Humans are social creatures. We are wired to connect that’s why communication is very important for us.
Over the years, we have seen how communication has evolved.
Cavemen drew on cave walls to tell a story. During the 19th century, people would send postcards to their friends and loved ones to share where they have been. And today, we use social media to make a real-time connection not only to our family and friends but even to strangers.
Facebook, one of the most popular social networking sites, was originally created for college students. As it became available to everyone, users discovered creative ways on how to use the platform. Aside from catching up with friends, it is now possible to buy and sell items and services using Facebook Marketplace.
But Facebook is not the only social networking site where you can market your business. There is also Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest among others.
In order to give you the best ideas on how to sell on social media, we’ve interviewed industry experts to share their valuable tips.
Social Selling Tips Revealed by Experts
Marilyn Heywood Paige, Inciting Marketing
I’m not gonna lie. It’s getting harder to sell social media campaigns to clients.
Why? Because the expectation is that social media is inexpensive to implement. Far from it.
Social Media Takes Loads of Time and Effort
You have to research the audience and what is relevant and compelling to them. Then, you have to write and research social posts that fit those parameters. We also design custom branded art for our clients so that their social posts all have their logo, brand colors, and the same look and feel as their website.
And that’s just half the equation.
You then have to spend time — a lot of time commenting, liking, sharing, tagging and authentically engaging with the audience. Then there’s the measurement and reporting to be sure what you’re doing is actually landing in the right way.
All this adds up to at least 12 – 30 hours of work per month per channel and that’s just a really hard thing to sell to clients. The returns are not immediate and often not directly trackable to sales.
For the most part, businesses see social as an obligatory part of marketing instead of a lead generator and that by definition makes it hard to sell.
Marilyn Heywood Paige
Marilyn Heywood Paige is a 25-year marketer with a Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications and a track record of delivering high ROI on marketing investments.
Mike Catania, PromotionCode.org
Selling on social media is different than selling to other online customers, particularly those acquired via organic or paid search. Rather than focusing on higher-margin products, your best bet is to clear inventory by marking it down and take narrower margins in exchange for social sharing. Facebook is the gold standard for this type of marketing, and Twitter is, in our experience, the least effective.
Secondly, pay for professional graphic design for anything that you think might be shareable and don’t skimp. There is a generation of talented graphic designers out there who can give you precisely what you want in a way that will impress your customers, so even though you can get something stock for a couple of bucks, find somewhere else to save money and hire a great graphic designer.
Mike Catania is a six-time entrepreneur and the founder of the savings community PromotionCode.org. He lives in Henderson, Nevada.
Christian Lowery, ChristianLowery.com
The best advice I can give to a brand selling on social media is actually to try to avoid being ‘salesy,’ incorporate User-Generated Content (UGC) in a social media ad, and always think about what problem you’re solving.
The more real, and less perfect, an ad looks on social media, the better it will perform. When selling on social media, always remember that people are looking for solutions to problems. In your advertisement or organic post, explain what problem your product/service fixes and how it does so.
Christian Lowery is a digital marketing consultant based in New York City, specializing in social media marketing and paid advertising.
Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.
With sales and marketing as my primary responsibility at Anvil, it is my role to network and generate awareness for our brand. After years of testing various platforms, I’ve found LinkedIn is the best platform for brand-building (personally and professionally).
For starters, LinkedIn the least tapped in terms of leveraging influencers. Having been a power-users for many years, I’ve become a bit of an expert on the platform and see this as a big opportunity for 2019 and beyond.
Secondly, the platform is ideal for business-to-business marketing. There is no other platform that can target prospective customers (or partners) with ads, based on employer, job title, location and other key factors. One of the secrets to effective content marketing on LinkedIn is to use ad targeting to share high-quality content as sponsored content which is more affordable and generally higher-performing than traditional display ads. Last week, LinkedIn announced interest-based targeting for its ad platform which will make it even more powerful going into 2019.
Lastly, the platform is ideal for generating awareness and credentials via thought leadership to build your network (posting updates and writing articles on LinkedIn Pulse). Most recently, I’ve been leveraging 1st-degree connections for outbound sales efforts, generating meaningful results after just a few months of outreach.
