If you have a company profile on social media, chances are you are engaging in social selling in some form, perhaps without even realizing it. But how well thought-out are your posts? How little effort is needed to multiply their effect? Do you need a social selling super-strategy?
No one doubts anymore that a presence on social media is a requirement for successful customer communication. And most people are beginning to understand that a successful profile requires both strategy and effort. So let's take a closer look at what works on different platforms, and how different companies can succeed with a well thought-out social selling strategy.
What is social selling?
Social selling is about communicating with customers through social media by sharing relevant content, answering questions, sharing knowledge, and offering advice and guidance. Trust is fundamental to successful social selling, and there are a multitude of platforms that can be used for this purpose. The key is to take the time to get to know the target audience, find out where they get their information, and what kind of content they like and trust. Once you know this, you can begin to build trust-based relationships on the relevant platforms.
Social selling can help increase sales and conversions precisely because it builds trust and authority within a specific industry or area of expertise and creates strong relationships between businesses and target audiences. There are a large number of communication platforms and available channels, so find out where your target audience spends their time, so you don't waste time and money creating, publishing, and distributing content that has no effect. If you prioritize your presence on the target audience's preferred channels, speak a language they understand, and use the platforms on the right terms, there is a good chance that it will have a positive impact on your sales figures.
Whether you sell flowers or motor oil, there is a platform that is right for you. Each channel and platform has its own terms, strengths, and "dos and don'ts." Below I will highlight some examples of how social selling can work on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
How to succeed on TikTok?
The interior design store Nordic Nest is doing really well on social media platforms. They use TikTok and Instagram to establish and maintain a close relationship with their followers, but they use the channels very differently. Nordic Nest has realized that the platforms are not the same, that they have different strengths, and, above all, that the content must be tailored according to the platform's conditions and users' preferences to create results.
On TikTok, they share a combination of self-produced content and content produced by others based on trends. They use this content both organically and paid, and they get the most value out of content that doesn't cost much to produce.
Their key to success is that they use the platform on the target audience's terms. The example below shows how content based on trends is what works on TikTok. Video #6 with 10.2K views is based on a trend. It is more important to have a vigilant eye and keep track of what is trending than to be a professional video producer, which also makes this type of marketing extremely cost-effective.
The video "Organize with Claudia" is from the same account. It has over 200.000 views and is based on the ASMR trend (autonomous sensory meridian response). Briefly, this is a video that one experiences as satisfying because it shows how you can organize your home in a simple way. Playfully easy, with appropriate soundscapes and stylish products that fit perfectly into their place, your messy and disorganized home turns into a tidy and clean one in 15 seconds. It's almost magical - and incredibly satisfying to watch - yes, it almost feels like you did it yourself. At least you'll want to try!
You may be wondering how Nordic Nest gets good sales figures from this when the video is not an obvious promotion of their products. The secret is that all the nice products they use, which look so tempting to succeed with the same decluttering method in your own home, can be found in Nordic Nest's online store, of course.
Scrub Daddy is an American company that, despite its relatively narrow product range (sponges!), has succeeded in building a huge following on TikTok. So, 3.1 million people find it exciting to follow content about these sponges and get good tips on how to use them. How is it possible?
Scrub Daddy do a lot of things right. They create content based on trends that create high engagement among app users. Even though they are on a platform meant for Gen Z, they reach out to millennials as well because of the incredible reach they have. They have their own hashtags that they use frequently, and they encourage others to use them in their videos when they use a product from Scrub Daddy. By sharing this content on their own account, they are able to create a lot of value from the content that others have created.
What is different on Instagram?
Instagram is a platform that is primarily used for inspiration. If you focus on aesthetics and have an adult target audience, you can get a lot out of it. Instagram is full of beautiful inspirational images, and it's no wonder that those who have "adult money" find a lot of their inspiration here. Companies, influencers, and individuals mostly share aesthetically pleasing images on Instagram. It is also where most DMs (direct messages/feedback) come from customers about what they think of your product, and it is expected that you as a business respond quickly.
If we take a closer look at how Nordic Nest present themselves on Instagram compared to what they do on TikTok, the difference is that they have a greater focus on aesthetics here. The feed is pretty and calm, with beautiful pictures showing products in their environment. They also consciously use content from private individuals on Instagram, and in their Instagram stories, they frequently share tips about offers and new blog posts. Nordic Nest uses Instagram in the same way as the users. The focus here is on inspiration, and the profile appears professional and well thought out with delicate images followed by a caption that is not selling. The posts do not stand out as direct ads, but as posts where you can find inspiration or just see beautiful pictures. Instagram is a channel where the posts should blend in and add value to the users' feed, not be perceived as an alien element in the form of disruptive advertising.
Nordic Nest uses inspiration, collaborations with influencers, competitions, and advertising to create and maintain an active Instagram community around their brand. Thus, they exploit both the platform's premises and the users' preferences when building trust-based relationships and establishing their position in the market. Nordic Nest's Instagram strategy works, just like their completely different TikTok strategy, as a successful social selling tactic.
Does Facebook still work?
The old-timer Facebook is still a platform with high activity, and it is used by many every day. But how does social selling work here? First of all, the target audience is quite different from those we have seen earlier. The users are generally older, but that often means that they are also more affluent.
Clas Ohlson is a good example of a brand that succeeds in customer communication, visibility, and social selling on Facebook. The Swedish chain sells a wide range of products, including electronics, tools, and home and leisure products.
On Facebook, Clas Ohlson uses a variety of strategies to engage their followers. They share posts about offers and campaigns, including descriptions and prices in the captions. This makes it easy for users to see that it is advertising, but it does not appear to be a hindrance to success on this platform. Clas Ohlson's target audience is adults, and they create a community with easily accessible customer service for their followers. Resources are devoted to answering questions in the comments section and joining conversations in various groups. Customers also have the opportunity to leave customer reviews directly on the platform.
Overall, Clas Ohlson uses Facebook to engage their followers and build a community around their brand, while also engaging in social selling through advertising and offers.
I want to succeed with social selling - which platform is best?
The answer to this lies in identifying your target audience. Choose the platforms where your target audience is spending time, a communication channel they trust, and a language they understand. Remember that it may be wise to have two different strategies in mind simultaneously: if you run a school, for example, you should be present on multiple platforms - you won't find both potential students and their parents on the same channel. You are entirely dependent on getting under both of their skins, but it takes different content and arguments to convince them.
If you want to improve your social selling but are struggling to adapt your strategy and content, do not despair, I can help you - book a meeting with me here!
Henriette Emilie Østholm works as a social media expert in Frontkom Experience and writes about themes that engage her. She is educated in PR, communication and marketing from Middelsex University in London.