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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 15 April 2024
  • Public Relations

How to Sell Successfully and Grow Your Audience on Social Media

In the digital age, small businesses are constantly on the hunt for effective strategies to stand out in the crowded social media landscape. The key? Transforming your social media platforms into a top sales funnel for business leads.


This not only boosts revenue but also amplifies your brand's recognition by growing your audience base on your social media channels. Whether you're a novice just beginning your journey or an experienced entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level, this blog post will provide you with actionable tips and insights on how to harness the power of social media commerce successfully.

Ready to dive into the world of social media selling and audience growth? Let's get started!

What Is Social Media Selling?

Social media selling means selling your product, brand or message on social media platforms. Methods to carry out social media selling involve engaging in various forms of social media marketing.

To do this effectively, you need to understand your target audience overall and how they use each of the platforms. Your social media marketing strategy will need to be thought out and planned accordingly. 

Overarching Social Selling Strategies

You don’t have to be on every single social media platform to sell your product. But for the ones you do choose (Hint: Pick the platforms that most closely align with your target audience’s social habits.), here are some overall guidelines.

Experiment with Innovative Social Media Commerce Actors

Snapchat and Pinterest both continue to play to their core strengths while they roll out interesting and innovative social commerce tools for business professionals. Snapchat as a digital “camera company” and Pinterest as an online inspiration board have stayed true to their original positioning while finding ways to convert their own unique brand of viewers into purchasers. And before you think that is the end of the list, TikTok has now entered the social commerce playing field.

In addition to its own suite of rich, shoppable ad units, Snapchat’s built-in augmented reality features give shoppers the power to virtually “try on” everything from clothing to jewelry. For anyone who wants to see what they look like in a new dress, watch or hat before they buy it, Snapchat makes it possible with this amazing and amazingly practical technology.

Pinterest allows you to easily turn your entire product catalog into shoppable Pins all at once, as well as integrate seamlessly with Shopify. Pinterest also allows retailers to create Shoppable Pins that allow them to tag up to 25 shoppable items in one photo.

TikTok has capitalized on its viral video fame and begun its pivot toward social commerce, with easy plug-ins and connectivity with Shopify as well.

Optimize Your Organic Social Media Reach

Beyond unleashing some of the paid advertising reach and special features of the top five social commerce players, there are a number of things you can do to solidify your existing organic social media footprint.

Make sure you are linking to your e-commerce websites in your profiles.

Analyze your engagements. If you find that certain products are performing well in organic, extend that love with a paid media push and a social commerce “buy now” call to action.

Use your organic social media to converse with your shoppers, ask questions and mine for insights. One well-placed comment could uncover an unmet consumer need, leading to product innovation and a whole new revenue stream for your social commerce.

Think Visual First

No matter what social commerce platform(s) you choose, there are several best practices that they share in common. Perhaps none is more important than thinking in terms of “visual-first,” because social media is an extremely visual medium.

The basic premise of selling merchandise, whether it is featured in-store, in a catalog or on social commerce, is to make it look as appealing as possible.

The analogy of a catalog is apt. It is the image that evokes an emotional response and pulls you in, not the words that describe the product. To that end, here are some ways to dial up your visual game when it comes to selling products on social media commerce platforms.

Make the product the hero and feature it prominently in your social media accounts and shopping ad units.

Consider investing in a product photographer who can make your products shine.

Think about purchasing your own equipment to create your own mini product photography studio.

Emulate the brands that leverage social media well. Study their photography style as well as the way they create collections, carousels, static ads, videos and more. Social media is, after all, a world of inspiration at your fingertips.

Transform Influencers into Social Media Commerce Sales Reps

Today’s tastemakers in the world of social media and social commerce are always on the lookout for brand partners and products to promote. After all, influencers need to influence something, and at the end of a funnel, all that content generally points toward a purchase.

As a small business owner, you do not necessarily need to go after the megastar influencers. A micro- or nano-influencer who fits your shopper profile may be easier to work with and more willing to engage with potential shoppers at a deeper level.

  • Inspiring content is the name of the game. Supply your influencer with the materials they need for entertaining unboxing experiences, interesting product facts and creative ways to showcase how your merchandise can make their fans’ lives better (once they purchase it).
  • If possible, provide an exclusive promotional or discount code that your influencers can offer to their fans and followers and that you can use to track performance.
  • One size does not fit all. Get to know your influencer’s unique style and approach and give them the freedom to be authentic while remaining in service to your social commerce goals.

