5 Ways to Sell With Social Media

social media how toDo you want to convert your fans and followers into paying customers?

Are your social activities working?

In this article I’ll show you 5 simple ways to tweak your social media updates for better sales conversion.

Some social media updates can go further toward bringing in sales than others. And they can do this without detracting from the spirit of social media.

sale sign

Some social media updates can help with sales more than others. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#1: Incorporate a Clear Call to Action

Your customers and fans visit your social media pages for a variety of reasons, but generally speaking, they want to do something or learn something.

Some people are looking for information about your company, some are looking for details about products and services, some want access to special deals and coupons, some want to see if you have any contests or promotions running and some may be looking for expert tips and how-to tricks.

If you don’t give them what they’re after, they won’t return. Use status updates to give them what they want and what you want: a sale.

Post calls to action like “Click here for a Facebook fan exclusive coupon,” or “Enter to win…”

Here you see how Target offers daily deals on Twitter.

target twitter account

Target has a Twitter account where followers can see deals the retailer has in stores.

But remember to stay true to the 70-20-10 rule: 70 percent of your page’s content should be information that’s valuable and relevant to your fans; 20 percent should be content that comes from other people and 10 percent should be promotional.

Once you know why your audience wants to interact with you on social media, be sure to give them the types of information they’re looking for.

#2: Convey a Sense of Urgency

Due to the ticker-tape nature of most social media platforms, you have a very limited amount of time to catch the attention of your customers/fans/followers. If they see an update with verbiage that compels them to “act now,” you win.

Using words like “For a limited time” or “On sale this week” or “Own it first” will catch the eye of your visitors.

You can also offer incentives for booking or buying immediately instead of later. Depending on your business, you could waive shipping fees, offer an extra week of your service or even a buy-one/get-one, etc. Ideally, post different time-sensitive offers on different networks.

For example, “The next 10 people who retweet this will receive 10% off their next purchase.” On Facebook you could use an app to make an offer like, “The first 10 people to share this on Facebook get $25 off a $50 purchase,” and so on.

Here, Chili’s uses their Facebook cover photo to connect and offer a deal.

chili facebook photo

Chili's uses their cover photo to announce a limited-time offer.

This is one way to use the instant nature of social media to your advantage.

#3: Offer Followers and Fans Exclusive Deals

This idea is similar to the previous one, but you want to make sure that your fans know the deals you’re offering are for fans of a particular network only.

To grow your following on a variety of networks and inspire loyalty, offer deals that are exclusive to each network.

Kate Spade New York always has something special cookin’ for their Facebook fans. Periodically offering special deals is a great tactic for a business that wants to keep its fans coming back again and again. And doesn’t every business want that?

kate spade new york

Kate Spade New York offers Facebook fans exclusive deals and coupons on a regular basis. It keeps them coming back again and again.

This is a great way to reach out to specific audiences within your social media strategy.

#4: Encourage Sharing

It never hurts to ask your fans and followers to retweet, repin or share. Ideally you’re offering such a great deal that your fans and followers will want to share it anyway, but a little nudge is okay.

If your update is about a Facebook contest, you can even let your followers know that if they share the news about your contest, they’ll get an extra chance (or chances) to win.

National Builder Supply uses Pinterest to give fans a chance to win a chandelier.

repinning contest

National Builder Supply gives fans a chance to win a new chandelier by repinning their contest image on Pinterest.

When you ask your audience to interact with your content, they’re more likely to do it.

#5: Keep All of Your Social Media Profiles Current

When potential customers land on your various social pages, they should have a clear idea of what your business/brand is all about. At the very least, go through each of your business’s social profiles (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) once a quarter and make sure all of the information is current, because social networks occasionally change dimensions and other details.

For example, earlier this year Facebook relaxed its rules about using calls to action on cover photos, but many companies haven’t yet updated their pages to make the most of this space.

