According to The 2023 Sprout Social Index™, 68% of consumers follow brands on social media primarily to stay updated about new products and services. The second most common reason is to gain access to exclusive deals and promotions.
To maximize sales through social media channels, it’s essential to create a thorough plan that aligns with your audience’s preferences and highlights your product’s distinct value. Here’s a strategic blueprint for enhancing sales on social media platforms, incorporating diverse marketing tactics and content concepts.
how to increase online sales through social media
Embrace direct selling on social media platforms.
The significant increase in social media usage during the pandemic isn’t temporary. Over half (53%) of consumers report higher social media engagement in the last two years compared to the previous two.
Social platforms have evolved into hubs for discovering new trends and interests, essentially becoming modern shopping malls. Recognizing this shift, platforms have integrated commerce capabilities.
Social commerce encompasses the entire customer journey, enabling users to move seamlessly from discovery to purchase within a single channel. With a smooth shopping experience and simplified checkout process, consumers are more inclined to make instant purchases.
Numerous network-backed commerce tools empower marketers to generate revenue from social channels. Notable platforms for social commerce include:
- Facebook Shop
- Instagram Shopping
- Pinterest Product Pins
- TikTok Shop
Linking product catalogs to social commerce solutions allows brands to create collections aligned with broader campaigns. Sprout’s integrations with Shopify, Facebook, and Instagram Shops expedite the path to social commerce. Once your product catalogs are on Sprout, your team can leverage them for direct sales. Adding product links to social content or responses to consumer inquiries offers easy wins in this space.
Identify your most effective social media content and replicate its success.
Data and social media best practices indicate that visually engaging content, such as static images, tends to assist marketers in achieving social objectives more effectively than text-based posts. However, audience preferences can vary. The only way to determine this is by delving into the data and replicating successful strategies.
To understand how social media impacts sales, analyze owned content featuring details about your products, services, promotions, and website links. It’s beneficial if these links contain UTM parameters for precise tracking via Google Analytics to monitor user behavior.
Which metrics are essential?
Organic: Engagement rate, click-through-rate, social traffic referrals, website actions (e.g., form submissions, purchases)
Paid: Conversion rate, return on ad spend (RoAS), cost per conversion
Marketers who diligently tag outbound content can conduct more detailed analysis.
Once you’ve identified preferred content formats, explore ways to turn them into shoppable posts. Emerging features on social platforms allow various content types, from videos to user-generated content, to become potential conversion opportunities.
Leverage conversational commerce to engage and guide potential buyers on social media.
Utilizing social media provides a convenient and accessible communication avenue for both consumers and businesses, presenting substantial value. Findings from The 2023 Sprout Social Index™ reveal that a majority of consumers (76%) value brands equally when they prioritize customer support and respond promptly to customer needs.
Conversational commerce merges messaging with shopping, enabling consumers to use chat or voice assistance for brand purchases. It revolves around offering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the move with limited attention.
Engaging in conversations for sales purposes is just part of conversational commerce. Utilizing messaging platforms allows digital marketers to strengthen customer connections by providing personalized suggestions, resembling a digital personal shopping experience.
Conversational commerce isn’t solely about new sales—it equally emphasizes excellent customer service, a quality that resonates with consumers as the hallmark of top-tier brands on social platforms.
Regardless of where a customer stands in the sales journey, social marketers should strategize managing inbound messages to provide efficient support. Some Brands deploy customer service chatbots to handle DMs on various platforms, offering a streamlined support experience without the necessity of round-the-clock agent availability.
Leverage social listening to discover the subjects that strike a chord with your audience.
Social listening allows businesses to tap into public conversations, gaining insights into their customers, industry, and competitors. It unveils the trends engaging their audience, reveals sentiments around brand campaigns, and offers opportunities to stand out from competitors. It’s a powerful tool for businesses to find answers and gain knowledge.
Integrate insights from social listening, content analytics, and customer service channels to craft data-driven marketing messages that drive conversions.
Additionally, social listening uncovers potential leads and sales opportunities. Some brands seized an opportunity through social listening, responding to a relevant prompt. Utilizing tools like Sprout Social simplifies social listening, aiding sales teams in mastering this practice through comprehensive guides.
Utilize employee advocacy to its fullest potential.
Boosting sales via social media isn’t limited to B2C brands; B2B enterprises in various sectors are also enhancing revenue streams through employee advocacy. This practice involves employees promoting their employer’s brand on their personal social networks. It benefits both the individual, who builds their reputation as an industry expert, and the business, which gains heightened brand visibility while managing the messaging.
Ensure that your social media posts are timed correctly to resonate with your audience.
Publishing content at optimal times can lead to increased impressions, engagement, and conversions. While general data might suggest unfavorable times, such as Sundays for Facebook posts, your audience’s behavior might differ. Analyze your social media platforms to identify the most effective posting times tailored to your audience, allowing you to establish a schedule accordingly.
Benefits Of Social Selling
“Even though social selling mainly affects sales teams, the advantages gained by these teams will benefit the entire business. Let’s explore some of the anticipated results that can be reasonably expected from implementing a robust social selling strategy!”