With these incredibly powerful social commerce tools at your disposal, you now have the ability to target, reach and convert millions of potential shoppers on your social feeds. Social commerce will undoubtedly continue to evolve as platform technologies improve and consumer confidence in the medium continues to grow. Consider this article a quick primer on where to start looking for solutions in the world of social commerce. The real expertise will come when you dig a bit deeper, explore the wealth of tools available to you and experience the world of social commerce firsthand for your small business.

Instagram and Facebook Social Selling Strategies

In an increasingly digital world, Instagram and Facebook have become indispensable tools for small businesses looking to broaden their reach, build relationships and increase sales.

These social platforms offer a plethora of selling strategies that can be tailored to your business's unique needs, helping you engage with your target audience in meaningful ways.

Whether you're just starting out or looking to revamp your online social media presence, understanding how to leverage Instagram and Facebook effectively can make all the difference in your social media strategy.

In this section, we'll delve into practical strategies for building relationships and utilizing these social media giants to bolster your business's growth and profitability.

Create Shoppable Posts for Your Target Audience

Instagram allows businesses to create shoppable posts in which users can click on items in images and be taken directly to a page where they can purchase the product. This feature integrates seamless shopping experiences into the social media platform, making it easier for users to buy what they see.

Leverage Stories and Highlights

Businesses can use Instagram Stories and Highlights to showcase their products, behind-the-scenes looks, customer testimonials and more. These features are an excellent way to engage with followers on a deeper level and offer content that does not always fit within the feed aesthetic.

Consider Facebook Shop and Marketplace for Social Selling

Facebook Marketplace is an open exchange where Facebook users can buy and sell new and used items locally. By listing your products on Marketplace, you can reach buyers where they already are.

Facebook Shop is a section of your professional Facebook Page, where potential customers can browse your catalog and make a purchase. It allows businesses to list their products and link them directly to their online storefronts.

Live Shopping on Social Media Platforms

Live shopping combines the best of live-streaming video and commerce. Think of it as your own personal TV shopping network channel for your fans and targeted prospects.

With live shopping in your social commerce mix, you can demonstrate products, converse with your customers and answer questions in real time.

TikTok Selling Strategies

Shifting focus to the rapidly growing platform of our times, let's explore how TikTok can serve as a powerful avenue for small businesses to drive sales and engage with their targeted audience through innovative selling strategies.

Understand the TikTok Platform for Social Selling

Get to know how the platform operates and all the metrics available to you as a small business owner. Here's a breakdown:

Profile views

One of the first indicators of your TikTok presence and visibility is the number of profile views you get. This metric shows how many people have clicked on your profile icon or username to learn more about you and your brand.

It can also reflect the quality and relevance of your content, as well as your use of hashtags, keywords and calls to action. To increase your profile views, you should optimize your bio, profile picture and link and post consistently and creatively.

Video views

Another important metric to track is the number of video views you generate. This metric shows how many times your videos have been watched, either on the For You page, the Following page or your profile page.

It can also indicate the level of interest and awareness your content creates among your target audience. To boost your video views, you should follow the latest trends, challenges and sounds and use catchy captions, thumbnails and hashtags.

Engagement rate

Engagement rate is a measure of how much your audience interacts with your content. It includes likes, comments, shares and saves. This metric shows how well your content resonates with your viewers and how likely they are to become loyal fans and customers.

It can also help you identify the most popular and effective types of content, as well as the best times and frequencies to post. To improve your engagement rate, you should encourage user-generated content, collaborations and feedback and respond to comments and direct messages.

Followers and fans

Followers and fans are the people who have chosen to follow your account and see your content on their feeds. This metric shows how much trust and credibility you have built with your audience and how likely they are to recommend you to others.

It can also help you segment and target your prospects based on their demographics, interests and behaviors. To grow your followers and fans, you should offer value, entertainment and education and create a community around your brand.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of your followers or viewers who take a desired action, such as visiting your website, signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase. This metric shows how effective your social selling strategy is at generating leads and sales and how well you align your content with your goals.

It can also help you optimize your landing pages, offers and calls to action and track your return on investment. To increase your conversion rate, you should use clear and compelling CTAs, trackable links and incentives.

Virality rate

Virality rate is the ratio of the number of shares your content receives to the number of views it gets. This metric shows how much your content spreads beyond your own followers and how much potential it has to reach new and wider audiences.

It can also help you identify the best practices and elements that make your content viral, such as humor, emotion or novelty. To enhance your virality rate, you should leverage the power of hashtags, challenges and duets and create content that is relatable, shareable and memorable.

