Social Media Sells — 15 Options You Can Use
Social media sells? Many marketers focus their social media efforts on building their brand and attracting new prospects since they can’t figure out how to make the connection to sales. The bottom line is that social media can drive sales for your product. It depends how you use it and how you’ve set up your own website and analytics to track the results.
Not sure how to use social media to drive sales? Here are fifteen social media tactics with examples you can adapt for your business.
- Create a daily deal. This doesn’t mean a Groupon type promotion since research has shown that there’s a good chance that these can hurt your business. Take a page from Woot’s playbook. Offer one product or special per day. It’s good for 24 hours or as long as supplies last. Of course, on social media, the number of people participating can be large. Use your blog or Twitter to promote these sales.
- Socialize your offering on one or more social commerce sites. The challenge of this form of social media is that many participants prefer to discuss shopping more than they want to shop! ThisNext is an older example of social commerce and Fab is a newer example.
- Encourage your community to join the purchase process. Get prospective customers to help create or vote on your products. Threadless does a great job of integrating social and sales. Their community participates in the design of their clothes. Etsy offers the crafting community the ability to sell their wares.
- Beckon prospects to social media with promotions. Encourage prospects to join you on social media, especially Facebook. Understand that using coupons and promotions can cause shoppers to only stay for the discount on your social media site. [Don't believe it? Check out this research on Facebook likes.] Here’s 1-800 Flowers’ Facebook promotions. This retailer gains from getting customers to buy for non-occasions.
- Stay on Facebook for the shopping. Incorporate f-commerce into your Facebook offering. The object is to allow shoppers to complete their shopping without ever leaving Facebook. (Note: This option has lost some of its luster. 1-800 Flowers appears to have closed shop.)
- Sell with movies. Use videos to support your sales process. The most notable examples is Will It Blend that gained prominence grinding up iPhones. Before YouTube gained the traction it has now, there was a great video call The Institute for Back Up Trauma staring John Cleese. This agency-developed video went viral because it understood its Monty Python loving target audience. (Watch the video if you want to see how it works.)
- Display your wares. Show buyers your offering with photographs and graphics. Remember a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Many bakeries use Flickr to show off their creations. Here’s an organic bakery and their baked goods.
- Present your products to entice and delight shoppers. For products that require more context than photographs alone, attract prospects with Tumblr. Think in terms of displaying your seasonal clothing collection. Here’s Kate Spade strutting her stuff on Tumblr.
- Integrate sales links with your photographs. Make photographs of your product sharable. This is particularly important for offerings where visuals can influence buyers. Think pin boards for design, weddings, food, clothes and travel. Make photographs link back to your sales page. Here’s Lion Brand, a yarn firm, on Pinterest.
- Write about your products. Using a blog is a great way to embed your product into social media with a link back. Marcus Sheridan grew his swimming pool business during the economic downturn by answering customer questions that no other pool supplier was willing to handle publicly. He even discussed price, a topic many marketers like to avoid. Remember, until you answer all of your customers’ questions, they won’t buy. [Want help writing your company blog? Here’s 42 tips you need now. ]
- Let customers tell it like it is. Before you worry that they’ll trash your product understand that customers trust other customers opinions more than your advertising. While Amazon is the granddaddy of customer review sites, understand that customers will comment on other sites if you don’t offer them the opportunity. Think TripAdvisor, Yelp and other local services including Google.
- Respond to customer inquiries. Use bulletin boards to answer pre-purchase questions. This is important for complex technical products. Understand that existing customers can answer other customer questions. Here’s Intuit’s community boards.
- Answer questions on relevant Q&A sites. This can be good for B2B sales and solopreneurs. Use sites like LinkedIn and Quora where participants are looking for business answers. By showing off your expertise you can build a rapport with prospects. This is a soft sell.
- Present your case. Create presentations to support your services and post them on slideshare. You can do this even if you never present the deck publicly! Your goal is to expand your audience and to entice them to contact you (i.e. create a warm lead). Check out Tery Spataro’s presentation on digital shopping.
- Provide space for customers to share. This option works well for DIY products where customers are excited to show off their creations. Fiskars, the scissors company, allows their customers to show off and help sell products.
To get social media to support sales, you must consider where your target market engages on social media and how your product appeals to your prospects. Use social media to highlight your product’s features and to remove stumbling blocks keeping customers from purchasing.
Have you used other forms of social media to sell? If so, what have you done?
Here are some related articles you may find of interest.
- Social media is dragging e-commerce into the future
- Social commerce defined
- 42 Ways to attract shoppers with relevant information.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarale/7070186981/