As well as being a platform for connecting with friends, social media is an important business tool. Not only is it a marketing channel that allows businesses to engage with customers, but it's also increasingly influencing the way people shop. These platforms allow users to browse, shop and purchase seamlessly. This development has the potential to transform the way we buy online.
According to research by Integral Ad Science, one in four UK consumers spend more than five hours a day on social media.1
Social media has become a significant channel for sellers to reach online consumers, with ad spend projected to hit £8.95bn by the end of 2023.1 And, according to Hootsuite, the potential reach of Facebook Ads is 2.11 billion users.
So how can you use social selling to boost your sales?
Build a Strong Following
Applying a successful social media sales strategy starts with cultivating and nurturing an engaged audience. Spend time to understand your customers. Which social media channels are they most active on? What motivates them to engage – liking and commenting on posts, as well as (here's the important one) sharing content with their friends?
Make Your Profiles Visible
Your profile on your chosen platform should include details about your business, what you sell, and a link to your website. Tell your potential customers what you can do for them. It's important to apply your logos to your profiles to maintain consistency and establish your visual brand identity.
Use a tone that is appropriate to the platform. Generally, social media posts are friendly and informal.
Showcase Your Products
Using these platforms to showcase your products is one of the benefits of social media, but be careful not to sell persistently or be too pushy. Blunt sales messages will at best deter your followers from reading your posts, and at worst, you'll lose them altogether.
Strong visual social media content gives people a reason to follow, like, comment, and ultimately buy your products. By using a combination of product-related images and sharing content relevant to your audience, you'll encourage followers to engage.
It's not just images you should be sharing. Videos and live streaming both add personality and life to your channels – 15% of all Facebook content is video and more than 8 billion videos are viewed daily.2 Even Instagram announced it is 'no longer a photo-sharing app,' so it really is worth considering adding videos to your library of content, for example, product demonstrations or reviews.
Social Media is About Conversation and Connection
Social media offers two-way communication opportunities. Use your channel to listen to what your customers want to tell you and regularly review and update your channels. Frequently updated blogs or social media presence will encourage customers to come back.
Finally, social media gives you the chance to provide exceptional customer service and engage on a personal level. 80% of consumers use social to engage with brands. But make sure you respond quickly to complaints, 60% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within an hour. However, answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%.3
Quotes from well-known and specialist insurers, including: