Everything you need to know about advanced social selling tools for businesses
Why should you care about social selling?
Let’s start with the most straightforward answer first: because consumers care.
In the last two years, COVID has forced many of us worldwide to do things online, including socializing, shopping, and working.
In fact, the typical social media user spends about 15% of their waking life on social platforms. Let’s say you get a solid 7 hours of sleep a night - that’s over 2 hours of scrolling on Instagram, TikTok, or whatever you use daily!
Now let’s move on to a more complicated answer: social selling is the most effective way to grow your business.
How do you use social media to sell?
For that, you have to read further as we explain the importance of social selling and how you can make data-driven decisions that will set you apart from your competitors (even those with big marketing budgets!)
What is social selling?
As its name suggests, social selling is the act of using social platforms, like Facebook or Instagram Shops, as virtual shopfronts and allowing consumers to buy products directly on those platforms.
Now, social selling is not the same as social media marketing.
In traditional social media marketing, social media platforms are only a means to promote products and services. This means that you will ultimately be redirected to the e-commerce site for checkout.
And this seamless purchasing experience is exactly why social selling is forecasted to grow steadily at a CAGR of 32.3% during 2022-28.
Let’s take a look at the native built-in features on social networks for lead generation, converting customers, and building long-term relationships.
5 popular platforms with built-in social selling tools
Social selling does not require anything except for a social media account. Instead, sellers can make good use of native built-in social selling tools on popular platforms.
According to Instagram, about 1 in 2 people surveyed have used Instagram to discover new brands, products, or services.
Here are all the ways to Shop on Instagram:
Feed and Explore tabs: use hashtags to get discovered
Stories: embed links in your stories to direct customers to product posts
Reels: tag up to 30 products in your collection to be featured
Live: tag the product you’re promoting while you live sell, then pin topics or reactions, set reminders for product launch, and post snippets of your live as a Reel after.
Instagram Shop tab: customizable shopfront for customers to browse your offerings
Shopping tags: create tags on your campaigns to guide customers towards your product page
Instagram Direct Messages: follow-up on leads with personalized messages.
Instagram Ads: businesses can boost their posts and increase visibility to their target audience
Did you know that you can automate your responses on Instagram posts and DMs? Learn about how you can save time and resources with SleekFlow here.
Note: at the moment, Instagram Shops is currently only available for approved businesses in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Brazil. Checkout is only available for customers in the US and a selected number of businesses.
Many businesses already have Facebook Business pages set up to keep their customers informed on business hours, holiday promotions, and any latest updates.
This makes it easy for businesses to set up shops on Facebook. Both Facebook and Instagram have a feature called Custom Audiences, which allows you to define the group of people who interact with your products.
Customer Audiences are categorized based on their demonstrated interest in your business:
People who viewed your products
People who added your products to their basket
People who purchased your products
You can then further tailor your marketing strategies to those groups of people.
TikTok Live Shopping
During COVID, TikTok became a cultural phenomenon. Its algorithm differs drastically from Instagram and Facebook where videos either become viral or get lost in the vast TikTok universe.
In 2021, TikTok and Shopify announced TikTok Shop to let TikTokers shop in-app from their favorite brands and products. If you are a registered TikTok Seller (only available in specific countries), TikTok will enable a shopping tab displayed on your profile where users can browse and purchase directly on the platform.
An increasingly popular feature is TikTok live shopping, especially in Asian markets. Brands invite influencers or other creators to demonstrate how they use their products. Users can also click on the featured link, add items to their TikTok shopping cart, and checkout in-app instantly.
Launched in 2019, Snapchat Scan is Snapchat’s powerful AR and image recognition technology that sets the app apart from its competitors.
It basically serves as a visual image search engine, enabling users to identify dog breeds, and plant species, solve math problems, identify songs, and even find clothes or kids’ snowsuits.
You can also upload an existing image and Snapchat’s Screenshop will help you find the product source in no time.
While Snapchat does not enable checkout, it is a powerful platform with features such as
Viewing Snaps and stories created by others
Following other Snapchatters
Collaborating with brands or popular creators
Viewing any Snaps sent to you
Respond to Snaps and instant messages sent to you
Share content to showcase your brand personality
Publish on Snap ads, Collection ads, Story ads
Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing social media sites that allows users to “pin” images and links onto their personal “boards”.
In 2021, Pinterest announced that their fastest growing demographics were Gen Z and men. Both audiences grew 40% year over year in 2020.
80% of weekly pinners have discovered a new brand or product while browsing Pinterest.
Pinterest’s social selling features include:
Product pins: all posts created will show up in Shop from Search for organic discovery. This is your way of making sure your product is in Pinterest’s visual database.
Shop from Search: users can use the Shop tab to get 100% shoppable results and filter products based on price and style, just like a typical e-commerce website.
Shop with Lens: powered by its visual search engine, Pinterest will match your Product pin to the product that the pinner is looking for.
Shop from Pins: users can hover over the Pin to discover products within the same category.
Shopping Spotlights: Pinterest curates trending content for pinners to easily browse products on Pinterest
Conversion analysis dashboard: to measure cross-channel impact
What is the social selling index?
With one of the world’s most valuable and extensive B2B databases, LinkedIn has a tool to help you figure out your social selling efforts.
The score is based on four elements:
Establish your professional brand: complete your profile with the customer in mind. Become a thought leader by publishing meaningful posts.
Find the right people: identify better prospects in less time using efficient search and research tools.
Engage with insights: discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships.
Build relationships: strengthen your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision-makers.
See how you compare against your competitors in terms of social selling with LinkedIn’s score calculator. Note: you will need to have an active LinkedIn Business account to get the score.
How to do use social media to sell like a pro with SleekFlow
While social selling can be profitable, it also means having to maintain multiple channels and actively creating new content that is favored by those social media algorithms.
SleekFlow is an omnichannel social commerce solution that merges popular social channels and lets you manage all your interactions in one place, saving you an immense amount of time and resources.
Our e-commerce solution helps you deliver a holistic customer journey from product discovery to checkout while fostering customer relationships to expand customer lifetime value.
Key features include:
Real-time analytics dashboard
Haven’t you heard about what’s new in SleekFlow? Check out our SleekFlow-Salesforce contact sync to track your contacts, leads, and opportunities on one platform.