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Could selling on social media help boost your sales?

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

More than just a new place to broadcast your message, social media can help you to make direct sales.

Person using their phone to take a photo of a dried plant in a vase

Beyond getting your business’s name out there, directing customers to your website or providing contact details, social media is now a place to sell directly. And with the recent launch of a shopping functionality in both Facebook and Instagram, social media is becoming increasingly integral in your eCommerce ecosystem.

According to a survey conducted for the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing, around half of consumers already use social media eCommerce platforms such as Facebook or Instagram stores, and around a quarter of consumers say they use them often or very often.

Here are our tips to help your business reach – and market to – these audiences.

Go in with a plan

Before setting up social media for your business, think of who you’d like to find you there. If your audience is people under 40, then social media could be a good place for you. One of the social media insights the Business Intelligence survey found was that more Millennials (those aged 26 to 40) prefer to get business recommendations on Facebook, compared with all other generations. They also said that a business’s Instagram page is in their top five ways to find a business.

Once they’ve found you on social, what would you like them to do next?

That’s one of the questions to consider as you develop your business’s approach to social. Others include:

  • Which platforms will you use?
  • What will you post?
  • How much time can you commit to responding to enquiries in comments and direct messages?
  • Do you have a budget to put towards paid social content?

Going in with a plan helps you to make social media work for you, and establishes helpful goals.

You’re selling on social – who’s buying?

Of all consumers surveyed for the Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing, a higher proportion of Gen Z and Millennials think it’s important to be able to purchase directly from social media, and they do so from time to time or regularly. But they’re among a substantial proportion of respondents from each generation who are currently using social media eCommerce and expect to use it more.

It doesn’t matter which generation your customers belong to – there are opportunities to connect with more of them on social.

Work out if selling on social could be a good fit for your business by:

  • Defining your sales and marketing and social media goals (i.e. is it to increase sales? Find a new audience?).
  • Looking at your customer demographic (because social shopping is most popular for younger customers).
  • Identifying where your customers are most engaged (to focus your efforts on those platforms).

Getting the word out

You’ve decided to sell online – now what?

If you’re looking to grow and find new customers, or you’re eager to keep up with the bigger players in your industry, paid social is an important part of your digital marketing strategy. The Business Intelligence survey found that just 20% of small and medium businesses are making the most of paid social media opportunities such as Facebook Ads.

If you don’t have the marketing budget for a paid campaign just yet, word of mouth has always been a valuable tool for businesses. On social media it takes the form of customer reviews and influencer marketing.

Consider incentivising past customers to post an honest review of their experience with your business on social media. Think about how you can turn those customers into spokespeople: Can you offer them a discount code to thank them for a positive review? Can you add great reviews to a simple design template and post them on your page?

It’s worth investing time and resources in this type of influencer marketing. After all, 15% of consumers in the Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing use influencer and consumer reviews on blogs and social media – on top of the 33% that use Facebook reviews – to help them decide on a business.

If you’re ready to transform your social media presence into a one-stop selling, marketing, review and customer service platform, now is a great time to start defining your sales and marketing goals and establish who your audience is and what they want. You’ll be selling on social in no time.

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