As President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc., Kent Lewis is responsible for ensuring the company is living its mission and vision by managing overall corporate strategy, including operations, business development, sales and marketing.
Rafaella Aguiar, Kicksta
When you’re selling on social media make sure you know who your followers are and create a strategy based on their demographics and interests. This will help you determine what social media platforms you should be using for your business. Your strategy should also include how frequently you’ll be posting, and what type of content. Once you’re on a chosen platform, you should frequently active and engaging with users to build long-term relationships.
Rafaella is a Marketing Coordinator at Kicksta. They've worked with over 10,000 businesses, agencies, and influencers. They help all of their clients to better their social media marketing strategy, and growth to drive sales.
Riana Young, Living Online
Firstly, determine which social channel/s you can find your prospective customers on. Depending on your industry and customer profiles, Linkedin, Pinterest, Snapchat, or Facebook (or something else!) might be a better platform for you to expose your brand and product.
It’s important to build real connections and value on your social channels – whether it’s demonstrating how your product can help solve a problem, or showcasing how your brand’s values align with the customers’. Using the right images are key to getting your target market to stop and pay attention as they browse their newsfeed, as are getting your benefits across – e.g. buy now, pay later, free shipping, discounts etc.
Offering discounts to get initial customers is a great way for companies to drum up the initial revenue boost they desire. A strategic remarketing campaign around the abandoned cart and product views is also a great way to sell to people already in your conversion funnel who haven’t committed to a purchase yet.
It also pays to put a bit of budget behind your marketing efforts instead of relying only on organic efforts, as you will be able to reach more new people in a much shorter timeframe and with more precise targeting. Using a limited time offer might be compelling enough for a person to click away from Facebook and complete the desired conversion action. It’s important to test and measure different offers, calls to action, images, and landing pages so you can optimise for the best performing mix.
Riana is a Digital Marketing Manager at Living Online where she manages a portfolio of clients across multiple industries. For over 10 years she has been successfully creating and optimising her clients' social presence and ad campaigns using results-based strategies to build ROI and brand awareness.
Claire Wei, InFever Media
Social media is a great tool for brands to gain awareness. Combined with a well rounded digital marketing strategy, brands can successfully convert prospects into customers!
Each brand’s social marketing strategy clearly differs; it is case by case and dependent on multiple variables, such as the industry and whether the brand is in the B2B or B2C market.
For the sake of this exercise, let’s take a B2C e-commerce mattress company as an example. We’ll call it “ABC mattress co.”
Let’s say the company just rolled out a twin mattress set. To gain exposure and awareness for the product, ABC mattress co. would either run social ads and/or influencer campaigns to introduce the product to market and educate the customers on the product benefits.
1. Target Audience
Firstly, examine the buyer personas and run targeted campaigns to the potential target audience. For this product, the potential customers will likely be parents/young family with children between age 5-15.
2. Social Platforms
Next, identify where a particular audience is present on social media. For this particular case, Facebook and Instagram are great social platforms.
3. Campaign Goals, Creative Campaigns, Targeted Ads, Data Analytics and A/B Testing
Define the campaign goals and run the campaigns using social ads and influencer marketing. Campaign goals could be awareness or conversion driven, and the strategy will vary based on different goals.
- Social ads – Apart from designing creative campaigns targeted to this group of audience, drill down on the specific demographics, including country, age, marital status, etc. This will ensure the campaigns are exposed to the right audience. Always do A/B testing, look at the analytics and make adjustments to the campaigns, including the advertising copy and call-to-action.
- Influencer marketing – Look for influencers with the specific target audience. With the above example, mommy bloggers could be a great group. Ask these influencers to showcase the branded product with creative campaigns – provide relevant campaign brief and call-to-action. The sponsored copy would depend on the campaign goals, of course. For an awareness campaign, for instance, ABC mattress co. would perhaps create a landing page about the twin mattress on their site and ask the influencers to take the followers to the page in the ad copy.
4. Retargeting Ads
Once the company has successfully run the campaigns, that’s not the end of it! The most important piece of social marketing is understanding the data and retarget. The people that clicked on the landing page had already shown interest/consideration in the brand and product – they will be easier and cheaper to convert.
