Selling products on your own ecommerce platform is important, but one of the next places you should consider selling online is on social media platforms.
There are plenty of social media sites you can use to sell your products but the ones best suited to your brand will depend on:
- Where your target audience likes to hang out online
- What kind of content your customers like to consume
- Where your target customers are more likely to engage with online ads
You may need to test out different social media selling platforms to see which one converts the best for your audience, but doing some simple competitor research should help to guide your initial social media selling strategy.
To get an idea of what’s possible in terms of social selling, this article investigates some of the best social media networks for brands to sell on online and how to actually get set up for selling on them. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Social Media Platforms to Sell On #1: Facebook
Facebook is the biggest social media platform on the web. It boasts a whopping 2.32 billion monthly active users which is a third of the world’s population!
Yes, you read that correctly.
Needless to say, all brands should launch a Facebook business page to help bolster their brand and increase sales. It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in, there’s a good chance you’ll find your target audience on Facebook.
But, you also have more options than just your business page where you can make direct sales on Facebook, there’s also:
- Your Facebook store
- Facebook Messenger Chatbots
- Facebook Ads
Learn more about each option below.
Your Facebook Store
To get up and running with a Facebook shop, all you need is a personal Facebook account and a Facebook business page—so far, so good.
In addition to these two stipulations, your Facebook page must abide by the following rules:
- You can only sell physical items—you can’t sell services, digital, or downloadable products from your Facebook shop
- You have to agree to Facebook’s Merchant Terms
- You’ll need to link your Facebook shop to a valid bank account
- You’ll need a tax ID number
If that all sounds good to you, follow these steps to get your Facebook shop up and running:
Go to your Facebook business page and locate the “Shop” tab to the left of the screen. Click on it. This should trigger a pop-up that walks you through the entire setup process. Once you’ve finished reading the instructions, click the “Get Started” button.
This will prompt another pop-up to appear, which will ask about your business details—namely, the type of business you’re running and its address. You’ll also have to provide information about your business representative (which for the majority of us, is ourselves!). Once you’re done, click “Next.”
You’ll then need to clarify which states you do business in and provide Facebook with your tax registration number. For non-US-based merchants, we recommend researching what the equivalent is for your country or checking with Facebook’s support team.
Then it’s time to highlight the kinds of products you sell and voilà! Facebook says that after you’ve received an order, you have to ship it within three business days. Not only that, but your customers must receive their parcel within ten days of making said order. You also need to use a shipping service that allows you to track your deliveries.
Facebook’s Rules on Shipping
Facebook says that after you’ve received an order, you have to ship it within three business days. Not only that, but your customers must receive their parcel within ten days of making said order.
The quick delivery times are one of the things that make the Facebook shopping experience so appealing to consumers. So, if you can’t follow through on them, setting up a Facebook store isn’t the route for you.
You also need to use a shipping service that allows you to track your deliveries.
When it comes to configuring payments, this all comes down to the country you’re operating from. Most US-based business owners link their Facebook shop directly to their bank account. This is where the money you make will be deposited.
For entrepreneurs based outside of the US, you can receive payments through either PayPal or Stripe.
The integration process is pretty straightforward as Facebook walks you through it step by step.
You can modify your payment settings by clicking the “Set Up Payments” button. This should trigger a pop-up asking for your tax details.
This is non-negotiable. So be sure to have the following information to hand:
- Your business name
- Your Employer Identification Number
- Your full legal name
Once you’ve filled in these details, click “Save.” You’ll then be asked to provide a few bank details so that Facebook can deposit the money you make into your account. You’ll also need to insert the name registered on your bank account as well as your bank routing and account numbers. Again, once you’re done, click “Save.”
Once you’ve done all the above, you’ll be taken to your new Facebook shop. From here, you can add all the products you want to sell. Facebook assists you with listing your first product. Just click the “Add Product” button and a form will pop up where you can add and save all the necessary product details!
A Few Top Tips for Your Facebook Shop
Be sure to upload a product photo for each item—they should be at least 1,024 x 1,024 pixels and several pictures are better than one. Ideally, products should be showcased against a white background and/or provide a snapshot of the products being used in real-life scenarios. For example, if you’re selling sweatshirts, get a picture of a model wearing your clothes.
