Learn how to sell more on social media with these five top social media sales tips.
Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and inventory management software, accounting, logistics, CRM, and more.
Social media can work miracles for your brand. It can boost your sales, raise your brand’s profile, and give you a loyal, engaged customer community.
The potential audience runs into the billions, advertising doesn’t cost much, and if you play your cards right, you could build a massive brand presence without much expenditure.
But it’s no magic bullet. To truly increase sales on social media, you have to work hard and devise some clever tactics. This is especially true in the post-Covid world, which brings a whole host of new social media challenges.
Yes, social media can be a fantastic sales tool. But the very popularity of the platforms is a double-edged sword. Social media is crowded, and the crowd moves fast.
For your content to be noticed, it has to be particularly special. Otherwise, even those who see it will scroll by without really taking it in. Even the best performing brands rarely achieve a CTR of above 10% on Facebook, with the majority achieving between 2 and 5%.
If this seems disheartening, it’s not supposed to. But it does illustrate the problems with social media sales. Social media isn’t a quick fix to your sales problems. In order to benefit from the platforms, you need to understand how social media helps increase sales and the ways in which you can turn this to your advantage.
Is it worth it? If you’ll always struggle to raise your social media CTR above 5%, what’s the point? Well, the other edge of that sword is that 5% of a billion represents a lot of revenue.
It’s no exaggeration to say that pretty much everyone in the world has a social media presence. Even with Central Asia and Middle Africa bringing down the average, 58% of the entire global population is on social media. In the developed world, that figure is closer to 80%.
If you can make even a fraction of this 80% hear your voice, your ROI will shoot through the roof.
“But how can I make my voice heard?” we hear you cry. “How do I sell more on social media?”
These five tips will help you
There’s no point in throwing a ton of time and resources at Facebook if your audience hangs out on Insta. So, the first step to a successful social media strategy is finding out where your audience is.
Sometimes, this will be obvious. For example, if you work B2B, it’s a fair guess that a lot of your audience will be on LinkedIn. If you’re trying to appeal to the 18-30 crowd, Snapchat and Instagram are your friends.
Do some audience research to find out where your target crowd hangs out and concentrate your efforts on those platforms.
Does this mean you can’t use social media platforms to engage entirely new audiences? Not at all! But make sure that you’re not talking to audiences that just aren’t there. For example, if you want to pull in baby boomer business folk, don’t go to Snapchat to do it.
If you’re not sure where your audience is, ask! Send out a survey asking customers where they first heard of you, which social media platforms they like best, which social media platforms they use to shop etc.
The keyword in “social media” is “social.” It’s not designed for the hard sell. Even LinkedIn, a platform specifically for career-based stuff, is more about networking and engagement than it is about selling.
While it’s a good idea to have Shopify ERP integration to help with things like shoppable ads, sales should not be the overt focus of your content.
Why? Partly because people don’t come to social media to be sold things. Reasons for use do differ a bit from platform to platform, but, in general, people come to social media to interact with friends and family, network, follow current events, and so on.
You’ll get the best results from social media if you play to its more social, content-based strengths. So, rather than blasting timelines with a hard sell, take a more informative, engaging approach.
For example, if you’re trying to sell something like autoML python systems, don’t just exhort people to buy. Instead, come up with a social media content strategy. Release a series of informative posts (perhaps including videos, blogs, podcasts and so on) on things like workflow acceleration, low-code approaches etc.
When you’re giving people something (in this case, information) rather than just talking at them about how great your product is, they’re much more likely to listen.
Then, once you’ve got their attention, pull them in by engaging. Respond to comments, welcome new fans of your page, ask them questions, and be chatty!
Sure, you can drop in the odd factoid about how great your product is and how it can help your customer with their particular problems - but always keep the focus on engaging with the customer rather than pushing your product on the customer.
A strategy based on engagement doesn’t just bring sales in the short term. It also drives loyalty and customer retention in the long term.
From inside an organization, it’s easy to “silo” different departments, strategies, campaigns and so on. For example, the marketing team and the sales team may work independently of one another and rarely connect.
You may even think of different teams as rivals. Maybe the email marketing team and the social media marketing team compete to generate leads, get conversions, and more.
From the customer’s point of view, however, your brand is a single entity. Customers don’t view themselves as engaging with a Facebook team, an email team, or a sales team. From their perspective, they’re simply engaging with a brand.
What’s more, modern consumers are “hybrids.” They’re very likely to interact with your brand over several channels and in many different formats.
As such, if there’s a jarring difference between the customer’s experience of (say) your Twitter and your Facebook, or your website and your customer service team, it will seem like your brand is two-faced, inconsistent, or even weird.
At best, they’ll be very disappointed.
So, make sure that you’re consistent in your language, values, standards of service, and so on across every platform, channel, and customer touchpoint.
A holistic, hybrid customer experience at every point will help customers build a relationship with your brand. And social media runs on relationships.
Put simply: Brand consistency = trust = better brand/customer relationships = sales and loyalty.
We spoke above about being consistent across all channels. This next one might seem to contradict that.
However, “consistency” doesn’t mean “doing everything exactly the same.” It means keeping things like a general tone, personality, values, color scheme and so on. You can create different kinds of content while maintaining that kind of consistency - and, what’s more, you should.
Different platforms have different strengths. Instagram is very visual, and inspo content thrives here. Facebook is great for videos and information. Twitter loves news and discussion. YouTube is perfect for how-tos. LinkedIn is fantastic for longer-form stuff.
So, design content for each platform to play to that platform’s strengths.
This doesn’t just apply to content forms, either. Think of the business side of things. For example, Instagram has high ad costs, but Facebook has a weak organic reach. Use this information to plan your platform strategy for the best possible ROI.
Every extra stage in the sales process adds friction. Friction is frustrating. If your sales process has too much friction, the customer will click out.
A smooth, frictionless sales process really can make a huge difference. For example, TradeGecko competitors get a lot of trade because their automation and flexible order flows make their sales process a lot smoother.
To smooth out your social media sales process, map out all the stages your customer has to go through to get from your ad/post to conversion.
A common point of friction comes when your customer clicks through from social media to your website. Ideally, your website should work as well for them as their social media apps were.
For example, if they’re on their phone when they click your ad, and your website isn’t optimized for mobile, they’re likely to run into long load times, poor display quality, unclickable buttons etc., when they reach your site. That’s the kind of thing that adds a lot of friction.
There are various ways to smooth out your sales process. These include:
Social media has a ton of potential if you use it right. By
…you can turn that potential to your advantage.
Driving sales on social media can be hard work. Especially at the beginning when you have yet to build an audience. But keep at it, and use this guide on how to increase sales with social media to help you. The rewards when you get it right are worth it.
Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and inventory management software, accounting, logistics, CRM, and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business. Nick has written for sites such as Hubspot and G2. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.