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How to start selling on social

E-commerce · 14 min read

Making a start on social selling platforms

Digital guru Sean Gardner said that “social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources.” 

How valuable? Well, social media advertising budgets doubled from US$16bn to US$31bn between 2014 and 2016. Here’s how to do business on the world’s most lucrative social media platforms:

LinkedIn

Getting to know the LinkedIn audience

LinkedIn has 500 million professional users. Around 106 million users log on and engage with content every month. Almost a quarter of users are aged 18 to 29 and 61% are aged 30 to 64, with 21% over the age of 65.

More than 44% of users have income above US$75k.

Where do they live?

Users are active in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, with the largest percentage residing in the the US, followed by India, Brazil, the UK and Canada.

LinkedIn etiquette

Identify your prospects carefully, focusing on their organization, role(s) and work history. Be professional, so avoid the 'hard sell'. Instead engage your audience with business insights, and genuinely useful and interesting content like interviews, videos and articles.

Why sell on LinkedIn?

Four out of five LinkedIn members drive business decisions, and its members have double the buying power of average web audiences making it the top platform for B2B lead generation, rated by marketers.

Start selling with LinkedIn Company Pages

  • Create a free LinkedIn Company Page and complete your LinkedIn company profile by adding your logo and a relevant and eye-catching cover image. Write a description that accurately details what your company does and what makes your business unique. Attract followers by posting daily company updates to your LinkedIn Company Page
  • Promote your LinkedIn Company Page by linking it to your emails, newsletters, blogs and other marketing channels and then target audiences using the Sponsored Content tool
     

Building your presence with Company Pages 

Create a native ad in minutes to run in the LinkedIn feed across desktop and mobile.
Send personalized messages straight to your prospects’ inboxes.
Drive targeted traffic to your website or landing page.
Increase your audience engagement with dynamic personalized ads.
Create added engagement with Premium display ads.

Instagram

Getting to know the Instagram audience

Instagram's reported 800 million monthly active users in September 2017, with 59% of 18 to 29 year olds and 33% of 30 to 49 year olds using the platform. Adults earning less than US$30k per year make up 38% of Instagram users, and adults earning more than US$75k make up 37% of users.

Where do they live?

According to Statista figures, the US ranks first for Instagram popularity, with 110 million monthly users, followed by Brazil with 57 million and Indonesia with 53 million.

Instagram etiquette

Find the right hashtags for your business – and use them.
And, as with all social media platforms, be engaging – ask your audience for their opinions and join the conversations that are relevant to your business. But don’t over-post – one to three posts a day is the general rule for businesses.

Why sell on Instagram?

Instagram has more than 25 million business profiles worldwide, and more than two million advertisers worldwide use Instagram to drive business results. More than 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile a day, so Instagram puts you in touch with an audience who are actively looking to be inspired and discover new things.

Start selling on Instagram

  • Download the Instagram app for iOS from the App Store, Android from the Google Play store or Windows Phone
  • Tap 'Sign Up', enter your email address and tap 'Next', or tap 'Log in' with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account
  • Create a business profile within the app. Find Settings, then scroll down to 'Switch to business account'. When you have an account, add useful information such as opening hours, your business address or a phone number
  • Post content using relevant hashtags and start following relevant accounts. Go to Instagram to get started
     

Tell your story in compelling ways

You can create Instagram photo ads, video ads or let people swipe to view additional photos or videos in a single post with Carousel ads. Drive engagement, interact with your customers, and show your products in action with Instagram Stories, which has 300 million daily users.

Use Shopping on Instagram

Shopping on Instagram can turn your business into a virtual shopfront, allowing the Instagram community to explore your best products with a single tap or click.

Facebook

Getting to know the Facebook audience

With 2.2 billion active users, Facebook is the world’s biggest social media platform.Twenty-nine percent 29% of users are aged 18 to 24 and 29% are between ages 25 and 34. Seventy-seven percent of Facebook users have an income of US$75k or more, and usage skews towards women (83%) over men (75%).

Where do they live?

North America has the highest active Facebook usage rate, with 72.4% of it's total population using the site. This is followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, with 57.3% of the population, and then Oceania and Australia with 48.1%.

