How Social Selling is Changing Social Media

Written by guest writer Patrick Foster

Social media has always been a useful tool, but the advent of social selling has made it even more important to businesses. In the past, your social media accounts were one step removed from the money-making process, but not anymore. Now that social media is a direct source of revenue, things are starting to change…

Different Platforms Serve a Different Purpose

Social selling has helped marketers to identify the different strengths of each platform. It is important for small business owners to identify the best platform for their product or service — there are different rules and cultures everywhere (even if everyone seems to be jumping on the stories bandwagon).

Social selling is an option on every platform, but most significantly, it is used on Facebook. Facebook is by far the biggest social media network and provides businesses with the chance to sell directly via their profile page, as such, it is used very often for marketing. Facebook is the most popular social media platform and so, for some people, is the only one they use.

  • But to only use a single platform is the underestimate the value of the others — Pinterest also offers the ability to buy directly through product pins, and is very popular with certain demographics. Don’t make assumptions about where you should be selling — you might miss out on some great opportunities. Get to know your niche and your customers well — it’s important to be selling where they are.
  • Think carefully about the sort of content that is going to build relationships with customers, and help clinch an eventual sale. Clothing retailers may find that Instagram is the most valuable network to them, as images of models wearing outfits are very popular there and can do a good job of showcasing your products. Businesses selling entertainment products, meanwhile, might do better on YouTube, where they can make video reviews of the video games and films that they sell. It’s all about customer value and content, even if a sale is the end goal…

Every social channel is investing in enabling customer purchases. What we are seeing is that customers are happy to buy from social platforms, and seem relatively comfortable with branded and promotional content, as long as it is adjusted to the platform itself. And even if all your sales come through social —- remember the importance of engagement and transparency.

Selling Without Selling

Social selling has essentially redefined “marketing” and changed people’s perceptions of social media posts. Twenty years ago, adverts would show you a product, tell you it was great and then tell you how much it cost. Things are very different now.

If a business were to use a social media platform in order to make loads of posts saying “We’re really good” and “We’re really affordable” people would probably get quite bored of them and they certainly wouldn’t want to keep them in their newsfeed.

Social selling is all about forming a bond with the audience in a way which never would have been done before. Today, as part of a marketing strategy, a business might share a funny image without a link to their website or even a mention of their product. Why do they do this? What does it achieve?

It comes down to psychology. Every post will still bear the business’s name and logo (as a display picture) meaning that customers are still being exposed to them. Take a look at the following tweet as an example:

It’s kind of funny isn’t it? And nothing about it screams “Buy our smoothies!” It’s just the sort of thing that people like to see and share on social media — whimsical, topical, cheeky. By sharing this sort of thing regularly, Innocent are keeping their brand in people’s minds.

But more traditional advertisements do still have their place and their value on social media, and they can be a valuable asset to your organic efforts. Different things are going to be more effective at different times. That’s why you need to keep on top of the latest happenings in the social media world (don’t worry, Thrive has you covered.)

How to Get Involved on Social

With social media now such a key part of marketing strategies, it’s no surprise that there are now options to sell directly through it — and many businesses are foregoing a traditional approach to retail and ecommerce in favor of a social-first approach. (There are ways to sell directly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and several other social networks – some of them have this as a native feature, while others require the use of services like Shopify for you to do this).

Here’s a five step guide to get you going:

  1. Explore your own social selling options and integrations: could you make a difference to sales figures? As great as social media is, there are one or two businesses who won’t necessarily benefit from it.
  2. Define your own social strategy: which platforms will you use? Where do you need to invest the most time?
  3. Track social media KPIs. If you don’t, it could all be a waste of time.
  4. Bring the whole team on board. Share ideas and make sure that everybody knows what’s going on. Communication is key.
  5. Create cost-effective social content using tools like Canva, which is a design tool made specifically for busy marketers!

Overall, social selling has had a significant impact on social media and whether this has been a good or bad thing is up for debate. On the one hand, it provides businesses (particularly small businesses) with an easy way to reach lots of new customers and to remain in contact with their existing customers. On the other, consumers are now faced with advertisements in a place which was originally mainly just a space for themselves and their friends. For business owners, it’s clear what needs to be done and with the new Thrive social server, it’s easier than ever to keep on top of your social media marketing campaigns! What’s your favorite social media tip?


Author: Patrick Foster, ecommerce writer & marketer

Ecommerce marketer with over ten years experience in the world of online selling. Knows all about the ins and outs of social selling. Became a writer to share knowledge with the world.