Written by Starshipit
The adoption of social media since the rolling lockdowns over the last couple of years is significant. In fact, over half the world’s population uses social media.
According to a joint report by We Are Social and Hootsuite there are currently 4.55 billion social media users with 1 million new users joining social media every day.
Social media platforms have evolved to become entire worlds and it’s increasingly important for online retailers to fully understand how to leverage the value of social media as a sales channel.
To help online retailers get a head start we have put together a comprehensive outline of the building blocks you will need in place with these 5 tips to ensure you succeed at selling on social.
You may have heard the expression, “When you try to sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one”. What does this mean? That it can be a dangerous game over-extending yourself into too many product categories. You see, you can’t be everything to everyone. And that’s OK. That approach won’t make your business successful, and you’ll spend considerable energy trying to make it work.
We’re all looking for connections. Buyers want to connect their passion and interests with your brand’s passion for the products you’re selling. Successful businesses know their niche - their tribe of like-minded people. These are the people ready to hear about what you’re selling. They want to build connections with your products and brand.
To connect with buyers in an authentic way, you need to demonstrate the “I made this for you” moment. That’s the moment when you deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. And, about the right product. It’s an acknowledgement that you know what your tribe of customers wants. It also shows that you’re respecting their time by delivering only what they want.
Social media platforms have in-depth data about their users. That data lets you find, filter, and target your tribe. For example, suppose you’re selling science fiction collectables. In that case, you can find the best-fit customers by targeting users in sci-fi groups or interacting with cutting-edge science articles on Facebook.
Start building your social selling strategy with a clear vision of your ideal customer tribe. Go beyond the age range and geolocation metrics. Who are they? What are their interests? What do they believe in? What are their wants and needs? That last question is especially crucial for selling on social channels. Whether your ideal buyer wants or needs a product will change the conversation.
For fantastic tips about building buyer personas, see How to Design a Buyer Persona for Social Media Networks.
To solve your buyer’s problems (and position your products as the right solutions), you must first address the question of want vs need. Your buyers either want or need to solve a problem. For example, buying something new to wear addresses a want. On the other hand, a pharmaceutical product that provides fast pain relief fulfils a physiological need.
Want or need has an immense impact on the conversation. Wants stem from desire and are a realisation of the gap between what we have and what we could have. Needs stem from requirements.
Buyer needs involve aspects of physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation. This range of human needs is explained by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, first established in 1943. It’s a framework that psychologists and marketers still use to this day to gain a deeper understanding of their audience.
This article from Simply Psychology explores the framework in detail.
By uncovering your buyer’s want vs need, you can identify the core problem they’re trying to solve.
It also helps to understand the buying process. Consumers generally go through 5 steps in this process, which are:
When you understand buyer problems, the process they go through to solve those problems, and whether they are a want or need, you can plan the right social media content for each step of the buyer journey. You can provide the right information, ideas, and solutions to help your buyer investigate, evaluate, and make the right purchase decision.
You’ll also gain a better idea of the tone, messaging, imagery, and more that align with your ideal customers at each stage. These aspects work together to create more authentic, valuable conversations that help buyers recognise why your products are the best-fit solutions.
The key to social media success is focus. If you choose five channels, you may not have the time or resources to manage them all effectively. Instead, have a clear idea of your main social media channel and one or two supporting channels. When you’ve built your audience and engagement in your primary channel, only then look to expand.
You’ll want to connect with your ideal buyers where they are spending their time. But, of course, your target audience won’t be on every social channel, and not all platforms garner the same appeal.
Facebook is the most used social platform with over 2.8 billion users (as per the Most Used Social Media 2021 report), but the platform’s most prominent audience is males between 25-34, with 18.8% of the total global audience. On the other hand, Pinterest has a 71.1% female audience, with of its users in the 50-64 age range.
The social channels you choose are critical to success. Do ample research before committing to your channels to understand your audience, your competitors, and the right fit to support your business goals. Here are a few types of research to consider:
B2C marketers, on the other hand, tend to use Instagram and Facebook. See The 15 Biggest Social Media Sites and Apps for more information about social channel trends and changes.
Consistency is key to creating a memorable brand. It’s the most crucial component of brand recognition, awareness, and style guidelines. Why does it matter? Because it takes us humans several times to remember things.
The Rule of 7 is a marketing maxim originating from the 1930’s movie industry. Studio bosses discovered people needed to see a movie advertisement 7 times before being compelled to see it. That number is much higher in the digital age due to the added noise of digital marketing.
Companies are grabbing attention across every imaginable channel. To stand out, you need to make your brand visible - consistently and repetitively.
Brand recognition is the process of ensuring your target audience can see, recognise and remember your company. When you get brand recognition right, your audience can identify your product, service, and company even when there’s no sign of your company name. Brand recognition goes far beyond securing a memorable business name and website URL. Your logo, colour schemes, tone of voice, packaging, and social media presence all shape this recognition.
Brand awareness takes recognition one step further. Instead of just recognising your company, awareness creates a strong connection between your company and your target audience.
Potential customers begin to realise why your company exists, what sets it apart from the competition, and how your company can solve their problem. Take the expression “Google it”, for example.
Google’s brand awareness is so strong that its name is synonymous with the problem it solves - making information quickly and easily accessible to its customers.
Your brand needs to be instantly recognisable when your audience is scrolling quickly through their social feeds. To build your brand recognition and awareness on social media, create a social media style guide. Such a guide documents the use of your logo, colour palette, iconography, imagery, typography, tone of voice, hashtag use, and more.
Here is an in-depth guide with inspiring examples to get you started - and get that Rule of 7 working faster.
With your social media style guide set out, you can create consistent content that builds strong brand recognition and awareness.
With up to 77% of millennials and Gen Z shopping on social media, this audience is more likely to share a poor post-purchase experience on social media.
To ensure consistency and an excellent customer experience both on and offline, you can use fulfilment automation software, like Starshipit, to streamline your fulfilment process and deliver a high level of customer service every time.
The platform easily integrates with eCommerce and inventory software to automatically pull through orders (no more cut and paste). You can print shipping labels, manage returns, and automate time-consuming tasks, saving you up to 80% in handling time.
Most important for social commerce, you can send automated post-purchase customer notifications and use branded tracking pages to build loyalty.
To conclude, if you want to succeed at selling on or via social media you need a visual and memorable brand that “speaks” to your online store’s social “tribe” with clear communication from checkout to the moment of delivery. To assist online retailers in setting up their social commerce approach we recommend downloading our latest eBook, which gives you all you need to know when starting out selling on social media in an easy-to-follow guide. You will gain insights into key trends, and we give you a breakdown of social platforms along with suggested tools and a framework to develop your social commerce strategy.