Social media is a valuable tool for growing an audience around your brand, communicating important information to the public, and responding to customers. And with traffic flocking to brand websites at record levels, now more than ever it’s important to ensure your digital touchpoints, advertising and social media, especially Instagram are optimized for sales conversion.
A lot of brands have managed to turn social media into a lucrative channel for driving ecommerce sales, too. But it’s not as simple as throwing up an ad for your product or churning out posts about them every day.
If you want to use social media to drive sales, it takes a combination of the right tools and the right strategy.
Here are eight tips for using social media to increase sales.
1. Streamline the path to purchase
One of the biggest challenges ecommerce brands have with digital marketing is the fact that consumers have such a strong preference for the retailers they’re familiar with.
So if your ads and social media posts drive people to your website, and your website is designed to drive direct sales and discourage purchasing from retailers, you’re disrupting the path to purchase. Consumers who prefer to buy from Amazon, Best Buy, or Home Depot will have to work harder to buy your products through these channels.
Even small hurdles to buying your product online can cause people to give up or lose interest. Leaving your website to continue searching on Google or a retailer’s site takes away their momentum. It also creates opportunities for them to encounter your competitors.
So by not highlighting retailers who carry your products and linking directly to your product pages on their sites, you reduce the effectiveness of your marketing. Having a Where to Buy button is crucial for brands that want to use social media and other digital channels to drive sales. Consumers like to control their own path, so ensuring they have a variety of purchase options is very important.
2. Make sure you can track conversions outside your website
A lot of brands avoid investing heavily in digital advertising because they aren’t sure how effective it is. If someone clicks your social media ad, goes to your website, and then leaves and buys your product from Target or Walmart, you won’t see that sale, even though it resulted from your ad. So poor visibility into sales on other websites can make it hard to know if your marketing campaigns are worth the effort.
It’s like a chain with a missing link. You can follow someone’s path to your website, and you can see the sales coming in, but you can’t necessarily directly connect those sales to your campaign.
That’s another reason why a good Where to Buy solution is so essential. If someone clicks our Where to Buy on your site and then buys through a retailer, we track that sale, and we can attribute it to the marketing campaign that brought someone to your website. It provides the missing link, keeping the entire chain of events connected from your marketing asset to the point of sale.
This knowledge is essential for increasing sales from social media. Without it, you won’t know which of your efforts are actually driving results. But moreover, that action of sending a customer to your site via a trackable where to buy link gives you full cart visibility from the first action to after the sale. This not only gives brand marketers the ability to directly influence ROI in their marketing campaigns but allows the brand to take control of the customer journey while capturing valuable behavioral and digital marketing attribution insights.
3. Use ads to target your personas
Social media platforms let you get pretty specific with the demographics you target in advertising campaigns. You can show your ads to specific groups of people based on the things they’re interested in, the industries they work within, the brands they relate to, their age, their location, and more.
If you’ve done a good job defining some of the personas your products are best suited for, you can build advertising campaigns and messaging that appeals to the groups of people who are most likely to buy.
Even if your brand’s social media accounts have zero followers, you can use ads to reach hundreds, thousands, or millions of people in your target audience.
4. Partner with influencers
One of the most innovative ways ecommerce brands have had success with social media is through influencer marketing. It takes a lot of work to create good content that appeals to your target audience. But by partnering with the groups and people your audience already follows, you can find relevant ways to meet both of your needs.
As you can see, this is another instance where it pays to have a Where to Buy solution, so you can streamline the path to purchase and measure the effectiveness of your influencer marketing.
5. Grow an audience
A lot of businesses struggle to see the connection between content and sales. But if you can consistently create posts, videos, and images that your audience values, you’ll find natural opportunities to drive people to your website and funnel them toward sales. People who follow your brand on social media are a highly relevant audience to advertise to as well. Now there are tools that enable you to not just market your brand and products to them, but actually control the customer experience, thus heavily influencing the path to purchase and measuring ROI.
6. Retarget people who visit your product pages
There are plenty of reasons why someone might not buy your product at first glance. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Perhaps they didn’t have a credit card on hand. Or they weren’t familiar enough with your product category yet. Or they simply lost momentum before they completed the checkout process. With retargeting, you can show them ads featuring the products they looked at before or point them toward related items after they’ve left your site. And that’s often a lot more effective than advertising to people who have never heard of your brand. And again, using a where to buy solution with universal tracking enables you to see every move, every dollar influenced, and optimize the customer journey from interest to beyond the sale.
7. Be responsive
Even when people aren’t asking sales-related questions, your responsiveness on social media can impact whether or not they complete a transaction or buy from you in the future. Every time you reply to a comment, that’s a public representation of your brand. And when you respond to individual inquiries through private messages, that helps customers and potential customers feel valued and makes your brand appear more reliable—all of which can indirectly influence sales.
And of course, being responsive to public and private interactions can create relevant opportunities to highlight relevant products, features, services, and add-ons.
8. Add your product catalog
Some social platforms (like Facebook) allow you to add a store to your page. Anyone who directly visits your brand’s account page can explore your product catalog through this tab. With Instagram, you can create stories for products (with product links) you want to showcase and then save them as highlights that appear on your profile.
Take advantage of every channel
The best ecommerce brands take an omnichannel or what we call an ALL Channel approach to marketing, treating every touchpoint as part of a larger brand experience. If you haven’t been incorporating social media into your digital sales strategy yet, it’s time to start exploring the ways it can help increase your bottom line.