While social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest boast billions of users, businesses are still struggling to leverage these platforms for increased sales. Just a few years ago, for instance, major retailers launched an ill-fated attempt to create virtual stores on their Facebook tabs – with zero significant results. These unsuccessful efforts raise an interesting question: is social media incompatible with marketing and advertising efforts? In this blog post, I’ll argue that they’re not. Even more importantly, I’ll share a few tips on what your business can do now to start making social media sales.
The first thing you should know is that the world’s largest retailers are still betting heavily on social media. The global retail giant Target, for example, is launching a historic marketing campaign this holiday season, with tens of millions of dollars dedicated to advertising via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The epicenter of this campaign will be Pinterest, where the company is creating general boards featuring their store products, as well as hiring high profile home and fashion experts to curate customised boards for Target’s REDCard members.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a multi-billion dollar company to follow Target’s example. If your business offers consumer products of any kind, creating boards on Pinterest can be an effective way to promote your goods. The key is to “think visual,” providing high quality pictures of the items you’re sharing, as well as links to where viewers can purchase them. Conversely, you’ll want to refrain from being overly “salesy” when posting – focus less on hype and more on letting your products sell themselves.
Apart from Pinterest, Facebook can also be a viable sales and marketing tool for your business, and below are two of the best ways to do just that:
1. Create Special Offers.
Facebook allows you to launch promotions and special promotions through your fan page. You simply create the offer, specify how many people can redeem it, and launch it out into the Facebook Universe. If your offer is compelling and really does provide your customers with value, chances are your fans will both buy it for themselves, and share it with others. This is a great offer for service businesses, because they can easily make the sale right on their Facebook page.
2. Create Promoted Posts.
Using this strategy, you will create a Facebook post linking to a product on your website. The link you provide can be for an item that’s on sale, but that’s not a requisite. The most important thing here is that you make it clear in the post that your business offers the item you’re featuring. Once you’ve done this, you can click “promote post” on Facebook, and instantly reach thousands of new customers for as little as $10.
Twitter is probably the most challenging social media platform to use for marketing purposes. If you or your business already has a decent following, your best bet is to tweet out links to your products, as well as quick description of their benefits. As an example, a Twitter marketing post for a business selling apparel may look something like this: “Keep your hands warm this holiday season: LINK,” where the link is to a pair of mittens that are for sale.
If you do not have a Twitter account, or only have a limited presence, one thing you can do is to ask those with a substantial following to tweet out a link to one of your products. This works best if it’s someone in your personal network, as they’ll likely do it for free. If you don’t personally know anyone who has such a following, however, your only real alternative is to pay someone to tweet for you. There are a variety of websites on the web where people and businesses can pay for tweets. However, it’s important that you do your homework and verify the authenticity and actual influence of the provider’s account.
Follow the advice you’ve just read and you will most certainly make more sales using social media. Just make sure to keep in mind that although retail opportunities abound, engagement is still king. The more value you provide to your fans and followers through meaningful dialog, the more successful your sales efforts will be.