Social Selling: Top 3 Powerful Do’s for Your Ecommerce Business
Social selling and ecommerce have a lot in common. Just like at some point ecommerce was the new form of commerce, social selling today is the new form of marketing. It represents implicit marketing. The type of marketing that does not shout at the audience, does not call random people and promote.
Social selling has different goals:
- To build a community of people who are interested in your brand.
- To find people that are already interested in a product or service like yours, and to nudge them towards checking out the product and eventually buying it.
Think about the times you checked out a product that someone recommended online and the times you searched for reviews before purchasing. I bet this happens quite often. People listen to “insights” ― information that seems personal and unavailable to the majority.
Luckily, there are enough people online that provide such insights. Influencers make money by mentioning a product (and people still trust them more than they trust brands), while random social media users are always there to leave reviews, advise, and recommend. And again, we trust them more than we trust brands.
Social selling works because of that. Here are the main methods that make social selling effective:
- You can find people online who are already looking for a product or service like yours.
- You can become an “insider” who recommends a product online.
- You can make it easy for people to buy your product.
- You reach people where they are anyway ― on social media.
All these methods are interconnected. Where are these people who sound too good to be true? Where is it easy to discover a product and buy a product?
The answer is social media.
Social media is vast and representative. People of every demographic, psychographic, level of income, and world view hang out on social media.
This effectively means that whoever you’re looking for ― a middle-aged houseparent in search of a perfect toy, a teen looking to stand out from the crowd with their clothing, someone interested in purchasing a pink elephant or an ancient book ― they are there. That’s what having billions of people use the same platforms results in.
The real challenge is to find those who are interested in exactly what you have to offer among everyone else. Here’s how to do that.
1. Start Listening
Social listening (or social media monitoring) is a method that allows you to find mentions of any keyword on social media networks, blogs, forums, and news sites. It works with the help of a social listening/social media monitoring tool that crawls the Internet 24/7 and collects the results.
What should you listen to?
1.1 Your industry + recommendation keywords.
By monitoring mentions of your industry (e.g., guitars, sports equipment, contact lenses, exercise apps) coupled with popular recommendation keywords (e.g., “can anyone recommend”, “please recommend”, “looking for”, “in search of”, “does anyone know”) you’ll find “hot leads” ― people who need your product and have turned to social media for recommendations.
Note: to conduct such a search, you’ll need a social listening tool with a Boolean search option.
1.2 Your competitors
Monitoring your competitors (especially negative reviews of them!) provides you with plenty of social selling opportunities.
You can learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and address them when marketing your product to their audience. You can advise people on the Internet who’ve complained about your competitor’s product to check out another brand, i.e. your brand.
Because ecommerce makes it easy to check out (the customer doesn’t have to get up from their comfy chair and go to the store), you can nudge your competitors’ customers to shift to your products within minutes!
2. Act as an Opinion Leader or Insider. Or Both
Both these capacities are extremely useful for social selling ― but in different ways.
To become an opinion leader, you have to do a lot of groundwork: building a dedicated social media following by posting useful and relevant content, taking part in conversations about your industry, guest posting, taking part in public events related to your industry, and probably have just that sort of charismatic personality that attracts people.
This is hard and time-consuming, but, of course, it brings great results, as influencer marketing teaches us.
It’s much easier to become an insider ― literally anyone online can say that they’ve tried the product and it’s amazing. And this is also very effective if you say that to the right people ― the “hot leads”.
If you can do both ― do both. If not, becoming an active insider (perhaps, with many social media accounts) can do wonders for your sales.
If you can’t become an opinion leader yourself, you can collaborate with existing opinion leaders who you can find on every social platform ― with the help of a social listening tool. Many social listening tools present the list of such people if you create an alert for your industry and monitor mentions of your industry for some time.
You can also find brand advocates (by monitoring your brand) ― people with a large following that have mentioned your brand, product, store, etc. in the past, and collaborate with them so that they could do it more often.
While some social media influencers will be too popular and too expensive to work with, in most niches, you can find just the person that would fit your business requirements.
3. Put More Effort into Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is extremely multi-faceted. I won’t tell you how to create and optimize your social media profiles, because I assume you already know that. What I’ll tell you instead is to pay attention to brand personality, which grows brand awareness, fosters trust, and makes the social selling process oh so much easier.
I’ll also emphasize that social media is all about communication. This is why building your brand, growing brand awareness, and selling on social media make so much sense. To finally convince a customer to buy a product (the last step on any customer journey), you should be talking to your followers and to people who don’t follow but mention your brand.
You should be answering questions and comments about your industry, and most of all, you should be perfecting your social media customer service as a lot of customer service happens on social media, and it happens publicly.
When it comes to social media, the overall idea is treating your followers as a community rather than people waiting to be sold to.
Besides communication and customer service, this means creating content, which can be helpful or educational, encouraging user-generated content, getting creative with contests, and generally getting creative. The overarching aim is to go beyond your following and talk to people on social media who discuss your industry: join topical Twitter-chats, Reddit threads, and any niche resources.
Social selling is very different from traditional marketing tactics. But it’s also more fun. You need to talk and listen to what people have to say and then launch mind-boggling profit ad campaigns. And to be that person who gives them exactly what they are looking for.