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Selling Products using Social Media

Forget likes, shares, retweets, and comments: how can you use Social Media to actually sell products?

To do so effectively means understanding two key concepts: the funnel, and conversion.  The funnel refers to the process that prospects go through before they actually put down their credit card and transact.  Conversion refers to the percentage of people that move from one stage of the funnel to the next.  Work on these two areas successfully, and sales will follow.

Converting Suspects to Prospects:  The goal of this part of the funnel is to introduce your product to a large number of (interested) people.  If they don’t know about it, then they will never purchase it.  There are literally hundreds of ways to do this, but here are a few:

  • Use a “Like Gate”, which unlocks special content on your Facebook page in exchange for a Like.
  • Use content marketing to share your ideas in Social Media venues where prospects spend their time.
  • Solicit testimonials amongst existing customers
  • Solicit how-to videos or interesting pictures from customers.
  • Provide value-adding comments on others’ blogs.
  • Drive users from your mailing list to your social venues.
  • Provide bloggers with your products so that they might review them.

Converting Prospects to Customers:  The goal of this part of the funnel is to create the sale.  Unfortunately, too many marketers only use the lever of price – and neglect the many other reasons a purchaser may commit:  fast delivery, better quality, better utility/functionality, product image and brand, etc.  The key to successfully converting a customer is to trigger that one key reason as part of the offer.  A few examples:

  • If you like this Facebook page, get 20% off.  (Price Trigger)
  • Build an online community, and allow members to buy it before anyone else (Brand Trigger)
  • Embed cross-selling  into your ecommerce:  customers who bought [this] bought [that].
  • Embed recommendations functionality into your ecommerce:  customers who looked at this [this] also looked at [that].
  • Tweet time-limited codes for either discounts, or special versions of your product.
  • Use an affiliate program and commissions to provide an incentive for existing customers to refer their friends.
  • Advertise using Google Adwords, on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube, pushing people to a landing page with a customized offer.  (Not exactly Social Media, but it can’t be ignored as part of the mix.

This week’s action plan:  There are literally hundreds of different ways to use Social Media to sell products.  This week, dig into the analytics of each web page, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, blog post, Tweet, and other interaction.  While being on all of these venues is great, improved conversion only happens with experimentation, testing, and change.

This post has been written by 108’s Senior Advisor and former CEO Randall Craig.