Don’t include text, calls-to-action, promo codes, or watermarks on your images.
When it comes to adding a product description, use short sentences and bullet points to keep the copy concise. This is not the place for HTML, contact information, long titles, or links.
What About Product Variants?
You can only list four variants per product and their titles must be written out in full, not abbreviated. For instance, when it comes to clothing sizes, you should put Small, not S.
Last, but by no means least, set your visibility to “Public” so all Facebook users can actually see what you’re selling! Plus, anyone visiting your shop can then subscribe to it. This means they’ll get a notification when you add new products.
How Do I Manage My Orders?
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Facebook’s order management tool isn’t available to all Facebook store owners—it depends on the country you live in. But it’s mostly available in the US so if that’s where you’re operating from, you should be good to go.
To see if you have access to Facebook’s order management tool, look for a “Pending Orders” tab in the sidebar of your Facebook shop’s dashboard. If it’s there, you have order management. Click on the Pending Order tab to see the specific details of each one (including customer information and contact details). From there, you can fulfill the order.
But don’t worry, Facebook will send you a notification when you receive an order, so you’ll never miss a sale!
Once you’ve shipped the customer package, click on the “Mark as Shipped” button to finalize the order fulfillment process.
Facebook Messenger Chatbots
When it comes to selling online, messaging apps have overtaken traditional social media platforms so using a platform like Facebook Messenger is a no-brainer when it comes to selling your products.
As many as 20 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Messenger each month. That’s a huge market to tap into!
If you’re unfamiliar with Facebook Messenger, it’s a lot like WhatsApp in terms of functionality but the critical difference, however, is that WhatsApp is its own platform whereas Messenger is fully integrated into Facebook’s network.
Not to mention, Facebook Messenger has TONS more features for entrepreneurs than WhatsApp—namely, Messenger Ads and chatbots. These are just a few reasons why Facebook Messenger is an ideal resource for capturing and nurturing fresh leads.
Thinking of using Facebook Messenger as a social media selling channel? Heed the advice below:
Start the Chatbot Set Up
As we’ve just alluded to, using a chatbot is imperative to making the most out of Facebook Messenger.
As you go about setting up your chatbot, keep in the forefront of your mind its purpose. This may sound obvious, but it’s vital to have a firm grasp of who your audience is and what they want before configuring your chatbot. Always use simple language—NOT complicated industry jargon. Also, don’t forget to provide short, simple responses and/or instructions to frequently asked questions and queries.
Use Conversational Prompts (with a Few Response Options)
The truth is, open-ended questions are hard to program, so offering prospects a relevant response is somewhat of a challenge.
This is why conversational prompts are important. They work wonders for leading visitors to useful answers to their queries. But, don’t come across as pushy. This will likely only achieve the complete opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish—your customers may unsubscribe from your chatbot and block you. Not cool.
So, if you’re using Facebook Messenger to launch a product or market a special offer, do it gradually. Dip your toe in first before diving into the deep end and get a feel for the general response to your messages. You don’t want to overwhelm potential customers. Otherwise, as we’ve already said, you may just annoy them.
Allow Customers to Speak to a Real Person
Have you ever had a specific question you need to ask a company, but they just kept redirecting you to generic and unhelpful automated responses? It’s annoying, right?
Don’t fall into this category.
The simplest way to avoid this is by ensuring customers and visitors have the chance to speak to a real human. If you have someone in your team who can handle customer support, integrate a “Contact Us” option into your chatbot. You may be surprised by how much it improves customer satisfaction!
When it comes to lead generation, Facebook’s paid-for ads excel. They make it incredibly easy to capture the names and email addresses of your target audience, plus, when you get it right, you should enjoy a pretty good return on investment. In fact, some advertisers claim they’ve got their costs down to as low as $1 per lead!
So, how do Facebook Ads work pricing wise?
The cost of a Facebook Ad is based on several factors, namely the relevance of the Facebook audience you’re targeting and the budget you’ve set. Generally, the more money you spend, the greater success you’ll have.
Facebook’s algorithm gets better at identifying the kinds of people that buy your products. The more data Facebook has, the more accurately they can target potential customers.
How to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to running Facebook Ads for your products?
