Women In Business

Why it’s time to use social media as a selling tool

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For over a decade, brands have been using social media to manage their brand identity. But technology and consumer behavior have come a long way since 2009.

Social media isn’t just for sharing your newest blog post or posting memes. Today, you can start using social media not only to showcase products but sell them natively within the social platform.

Brands like Nike, Warby Parker, and Michael Kors are already selling their products directly on Instagram, which is quickly transforming from a content hub to eCommerce paradise.

The new checkout feature, which was added in March 2019, is exciting news for product brands. Since the average person spends over two hours a day on social media, this gives brands a chance to connect with customers without interrupting the social media experience.

Why sell on social media?

But maybe you have a thriving eCommerce website already. Do you really need to sell on social media, too? The answer is yes, for four big reasons.

1.   People are averse to traditional advertising

Nobody enjoys being sold to. With so much content online, your customers are not only averse to advertising or branded content, but they’re numb to it. If you don’t offer value, they tune you out.

Social media helps you better connect with customers, particularly if you have a lifestyle brand. They can enjoy your latest Instagram post featuring a high-quality purse. But instead of enjoying the photo, they can buy the purse directly from your Instagram post.

Since the product listing looks like your typical Instagram post, customers are more than happy to check it out.

2.   Low cost

You don’t need to build an expensive infrastructure to sell on social media. Instagram and Facebook built it for you. All you pay is the transactional fee for each order.

3.   Size doesn’t matter

You don’t have to be Nike to sell on Instagram. The size of your brand doesn’t matter as long as Instagram users want what you’re selling. You can have a small business and still experience great success selling on Instagram.

4.   Quick purchases

Before direct social selling, users had to see your post, go to your website, sift through product listings, and finally make a purchase. It’s an exhausting process that, unsurprisingly, leaves high bounce rates and abandoned carts in its wake.

Direct social selling means you can score quick purchases from interested customers. They don’t have to remember to visit your site to buy a pair of shoes; they can do it right now without interrupting their Instagram experience.

This means you don’t need as many touch points to bring a customer to purchase since they can buy right now. In a world where customers value immediacy, they’ll reward you with a shorter buying cycle and lower acquisition costs.

Direct sales on social media

We know direct social media sales are the future, but how can brands leverage this feature right now?

Instagram is the most influential social platform for direct selling. We recommend that you start here first.

Since Facebook owns Instagram, users need to store their contact, shipping, and billing information in their connected Facebook account. This will allow them to shop while they’re scrolling through Instagram.

If an item is available for purchase, Instagram displays a blue “Checkout on Instagram” button below the image. Your customer simply adds their information to check out and they can continue ‘Gramming it up, all without leaving the app.

As a seller, Instagram charges you a fee for each transaction.

To get more traction on your social buying options, try these strategies.

1.   Sell Instagram-exclusive product

Customers still need to feel excited about a new product. Consider building hype by releasing an Instagram-exclusive line of products. For example, you can release limited-time colors of your best-selling products.

When customers realize the product is limited, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll experience scarcity and want to buy on the spot.

2.   Connect with influencers

Influencers are very powerful on Instagram. Partner up with a micro influencer on the platform to get the most social sales. They can promote your product to their audience in an authentic way that encourages purchases.

3.   Embrace user-generated content (UGC)

Aside from influencers, regular customers are your best bet to snag more sales. Invite customers to share their photos using your product, complete with a branded hashtag.

This creates a sense of “Where did you get that?” on Instagram that’s powerful for your brand.

The bottom line

Social media is the perfect tool for direct selling. It’s no longer a referral channel, but a platform where users shop your brand. Sell on social media to find users where they are without interrupting their social media experience. Score more purchases for lower cost with a smart social selling strategy.

About Karolina Hobson

karolinah@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Karolina Hobson graduated from SDSU with a degree in Business Management. She has an extensive sales background from retail to PR. She worked in corporate banking for over a decade, where she worked on many different projects. She was a Portfolio Monitoring Analyst on the Research Development team and quality controlled the work of other analysts. Karolina has been part of the ChicExecs family for over seven years. Most recently, Karolina has also taken on the role of Marketing Manager for ChicExecs.

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