Social media is no longer a way for individuals to interact with others. It is now connecting businesses to individuals as well. If we look at the ways of traditional marketing, we will see that most successful brands made it big by directly connecting to the individuals who were their potential buyers.
By using traditional means of socializing. With the increasing engagement of people on social media in India, the need to master the art of selling on social media in India has given rise to a new term that is- social selling.
What is Social Selling?
In simple words, Selling anything on Social media platforms is known as Social Selling. If we dive into the technicality of Social selling, it is a part of Digital Marketing as a whole. Sales Reps choose social mediums to interact with their audience and engage them by creating content.
Marketers use these platforms to analyze the behavior of their potential buyers, their interest and manage the company’s social media performance to generate demands for their products.
Socializing has been a huge part of growing a business for centuries. While the means of socialization might have changed but the power of the social networks is always growing. The last decade has given rise to online means of socializing like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Whatsapp, Telegram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Not everyone realized the potential of these platforms at that time. But they are now becoming a crucial part of any business. No matter what is your niche, you can find a relevant audience on this platform and can build a customer base there. With paid advertisements, businesses have better exposure.
Social media is breaking its limits. Facebook is emerging as a huge marketplace with Instagram and it’s own marketplace. Though limited to US merchants, Pinterest is also making its mark as a huge market place.
For B2B products and services, LinkedIn is the most popular marketplace of all. Let’s check out these platforms and how you can use them for selling on social media:
Selling on FaceBook’s Marketplace
In October 2016, FaceBook started a marketplace for local businesses, so they can sell their products locally. If you have a small shop or business of goods or services which you can sell locally, FaceBook’s marketplace can be a good place to start selling on social media. It has a separate tab just for the purpose of peer-to-peer selling. It’s pretty easy to buy and sell over this platform. Features include:
- Browse products:
FaceBook marketplace gives the user the ability to search for a specific product using facebook’s browsing feature. Users can simply type the product name and he will see the availability of the product in the local market.
- List Products:
This feature is for the seller, they can list their items with pictures, price, and descriptions. Listing is also done according to the local area. You can choose which area you can cover for delivery.
- Chat with the seller:
When the user sees a product which s/he likes, s/he can message the seller directly to discuss pricing, payment mode, and delivery options. This builds trust between buyers and sellers.
- Product recommendations
When a user visits the Facebook marketplace, it recommends products to the user based on his/her activity and locality. That is a powerful way to generate sales. On Facebook, users generally add their interest, so behavioral predictions are very powerful with Facebook’s algorithm.
- Buy and sell groups
Apart from listing on the marketplace, the local buyers and sellers can join different buy and sell Facebook groups. Where sellers can share their products and interested buyers can chat with the seller and make the purchase.
Selling with Instagram’s Shoppable Tags
Instagram is the most favorite social media platform of Indian youth and a huge marketplace for businesses. There are several different ways to use Instagram to grow an online business, among them shoppable tags are a pretty simple and effective way.
These shopping posts look like organic but there is a little tag on the left corner which takes the visitor to a catalog page. From there with a CTA, the buyer is redirected to the landing page.
All these interactions are recorded and if anyone ends up on the landing page, that means, it’s a potential buyer and you can use this buyer profile to target a more specific audience. If the visitor ends up buying your product, well, here you have an easy sell.
How to create Instagram Shoppable tags?
To create shoppable Instagram tags, follow the steps given:
- Create a Facebook profile.
- Go to Facebook Business Manager and create a Business Manager account.
- Create a new Catalog in Catalog Manager, you can manually add your products or connect your e-commerce store here.
- Now connect this with your Instagram Business Account.
- When you post a photo on your Business’s Instagram page, in post setting you can choose to tag any product available on your catalog.
- Also, activate the ‘Shop’ button on your business profile.
- Optimize your posts with tags and hashtags relevant to your products.
