Social media has opened a novel and fast-developing sales platform, and having a Facebook page or a Twitter account seems common practice for small businesses. Although according to Convince and Convert, social media only accounted for 1.55% of all e-commerce traffic, with a .71% conversion rate, this does not mean social media can’t help you sell or aren’t worth a try.
Most online marketers know that direct/hard selling does not work best with social networks. However, social media are perfect places to guide your customers through every stage of the sales funnel from raising awareness, rapport building, and making the purchase (soft selling). Social media encourage sales that ultimately occur in store or from your website.
What you need to think about before selling on social media:
What are you campaigning for? What do you expect from the campaign (to increase brand awareness, create new leads, engage with customers, or drive sales)? How do you plan to achieve these goals? Who and where are your target audience? And how to reach them? If you analyse the demographics of your target customers, you can generalise the information and run targeted campaigns. Which social media can reach your audience effectively? If you aim to target professionals or job hunters, LinkedIn is your platform. If your are targeting fashion followers or millennials, then Instagram would be your best shot.
How to sell on 5 top social media channels
Most vendors on Facebook already have a Facebook page or even a Facebook shop. While a Facebook store can help generating some sales, tending to your Facebook page can deliver the optimal results. Businesses mostly rely on original and creative posts, or even “click baits”, to drive traffic. Although the social network’s new algorithm favours paid ads, the algorithm is so powerful that it can identify your target demographics (users who visited your websites – Facebook Pixel, people in your customer database, and even similar minded people) and have been shown to return over eight times of total investment.
Many small businesses love Twitter because it’s an open network. You can follow and be followed by anyone without sending a request. Your brand’s identity on Twitter begins with a uniquely charming persona. On Twitter, people find you from your clever use of hashtags. Consistently posting content that attracts a consistent demographic – your target audience – will gain you followers. With a considerable number of fans, you can implement Twitter ads to increase awareness, engage existing and prospective customers, as well as drive product sales.
The site for professionals enables connection with people in the same industry. LinkedIn is the perfect platform to reach decision-makers for B2B opportunities. Sales on LinkedIn occurs in two ways. You can either pay for ads that appear on the newsfeed of your audience or contact them via messaging. However, success selling on LinkedIn depends on your ability to target and reach the right people. The platform’s powerful search tool allows easy customer targeting by filtering results using years of experience, location, industry, etc.
4. Google +
This social network created by Google could be a powerful tool for small businesses. Presence on Google+ can boost search engine results, and direct traffic your website. You can also hashtag popular keywords that people search to advance your business in the search result list.
This platform is not just about lifestyle businesses. The most successful brands on Instagram, similar to those on Facebook, use the platform to increase awareness and engagement rather than sell products. Instagram is the network to show the personal side of your business that your market can identify with and thus follow you and engage with your posts. Of course, you can use some tactics for more exposure: using relevant hashtags, interacting with famous competitors.
Instagram is the winner of soft selling among social platforms: Shopify revealed that Instagram marketing had the highest average order value ($65.00), compared to Facebook or Pinterest.
Choosing social media that fits your small business can be overwhelming. Each platform has its own pros and cons. Knowing the differences between each platform can optimise your presence on social networks. These online platforms may not directly lead hard sales, but it’s an excellent way to guide your audience through each stage of the sales funnel.