Companies have found an alternative in these platforms, not only to promote their products and services, but to sell quickly and easily.
Selling over the Internet has been the lifeline for many businesses during lockdown and de-escalation . In fact, 43% of Spanish SMEs say that, in June, 25% of their sales were digital , according to a Facebook report in collaboration with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). On the other hand, in 2019, the total number of online sales for the whole year was around 12%, as reflected in the eShopper Barometer published by the transport company SEUR and DPDgroup. Have an online space to check out the stockaccumulated during the months of confinement is essential for any business, but if you do not have the means or you want to start selling immediately, social networks offer tools for it.
Digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp are designed for interpersonal relationships and the exchange of information, that is why they are posited as a good environment for brands to connect with their regular and potential customers and offer them the option to buy their products or services in an agile and simple way. “It’s a way to take advantage of the momentum that comes from seeing something we like. They are an environment where we are relaxed and our predisposition to purchase is greater ”, explains Eva Rodríguez, professor of the Master in Community Management and director of the Postgraduate Professional Influencer at the IEBS Business School.
More than 25.9 million Spaniards use these networks. Of these users, 52% follow brands, which makes them potential buyers, according to data from the annual study of Social Networks in Spain 2020 carried out by IAB Spain, the association for advertising, marketing and digital communication in Spain. Additionally, 43% of Internet users use social media when researching a product they want to buy, according to the Hootsuite 2020 Social Media Trends report . With this data, how is it possible to turn the profile of a brand or a business on these platforms into a space for the sale of products and services?
Social media makes it easy. To sell in them you only need a professional profile, instead of a personal one. These accounts offer the same options as those of private users, such as publishing videos, taking surveys, knowing the performance of the account through graphs or finding out the opinion of the followers, as well as others such as the option to propose contests, enable chats for communication with followers and a greater amount of data on traffic in publications.
The advantage over sales web pages is that users decide to follow a brand, which increases engagement with it. In addition, social networks allow you to publish posts about the products with their corresponding description and price, link to the corporate and sales pages, show the operation of the products or allow the followers themselves to create content in their accounts and tag the business.
Instagram or Facebook are now the most used by brands, due to their audiovisual components and their number of users. Facebook is the second most used and Instagram, the fourth, in Spain.
Enabling sales through these two platforms is straightforward. On Facebook, just activate the “Store” option and on Instagram, the same professional profile already allows you to manage electronic commerce.
WhatsApp, the number one messaging platform in Spain, allows you to create a business profile to sell. In addition to the application’s own functionalities, WhatsApp Business enables the sale of products and direct contact with the buyer through chat , with which more than two billion users around the world are familiar. Many small and medium-sized businesses have started receiving orders through this application during lockdown and de-escalation.
How are payments made?
For now, payments must be made outside of these platforms. If you have an online store, it is enough to redirect the buyer to the e-commerce through a link to make the payment there. But if not, there are other possibilities. The seller can facilitate the process by using other forms of payment through applications such as Bizum or Pay Pal, for example. The company can also create a landing page to locate the payment gateway. “This option is free and there are many templates to set it up: WordPress or Shopify, for example,” explains Sonia Gonzalo, communication director of Wonder World Media, a marketing and communication agency.
There are other ways of selling in networks, such as affiliate marketing, which consists of an individual outside the company promoting its products or services by writing reviews with links to the sales website or by including direct links that redirect to the sales portal. “The products are sold in exchange for an agreed commission and the higher that commission, the more people will want to sell it, which will result in increased sales,” Gonzalo adds.
Visibility to attract the buyer
“Selling on social networks is not just uploading a product and waiting for someone to buy it. You have to get visibility so that users decide to buy it, “says Nacho Somalo, expert in digital transformation and founder of Lonesome Digital, a consulting and support company in digital marketing. There are several ways to achieve this:
● With own means: it is the simplest and most organic way and consists in that the publication of posts about the products encourages the user to buy.
● With earned media: Followers of the company profile share posts and recommend products.
● With paid media: it consists of hiring advertising on the networks to reach more users and have a quick impact. The minimum investments are around 200 or 300 euros per month.
Another way to achieve greater visibility is through influencers , users with profiles that attract mass followers and who function as prescribers. 56% of network users follow an influencer , according to the IAB Spain study. “It is about collaborating with influential people in the area that interests us, in exchange for products or financial incentives,” says Eva Rodríguez.
It is important to know how many followers you have and what your interests are. “Micro influencers who have between 10,000 and 40,000 followers are used a lot . It is a quick way to reach thousands of people and in general there is usually an interesting return for companies ”, adds the communication director of Wonder World Media.
A social network for each product or service
Despite the fact that companies in general prefer Facebook and Instagram, according to the IAB Spain study, “depending on the type of product you want to sell, it is convenient to be on one or another social network,” says Nacho Somalo. It is also important to adapt the message to each one.
Facebook : the most universal, where you can bet on any product (from acquiring a fashion accessory to booking a hotel room or buying a technological device) or service (hiring the assistance of a consultancy or signing up for a course, among others ).
Instagram and Pinterest : their strong point is the image, which is why they work well with visually striking products, such as fashion , jewelry, cosmetics or art.
WhastApp : supports a multitude of possibilities, from plane tickets, hotel stays, to training courses or the promotion of small proximity stores.
LinkedIn – Ideal for products related to training or career advice.
Twitter : it is the most informative and the least commercial. It is usually used for the promotion and sale of applications.
Tik Tok : until the beginning of the very common pandemic among adolescents, but after confinement, adults have also begun to create and consume content in it. Fashion products, cosmetics and even English classes have a place in this network, which prioritizes the publication of humorous gags made by the users themselves.
YouTube : the moving image is the reason for the existence of this platform, therefore, the products that best fit in it are those that are related to technology, music or fashion.
MARKETPLACES, WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Amazon , eBay or AliExpress are three of the most famous online sales spaces , or marketplaces , on the Internet. Their objective is to put those who want to sell a product or service in contact with those who want to buy it. “Selling there is simple, but the competition is fierce, so the important thing is to show a good product at a good price,” explains Nacho Somalo.
These platforms charge a commission that ranges around 15% of the price of the final product (including VAT and shipping costs). Although some of these marketplaces vary this percentage.
The key to reaching the largest number of potential buyers is to have a good positioning to appear among the first positions in Internet searches. This can be achieved through SEO techniques, such as optimal web design or the correct use of keywords in the product description. Also redirecting potential buyers from social networks, where it is convenient to have a good number of followers.