If you are an Instagram or Facebook user, you would be encouraging ads showcasing products or services every time you log in. Do you know 62% of Facebook and Instagram users said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories? The common action users said they took after seeing the stories was browning the brand’s website to know more about the product or service. A significant number also said they visited the store to check the product in person.
Ever wondered what makes consumers buy from social media instead of jumping directly to eCommerce sites like Amazon?
Because people use social networks to share their experiences. They share product reviews, warnings against products, information about services, tips on using some products, and much more. Since this information comes from other users, people consider it authentic and refer to it to decide what to buy or not to buy. According to a BrightLocal report, 98% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing.
Perhaps you already have a solid social media presence. But if you are not attracting customers and driving revenue, you are leaving a fortune on the table. In 2020, there were 80 million social buyers in the U.S. alone.
In this guide, you’ll learn some of the most effective ways to influence consumers’ behavior through social media marketing and how to turn it into sales.
Let’s get started.
1. Move into Social Commerce
Social commerce means blending social media with eCommerce. It’s about selling products or services directly on social media. From discovering products to researching to the check-out process — the entire shopping experience takes place right on the social media platform.
Social media shopping makes the experience much more seamless than a typical eCommerce site.
On an eCommerce site, users have to search the product on Google, click the ad or link, land on your website, read everything about the product, compare it, add the product to the shopping cart, fill in their payment info and finally make the purchase. Throughout the process, many actions such as product comparison can send users to your competitors.
Social commerce, on the other hand, includes three steps only: see it, click it and buy it. Also, consumers can consult their friends on the social platform, review comments from previous shoppers and interact directly with the brand via chat platforms like Facebook Messenger.
Besides, your business can make some serious money here. Considering half of all US adults purchased through social media in 2021, US social commerce sales were forecasted to reach $45.74 billion in 2022.
So are you ready to get started with social commerce?
Here are some of the most popular social commerce platforms you can use to start social selling now.
- Facebook Shops
In response to more and more businesses shifting to social selling, Facebook launched Facebook shops—a mobile-shopping experience where brands can easily create their online store on Facebook, connect with their audience, and sell their products or services.
To create your Facebook shop, all you need to do is set up an account on Facebook’s commerce manager, import an existing catalog from your website, choose the goods or services you want to feature, and publish your shop.
Here’s what your Facebook shop will look like:
- Instagram Shops
Instagram Shops allow you to create a customizable storefront page, acting as a curated collection of your products or services for sale. Each product has its own individual page, including price, media, and a detailed description. Your potential customers can buy products featured on your photos and videos right from the app.
- Product Pins
Pinterest does not allow users to buy within the app. Still, business accounts can create “Product Pins” and build a Pinterest Shop, displaying your products or services. The only difference is your Product Pin will redirect users to your eCommerce website to complete the purchase.
Snapchat’s Native Store
Snapchat launched Public Profiles, allowing brands to share their unique content. One of the profiles’ features is a “Native “Store,” enabling your brand to link their Shopify store with your profile and give users a way to browse, try on and buy your products from the app.
Once you set up your social media shop, the next step is to remove background using a photo editor like Blend to edit the product photos using templates. And you’re ready to sell. However, social selling is just one part of the puzzle. There’s more to this social shop-o-sphere.
2. Invest in Influencer Marketing
Simply put, influencer marketing is a partnership between a brand and an influencer. Influencers are trusted figures within a specific niche, have a loyal following and possess in-depth knowledge or experience in their field. They promote brands’ products or services on their social media channels.
An influencer can be anyone from a big celebrity like Cristiano Ronaldo promoting Nike or a micro-influencer showcasing your brand’s products. For example, a micro-influencer Miette Dierckx shared customized chocolate from brand Cote d’Or, giving it the attention of his 35,000 Instagram followers.
In the age where 96% of consumers don’t trust ads, influencers have built a high amount of trust and their recommendations act as social proof for their followers.
The below statistics portrays the growing importance of social media influencers among brands and audiences:
Now that you know the importance of influencer marketing, it’s time to leverage this marketing strategy with the right Instagram tools. Like any marketing tactic, a strategy helps you identify what you want from influencer marketing and how to achieve it.
Here’s how you can create your influencer marketing strategy:
- Define your goals
Whether it’s brand awareness, engagement, attracting customers, or selling, setting your goals keeps your strategy consistent and helps you identify the metrics you should track to monitor your success.
- Select the right platform
Choose a social media platform with an audience you want to target. For instance, Snapchat is an excellent platform to target millennials and Generation Z.
- Set a budget
Once you have some idea of your goals and social platform, you need to set a budget to ensure you don’t run out of money in the middle of your ongoing influencer marketing campaign.
- Hunt influencers sharing your audience
Based on your budget, you can hire mainstream influencers or find influencers with smaller audiences (micro-influencers) that closely match your target market. In fact, brands are as interested in micro-influencers as celebrities with a massive following.
