Four Tips For Dominating Social Media Sales: From No Cost to No Limits
As the spending and purchasing gap between online and offline advertising and marketing widens (with online taking the lead), it’s increasingly important for businesses to think about how they are allocating their dollars, time, and effort to connecting with prospective customers. Recent market analysis of social e-commerce estimates its value around $360 billion. For the past few years, the major networks have been competing with one another to be the solution of choice for social media sales. With tools like shoppable posts and short videos (hello, Reels) showing up pretty much ubiquitously to capture and convert audiences, social media is rapidly becoming a virtually limitless opportunity as a selling platform.
Part of the allure of the platform for brands is its hyper-use. More than 97% of internet users are on smartphones — the tool of choice for browsing social. (Just ask your teenagers or the fellow next to you in line at the grocery store). Among all media channels, people spend more time each day on social media than anywhere else, with an average 2.24 hours. That’s 30 minutes longer than the next closest media platform, TV, which comes in at an average 1.54 hours spent daily. (Of course, actual time spent varies widely by demographics, which is an important consideration if you’re trying to target marketing and sales.)
The second “selling point” (pun intended) of social media for business development is the ability to segment. Say you’re a consumer brand with a target audience that is in the 16-24 age bracket. This demographic is on social longer than average, they connect deeply with video and influencers, and they are shaping buying habits for other demographics. On the other hand, if you’re a business-to-business brand targeting the 45-54 demographic, your strategy will need to focus on bringing value to the forefront and making the conversion process as immediate and easy as possible.
The third reason why social media should be a part of your sales strategy planning going into the 2022 planning cycle is because, more than any other marketing and advertising channel, anyone can play. Whether you’re a massive holding company brand with millions to spend on a full-bore paid and organic plan or you’re a scrappy DTC (direct-to-consumer) startup with an intern executing a fully organic approach, there’s a way to win.
Once you’ve mapped out your marketing and sales goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) so you can track how well your efforts are working, you’ll want to build your plan. Consider the following:
- How large and engaged is my social audience? Where are they most active?
- Who are my target prospects? How old are they? What are their social media platforms of choice?
- How much content can I manage? How much of it is copy-based? How much photography and video can I manage? And do I have the capacity to produce unique photos and videos, or am I relying on stock?
- Is my social media content part of a larger content marketing effort?
- Will I do any community management — engaging with audiences on the channel?
- And most importantly, how much money do I have to spend?
How to Build Your Social Media Sales Plan Based on Your Budget
You have some money!
Use paid media to widen your visibility and engagement with relevant audiences.
There’s a lot of strategy involved in paid media and more than a few ways to show up, but paid is a great way to accelerate your awareness. Here are two simple things you can do. One, you can “boost” an organic post so it gets more visibility. Two, if you know your target prospects well, (and you should), you can create paid ads. The social media channels will expand your reach by putting your content in front of interested new prospects who fit the same profile as the ones you already have.
Send surprises and delights, and ask for love in return.
Deliver unexpected branded goodies with the product. For example, if someone orders a trucker hat from you, include a logo sticker for their water bottle (because people who wear trucker hats probably also lug around a water bottle daily). And include a note with your social media properties and a call to action to “show us what you’ve got.” Track the user-generated content (UGC), engage with it, and use it to call attention to how great your products are. Nobody likes FOMO, and for the cost of a few little freebies and some time in community management and UGC, you’ve got social proof doing the selling for you.
You have less (or no) money!
Use TikTok to entertain, educate, and influence.
Even if you can’t afford to compete with the big brands that are buying ads in TikTok, your presence will make a difference — particularly if you are selling to a younger generation. (Though 48% of TikTok users are between the ages of 18 and 29, so the audience of possible spenders is growing.) And a recent comparison of TikTok versus Instagram Reels shows the enormous influence of TikTok as a platform.
Show your behind-the-scenes.
People are hungry for authenticity, and showing how your beloved products are made, packaged, and delivered feeds that hunger. Invite prospective shoppers into your brand. If you’ve got some money to spend, partner with micro- and nano-influencers, and ask customers who already love your products to share how they are using them.
Remember, no matter what you choose to do, the most important first step is to set your intention. Ask who wants what you’re selling, where they are engaged, and what will compel them to buy from you. It might be simple, like a product shout-out. It might be an image that they love or see themselves in, making them feel like what you’re offering is for them. Or it might be something else entirely. Ask the questions, jot down your answers, and keep them in mind as you create and share your content on social.