It’s become increasingly more common for consumers to shop online. Businesses have migrated more of their business to the web, hosting online-only sales and even super sale holidays like Cyber Monday. Over recent years, social media platforms have helped make this even easier by allowing businesses to sell their products directly through social networking sites.
To effectively communicate with your target market, you need to send messages through platforms your consumers are active on. Over recent years, this has grown from television and print materials to also include the Internet, and more specifically, social media sites. You post, share, like and retweet across multiple platforms on the web, but did you know that you can also sell on social media?
Selling on social media, also known as a social ecommerce strategy, is a combination of social media marketing and sales. A survey by Aimia found that 56 percent of consumers follow brands on social media to browse and shop for products. That means more than half of consumers on social media are planning on making a purchase at some point in the future.
Consumers that participate in social ecommerce and online shopping are described as social shoppers, or individuals who surf social networks for products. Think of it as a form of online window-shopping, where consumers use images posted by companies on social media to inspire their purchases.
To build a successful social ecommerce strategy, you need to not only provide links for consumers to get to your website from social media, but you also need to provide them opportunities to purchase your products and services directly through the social media site.
Like any other marketing strategy, this is where understanding your consumers’ wants, needs, interests and shopping habits is crucial. This allows you to reach consumers in a way that grabs their attention and increases the likelihood of them completing a sale. If you know what products and services your consumers are browsing social media for, you can push that information out to consumers and give them the option to buy while they browse.
Knowing the Social Networks
Social media platforms are helping businesses reach consumers in new ways. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are all providing businesses with online shop features that allow you to sell directly from your account.
Facebook is the most dominant social platform when it comes to sales. In one of the most recent updates, they added a marketplace feature, which allows individuals to sell items in their area. Through the marketplace tab, sellers can post items for sale, edit posts, communicate with buyers and other sellers and complete transactions through the Facebook website or mobile app.
Businesses have the option to include a shop on their page where they can sell directly to consumers. This is also true for Facebook-owned Instagram, where businesses can add shops to their accounts. You can also include a buy now option on advertisements that appear on your followers’ feeds and as sponsored posts on other users that don’t follow you.
Twitter utilizes a “Buy Now” feature where consumers can buy directly from a business-sponsored tweet. The feature allows consumers to browse and pay for items directly on the Twitter site.
Snapchat also recently introduced their advertisement snaps. These posts appear as ads while users are viewing their friend’s stories and also within individual businesses’ stories. When ads appear on users’ screens, they can swipe up for more information on the product. Swiping down on the screen will load a mobile view of the business’s website for further browsing and purchasing.
One of the largest sites for selling is Pinterest, which introduced its Buyable Pins in 2015. Through a business account, you are able to post pins of your products and services. Each pin will link back to your website and allow users to follow the link or buy directly on the Pinterest site.
Another site that holds a higher average order value than Facebook is Polyvore. The website offers several fashion, beauty and home products with an average order of $66.75 compared to Facebook’s average order of $65.00.
Jack of All Social Sites or Master of One?
You don’t need to jump onto each and every one of your social media accounts and open shops immediately. It’s important to know what products and services sell best on which network. Each social platform performs a bit differently when it comes to selling different items.
For example, according to Shopify, photography purchases are most popular on Facebook, antiques and collectibles dominate Pinterest, merchandise is popular on YouTube and home and garden products sell well on Twitter.
Building a strong social ecommerce strategy is a balancing act. It’s important for you to consider both the products and services your business offers and also where your consumers are most active and where you can reach them most effectively. By crafting a message that grabs your consumers’ attention, you can effectively use social media to increase sales and help your consumers find the products and services they're looking for online more easily.