09.06.2014 Social selling: top tips on converting social currency into sales

Brands have long been jumping on the social media bandwagon in order to boost sales figures, with one in four people now clicking a Facebook link to make a purchase. Retailers have scrambled to capitalise on social’s potential for selling, creating various social media accounts, apps and F-commerce strategies.

But not all attempts at selling on social work. Here we share a few tips on transforming likes into cold hard cash.

1. Ditch the promotional mindset

The number one rule with social media selling is to marry social with promotion, as retail giant ASOS learnt a few years ago.

Its Facebook store app closed in 2012 after less than two years of trading, teaching the store an important lesson: to survive in the social world means you have to be social. Think of it not as overt selling, but as virtual window-shopping. ASOS’s regular Facebook page, which has a commendable 3.3m likes, is much more successful in its subtle albums of images showcasing its latest clothing collections. The albums enable people to quickly view the latest trends, while commenting and liking on their favourite pieces.

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Having a retail store on Facebook didn’t work because that’s not what people use Facebook for. The more traditional ways of selling products generally do not transfer easily to social. Social is a different ballgame, so throw out the rulebook.

2. Interrupt!

Have you used #AmazonBasket yet? This nifty little feature allows users to add items to their shopping basket from the comfort of their very own Twitter timeline.

The concept is simple: if you see a link to an Amazon product that you like, tweeting it with the hashtag #AmazonBasket instantly adds it to your account. Haven’t you ever wanted to shout about that cool gadget you’ve just bought? Well now you can, and it may well encourage others to buy it too!

This approach is key, as it allows products to successfully permeate through people’s Twitter timelines, via user-generated content. This taps into a key group of people too busy to browse online: although they are simply refreshing their social media feed, they will be unwittingly window-shopping too.

3.Get people sharing

Sharing is queen. Coca Cola South Korea revitalised the idea of paying for products by producing a ‘Happiness’ vending machine, requiring participants to dance in front of it to receive free drinks. Customers then shared their videos on social platforms, so the campaign went viral within days. Although it isn’t an example of direct social selling, it does show how the use of alternative currencies and creative thinking can strengthen a brand and create social media buzz.

4. Do personalise the buying experience

Etsy is flying the flag for personalised shopping. Signing into the site via Facebook unleashes a handy tool that scans your friends’ profiles and recommends gifts to fit in with their interests. We love this. It’s a brilliant example of effectively using Facebook as a tool to sell products, without drowning people in promotional posts. It also saves people time by inspiring them, which is a crucial for tempting people to shop online using your site.

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