Gone are the “if you build it, they will come” days. Today’s consumers are savvy shoppers that research brands across multiple platforms before making the decision to purchase a product. What’s more, online shopping trendsare constantly changing and, in order to dominate, you need to stay up to date with what’s working now.
Social selling is a new approach to selling that uses social media to find new customers, build trust, and, ultimately, drive more sales. While social media has typically been seen as a platform for brand building, social media engagements are now critical to the purchase decision making process. With the glut of options only a click away, social selling is your best way to establish rapport and turn your visitors and fans into lifelong customers, making you an eCommerce Superhero.
It’s never been easier to build relationships with your audience and using the right tools can give your brand the edge over your competition. Whether you want to make your Instagram shoppable, put user-generated content on product pages, consolidate customer conversations across multiple platforms, or find the ideal social influencer, there are tools that can make the process simple and affordable.
Browse our top 8 tools below, and get your cape ready, because your eCommerce is about to take off!
Social Buy Buttons
The platform rolled buyable pins, their version of a social buy button, back in 2015. These pins can be easily spotted by their distinctive blue pricing. Users can add products directly to their bag by clicking on the “add bag” button that shows when the pin is expanded.
Also, they can easily check out without leaving Pinterest. This functionality provides retailers a new social media strategy. Since Pinterest is most popular among women, it is expected that products targeting women can perform better than other types of products. See the blue buyable pins in the image below as reference:
Instagram offers buy buttons as a feature in their promotional campaigns. To be able to show product images with a “shop now” button, you’ll have to pay the advertising platform to run ads. Unlike shopping with Pinterest’s buyable pins, users that click on Instagram’s shop now button would be directed to an external URL to shop. It’s best practice to link buy buttons to specific product links related to the images shown in ads; however, if your goal is just to increase conversions, taking users to a generic homepage may not be a bad idea.
Like Instagram, Facebook only offers product buy now buttons in their advertising campaigns. Alternatively, you can use the “calls to action” feature on the main page to create a “buy now” button for the whole account.
Twitter used to have a buy button feature until recently, but the platform killed the functionality after enduring poor results. They were similar to buyable pins, in that buyers didn’t have to leave the platform to make a purchase. Maybe Twitter’s fast pace and constant posting made it hard for buy buttons to succeed; however, don’t give up on other social buy buttons since they can have a better chance of working.
If you have an Instagram account, you’re probably familiar with this type of recurrent questions: “I love this product, where can I find it on your site?” or the typical “I can’t find this product anywhere on your site.” This can be frustrating to both customers and retailers. As a business, it’s tough to keep up with all comments and, as a customer, it’s frustrating not being able to find the product you like.
As you know, this situation happens thanks to link restrictions on Instagram posts. The only available and clickable link in the whole account can be located in the account’s bio section. Don’t waste it by taking followers to generic landing pages and making them do the work. Use Soldsie to create a link with a shoppable gallery of photos. Then your followers will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for fast.
Alternatively, you can opt for using their “sell through comments” to enable customers to shop by simply commenting on a post. Soldsie will automatically add the products to their cart and take care of the rest. If you have Shopify, they also offer a handy integration to keep track of inventory.
This tool is similar to Soldsie, but it provides retailers additional powerful features. One of them is offering the capability to feature user-generated content or UGC on product pages. This type of content can provide potential customers the social proof they need to encourage them to make a purchase.
Curalate also enables shoppable link product galleries similar to Soldsie, with the added feature of clickable hot spots on each product featured in an image. So, if a customer sees a photo of a model wearing a pair of pants and a t-shirt, he or she will have the option to select which piece of clothing to see by simply clicking on the item, therefore helping potential customers discover more products than usual. You can see this feature in the photo below—focus on the last image on the right:
Photo credit: Curalate.com
This tool also works with vertical videos to convert what was just engaging content into a selling opportunity. Videos are more engaging and eye-catching than regular images. Thus, having such a feature in your product videos can represent an even bigger increase in the revenue generated from social selling. As stated on their website, they can increase revenue per visit by as much as 45%. Finally, the tool offers added features to discover potential influencers and create reports.
