I have been hearing a lot of marketers talk about “social commerce,” which is exactly what it sounds like: using social media networks to help sell products online. This may sound like a relatively new idea, but when you take a deeper look, social commerce was actually introduced by Yahoo in late 2005. At the time, things like product reviews and sharing wish lists were cutting edge, but that was one of the early examples of combining social networking with online commerce. Technology has since evolved, but the idea remains the same. To understand how to succeed in social commerce, here are five tips for using social networks to sell products online.
Create Authentic Content
You want to create content that speaks directly to the customer you are trying to engage with. Think of your content as a conversation with someone, just online. For example, if you were to meet in real life, what would you want them to know about you at first? Would you jump into selling them something, or would you let them know who you are and what you do? The same idea applies to create content for your social media marketing funnel. First you have to introduce your brand’s story, then move into educating them about what you are selling. I like to use videos to make an introduction.
Tell Your Story
My brand’s story is based on the real-life events that led to starting our company, and it’s also about the impact we are creating by selling products online. I have learned that people like to connect with both the story of the brand and with me personally as the founder. If you can create content that people want to like and share, then you can begin to build your audience and leverage social media to sell your products.
Maximize Social Media
As you manage your brand’s social media channels, remember to post regularly, be authentic and engage your audience. You can create a community around your brand that will spread your story through word of mouth, eventually drawing in more customers. I have grown all of my social channels organically by simply creating content on my iPhone and sharing it on social media with like-minded people.
Leverage Microinfluencers And Bloggers
Another great way to use social media to sell products is to connect with micro-influencers and bloggers. These can be photographers, writers, artists, musicians or stylists that have a social following of 10,000 followers or more. I have found that they have a strong community of fans who engage with the content and trust what the influencer is promoting. I have even tested this theory on my own social media accounts. I posted the same video on my brand’s Instagram and on my own Instagram on the same day at the same time. The engagement on my personal page was three times higher than on my brand’s page. This isn’t surprising: People naturally engage more with other people than they do with brands.
Leverage User-Generated Content
When other people start telling your story, share what they are saying. It builds credibility with potential customers, which could lead to more purchases. One popular way to do this is to repurpose customer reviews or content that was created by micro-influencers. You can turn their material into clean, creative content for social posts or even paid media. I have seen an increase in conversion on my retargeting ads when I show people what customers are saying, and the same has been true about unboxing videos.
Over the years I have experienced how important it is to leverage social media to sell products online. The term “social commerce” has become increasingly popular, but this is still just the beginning. In the near future, I believe we will start to see major social platforms merge into commerce platforms. In the end, it will be the brand’s story and content that attracts users and creates loyal customers.
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