Tip: You can now include price or purchase information on a Facebook cover photo including phrases like “40% off this week only” or “Download our new eBook here,” contact information or other calls to action such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.” The main image should also give customers and prospective customers some insights about you.

In this image, Trunk Club tells you everything about what they do right on their Pinterest page.

trunk club pinterest profile

The men's personal shopping service Trunk Club has a fantastic Pinterest profile that tells you everything you need to know about what the company does.

Never forget to give your social media audience the information they need about your business.

Over to You

These are just a few opportunities for you to connect with potential leads for your business. But together with a strategic plan, they can help convert the quality leads your business is looking for.

What do you think? What kinds of posts and updates have you found are the most effective for making a sale? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Jim Belosic

Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service software that allows businesses to create engaging campaigns for social, web and mobile. Other posts by »




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  • Michael Obodo

    This is absolutely what we need to arm ourselves with against today’s dynamic business world.Keep it up.

  • darrell roach

    I love this have been doing it for years. Facebook is great for sales as well as instagram Drjeweldesign

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    Nice Article! Useful tips but a very few. Small businesses are the ones mostly concerned with sales since their budget is less and they expect ROI from every penny. It’s very hard to get direct sales from social media but it’s not impossible. The above article proves the same, rightly!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Thanks for reading Michael!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Great to hear, thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Thanks for your input Dave!

  • http://www.iSocialYou.com/ Ali (at) iSocialYou

    Awesome tips Jim. I have been experimenting “deals and coupons” on the cover images and great results so far. :)

  • http://www.iSocialYou.com/ Ali (at) iSocialYou

    Yes totally love IG too.

  • http://www.iSocialYou.com/ Ali (at) iSocialYou

    Very true Dave. The issue I see with SMBs is that they think FB is a sales platform. Its not – You can sell with proper sales funnel but its mainly a relationship building platform.

  • Jenn

    I am a service business that I get paid on commission so there is no charge for my services.. I have a hard time finding offers to put out there because I do’nt have “stuff” that I can discount or give for free…any ideas for service businesses?

  • Stephanie

    This is a great article! What do you suggest for B2B companies? we don’t exactly run promotions on our products and services the way retail stores do.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great ideas, Jim! While a clear and immediate call to action is definitely key, I think most important from this list is #5, keeping all social media profiles up to date.

    Social channels change often, and ensuring your strategy follows rules and is also easy for current/potential customers to engage with your content, requires consistent attention paid to social news and trends.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Stephanie, check out this blog post that my team wrote, it might give you some good ideas: http://www.sociallystacked.com/2013/08/6-ways-b2bs-can-win-with-facebook-contests/#sthash.9QcdW8RV.dpbs
    Thanks!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Jenn, if you don’t have a specific thing you can sell, position yourself as an expert and resource in the industry. For example, if you do carpet cleaning, offer a stain remover guide. If you do life coaching you can offer some free articles on living a healthy life. The key to selling on social is to position yourself as the go-to resource so when someone is in need of your services you’re the first person they think of. On our Facebook page we offer a variety of free resources, and some businesses may say well you’re just giving away everything for free but when someone needs to build a custom Facebook Page and they’re thinking of how to enhance their Facebook Page, we hope that we’ll come to mind from all of the how-to’s, guides, infographics, and free resources we’ve offered. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Thanks @sarahmordis:disqus , I couldn’t agree more!

  • Alicia

    well said, and you made me realize that I take stuff for granted and become lazy. Thanks for the wake up/shake up call

  • National Builder Supply

    Thank you so much for the mention! Our customers and social audience love our giveaways, and like the article title mentions, it definitely helps sales as well!

  • G. W. Schleidt, Inc.