Increased brand visibility
When a larger number of employees actively share content and enhance their social profiles, their connections become more active, clicking, and engaging. Many times, these individuals aren’t acquainted with the company and weren’t aware of what they were overlooking.
Boosted web traffic
Increased brand visibility and greater content sharing among employees will lead to more individuals clicking through or actively searching for the company website.
More, higher-quality leads
As brand visibility rises, the quantity and caliber of leads also grow. Empowered with content, your team of social sellers can enlighten their social networks, particularly on platforms like LinkedIn. Moreover, recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family hold greater trustworthiness than any marketing approach.
Improved sales results
In addition to enhancing the quality of leads beneficial to sales, employing social selling methods can contribute to larger average deal sizes and improved success rates. By engaging in social selling, you can expand your reach to more potential buyers within a company, ultimately increasing the scale of overall deals. A broader outreach results in a larger customer base and subsequently boosts revenue for your company.
Naturally, the company stands to benefit the most from engaging employees in a social selling program, yet these employees also have the chance to leverage it for their personal professional development.
Build a personal brand
Not every employee may be focused on crafting their personal brand, yet consistent sharing on social networks and refining their profiles can inadvertently build it for them.
Contribute to company success
In addition to excelling in their job roles, employees can further the company’s growth through engagement in a social selling initiative. It’s a fulfilling experience to contribute to something significant and achieve personal goals, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Foster career opportunities
Engaging in these activities, even if in small measures, can attract attention from employers, recruiting agencies, or talent scouts, opening doors to potential job offers, interviews, or freelance writing opportunities. While the company aims to retain employees, it’s essential not to hinder their professional development.
Getting Started With Social Selling
Use the most relevant platforms
- Engage where your potential customers frequent. Amid countless social networks, focus on the platforms that matter most. Research your target audience, understand their interests, and keep an eye on social trends.
Optimize your profiles
- Before diving into social selling, optimize your social media profiles to highlight the value you bring. Your LinkedIn profile should offer insight into how you contribute to individuals’ and organizations’ success, not just read like a resume. Incomplete or outdated profiles can weaken your social selling efforts.
Create social listening alerts
- Stay informed by setting alerts for customers, prospects, and target companies. Alerts help you keep track of the latest news, insights, and discussions among potential leads. Manage alerts through social channels, dedicated listening tools, or social selling platforms.
Connect with customers and prospects
- Build your social networks with desired customers and prospects by connecting with them on their active platforms. Customize your LinkedIn connection requests and refrain from immediately pitching sales once a connection is made, as it may start off the conversation on the wrong foot.
Share interesting content or insights
- While not creating content yourself, curate insights about prospects, industry news, or relevant case studies. Share a mix of your organization’s content and third-party content to keep your feed engaging.
Monitor your engagement
- Engage beyond sharing and creating content by interacting with prospects’ posts. Liking, commenting, or re-sharing their content can show appreciation, create value, and initiate genuine conversations.
Leverage the appropriate tools to secure wins
- Choose your tools carefully as they vary across organizations. Utilize social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, along with social selling platforms and prospecting tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This combination can yield impressive results, but stay updated as the sales tech stack continually evolves.
Stay consistent with your social efforts, because this takes time
- Results from social selling may take time and vary for individuals. Avoid expecting immediate transformations. Instead, maintain consistency and blend this strategy with other sales tactics. Over time, observe significant impacts on prospecting, deals, win rates, and customer relationships.
What does social selling mean?
In essence, social selling involves utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to:
- Foster relationships
- Shape your reputation
- Enhance visibility within your target audience
- Provide value to your audience
- Establish trust and credibility
How do we define social selling?
For us, social selling means utilizing your social connections to attract suitable prospects and develop trustworthy relationships. Ultimately, it’s a strategy employed to assist in reaching your sales objectives by addressing inquiries from potential buyers through meaningful content and valuable interactions on social media.
How can you initiate social selling?
To begin, it’s to grasp these key pointers: have a clear understanding of what you’re offering, aid fellow employees in crafting their individual brands, spotlight the personalities behind your business, consistently deliver value, maintain a positive tone, generate engaging content, offer guidance, prioritize listening before speaking, and exhibit gratitude.
What tools are useful for social selling?
While platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are essential, dedicated social selling tools can significantly enhance your efforts. Consider tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, EveryoneSocial, Nimble, and Buffer to streamline and amplify your social selling strategies.
Does social selling actually yield results?
Absolutely, social selling can be effective if you employ a strategy and dedicate time to nurturing relationships with your prospects or customers. Engage with their content, offer valuable insights, and share relevant information that addresses their specific challenges. Since your target audience is already active on social networks seeking information, your active presence matters significantly.
What defines a social seller?
A social seller is someone who utilizes social media to enhance the sales process. They focus on cultivating trust directly with potential prospects—those who could benefit from their products or services—without resorting to cold calling or impersonal email outreach.
What is social prospecting?
Social prospecting is a vital component of social selling. It involves leveraging social media and online networks to add potential buyers into your sales pipeline. This approach encompasses activities like researching companies, understanding prospects’ needs prior to reaching out, and leveraging your network to seek introductions to their connections.