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Social media provides a lot of potential sales opportunities. Figuring out how to take advantage of those opportunities is the hard part.

There are multiple ways to promote your products/services on social media platforms including:

  1. Selling directly through a social platform.
  2. Announcing new products and special offers.
  3. Paid advertising.

Selling Directly

There are now applications that make it easy to sell your offerings right on your Facebook page, so your customer doesn't even need to leave Facebook to buy your product. We are likely to see other social media platforms follow suit.

New Products and Special Offers

Everyone loves special offers. More and more companies are using social media to announce deals and exclusive offers, be it a last-minute deal, a special discount, or an opportunity to advance purchase a soon-to-be-released product.

The use of social media as a way to sell to customers has been coined social commerce and it appears to work. Consider the following statistics from Bazaarvoice:

  1. "Social Media in the UK: A visitor coming from a social media site is ten times more likely to make a purchase online than an average visitor: 7% vs. 71%. (Simply Zesty, 2010)."
  2. "Majority of consumers (74%) rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions (Gartner, July 2010)."
  3. "The highest performing businesses use consumer insights in 80% of sales and merchandising (GOOD Magazine, March 2010)."
  4. "86% of US online retailers have Facebook fan pages (GOOD Magazine, March 2010)."

Those numbers all sound great, but how can you make it work for your business?

  1. What offers might you want to give your social media followers?
  2. How will you feature your products on social media platforms?

Paid Advertising

In addition to considering deals, you may want to consider the advertising opportunities available on major social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. These sites often have a lot of demographic information about their users and allow advertisers to very selectively target potential customers.

Generating New Leads

Finally, social media can also help drive sales by generating new sales leads. To do so, you will need to provide a reason for potential consumers of your products and services to engage with you on your social media platforms. For example, to get additional leads, you could provide free tips and help articles to establish your company as a trusted resource and then provide a more comprehensive whitepaper in exchange for users' contact information.

Manager Tip: This is a lengthy process and requires dedicated time from content specialists, so you need to make sure you have the resources and buy-in before taking this on.