The key is writing and launching engaging Facebook Ad copy and creatives. Not only that but when a prospect clicks through, you need to take them directly to a landing page that has been optimized for conversions. It should give users a very clear overview of the product your selling and provide them with a very strong call-to-action they can click on to make their purchase easily.
How Do You Target Prospects?
Facebook is renowned for its sophisticated targeting. You can pick who sees your ads based on an audience’s:
- Job Title
Here are a few tips on how to run successful Facebook ads:
- Run different ads at the same time. This allows you to see which one does the best. Each ad should boast a slight change so you can see which factor influences the difference in conversions. This is known as A/B testing.
- If you’re targeting more than one audience, tailor the ad’s content towards that specific viewership. One size does NOT fit all.
- Use prospecting ads to boost brand awareness. Then, utilize Facebook retargeting ads to prompt leads (who’ve already shown an interest) to go ahead and buy.
- Emojis are encouraged! More and more brands are using emojis in their ad copy.
- Lookalike audiences are a marketing staple—and for a good reason! They’re fantastic for finding new customers, so make good use of them!
Social Media Platforms to Sell On #2: Instagram
You probably already know that Instagram is yet another popular social media network! With over one billion monthly active users, it’s a fabulous platform for promoting your business.
It also has one of the highest audience engagement rates of all the social media handles—in fact, 58 times higher than Facebook and a whopping 2,000% on Twitter.
It almost goes without saying, Instagram is incredibly image and video intensive. So, if you can promote your products in an aesthetically pleasing way then Instagram is an excellent social media channel for showcasing your brand! The same is true if your target customers are between 18 and 29 years old, as research shows that Instagram’s user base is heavily skewed that way.
How Can You Sell Using Instagram?
There are a few ways:
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Shopping
- Instagram Live
- Instagram Ads
First things first, you’ll need to set up and optimize an Instagram business profile. A business account entitles you to tons of extra features that come in handy for marketing and managing your brand—most notably the Instagram Insights and Shopping tools.
How Do I Set Up an Instagram Shop?
An Instagram shop allows online sellers to integrate their product catalog with their Instagram profile. This makes promoting your products through posts and stories much more straightforward.
It’s also easier for users to find you on Instagram’s “Explore” tab. That’s all in addition to having an online store that customers can access via your “Shop” tab on your profile, posts, and stories.
The product pages on your Instagram shop are very similar to that of a regular ecommerce store. For instance, you and your customers will benefit from all the following features:
- A product title
- Product photos
- A product description
- The price
- A direct link to the corresponding product page on your website
- Links to other similar or related products the customer might also like
There’s a reason why we started this article with setting up your Facebook store because to launch an Instagram shop, you need to have a Facebook shop up and running. This is because Facebook owns Instagram. So unsurprisingly, they pull all your product information from your Facebook shop to create your Instagram shop. Make sense?
So if you haven’t set up your Facebook shop yet and you want to open an Instagram shop, you’ll have to get your Facebook shop started first. Scroll back up for the instructions on how to do that. For the rest of this section, we’re going to assume you already have your Facebook store set up.
Setting Up Your Instagram Shop
So, now all you need to do is link your Instagram business profile to your Facebook business page. This is pretty simple to do, just head over to Instagram’s settings and click “Linked Accounts.” From there, Instagram will guide you through what to do.
Once you’ve done that, Instagram automatically reviews your Instagram shop before it goes live. So at this stage, all you can do is sit and wait. This can take a few days, so if you don’t hear back within a few hours, don’t panic! If your account is approved, Instagram will notify you.
You now need to confirm which Facebook shop you want to link your Instagram profile to. To configure this, head over to Instagram’s business settings and click “Shopping” and select the Facebook shop you want. Doing this should sync all the information on your Facebook shop to your Instagram shop.
Lastly, to activate the “Shop” tab on your Instagram profile, you’ll need to publish at least one Instagram shop post.
Then that’s it—you’re now up and running!
You can now tag products listed on your Instagram shop in your posts and stories. To tag products use the “@” symbol, just like you would tag other Instagram users. When you do this, a shopping bag icon and shopping tags will appear in your posts. This allows your audience to purchase directly through your content!
To tag products in your Instagram Stories, use the “Product” sticker. Best of all, you can modify the sticker’s color and text to suit the aesthetic of your brand.
