Did you know that The 500 biggest retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, up 26% from 2013, according to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500.
Social media is being used at unprecedented rates, and users are going well beyond just social activity. Small businesses of all types can leverage social selling, whether it’s for goods, services, or subscriptions. Social selling on platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook present a huge opportunity for small businesses to target local customers, and customers who fit their ideal profile audience. Here is a great breakdown of the current opportunities and benefits of each social selling option?
Editor’s note: in order to be successful with social selling, small businesses need to have mobile-friendly website. Most social browsing is from a mobile device.
Social Selling on Facebook
Facebook yields the most sales and customers. Whether you’re posting organically or using Facebook ads, small businesses definitely embrace selling from this platform.
Use large photos, and include several different views of a single product or line. If you’re a service, show your services being performed in real life, and definitely highlight your finished products.
Typically, most social sales comes from new posts, so do not rely on photo albums of your products to increase sales.
Given the recent reduction of organic reach on Facebook, small businesses should embrace “Boosting Posts” or actual Facebook ad units. In either scenario, you can target new viewers using audience information like age, interests, or location (a must for small businesses).
Use Facebook’s Promotion feature to promote discounts and coupons, and definitely consider Facebook’s ad products to sell specific items. Small businesses can leverage the standard ad unit with a “Shop Now” button, Carousel (multi-image) ad units, or Dynamic Product Ad units (automatically drops in relevant inventory based on what they browsed on your site).
Social Selling on Pinterest
Pinterest is an ideal additional selling platform if your small business sells goods or food. Users go on Pinterest to be inspired or delighted, it’s the perfect place to showcase how good your dresses look or the most interesting new ice cream flavors available in your store. Similar to Facebook, Pinterest advertising allows you to target local users, and has a “Buy” button you can add to the Pin.
Even if you’d prefer to stick with organic posts, Pinterest allows you to share URLs in the Pin’s description, along with prices. In addition to getting your business’ URL from the description, if a Pinterest user clicks on your Pin, they will be directed straight to your product’s page.
Use your Pinterest profile like a store inventory listing (shop by category) or by theme (summer, family occasions, date night). Post frequently to keep your products in their newsfeed, and promote your Pinterest presence in your actual store to capture repeat customers.
Social Selling on Instagram
Instagram is a delightful visual medium, and can be used by a wide variety of small businesses due to the popularity of product images and scenery images ( a clean room posted by a cleaning service or an immaculate yard shared by a landscaping businesses).
You can drive traffic to your products or services by posting your URL in the image’s description, or by using one of Instagram’s ad products that allows for a “click-through” to your website (images on Instagram are not normally hyperlinked to anything).
As more and more brands flock to Instagram to sell their wares, Instagram users are increasingly more comfortable with posts by brands, and are also beginning to use Instagram for shopping inspiration.
Key Tips To Measure ROI
The most important part of social selling (on any platform) is to be able to attribute sales to your efforts.
1. Use a special URL
Use’s Google’s URL builder to label your social URL according to platform (called a UTM code). When checking out your leads/customers in your CRM, those UTM codes, or labels, will be visible. You’ll then know that customer came from Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Note: before posting the URL, use a URL shortener so it doesn’t look weird.
2) Use a special discount code
Create a unique discount code for each social network. Based on which code a customer uses, if any, you’ll know which social platform they came from.
3) Add a drop down menu to your check-out
The easiest way to attribute sales is to add a drop down menu to your check-out page that asks customers where they heard of you. Include all the social networks, Google, a friend, or “other”.