sales screen.
Invest in paid social advertising
You can run free social campaigns to try and push your audience into sales, but paid campaigns offer a chance to reach entirely new audiences. Rather than being limited to your own audience or those who follow influencers you work with, it’ll allow you to target by interests, demographics and locations.
If you’re trying to boost sales during key periods, paid ads are also a great way of making sure the campaign isn’t missed and good work isn’t wasted. Paid is a vital and legitimate part of a social sales channel strategy that is often overlooked in favor of focusing on organic but be careful not to use it as a crutch to boost lesser campaigns.
More and more businesses are finding success with social media as a sales channel. The social companies are looking to integrate these elements into their apps further, encouraging businesses to use them and making the experience more streamlined for their users. These tips are ways to experiment with platforms and find what suits your business.