Have you heard the news?
Social media isn’t just a marketing game anymore. In 2020, learning how to sell on social media can greatly impact your bottom line.
The most popular social media platforms have realized their influence on shopper searches and preferences. Now, they’ve gone further to create in-app and onsite purchasing.
The path from inspiration to purchase has been dramatically shortened, at least on social media. As a business, you want to make sure you’re capitalizing on new sales channels to create the best buying experience for your customers.
Keep reading to learn:
- Best practices for selling on social media
- How to select the right social selling platforms for your business
- How to sell your products on social media
Social Media Selling
The social media giants have spoken, and they want a piece of the selling action. Specifically, platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made it possible for customers to purchase products without leaving the app.
So, what does this mean for you?
Social media is no longer just a marketing channel — it’s a new sales channel opportunity.
However, learning how to sell on social media means understanding the nature of platforms like Facebook and Instagram and how their users behave.
Keep reading to discover our top best practices for becoming successful at selling on social media.
1. Find the Right Platform
The first rule of how to sell on social media is to meet your customers where they are. Finding the right social media sales channel starts with knowing your ideal customer.
The good news is that your existing marketing analytics can help you here.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- On which platform do I have the biggest audience?
- On which platform do I have the highest engagement?
The platform with the biggest audience or highest engagement is an excellent place to test social media selling.
When in doubt, work with what you already have.
Another way to pick the best platform for you is by finding the platform with the right demographics. It’s a good idea to determine which social media community has a lot of users with the age and gender of your ideal customer.
For example, members of Gen Y and Gen Z are more likely to use Snapchat than boomers.
One last demographic category to check is income level. If you sell more expensive products, then Facebook might be your best bet.
2. Lead With High-Quality Content
Since you’re selling, engagement should be your most important metric. So, be sure to feature your products with high-quality images.
As if that’s not enough, a 2016 study by Digiday found that 85% of Facebook and Instagram users watch video content with the sound off.
When it comes to social media, imagery is king. Both images and video can do a great job of selling your products. Just make sure your videos are still compelling without the sound.
And always remember to stay authentic to your brand’s voice. Setting up shop on social media doesn’t mean you need to come across as aggressive or completely sales-oriented.
3. Connect To Your Website for Cross-Promotion
As you’re figuring out how to sell on social media, keep the big picture in mind. Social media platforms will only make up one part of your whole marketing strategy.
Although social media platforms are transforming themselves into sales channels, they are still valuable marketing channels, too.
You have to find the right balance for your brand. Some customers will feel comfortable purchasing from your social media shops. However, other customers require more time and relationship-building.
If customers need more information about your product or brands, it should be easy for them to access it. So, make sure all of your platforms connect back to your website.
Your website should also have a way for visitors to sign-up for your email lists, another highly valuable marketing channel.
Additionally, if you have an online store on your website, do a quick double-check to ensure that the information is clear and easy to find.
The key is to keep potential customers engaging with your content. The more places they can connect with you, the faster you can build that relationship.
4. Create Urgency With Promotions
Let’s face it: Social media shops are an excellent business opportunity, but they’re still new. Most people coming to social media aren’t coming with buying intent.
As a result, it’s up to you to help customers move from browsing to buying.
One of the best ways to move someone to the buying stage of a journey is to create urgency or fear of missing out (FOMO).
FOMO is a powerful driving force in shopper behavior. A 2015 survey from Citizen Relations Canada found that 68% of millennials will buy something within 24 hours after experiencing FOMO.
With social media tools, you can use time-sensitive promotions to create buying urgency. After you’ve adjusted your prices, make sure you have campaigns in place to let your followers know.
5. Use “Buy Now” or “Shop Now” Buttons
Our last best practice for learning how to sell on social media is setting up shop on social media platforms. While all of the previous tactics will work for your advertising strategy, setting up a social media store might be the most significant step.
Why is that?
Opening a social media store reduces friction.
Think about it.
If you visualize your sales funnel, you know that you lose a certain percentage of customers at each stage. Let’s say your funnel starts with an advertisement on social media. Even if you use high-quality images and limited-time offers, you won’t get 100% conversion to your online store.
However, if your customers can purchase your products without leaving a social media app, you’ll have less customer dropoff.
When your customers want everything faster and easier, it’s essential to reduce friction in your buying process.
In the next section, we’ll share how to sell on social media based on each platform.
How to Sell Your Products on Social Media
Learning how to sell on social media depends on the platform you choose. Some platforms offer direct in-app sales, while others work in tandem with your website.
Keep reading to find out how you can sell products using each of the platforms listed.
How to Sell On Facebook: Facebook Shops
With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the most widely (and consistently) used social media platforms.
So, how do you sell on Facebook?
Facebook introduced its Shops feature in May of 2020 to allow for direct-selling through the mobile app. Businesses can create online shops linked to their Facebook or Instagram profiles for easy direct selling. It’s free to create an online store for both platforms.
If you want to sell directly on Facebook, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Be a Business Manager admin
- Be the owner of your Facebook page and be the owner of the catalog in Business Manager
- Have “Manage Permissions” for your Facebook page and the Facebook catalog
A Facebook Catalog is where you store your product inventory on Facebook’s Business Manager.
After you add products to your Catalog, you can sell on an independent Facebook Shop or a Facebook Page Shop.
To create your Facebook shop, you’ll need to go to Commerce Manager. Click Create a Shop to get started. From here, you can select where you want your shop to appear and which product catalogs to include.
How to Sell On Instagram: Instagram Stores
The process of how to sell on social media is similar on Instagram.
Like Facebook, you need to meet specific criteria before selling on Instagram:
- Represent your brand and your domain
- Have a business or creator account
- Connect your account to a Facebook page
After you’ve connected your Instagram account to the appropriate Facebook account, you’ll complete setup using Facebook’s Business Manager and Commerce Manager pages.
Using the Commerce Manager page, you’ll select your checkout types, connect an existing catalog (or create a catalog), and then submit your store to Instagram for approval.
How to Sell On Pinterest: Product Pins and Catalogs
Unlike some of the other platforms on this list, Pinterest attracts users with more buying intent. A whopping 93% of Pinterest users go to the platform to plan purchases.
Pinterest doesn’t have direct in-app selling yet, but they have tools specifically designed to promote and sell products.
To sell on Pinterest, you’ll need to create Catalog Pins. Catalog Pins are a type of product Pin that can be used in Product Groups and Shopping Ads on Pinterest.
Before you set up Catalogs, make sure that you:
- Have a Pinterest business account
- Have a product data source (spreadsheet or file of products and information)
- Claim your website and make sure it meets the Pinterest Merchant Guidelines
Once you have created Catalog Pins, you can group them into product groups, such as “Dresses” or “Bestsellers”. After you create your product groups, you can feature them on your Pinterest profile or create shopping ads.
To create a shopping ad on Pinterest, simply create a new ad and set the goal to Catalog Sales. Once you launch your ad, you can track its performance and even set up dynamic retargeting.
As social media platforms grow, so does their role in the consumer journey. In addition to marketing on social media, businesses can use these platforms to sell products directly to customers.
However, it’s important to remember that learning how to sell on social media is only one part of your greater marketing strategy. It should also only be one part of your social media strategy.
If all you’re doing with social media is selling, your audience will start to lose interest. Make sure that you mix up your social media shops with high-quality content, audience engagement, and other calls-to-action.
Ideally, you still want to use social platforms to bring people to your website to sign-up for emails or provide product feedback.
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