Unlike organic posts (the free ones), you can link paid-for Instagram ads directly to a product or landing page. This works wonders for driving traffic to your store and boosting sales on your site.
Facebook and Instagram Ads are very similar in terms of costs. Typically, you’ll spend around $5 for every thousand impressions you receive but it’s worth knowing that the majority of research suggests that Instagram posts get more engagement than Facebook.
Just like pricing, setting up Instagram ad campaigns are very similar to Facebook. Here are a few tips for making the most out of your campaign:
- Focus your time and energy on custom audiences. There are a few ways to create this specific kind of audience: Facebook pixel tracking, your email list, a list of your social media followers, etc. Stats show that users who have previously engaged with your ads are more likely to convert than cold leads.
- Lookalike audiences are also incredibly useful, so be sure to use these as well.
- Use images of real people. Try not to use stock photos as they don’t tend to convert well on Instagram.
- Take hashtags seriously. These are a great way to connect your account with relevant audiences and for extending your reach on the platform.
Social Media Platforms to Sell On #3: Pinterest
Pinterest has well over 250 million monthly active users and, like the majority of social media platforms listed here, there’s a good chance you’ll already have used this platform—either for fun or for business purposes.
But for those of you who haven’t, it acts just like a digital pinboard. It encourages you to curate and post all types of visual content in many different formats—images, infographics, GIFs, and videos. Pinterest users want to see beautiful looking content that inspires them. It doesn’t matter whether its new recipes, fitness tips, or business hacks—you’ll find it all on Pinterest!
How to Sell on Pinterest
Using Pinterest for business purposes is something that Pinterest itself has spent time, effort and energy optimizing, and they’ve made it very easy for businesses to understand how to use Pinterest for business.
We’ve covered Pinterest marketing extensively in our Pinterest Marketing for Ecommerce Businesses post, but to get a general idea of how you can sell your products on Pinterest, we’ll go through the options here. For more in-depth information—including how to set up your Pinterest business profile, which you’ll need to do to start selling on Pinterest—head over to that blog post.
You can sell your products on Pinterest in a few ways:
- Promoted Pins: Promoted pins are essentially advertisements that business accounts can pay for to guarantee reach to a certain audience. Any Pinterest business account can purchase a promoted pin, they look like standard pins on the interface and they work like typical PPC ads. One of the main advantages of promoted pins on Pinterest is that they actually get just as much—and sometimes even more—engagement than standard pins. Just because they’re an ad, it doesn’t detract users from engaging with the pin which is good news for brands. Learn more about Pinterest’s promoted pins here and the different audience targeting options here.
- Rich Pins: Rich Pins are highly optimized standard pins that offer a better experience for the user. They provide more context about the pin depending on the category that the pin fits into, and they can only be created by Pinterest for business accounts. There are four types of Rich Pins: App, Product, Recipe and Article, and they each have different features. You’ll likely want to focus on Product Rich Pins because they make shopping easier for Pinterest users by providing pricing, availability and purchasing information. To learn more about Rich Pins and the four different types, check out the Pinterest Business Rich Pins guide.
- Shop the Look Pins: Shop the Look Pins are exclusive to the fashion and home decor sections of Pinterest and they allow users to easily find and purchase items from the pin. Users can recognize Shop the Look Pins by the small white dots that call out the items in the pin that are for sale, and users can tap the white dot to be directed to the website where they can purchase the item. Shop the Look Pins can be used by influencers and businesses and they’re a great way to make the shopping experience more efficient for the user. To learn more about Shop the Look Pins, check out the Pinterest Business Shop the Look Pins article.
As you can see, there are a variety of different ways to sell your products on Pinterest! What makes selling on Pinterest so ideal is that these options flow seamlessly with the organic content on the platform so they don’t annoy users, which can make the results all the more lucrative for you!
Social Media Platforms to Sell On #4: Twitter
Twitter has as many as 330 million monthly active users and it’s a fabulous platform for microblogging. As such, users often use Twitter to stay current on all the latest news, sports, politics, and entertainment updates. So, if your brand overlaps with any of these niches, Twitter is the place to be!
But, Twitter isn’t just great for boosting brand awareness; it’s also amazing for:
- Strengthening customer relationships
- Growing your online following
- Advertising products and services
- Conducting market research
You also don’t have to shell out tons of money to get your content in front of your followers. This is one of the main reasons why this platform is such an asset to your marketing arsenal.
