The rules of retailing on social media are finite, says Crystal Vilkaitis, owner and CEO of Crystal Media, which advises companies (including jewelry brands) on social selling. When marketers follow them—and use the right tools—“they see great results.”
But the rules on the most retail-friendly platforms—notably Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest—change frequently, as developers tinker with tools and refine algorithms.
For time-pressed retailers, this can make the prospect of social selling particularly daunting. We asked Vilkaitis to break down the basics of making your social feeds shoppable. The best part? The setup is all free.
Facebook may not be the slickest platform, but it’s still the biggest. According to a 2016 poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 75 percent of adult Internet users use it.
Selling products on Facebook means advertising on Facebook, says Vilkaitis, because the network’s algorithms are set up to make paid advertising the only way to truly target an audience.
Fortunately, “the targeting capabilities on Facebook are really fantastic,” she says. As a marketer, you can get very granular in your reach on the network. “For example, if you sell Alex and Ani, you can target all the people that like that brand on the platform.”
Head to facebook.com/ads, click on Create an Ad, then follow the prompts to build your first product ad.
Instagram has a smaller audience, but its pretty, pared-down format makes it innately shoppable. According to a 2016 Hootsuite study, top brands on Instagram were seeing a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent—58 times higher than on Facebook.
Retailing on Instagram means paying for posts that include a Shop Now button; when clicked, it sends users to an e-commerce product page where they can finish their purchase.
Note: You can create shoppable posts only if you have a Business account on Instagram. If your feed isn’t Business, go to your profile settings (the gear icon) and hit Switch to Business Profile. Start posting sponsored, linked content by hitting Promote on any product post via your mobile app.
In 2016, Pinterest reported that 71 percent of its users were women—and that those users spent 50 percent more time browsing Pinterest than other platforms. “Roughly 25 percent of e-commerce originating from social sites comes from Pinterest,” Vilkaitis says.
The supervisual platform lets companies create Promoted Pins, which allow for deep caption information and link directly to e-comm product pages.
You’ll need to create a business profile on ads.pinterest.com to do this. Then, simply click through the instructions for building an ad. Best of luck, social sellers!
Pinterest photos: (clockwise from top l.) Arya Esha; M. Spalten; Trésor Collection Rainbow moonstone, amethyst, and blue topaz bangles; Effy Gemma 14k rose gold amethyst and diamond pendant
(Model photo: Prykhodov/Getty)