Run retargeting or lookalike campaigns from the data collected. Discount codes, for instance, would be a great incentive for customers in retargeting ads. The brand may also choose to use influencer marketing to run conversion campaigns.
In summary, social media marketing is a long process. In order to convert, customers need to trust the brand enough to make a purchase. Every brand has different marketing goals at a different stage of the product/service life cycle. As a general guideline, I would recommend brands to identify the target audience, identify the social platforms, define the campaign goals, run creative and targeted ad campaigns, analyze the collected data, and run retargeting ads. Always do A/B testing and make adjustments along the way! If done strategically and correctly, brands will sell.
Claire Wei is the managing director of InFever Media, a global influencer marketing and talent agency. She and her team are passionate in helping brands grow through influencers and creative campaigns. InFever Media’s industry focus includes wellness, gaming, technology, food & beverage, fashion and travel.
Ryan Underwood, YourParkingSpace
You must think, which social channel will my target audience be hanging around on. As a general guideline, Instagram for teenagers, Pinterest for the modern mum looking for Kombucha recipes, LinkedIn for recruiters and educational professionals, and Twitter for tech-savvy thought leaders.
You must then become embedded amongst your target community and look for engagement where ever possible. Unfortunately, there is no short cut for building your network. It is a good idea to set yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals for this.
It depends on which channel you are engaged with, but video content is still the most effective for acquisition. Drive people to your website by leaving comments, but not too many comments that will likely put your customers off.
Ryan Underwood is a Digital Marketing Executive and SEO Specialist at YourParkingSpace. Heading up on-page optimisation and link building strategies.
Bob Clary, DevelopIntelligence
There are many ways to sell using social media. Here are a few:
1. Give Before You Take
You have to provide value before anything else. This means creating and sharing useful content that will help gain trust from your audience. Whether it’s answering their questions or simply interacting with them, you have to serve them first before you expect sales.
2. Determine Your Core Channels
Be sure your strategy for selling on social media actually includes the channels where your target audience lives. This is crucial and the most important part of selling on social media.
3. Spend Money to Make Money
Paid ads on social channels like Facebook and Instagram can have a huge ROI if done correctly. Proper targeting, effective call-to-action phrases, and visuals can mean the difference between converting a user into a customer and a possible lead scrolling right past your ad.
Bob Clary is a brand strategist, blogger, and social media guru with specialties that also include search engine optimization, search engine marketing, re-marketing, digital public relations and marketing engagement. Clary has over 15 years of experience in the marketing space and is currently Director of Marketing at DevelopIntelligence.
Logan Allec, Money Done Right
Increase Brand Awareness With User-Generated Content: Brand awareness is essential when it comes to selling on social media.
Very few people will simply see an ad for your product on Facebook or Instagram and then purchase it immediately without ever having heard of your brand before.
One way to achieve this brand awareness essentially for free is by encouraging a culture of user-generated content around your brand.
See, everybody wants to be an influencer — or at least get a lot of likes on their own social media posts — even if they’re not compensated. So use to this to your advantage.
One brand that has done this well is ASOS with its #AsSeenOnMe campaign. ASOS encouraged users to post pictures of themselves wearing ASOS products with the ASOS-contrived #AsSeenOnMe hashtag.
This campaign, built on user-generated content, resulted in over one million #AsSeenOnMe posts with ASOS’ latest products.
All of this user-generated content created massive brand awareness for ASOS on social media.
Achieving similar results for your brand is sure to result in lower conversion costs when you do run paid advertising campaigns because more people will already be familiar with your brand.
So take some time over the next few days to brainstorm what user-generated content ideas could work with your brand.
Logan Allec is a CPA and founder of the personal finance website Money Done Right. His goal is to help everyday Americans live happier lives by providing them with insightful, actionable ideas about making, saving, and investing money.
Social selling, like other aspects of business, requires careful planning, testing, and executing. Before you pitch your products or services to your prospects, it is important that you gain their trust first and you provide value for them.
We hope these tips will help your business win in social selling!