    How do you customize the buttons in suggestion #3? We’re new to social media, so any advice would be helpful. Thank you!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi @gwschleidtinc:disqus you can email me at contact@shortstacklab.com and we can let you know how to customize those buttons! Thanks!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Stephanie, I tried to link you to a blog post but it didn’t get approved, so you can head over to Socially Stacked (http://www.sociallystacked.com) and search B2B and you may get some ideas from there! Thanks!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    I think we all do that sometimes! Thanks for reading and for your comment.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    You’re welcome, glad we could highlight the work you’re doing!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Great post Jim! Deals and promos will definitely do the trick. What I also
    really love that you’ve included here is the “Convey a Sense of Urgency”
    strategy – this has such great stopping power as you’ve pointed
    out.Thanks!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Well done Jim!

    #5 is something I keep forgetting about with regard to the relaxed Facebook rules.

    There’s also another side to keeping our social networking profiles current . . .

    It really makes a bad statement when someone clicks on one of those icons only to find a social networking account that has been inactive since 2009.

    Thanks again for some great tips and special thanks to the Social Media Examiner team for being an awesome resource!

    Respectfully,
    Paul Castain

  • Pingback: Social Media News September 19, 2013

  • http://www.337design.com/ Kiesha Canori

    This is the best ways to get sales from social media. We need to follow
    above technique for better conversion from social media. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Carl Royle

    I agree with all of the above and have been trying most of these tactics over the last few months.Things do work slightly differently when selling an individual service as apposed to a hard product

    informative Blog Thanks

  • Алла Ожиєвська

    Thanks for article, it’s nice tips and we use every one :)

  • Jasmine Shields

    This is very relevant to the dealers I work with. Often times, they think social media is a means to an end and forget that people don’t buy from your business because of what you sell or offer only, they buy because of the experience or relationship they have with your sales team, WOM from a friend, speed and reliability of your service etc. Social just reinforces that relationship and that’s what makes people react and want to take action on your page. If you don’t have the relationship established even offline then online will not be as effective. Again, thanks for sharing!

  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Amazing work Jim. Thanks for sharing such an interesting content for Facebook marketing. Call to action in cover photo and posts in news feed
    encourages fans to increase engagement for Facebook page.

  • Karey Gregerson

    I have a love/hate relationship w/social media, but am learning that I MUST participate in it so I can grow my business! Thank you for this awesome run down on ways to do things correctly! :)

  • Dennis Schiraldi

    Good common sense advice!

  • Rob Cruz

    I will be doing this asap

  • John Waghorn

    Nice post Jim and definitely an area that businesses need to think about. Social isn’t all about sharing pictures or updates, it’s also a great way to funnel traffic through to your site and encourage sales too.

    I definitely agree with the 70-20-10 rule too in relation to calls to action as ideally you don’t want to overdo it with too much promotion all of the time. With this rule there is a nice balance to how you are using social media.

    Exclusive deals are great too as they give your loyal followers a dedicated reason to keep following you and they also make them feel valued too, which is never a bad thing. Thanks for posting.

  • Joseph Arnold

    I think another way to sell with social media is to show people using your product or enjoying your service. I do social media for a restaurant and people love to see their picture on our social outlets. They then are a lot more likely to share, repost, retweet, etc for the rest of their next network to see. I’ve seen a couple dozen people see their friends’ picture on our Twitter and comment something along the likes of “That place looks so yummy! Where is this?” It then gives me a chance to close the loop and connect with a new potential customer.

    Thanks for the article Jim!

  • Lucas

    Jim, great tips, but considering the 70/20/10 rule the article is mostly about the 10%. Is there something you recommend on the 70% portion. Is there a rule to follow on how to pick the information to share with out being obvious?

  • Promote My Business

    I Think this article is good but needs updated,, one area you state to ask FANS to Share, but it seems Facebook is targeting that, if they see you ask to share they think you are Like Baiting and not show your post.,, i think the whole thing is stupid,,, i think facebook will soon be telling us what we should see,, its almost getting to the question whats the use of making a facebook page and work hard on it , if we can’t get fans to see our posts

  • Kerissa Marie

    great article! thanks for sharing :)







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