Selling Using Social Media Sites

by : 

Megy Karydes

June 8, 2015
Marketing Mondays - Selling Using Social Media Sites

Ever tried to sell directly through a social media channel like Instagram even if you don’t have an e-commerce site? Considering most of us are digitally active daily, it seems remiss to not have a social media marketing plan in place.

A few years ago, a friend suggested a top via Facebook, but strangely, the clothing designer didn’t have a website. She simply posted the top on her Facebook page and her friends began sharing it because it was really cute. When people began asking if they could buy one, she quickly set up a PayPal account, and viola, she started making sales.

Fast forward a couple years. Now retailers are harnessing the power of social media for more than just marketing and branding—it’s a straight-up sales tool with the power of creating a social experience.

Fed By Threads’s Instagram feed is a perfect example. While the feed is pretty on its own, including a nice range of product and travel photos, what I find exciting is how this Tucson, Ariz.-based retail store uses its Instagram feed to make sales. Check out this post, which offered only 12 limited edition men’s shirts. The post gives the price and the number of shirts in various sizes and instructs anyone interested in purchasing a shirt to comment “Sold & Size & Email” in the comments section. Followers who did as instructed received an emailed invoice from the store giving them 24 hours to remit their payment.

I’ve never been to Tucson, but this Instagram account allows me to stay abreast of what this retailer is doing and provides me an opportunity almost daily to buy something from them. The social media component lets me see what others are saying about the shop and their clothing, too, further reinforcing my decision to stay engaged. And this type of activity is gaining traction. According to a 2013 Nielsen Global Tryst in Advertising survey, 84 percent of people trust the recommendations of people they know and 68 percent trust online customer reviews.

This type of activity doesn’t need to be limited to Instagram. It can be replicated on Facebook and Pinterest. I think Pinterest, specifically, would be ideal because pins can be more easily shared by your network. For example, do a search on Pinterest for something you carry regularly, such as a doctor’s handbag or necklaces with quotes, and you’ll see there is no shortage of items listed.

Having an e-commerce site makes it easier to conduct transactions, but even if you don’t, it’s not a deal breaker. If you don’t mind handling individual transactions, offering your items for sale via social media sites is a nice way to engage with customers, many of whom might not be within your geographic territory, and increase sales and word-of-mouth marketing. Just make sure whichever social media site you choose to focus on, you maintain an up-to-date presence. Happy selling!

Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm and freelance writer who often covers retail for various magazines. She likes her calendars, whether digital or on paper, and has her editorial calendar pinned to her board in her office to remind her what day it is! Find her on Twitter at @megy.