Social media has infused itself into the lives of consumers in more ways than most realize. This has led to furious attempts from savvy online merchants to benefit from social media selling.  So exactly how saturated is the social media market? According to, 73% of all internet users in the US have social media accounts.  Think about that for a moment… 73 out of 100 people who online have social media accounts.  What’s even more interesting is the amount of time spent on social media.  Much to the dismay of bosses big and small, Americans spend more time on social media platforms than any other online activities (including email). And that is exactly why social media and eCommerce make a lovely partnership.

It’s easy to get swept away with all the benefits of social media but online merchants need to remember that social media selling is not a direct selling tool. Because of this, there are unspoken rules to follow and some social media “do’s and dont’s” to remember.  Avoiding the taboos will help you avoid mistakes that damage your online reputation, while increasing your eCommerce sales.

Here are some of the most important rules for social media selling:

1) Showcase Products in the Right Place

There are tons of social media platforms, with more popping up every day, so it’s crucial to identify your target audience and know where to find them.

Every social platform is not the same and it’s possible there is no single right social media network for any one business.  For example, while Facebook has a solid reach and supports almost every kind of merchant, Instagram and Pinterest are best for those whose products have visual appeal. Likewise, LinkedIn is more suited for products that target professionals.  Don’t try to showcase your company and products everywhere.  That would be time-consuming and is not likely to produce the results you are looking for.  Instead, narrow the social field by first understanding your target audience, where they’ll be and what they like.  This will give way to successful social media selling and a quality connection with your select clientele.

social media selling

Selling through social media requires true engagement, not just direct selling techniques.

2) Focus on Engagement

What exactly do you want from your social media efforts?  Set your goals and know how to measure the results of your efforts.  If social media selling is your primary goal, learn how to focus on engagement rather than just impressions.   Sure, impressions, aka your social reach, were considered the most important social metric in past years but times have changed. Now impressions are simply recognized as the building block of the more important engagement strategy.

The more your eCommerce website and social media selling focuses on engagement, the better.  The high numbers associated with impressions may look nice but engagement is what sells.  Analyze your online store from the top to the bottom and figure out how you can better engage with your fans.  Find out how you can encourage more social media engagement among your social fans.  Here are some powerful ways to connect through social media…

  • Post educational blogs your audience will like to read about.
  • Create catchy content with unique titles.
  • Make social media buttons very visible.
  • Open comments on your products.
  • Offer a Q&A section.
  • Host contests.
  • Ask questions and for advice from your followers.
  • And most importantly… respond to ALL comments quickly and politely.

It may seem like common sense but go back one more time and make sure all the product pages on your eCommerce website have social sharing buttons. And for pity’s sake, if you don’t have a blog attached to your site, get one ASAP!

3) Don’t Remain in the ‘Sell’ Mode

As mentioned at the beginning of the blog post, social media is not a direct selling tool. It is an extremely powerful tool that can help you sell more but you have to remember its key use is in being social. Keep in mind that direct sales pitches won’t work and will only drive your audience away.

Keep your followers engaged in the following ways:

  • Tell stories about your company/products/services.
  • Share key industry statistics.
  • Break important industry updates and news as it happens.
  • Post video tutorials that teach something new.
  • Mention funny quips from your office life.

These are just a few of the ways to let your audience you care about keeping them engaged and want to earn their loyalty

4) Have Appropriate Call-to-Actions

An important part of eCommerce selling can be noted in the effectiveness of your call-to-actions buttons. You may have thousands of people following your Facebook or Twitter business pages but numbers are not proof of a higher click-through rate. If you want more people to notice your social media selling updates, speak to them with an action-based, clear-cut language that elicits urgency for the buy.

  • While creating call-to-actions, you should:
  • Use active wordplay to gain specific responses.
  • Be crisp, clear, and direct.
  • Make it easy for prospects to respond.
  • Limit the number of options.

Many online merchants don’t understand how to use call-to-actions for social media selling.  Make sure you do.

Social Media Selling

Mobile eCommerce is here to stay!

5) Use More Visuals/Graphics

If you work in industries such as travel, fashion and food, photos can quickly turn the tables in your favor. In addition, posting relevant quotes, memes, videos and infographics will keep your audience interested and entertained.  Why is that?  Well, according to a study conducted by Trend Reports, 65% – 85% of people describe themselves as visual learners.  Because of this, social media posts that contain images or graphics are easier to digestible than text posts. With just a little thought, the creative imagery in your posts will tune-up your online reputation and increase your social media selling.

6) Don’t Ignore Mobile

Mobile is not a trend.  And by now, it’s important to realize that mobile eCommerce is here to stay.  By the year 2018, InternetRetailer projects that mobile sales will comprise almost half of all US eCommerce sales. In 2014, half of our eCommerce traffic came through mobile so this projection is considered underestimate by some. To get the most out of your social media marketing efforts and increase eCommerce sales, ensure that your online store is appropriately optimized for mobile.

By staying focused, consistent and using smart social media selling tactics, you’ll soon see improvements in your eCommerce website and overall sales. If you handle the basics well and follow the above-mentioned “do’s and dont’s”, you’ll watch your business flourish while gaining an online edge over the competition.

What techniques have helped your social media selling the most?  We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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