Selling via Social Media: How to Start
People are buying things on social media. They’re browsing Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, seeing things they like and buying them then and there.
What about your customers? Are they buying your products on social media? Would they shop from your Facebook page if they could?
A few years ago, the idea of getting conversions directly from social media seemed like something unachievable. You were perhaps seeing social media assisting conversions, but it was rarely the last click. Anecdotally, the idea was people were too busy looking at friends’ photos, following celebrities, stalking ex partners and posting their own content, to bother interrupting all of this to go and buy something.
However, social shopping is on the rise, with plenty of existing options for setting up shop on your social media channels, and many more developments coming soon.
If you sell online, here’s what you need to know.
Pinterest launched “Buyable Pins” way back in 2015, offering Pinterest users the option to buy products they’d seen on Pinterest directly through the Pinterest app. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available for UK retailers yet. However, there’s another option UK businesses have for capturing shoppers on Pinterest – implementing Rich Pins.
Rich Pins is what Pinterest is calling Pins that have added value information. Set these up and whenever you, or a customer, pins a product from your website they’ll be able to see additional information like the price and if the item is in stock.
This information could lead to more people clicking through to your website via Pinterest and making a purchase.
Check out Pinterest’s guide to setting up Rich Pins.
Instagram offers businesses the option to tag products within the user feed and through Instagram stories. With the product page being within five taps.
On the user profile page, shoppable items have a bag icon, plus a “shop” section in the menu.
On the post itself, you click the shopping bag to view the products
Tapping a specific item will take you to a product information page within Instagram.
The final tap for those ready to buy is to “view on website” and make the purchase.
Within Instagram stories, it’s a similar story, with a shoppable icon and product title being shown first:
Tapping the icon / title opens up the option to “see details”
Then you’re onto the same product page you see when you click through from the Instagram feed.
As with Pinterest, there are steps to take to set this up, including having a Business Account on Instagram, a connected Facebook page and a product feed. You can find more information on the technical setup here.
Businesses can set up a “Shop” tab on their Facebook pages which can get people from Facebook onto your website to buy the product in three clicks.
Set up your shop and your products will be displayed in a grid.
Clicking a product opens up further details and the crucial link to your website to buy.
Check out Facebook’s guide to adding a shop to your business page.
What you should do about it
Ok now you know what social shopping tools are available for you to use, but before you rush off and set it all up, here are three things to keep in mind:
- Consider your social audience
Setting up your products so they’re ready to shop socially is just the start. You need to think about your audience, and in particular your audience size. If your following is very small, you’re not going to see the benefit of having shoppable products. You should consider a strategy to build up your following and get your social shopping posts reaching a wider audience. This could involve running some paid media campaigns to boost your following, or trying tactics like running competitions.
- Optimise your product images.
Your product images will be key to securing those all-important clicks on social media. The images which work well on your website might not be the right ones for Pinterest’s grid, or maybe you’ll shoot some photos of multiple products so you can tag each one in via Instagram.Either way, make them as attractive as possible for each social audience and, if you can, test them to see what works and what doesn’t. You can use each social channel’s reporting tools to see which images are getting the most impressions and clicks and make your decisions from there.
- Invest in your tracking
Each social network has their own internal tracking systems and you may need to set up some custom tracking to make sure your sales are being tracked accurately in Google Analytics – or whichever web analytics platform you’re using. Social Media Examiner has an in depth guide on this: Tracking Social Media Traffic using Google Analytics.It’s well worth investing the time in this to make sure you’re seeing the true return from social, whether that’s sales directly from social media, or sales where social is assisting.
Using the social shopping tools available for free is a great opportunity to sell more products, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Even if you don’t have the resource to set up all your products, select your best sellers and see if social works for them.
If you want to talk social media, online shopping or paid media, call us on 0161 956 8963