Long gone are the days where only a couple of forms of contact existed between retailers and customers, which usually entailed mail or phone communication exchanges. As mentioned previously, new technologies have evolved consumer interaction to become more of a multi-channel journey. Nowadays, customers expect to be able to communicate to retailers through a variety of channels, such as social media, email, and live chat.
Additionally, all these interactions have to be as seamless and cohesive as possible to provide a good customer experience. The issue is that doing so can become a nightmare with so many platforms to juggle and a team to keep up to date at all times. Luckily, tools like Nimble provide a social and marketing CRM that makes interactions a breeze.
Nimble can collect all the ways you and your contacts have connected, to put them together into a smart dashboard. Such a dashboard will enable you to better qualify contact and identify their stage in the buying process. Additionally, it will help to avoid any contact being unattended.
Another useful benefit is that all contact information is automatically updated with relevant information. This takes away much of the tedious manual work of trying to find updated information. You’ll also be able to see all your team’s interactions to prevent any miscommunications.
The social selling process involves more than the creation of attractive campaigns or collecting the right type of data; it also involves being able to effectively convert visitors once they get to the ad’s landing page. A conversion can be considered a sale or, to a lesser degree, the capture of the user’s information.
StoreYa helps you get all this work done to help you get better-performing campaigns. For example, their exit pop-up feature will help you capture visitor information to save otherwise potentially lost conversions. They state that 70% of visitors exit a website without ever returning to it; however, once you get their contact information, you’ll be able to send targeted newsletters to encourage such visitors to return.
Another great feature is their referral program, which can be easily installed in just a couple of minutes. It works by motivating existing customers to share a post on social media in exchange for a promotional offer, such as a discount on the next order.
Selling is all about personalization. Messages have to be tailored to appeal to unique target personas and fit specific situations. Doing so requires collecting key information about potential buyers to understand what drives them to make decisions. Once that data is gathered, it can then be used to create tailored social selling strategies. Buzzsumo can help you gather such data to become a successful eCommerce seller on social media.
Features such as content insights and competitor content performance analysis will help you discover content trends affecting customers purchasing decisions. However, one of my favorite solutions is their influencer amplification. As you may know, social influencers can help you sell products by leveraging their social following. Their already established connection and trust bond with their followers allow them to easily sell virtually any product or service that fits their brand.
Buzzsumo can help you find the ideal social influencer in your niche. Its influencer amplification solutions offer features to successfully find, analyze, and outreach potential prospects.
Keyhole is a powerful tool that enables businesses to monitor competitors, track hashtags, and analyze reach on Instagram and Twitter. The constant and extensive use of hashtags on both of these social media platforms can make it tough to follow.
Luckily, tools like Keyhole make hashtag tracking easy. Why is this important? First, it will allow you to gauge the engagement of your posts. You can find out the data such as engagement rate, total reach, and impressions your hashtags have generated. Reports can be easily downloaded in PDF and Excel formats.
Proper hashtag tracking will also enable you to find and analyze advocates talking about your hashtags. The list of advocates can be filtered based on geo-location and keywords used in their bios. The idea is to find the ones with the most potential, and then reach out to them to boost engagement. Finally, with the hashtag feature, you’ll be able to find related hashtags to increase your exposure.
I also like their reporting features. You can get an optimized posting schedule to learn what days and times generate the most engagement. Also, discover competitor strategies by analyzing their growth, activity, and engagement data. In this way, you’ll be able to avoid their mistakes and emulate strategies that drive the most results.
This tool may be the most widely known tool used by small and large businesses to fulfill an assortment of social media activities. It’s used by companies as big as Monster, to small independent retailers with small budgets. Its performance is widely recognized, being recently named a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Social Media Management Solutions, Q2 2017, thanks to its useful features.
So, how can Hootsuite help you excel at social selling? To start, it provides a comprehensive dashboard to manage all social media platforms in one place. This helps make monitor and tracking easier than usual.
It can also help manage and set automatic scheduling of posts in advance, which allows for a planned and cohesive selling message. Additionally, Hootsuite’s real-time analytics will allow you to spot trends as they emerge and drill down for insights on how your social content is performing.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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