Facebook etiquette

Have a personality – don’t be afraid to use humor to engage the Facebook audience.
Look to create relationships rather than constantly pushing your products and services.
Don’t overdo hashtags – posts that don't use them at all are often more successful – but if you're using them, limit them to two per post.

What sells best on Facebook?

Digital Intelligence research found that the kind of products which sell via word of mouth are the products that sell best on Facebook. These include ‘interest’categories like beauty, fashion and sports; ‘service’ categories like financial services, telecoms and travel services; and ‘high price’ categories like computers, vacations and cars.

Facebook tools

The Facebook Audience Insight tool allows you to target your audience by location, age and gender, and also by education level, relationship status and life events.

The Facebook Marketplace makes it easier for people to buy and sell within their local community – with a total audience of more than 450 million people worldwide, that’s a lot of local communities.

Start selling on Facebook

  • Go to facebook.com/business and click 'Create a Page' in the top right hand corner
  • Click on your business type and fill in the Page categories
  • Upload your profile and cover images
  • Add a short description of your business
  • Create your username or unique URL on Facebook Page i.e. 'facebook.com/mybiz'
  • Fill in your essential business details in the ‘About’ section – location, opening times, etc.
  • Create your first post
  • To give your profile a boost, invite people in your social circle to ‘Like’ your page
     

Snapchat

Getting to know the Snapchat audience

Snapchat is one of the fastest growing apps and networks worldwide, with 187 million daily active users. Audiences are predominantly young – 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25 and it's become the key platform for targeting teens and millennials.

Where do they live?

Snapchat has 80 million daily active users in North America and 60 million in Europe.

Snapchat etiquette

It’s all about being fun, creative, cheeky and engaging by mixing up photos, videos and text to make your stories more engaging. Keep your posts short – 200 seconds on Snapchat is a long time.

What sells best on Snapchat?

According to SmartBrief, key players in retail (Amazon, Nordstrom), food and beverage (Ben and Jerry’s, Chipotle), beauty (Maybelline, Sephora) and sports (MLB, NBA) have built active accounts and followings on Snapchat.

Useful Snapchat tools for business

Snapchat stories are a quick and easy way to give your audience exclusive content, like behind-the-scenes videos, product announcements and interviews. It also features Snapcash, a mobile payment service that lets users shop your products, without ever leaving the Snapchat app.

Creating effective Snapchat ads

Captivate your audience with Snap Ads – full-screen, vertical video ads with audio. Alert Snapchatters to location-specific events and offers with Filters and tell your brand story in a playful, memorable way with Lenses.

Finding your perfect Snapchat audience

Choose from over 300 defined audiences based on what Snapchatters care about, what they buy, what they watch, and where they go, and then target specifically based on age, location, device type and advanced demographics such as household income and parental status.

Combine your data with Snapchat data to build custom audiences and expand your reach by building Snapchat audiences modeled on your best customers.

Start selling on Snapchat

  • Create a Snapchat account.
  • Enter your name and a username along with a valid email address.
  • Verify your account: downloading Snapchat directly to your phone – you can also use your username and password to access Ads Manager.
  • Start advertising
     

Pinterest

Getting to know the Pinterest audience

There are 175 million monthly active Pinterest users worldwide  and 81% of Pinterest users are female.
The biggest group of Pinterest users (34%) is between the ages of 18 to 29, with 28% aged between 30 and 49 years, and 27% are in the 50–64 age bracket.

According to the Pew Research Center, Pinterest users are fairly evenly spread across all income brackets: 35% earn more than US$75k, 31% earn between US$50k and US$74,999, 32% earn between US$30k and US$49k, while 30% of users earn less than US$30k per year.

Where do they live?

The majority of Pinterest users live in the US with an estimated 75 million users, and the platform also has an additional 100 million users outside the US, with its next strongest territories being India, the UK, Brazil and Canada.

Pinterest etiquette

Since around 81% of Pinterest users are women, don’t waste time pinning specifically male-centric content.
Your pins will have a greater chance of success if they reveal more about your brand personality and connect with your audience emotionally.

