Social media platforms like Facebook are turning out to be one of the most popular channels for online commerce. A 2017 study published by Square and Mercury Analytics discovered that nearly 40% of American businesses sold their products on social media platforms - 25% on Facebook. Given the sheer volume of transactions, social media selling is today an important component of online sales.
But success on social media does not come easy. Like it is with any other form of sales, social selling too goes through the AIDAS process of Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action and Satisfaction. To be able to execute a successful social sales campaign, your strategy must adhere to these five Cs.
Communication is a key part of every sales process and is vital in creating awareness, interest and desire among your target audience. There are two specific areas of focus here. The advertising text plays a critical role in explaining your value proposition as well as triggers the intent to click and learn more. Equally important is its alignment with the landing page where your sales proposition is described in greater detail. For successful social selling, you should ensure a seamless transition between what you communicate on the ad text and the details you provide on the landing page.
A key difference between social selling and other forms of digital sales is the purchase intent of the customer. An ad alongside a Google search result is delivered at the right moment when the prospective customer is indeed looking to buy. Facebook and Instagram ads, on the other hand, are displayed when the user is surfing aimlessly and killing time. The only way to transact successfully, in this case, is by establishing an emotional connection with the user. Studies have shown that Facebook users elicit high levels of emotional engagement compared to those visiting content portals like Yahoo! or The New York Times. It is important to emotionally connect with the audience in order to succeed.
Success with social selling involves a lot of trial and error and it is important to invest heavily in optimizing your conversion rate. This includes testing different variants of your ad text, making incremental changes to your landing page and also work out different kinds of offers to see what works and what doesn’t. While social media platforms play an important role in online commerce today, it is however important to acknowledge its limitations. Facebook is more valuable as a tool to populate your sales pipeline rather than one to make the end-sale. Your CRO strategy should thus be aligned towards this goal. Paul Melkunas recommends picking a conversion event higher in the funnel. In this ad strategy guide for Facebook, Melkunas points out that Facebook needs at least 20-25 conversions a day to optimize your campaign and picking ‘Add To Cart’ or ‘View Content’ as the conversion event can help you optimize your campaigns better.
Customization and personalization are imperative to the success of any sales strategy and it is no different here with social selling. There are two reasons why customization works. Firstly, it helps businesses differentiate their product from the competition. This is especially important for a platform like social media where the barriers to entry for competition is low. Consequently, businesses that have the most customized offering elicit the highest response rate from their target audience. The second reason why customization is important is because social media platforms are replete with insightful data about your audience. It is possible to narrow down your audience on the basis of their age, gender, interests, designation, industry and a host of other factors. Building a campaign that uniquely targets each of your audience sub-sets helps you target better and thus improve your conversion.
Coupons are the last and perhaps, the most popular social selling tools available today. As noted earlier in this article, a key difference between a search engine like Google and a social platform like Facebook is the lack of a purchase intent among the users of social networks. Coupons and free trials are highly effective tools to trigger a call to action and are thus vital to successful social media selling. One study found that a whopping 71 percent of consumers followed their favorite brands on social media merely to get coupons. This figure jumps up further to 94% when it comes to Twitter, according to another study by Compete.com. The bottom-line here is that coupons are an inseparable component of social selling and is vital to a brand’s success on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Selling on social media requires a lot of perseverance and it is important to know that conversion on social media is just the first step towards an actual sale. Knowing the purpose of social selling is important to realize the true potential of this platform.
About the Author: Benjamin S Powell is the founder of DSA Global, a Thailand-based marketing automation company. He has recently launched AdSoup, a sales CRM that unifies email, messaging and live chat.
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