How to sell on social networks: an easy and fast way to boost your business online

Selling on social networks is nothing new. In fact it is old (<—obviousness). All social networks have tried, not once but many times, to incorporate sales tools, with results that we could classify as below “poor” and above “total disaster” , depending on the case.

If you are relatively young, you probably don’t remember, young Padawan, when a few years ago Facebook launched special direct sales pages within the network itself. Telepizza was one of the companies that signed up. You could order a pizza without leaving Facebook! Wow!… The magnitude of the smack was such that astronomers can still pick up the echo with their radio telescopes. Another example of a cataclysmic smack, Twitter even went so far as to sign an agreement with American Express to pay with a tweet. I wonder if anyone other than Jack Dorsey ever paid with a tweet? He was as successful as I could be making nuclear reactors.

But ah, the world has changed. She has turned inside out.

 And in this world of social distancing, queues, disinfection, gloves and masks to go shopping, physical stores, especially small ones, have come face to face with reality: they have to sell online and they have to start doing it now. . Setting up an online store quickly is possible, but the smart thing to do is to use all possible sales channels. 

Social networks have matured in this time, and Mark Zuckerberg, who has bought the most successful ones except Twitter, has also matured the idea of ​​selling on social networks, making it much easier and more practical. No cumbersome landing pages imitating web pages. If you have your page on Facebook, you can have your store in the Facebook format.

Facebook and Instagram, both ride, ride so much.

Since they got married, Facebook and Instagram are like the Catholic Monarchs: each one has their kingdom, but both govern themselves together. You will have already seen that for a few months both Instagram and WhatsApp have incorporated the message “from Facebook” when you open them. Facebook has been taking small steps in the integration of its 3 networks for a long time, without rushing and carefully measuring the results of each step. And now that you’ve just bought Giphy, you have the icing on the cake.

One of those integration steps is the one that refers to selling on social networks, specifically on Facebook and Instagram. If you have a Facebook page, creating a store is as simple as activating the “store” tab in your page’s menu, accepting the terms of use, starting to upload products and giving them a description and price. You have bulk product upload options explained in more detail here.

How to integrate a product catalog on Facebook (and on Instagram)

The downside: at the moment you cannot pay within the Facebook platform itself . Until Facebook Pay is active in Spain, payment for products must be made outside of Facebook. This gives you two options:

  • If you already have an online store , add the product URL and the customer will be redirected to your eCommerce store when they click “Buy”, and there they will complete the purchase process with your checkout system.
  • If you do not have an eCommerce store , the customer will have the option of sending you a message saying that they want to buy the product and you can agree payment and delivery methods, which can be from going to pick up the product at your physical store (if you are targeting the Proximity eCommerce) or agree on a method of payment through one of the payment apps such as Paycomet, Bizum or PayPal.

In addition, this will allow you to use features like tagging photos of your products so people know that those cute shoes or skirts (or that tempting chainsaw) are for sale.

Let’s clarify one thing, before we continue: if you want to sell on social networks, you have to start with Facebook , unless your potential customers:

  • be teenagers (go to TikTok)
  • be obsessive nerds living in a bunker (send them coded signals in a YouTube video, they’ll love it) or
  • are single-celled life forms that live in the oceans of Europa (not the continent, but Jupiter’s moon).

If you already have a store on your Facebook page, voila , you already have it on Instagram. What’s more, it’s the only way to do it without heating up your head by resorting to setting up a Shopify store or things like that. You’ll be able to do the same: tag photos in your Instagram feed with your products and people will see that they can be purchased by clicking on them.

WhatsApp Business: another quick and easy way to sell on social networks

WhatsApp Business is currently free. And it’s a fantastic sales tool that allows you to upload a catalog of products with their price. You can send your customers (if you have their mobile, of course ) news and products that you have on promotion.

Also, if you don’t have your mobile, you can advertise your WhatsApp Business number in your physical store and they can enter and see your catalog. Of course, like Facebook / Instagram, if you do not have an online store to redirect to, the payment must be completed outside the platform. Here you have first-hand information on how to do it.

 The thing looks more or less like this.

As you can see, you have a company profile with your contact information, location, type of products you offer, hours, link to your website and, most importantly, a product catalog with photos, features and prices. Something that can be extremely useful to you in these upcoming times of queues, access and capacity restrictions and disinfection protocols.

Remember that you cannot have two WhatsApp accounts on the same phone (except for tricks that would be long to explain) so you have two options: transform your personal account into a Business one, keeping all your contacts and conversations, or have a mobile phone dedicated to the account Business. If you are going to sell seriously on social networks and you have employees, I recommend the second option.

Selling on social networks is not just having the products uploaded

In fact, that’s the easy part. The difficult part and the one that will make you succeed is basically that you work it out. That you have a clear and specific target for your products, either for all of them or for families of them, and that you orient your content to that target.

If you dedicate yourself to publishing products like there was no tomorrow, it is most likely that you will get tired and that no one or almost no one will buy from you, unless your product is especially striking. The fact that you want to sell on social networks does not mean that you cold your followers to promotions.

It must be clear that most of the content, let’s say 60-70%, should be non-promotional, but useful content for the customer and related to your product, which in marketing dialect is called branded content. Don’t just show your products, show how they are used, how they are cared for, what can be done with them and what should not be done with them. If a part of that content is on video, the better. Hook your audience with content and you can sell them things. That’s as old as the media.

 Do not expect that selling on social networks is the panacea. The main objective is still to drive traffic to your website, which is a space that you fully control and in which, if you do it well, you can exponentially increase the chances of selling. Social networks should be a complement that helps and, by the way, helps someone who is fascinated by that specific product to buy from you. But don’t rely too much on it. Things do not sell themselves and for social networks to work you will have to work hard. And for your followers to grow, word of mouth is not enough. You will have to put gasoline in it, that is, carry out paid promotions on your social networks.

And the other social networks?

You will notice that I have not talked about Twitter. Forget it. You don’t have direct sales tools on Twitter and promoting products for the general public does NOT work in 99% of cases. As for LinkedIn, consider it only if you are dedicated to B2B, and more to make contacts than to sell products or services. TikTok? If you already have everything set up and running on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and you are targeting a young audience, you can consider it.

The normal thing would be to build an eCommerce store and then start uploading and promoting products on social networks. But now nothing is normal. It is very possible that if you have a small business you cannot wait while you set up (or set up) an eCommerce website. You need to start selling online now, and fast. Social networks are a perfect ally to get out of trouble, but do not jump headlong without having a plan and a defined strategy of what you want to do and how to do it.