Being overly promotional won’t play with this community, so mix and match pins about your brand with interesting content about complementary products and re-pinned content from your customers.

What sells best on Pinterest?

Products that reflect the audience’s shared interests do well here, for example fashion, home, gardening, DIY and holiday shopping ideas and inspiration.

Why Pinterest ads work

Promoted Pins look just like normal Pins and can help get your product seen by more people. Pinterest’s marketing solutions help you to align Promoted Pins with your business goals and 73% of Pinners say that content from brands makes Pinterest more useful.

People use Pinterest to shop and plan, so they're receptive to new products and ideas, and they're also ready to act – 61% of Pinners have made a purchase after seeing promoted content.

The Pinterest audience saves ads to their boards and will often revisit them later, giving you free publicity and additional sales.

Useful Pinterest tools for business

Rich Pins allow potential customers to gain extra information about your products so choose from four types of Rich Pin: app, product, recipe or article. The ‘Save’ button helps people save your website's content directly to their Pinterest boards.

To drive more Pinterest traffic use board widgets that allow you to display up to 30 of your favorite Pins directly on your website. Tailwind is a popular scheduling tool that equips you with analytics, advising you on the ideal times to schedule your pins. Group boards are a good way to grow your followers on Pinterest – Pingroupie gives you the data on each group board so you can decide which are the most useful ones to join, and Pinfollow helps you track who’s following you and who isn’t, helping you pare down your list to your most loyal followers.

Start selling on Pinterest

  • Go to Pinterest for Business and click 'Join as a business'
  • Fill out information about your business, including your business name, website and the name of your Pinterest account manager
  • Read and accept the Terms of Service
  • Click 'Create an account'
  • Once you’ve set up an account, you can begin to create 'boards', which are virtual collections of 'Pins' (images and content) that other Pinterest members can follow. Other Pinterest members can also 're-pin' your Pins to their boards, which will generate more exposure for your company
     

Twitter

Getting to know the Twitter audience

As of the first quarter of 2017, Twitter had 328 million monthly active users and among Twitter users, 36% are between 18 and 29 years old, 23% are in the 30 to 49 age bracket and 21% are 50 to 64 years old. A Pew Research Center study discovered that Twitter’s gender demographics are nearly split down the middle with 25% of online women using Twitter and 24% of online men.

Where do they live?

There are 67.54 million million monthly active Twitter users in the US. Followed by India with 41.19 million monthly active users, Indonesia, with 24.34 million and Japan with 22.4 million.

Twitter etiquette

The way to build credibility on Twitter is to be active at all times, so keep engaging your audience by posting and participating in the conversation. To expand your network, it’s a good idea to take part in group Twitter chats that are specifically related to your industry. Scheduled tweets are fine. But don’t rely too heavily on automation and bots that incessantly Tweet, re-Tweet and follow users as they can damage your business.

What sells best on Twitter?

Brands that create the most interesting and varied content, and actively engage the community win on Twitter. Whole Foods, Starbucks, JetBlue Airways and Toms are some good examples of brands doing it well.

Useful Twitter tools for business

People on Twitter are looking for great content and stories – Twitter ads can amplify your message, and get more people talking about the things that matter to your business.

If you don’t want to manage individual Twitter ad campaigns yourself, you can use Promote Mode to automate the promotion of your Tweets and accounts, but be careful because Twitter’s strength is its ability to put people in direct contact with each other – if you put an obvious robot in place, it can look like you’re scared (or dismissive) of the public.

Getting started on a new account? Planning a campaign? Or just working hard to get the best out of Twitter? Twitter ads for agencies gets you going with client-friendly decks, research and one-pagers.

TweetDeck allows you to monitor several feeds at once and post tweets to any number of your accounts simultaneously, while Followerwonk is a great tool for searching through Twitter and connecting with new influencers in your segment. Tweriod helps you track the times when your followers are most active, so you can schedule your tweets accordingly

Start selling on Twitter

  • Set up a Twitter account
  • Connect with users to share content
  • Add a profile picture and bio so people understand what your business is about
  • Start sending Tweets
     

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