Over the last few years, the way we use social media has changed a lot which has reshaped the customer decision making journey. Discovery and intent used to be separated meaning social media was used to discover good finds, and later the customer would visit the brand’s website with intent to purchase. Today, discovery and intent are taking place on the same channel – social media promotes, social media sells.Selling your products directly on social media is a great way to level-up your customer engagement activities, connecting meaningful content to relevant offers. But of course, this doesn’t mean you should flood the feed with product promotions. You still need a social media marketing strategy to nurture your relationships, post the best content, and use the right platform to reach your goals.
Before you can integrate social media into your selling strategy, you first need to build an audience. That requires having a defined brand identity and recognisable tone of voice. Together, this shapes the way you sound on social media and what type of content people can expect from you. Make sure to match the messaging strategy with your brand’s core purpose. Your social media activity is not only about building an audience, it’s also about shaping your brand image.
Unless the homemade look is part of your visual identity, you need to make sure to produce high quality images and videos. Ease of access to social media is no excuse to fill your brand’s ecosystem with poorly crafted material. That goes for both visuals and captions. A great visual with a vanilla caption will do very little for your conversion rates. Every element of social media content is an opportunity for you to express your brand’s identity using your unique voice.
Once you’ve built a loyal and engaged audience on social media in line with your digital marketing goals, you can start integrating sales activities on your social media.
There is no silver bullet for making sales on social media. It usually won’t happen on the first contact, or even the second. The game is to have a strategy in place, with follow-ups, retargeting, and consistent messaging. The quality of the relationships you’ve built will make a huge difference in how easy it is for you to sell products on social media. It can be as easy as publishing content about your products, with a price tag and link to the relevant page on your own website. Or you can try to sell on social media directly.
Most of the bigger social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and WeChat now have more advanced features to sell products. Instagram for example has shoppable posts, which are posts that allow users to click on product images that you have tagged. That takes them to the product page to complete the purchase. In some countries, users get the full checkout experience without ever having to leave the Instagram app – otherwise you simply link the post to a product page on your own site. It’s an easy way for your followers to discover and buy using the same channel. Facebook has similar tools available and WeChat is a lot more advanced with full digital storefronts and all the customisation that goes with it.
No social media selling strategy is complete without influencers. Basically, Key Opinion Influencers (KOLs) are people on social media with large followings. Some of these KOLs are actually full-blown celebrities with millions of followers. Having them promote your product comes with a hefty price tag, but luckily there’s a wide spectrum of KOLs. Finding the right one relevant to your niche is likely to be more effective and a strategic choice to meet your goals.
Social media has long been embraced by brands as a core channel to engage with their communities. But social media keeps evolving and today it has become more than a communications channel, as an e-commerce tool it can be a very effective way to sell products. Of course, that requires a strategic approach in line with the broader digital marketing strategy designed to meet your business goals.