What About Twitter’s Paid-For Advertising?
On average, a thousand paid-for ad impressions will set you back anywhere between $9 and $11. Whereas, clicks through to your website cost around 25 to 30 cents each. It’s worth noting, however, that the cost of Twitter ads has steadily increased over the last two years—this is namely because more and more marketers are taking advantage of this platform—but on the whole, Twitter advertising is still considered relatively underutilized.
What Kinds of Twitter Ad Campaigns Can You Set Up?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the campaigns you can launch on Twitter:
- Promoted Accounts: These help improve your reach by promoting your account to users who aren’t following you already. Learn more about what Promoted Twitter Accounts are here.
- Promoted Tweets: These are similar to Promoted Accounts, but instead of promoting your account to users who aren’t following you, individual tweets are promoted instead. Learn more about how Promoted Tweets work here.
- Promoted Trends: This option enables you to take over a spot on the Twitter Trends list for 24 hours. Learn more about Twitter’s Promoted Trends here.
- Website Cards: This campaign encourages users to click through to your website. In short, website cards offer merchants a choice of call-to-action buttons to use and they can also select an image and a headline. When done well, this kind of ad can be really effective at driving traffic to your site. In fact, Promoted Tweets with Website Cards show an average of 43% more engagement than just tweeting a link! Learn more about Twitter’s Website Cards here.
Best of all, you can also set up conversion tracking to monitor how every dollar of yours is spent. Not to mention, you can also set up remarketing campaigns to retarget website visitors.
Social Media Platforms to Sell On #5: LinkedIn
LinkedIn boasts 303 million monthly active users and it’s an ideal platform for entrepreneurs looking to make a name in the business-to-business market. It’s also worth noting that LinkedIn users are pretty evenly split between male and female demographics and 61% of people who use LinkedIn are aged between 30-64.
Some other relevant statistics include the fact that 92% of B2B marketers prefer using LinkedIn over all other social media platforms and an astonishing 80% of B2B social media marketing leads come from LinkedIn!
Also, in terms of average disposable income, LinkedIn is where it’s at. As many as 75% of LinkedIn users earn $50,000 a year, or more! So it’s hardly surprising that, when leveraged correctly, this network can produce some high-quality leads.
You can also use LinkedIn’s paid-for advertising to boost your reach.
How Does This Work?
Well, there are three kinds of ads you can launch on LinkedIn:
- Sponsored Content
- Sponsored InMail
- Text Ads
The average cost-per-click is anywhere between $2 and $7, but it can be as much as $11 to $12 per click, so as paid advertising goes, it’s pretty pricey!
A Few LinkedIn Marketing Hacks to Remember:
- LinkedIn’s ad targeting isn’t as sophisticated as Facebook’s, but you can still reach your ideal audience by setting filters like company, company size, job title, location, seniority, age, education, skills, etc.
- Make your ad copy engaging, concise, and to the point. LinkedIn prefers succinct content in comparison to the storytelling ad copy style used on Facebook.
Social Media Platforms to Sell On #6: Snapchat
Snapchat boasts a whopping 287 million active users a month and an increasing number of brands are using Snapchat to reach out to their audience—especially millennials. When you consider that Snapchat reaches as many as 41% of all 18-34 year-olds in the US, it’s easy to see why!
How Does Snapchat’s Paid-For Advertising Work?
- Snap Ads: Snap ads are just interactive video ads. The best thing about them is that they boast a swipe-up rate that’s five times higher than other comparable social platforms. But, on average, these cost anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000 a month to run.
- Sponsored Lenses: When a brand purchases a sponsored lens, they’re able to create a customized filter for Snapchat users to play around with. But these don’t come cheap—typically they’ll set you back anywhere between $450,000 to $700,000 per day!
- Snapchat Discover: By opting for a Snapchat Discover ad, you’ll put your brand’s story at the top of user feeds. This advertising option costs an incredible $50,000 per day.
We hope having read this article, you feel inspired to start marketing your brand and selling your products using social media! Try out each option and see what works for your brand and what doesn’t. You might be surprised at which social media sales channel is a hit with your audience!