Selling on Pinterest
Like Instagram, the Pinterest app also provides a buyable pin option to the U.S. businesses, where you can tag your product and redirect the user to your online store.
This tag is available for E-commerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce. This adds an add to bag CTA to the pins created with items in your online store, with a price tag and product description.
While buyable pins are limited to only the US merchants, there is one more way to promote your business online using Pinterest- Rich Pins. These pins are specific to the kind of content you are promoting your business with like products, articles, recipes, or app.
This way your audience knows exactly what to expect from the redirect. To enable Rich Pins, you must do the following:
- Create a Pinterest Business Account.
- Claim Your Website on Pinterest. To claim your website add HTML Meta tag provided by Pinterest on your website.
- Validate your rich pin using a rich pin validator. It takes about an hour to validate the rich pin.
- When you add a new pin or edit an old pin, you will see rich pin settings if your rich pin is validated.
Selling on YouTube
Youtube is the third-largest search engine in the world. If you have anything to sell on social media, there is no better way to do it then YouTube video.
YouTube has developed into a platform of education and entertainment. While YouTube itself earns millions by ads display, YouTube creators are also making a huge amount of online money.
While you might come up with a very cool product idea and you have successfully created it. But unless you let your people understand what are its benefits and how to use it, it remains useless to masses. (I used to think Apple was a food company.)
Making ‘how to’ videos on youtube and linking the videos to your product page or landing page, is a great way to get a sell. The only thing to keep in mind is that genuinely use the opportunity to educate your customers, and don’t force a sale. Make your audience curious and let them choose your brand because they trust you.
If you have a loyal following on your YouTube Channel and your content is actually engaging people, then you can use this platform to sell your affiliate products and services as well by explaining how to use it and how it benefits them. (if you want to know about affiliate marketing, click on the link) You can choose to create sponsored videos related to specific brands or products.
There are a few ways you can drive traffic to your online store from your YouTube channel:
- Put links to your store in your channel’s profile.
- Put links in your video description and let them know about your links.
- You can add a link to your store at the end cards to direct your viewers to your website.
Selling on LinkedIn
If you are in the B2B market, LinkedIn is a place for you. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is especially focused on professional people. If someone is active on LinkedIn that means, s/he is using this platform to connect with the like-minded professionals of his/her fields.
LinkedIn has a highly sophisticated marketplace and it needs to be utilized accordingly. Follow these steps to start selling on LinkedIn:
- Create a professional-looking profile for yourself, with a clear profile picture and mention your field of work as well as your business.
- Create a business page for your business and link your website there.
- Search for relevant people who could use your products or services using specific keywords like ‘digital marketing’ if you are selling any SEO tools.
- Add those people in your connection by sending a personalized connection request.
- Research about the potential buyer. Find out their interests by looking at their activities.
- Send a personalized sales pitch to them and patiently wait for their response.
- If they start a conversation and show interest, educate them further and redirect them to your website.
- If they don’t show interest, don’t force them and simply move on to the next prospect.
- Social selling or selling on social media refers to the practice of selling products using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
- While Facebook and Instagram have a dedicated marketplace to sell products to users directly, Pinterest and YouTube are mostly used to drive the traffic to the online store to increase sales.
- LinkedIn is a b2b marketplace, where professionals make connections in order to establish themselves as brands and sell their products and services to other businesses.
Cold selling and push marketing are now talks of the past. The current market demands to engage with buyers in productive ways. Social media is becoming a bridge between businesses and individuals. You can power up your sales efforts by including social media in your marketing strategies. Social selling boils down to the content. Make your content engaging and educating, then target the relevant audience.
Right now in India, the most effective and affordable social media are Facebook and Instagram for the small sellers. Facebook’s marketplace lets you choose your region, where you can deliver which is economic and effective.
There is not any certain way to be successful in selling on social media. The success depends on various factors, products, regions, audience and many more. To find out what works best for your small business, I would suggest the ‘trial and error’ method. Though the algorithm works its way, still it depends on individuals.