You can use relevant hashtags to find influencers on Twitter or Instagram. For instance, #travel will give you a list of people creating content on Travel. Or you can Google your keywords, read the blogs, and connect with the bloggers. Tools like BuzzSumo are helpful to find social media influencers in your niche instantly.
You can also use Instagram Reel strategies to improve engagement.
- Partner with influencers
Once you’re confident about the influencers you want to work with, it’s time to partner with them. Here are a few types of partnerships you can offer to your influencers:
✔ Offer free products or services in exchange for a review or mention
✔ Pay to get featured on an influencer’s blog or social channel
✔ Create content together with influencers and promote it on your website, their social profile, or a third-party website
✔ Run a contest and ask influencers to share your giveaway with their followers
✔ Let influencers take charge of your social media accounts for the specific period
✔ Offer a percentage of each sale
✔ Turn influencers into your brand ambassadors and let them mention your brand, products, and services consistently
The more you promote your brand with influencers, the sooner your brand can create a buzz and convert influencers’ followers into customers.
3. Encourage and Share Social Proof
Social proof is a positive comment about your brand, products, or services. One example of user generated content is KFC fans tweeting that KFC’s chicken nuggets are addictive.
These online sentiments prove that the company or its products are great and have satisfied previous buyers. Since social proof comes from past consumers, its presence turns your business into a trustworthy brand. 82% of people give more weight to opinions they find on social media before making the right purchase decision.
There are many ways to incorporate social proof in your social media marketing strategy. Some of the popular ones are:
- User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content is any content—text, images, videos, or reviews —created by users rather than brands. Apple’s #ShotoniPhone campaign is one of the most successful examples of UGC. The campaign encourages customers to click images from iPhone’s camera and share their photography with the hashtag #ShotoniPhone. Winners get featured on Apple’s Instagram account.
When users post about how your product or service works, how they use it in real life and leave positive comments, it shows how much your brand is loved.
Like Apple, you can also motivate users to create content for your brand. One way to do so is to create a branded hashtag, add it to your Instagram or Twitter bio and give users a chance to get featured on your account. Or run contests and offer prizes for customers who show off their photos or videos with your brand.
- Testimonials or case studies
Another way to showcase satisfied customers is to create their video testimonials or write a case study about their experience with your business. Ask your clients whether they’ll share their experience or answer questions relevant to your brand. Once you have a testimonial, promote it on your social media accounts.
4. Embrace Video Marketing
Statistics show that over half of shoppers say online video has helped them decide which product or brand to go for. And 54% of marketers consider video the most valuable content to achieve social media marketing goals.
Before the facts and figures sail you off on your video marketing journey, it’s essential to get familiar with the most popular types of videos you can create and share on social media.
- About us videos
About us videos tell the viewers about your brand, values, goals, motivation, culture and backstory. They can be used to showcase what you have that your competitors don’t. Online storage giant Dropbox created a video with Muppet-style puppets giving an honest look at the company and how they operate.
As the name suggests, promotional videos directly promote products, services, or special offers. It is used to introduce new product features and reveal how they can solve your prospect’s problems. Dollar Shave Club wanted to highlight the high price people pay to buy razors from local stores. Hence, the company created a video promoting amazing razors with the founder highlighting the benefits in a fun way. Published in 2012, till date this video has been marketer’s favorite example of social media marketing using videos.
Product demonstration videos
Also known as explainer videos, product demos aim at informing viewers about the product and reveal how it can make their lives easier. The biggest name in action cameras, GoPro hinges on videos captured by customers. The videos show how people can use GoPro to record their sports, travel, and adventure activities—helping other like-minded users imagine themselves using a GoPro.
How-to videos do not promote any brand or product. Instead, they focus on generating brand awareness by helping people learn about niche-relevant topics. For instance, Tasty, belonging to the Buzzfeed family, is all about food. It shares “how-to” recipe videos you can’t help but try.
Suffice to say that these videos are ruling the social media world. Each video requires thought and effort to unveil your brand creatively. If you do it right, your video marketing strategy can trigger a conversation with your potential customers. That said, you can use Hootsuite alternatives to collate your social media accounts and stream the analytics on a single dashboard.
5. Leverage Click-to-Messenger Ads
Click-to-Messenger ads are the standard Facebook display ads allowing you to start a personal conversation with prospects right into the Messenger platform. These ads appear in the Facebook newsfeed with a call-to-action button, redirecting users to Messenger conversation.
Each month 20 billion messages take place between brands and users on Facebook Messenger.
You can also become a part of this private messaging economy by running a Click-to-Messenger ad campaign on Facebook’s ads manager. You can place these ads across Facebook’s family of apps including, Facebook news feed, Facebook stories, Messenger stories, Instagram news feed and Instagram stories.
Going a step ahead, a CRM such as EngageBay CRM can be used to segment users by adding the “discount” keyword trigger to your ad. This CTM ad strategy can help you collect the contact information of leads which you can then use to nurture qualified leads.
You have everything you need to influence consumers’ buying behavior through social media marketing. It’s time to implement these tips and level up your social media engagement.