As more businesses move online in response to coronavirus, we wanted to take a look at how you can start selling through social media. Social media is a brilliant way to target your customers with products they want and need, and you don’t even need a website to do it!
You could choose to use the official Facebook and Instagram shopping tools or just start selling directly from your business profile, posting pictures of your products and using PayPal to take payments. Selling through social media is an easy and almost instant way to start bringing in money, even if you’ve been forced to close your normal sales channels. Read on for our top tips for selling through social media.
1. Use whatever channels you have
The beauty of selling through social media is that you don’t need to start completely from scratch. Chances are, you already have some followers on social media, even if it’s still a small number at the moment. Choose the social media channels that you’re most active on and the ones that you find most successful for getting your word out, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The trick is to utilise the profiles that you have already and with a few tweaks, you’ll be up and running as a sales page in no time.
2. Use lots of pictures
Pictures are a really great way to entice your followers into buying through social media! A well-lit, clean and professional looking photograph of your product is much more likely to make a sale than a generic stock photo or no picture at all. People like to see what they’re buying so utilise photographs as a way to boost your social media sales with every post.
3. Write an informative caption
As well as including plenty of polished photographs, you should also think about your captions. As the aim is to sell your products, rather than just show them off, you should try to include information that will be useful to customers in every post.
What is included in your product? What makes it unique? How can customers make a purchase? How much does it cost or where can they enquire about the price? Show off the best aspects of your products and try to give potential buyers all the information they need to know to buy them!
4. Make communication quick and easy
A key factor of selling successfully through social media is communication. You need to be ready to answer any questions future or existing customers have to make sure you don’t miss out on sales.
Aim to answer any query within 24 hours. Any longer than that and there’s a risk people will have already moved on or bought the product elsewhere. Prioritise quick, professional and genuinely helpful communication to ace your online sales game.
5. Be adaptable
You might also need to be more adaptable than on traditional sales channels. People could query you by direct message, in the comments section, or via email, so keep an eye on all these avenues for potential communication from customers.
You might also find that your customers ask for additional requests or delivery outside your usual delivery zones. Within reason, you might want to consider these requests. These are strange times so it’s best to make the most out of every opportunity you can find, as long as you’re not losing money in the process. And remember, you could always offer the service but communicate that it will involve an extra charge. Be transparent with your customers about what is and isn’t possible at this time, they’ll appreciate your honesty.
6. Try to give your customers what they want
Keeping in mind the aim to be adaptable, it’s also a good idea keep an eye on what’s selling well. The beauty of selling through social media is that you can switch things up quickly, pushing forward a particularly popular product through multiple posts and shelving other ones that aren’t performing as well.
Thanks to engagement insights on social media, you can see fairly easily which posts are most popular. It’s quite likely that some products will do better than others, and they might be different products to what you would normally expect to sell in your physical stores. Let this direct daily feedback inform what you offer your customers and adapt to the market as it changes.
7. Spread the word
Of course, the key to any successful business is marketing! If you are using just one social media channel to sell your products, publicise that profile on all your other social media platforms. Direct your customers to that profile to help them find what they need easily. You can do the same on your website - put a link to your social media profile on your homepage and your contact page - and in your newsletter, if you have one.
8. Sign up to local groups
Similarly, you can help to increase your social media sales by tapping into local groups. On Facebook, sign up to any local groups in your area and use that space to post about what you’re offering. Be careful not to spam the group’s followers with content, but a few well-written, targeted posts can make a big difference. We are seeing a big shift towards more consumers looking to shop local and support their local community at the moment so this is a really good time to make the most of your local customer base.
9. Present a friendly face
Don’t forget that in any sales interaction, people buy from people! This is just as true on social media as in person, especially if you’re using local groups to get the word out. Try to show a friendly face to your followers with a photo or video [link to video article] of you and your team once in a while. Appealing to people’s humanity at a time like this is a really great way to build up a positive brand image and show that there is a person, a family and livelihoods behind the business they’re buying from.
10. Think about the logistics
If all goes according to plan, you should find yourself receiving sales through your social media - brilliant! You will need to be prepared for this eventuality by figuring out your logistics ahead of time. How will customers pay for your products? How will you package the products for shipping? Who will deliver them? Make sure you have all these details sorted so you can hit the ground running when your first orders start coming in.
11. Get going asap!
There really is no time to waste with selling your products through social media! These are challenging times for all of us but the best way to get your business through it is to be proactive. You can start selling through your social media in less than 24 hours - all it takes is the first post. As soon as you’ve got your logistics sorted, get ready, get set and start selling!