Craft Authentic, Video-First Content

While you can upload photos to the platform in a slideshow, TikTok is a video-first platform. 

Stay authentic, even while trying to capitalize on trends. Hubspot's Social Team and Marketer Data's 13 Best TikTok Tips & Tricks include:

  1.  Find the right niche.
  2.  Don't delete low-performing videos.
  3.  Post at the right time.
  4.  Stitch top-performing or relevant videos.
  5.  Use the green screen effect.
  6.  Leverage trending audio.
  7.  Try vlog-style videos.
  8.  Incorporate both niche and trending hashtags.
  9.  Respond to comments with videos.
  10.  Add value with 'How To' TikToks.
  11.  Leave a CTA (Call to Action) in your description and/or comments.
  12.  Add subtitles to your videos.
  13.  Explore top-performing videos in your niche for inspiration.

Utilize the Platform's Business Tools

Businesses can use TikTok to promote their products or services by creating engaging and entertaining videos that resonate with their target audience.

TikTok offers several tools and features that businesses can use to create their content, including:

Hashtag challenges: A popular way to engage with social media users and encourage them to create their content around a specific theme or topic.

Influencer partnerships: Partnering with popular TikTok users to promote your products or services can be an effective way to generate leads, build brand awareness and reach a wider audience.

Advertising: TikTok offers various advertising options, including in-feed ads, brand takeovers and sponsored hashtag challenges.

TikTok's business model is based on user engagement. The more users engage with your content, the more likely it is to be seen by a wider audience. Therefore, it is essential to create engaging content that resonates with your target audience.

By understanding TikTok's business model and using its features and tools effectively, businesses can create a successful TikTok marketing strategy.

TikTok Shop is a one-stop e-commerce solution for driving more sales and brand growth on TikTok. TikTok Shop inspires shoppers through entertainment and guides them to discover brands and products. It's where users can discover new brands and products recommended by the TikTok community.

TikTok Shop allows sellers to sell products directly on TikTok through in-feed videos, LIVES and the Showcase tab. It enables product discovery, product details, checkout and post-payment activities all within the TikTok app.

Understand your audience metrics for TikTok. These include:

  • Reach
  • Frequency
  • The cost per 1000 people reached
  • Average watch time per person
  • LIVE unique views
  • Audience estimation (learn more here).
  • Cross-campaign reach
  • Reach by data dimension

X (Twitter) Social Selling Strategies

Diving into the realm of small businesses, here we explore the powerful and game-changing social selling tools and strategies that X, formerly known as Twitter, has to offer.

Use Hashtags Effectively

One of the best things you can do to drive organic reach and sales is to use hashtags your audience relates to or is using.  A hashtag is a search feature, at its roots. 

Tweet (X) Like a Real Person and Engage Regularly

To create your business's voice on social media, one that people remember and helps increase engagement, you need to speak their language. So Tweet like a real person. Make sure to maintain your business’s authenticity and ask the following questions:

  • Do your Tweets read as if they come from your brand or a robot?
  • Are they random and disjointed?
  • Is there a central, human voice?
  • Is it apparent what your business is all about?

Participate in chats and threads. Increasing your X engagement organically with your target audience means more than just posting more content. It also involves creating a community and actively engaging with that community on a daily (or weekly) basis.

People appreciate hearing back from a brand when they've reached out on X. A good reply can be just as (or more) successful than a good Tweet.

Learn more strategies around responding to customer mentions on X.

Share high-quality, relevant content. Content on X moves fast. How are you going to stop the scroll? Utilizing engaging media content such as GIFs, videos and memes will help to improve your organic X engagement immediately.

One easy way to generate ideas and create great video content is to monitor what's popular across top accounts on X or keep an eye on what's trending.

You can also utilize X analytics, which provides a ton of useful information that can help you create meaningful Tweets that will resonate with your target audience.

Leverage Ads and Provide Exclusive Deals and Offers

Reward your followers, new and existing, for keeping up with your brand or following you on X with exclusive deals or in-feed ads.

Pinterest Social Selling Strategies

Delving into the vibrant world of small businesses, we now turn our spotlight toward Pinterest – of unique selling strategies that are transforming the way businesses connect with their audiences.

Optimize Pinterest SEO

Pinterest, like Google, uses a search algorithm to determine how pins are displayed. Make sure your pins, boards and even your profile are SEO-optimized with keywords that your target audience might use to find products or services like yours.

Here is a helpful guide on how to make your Pinterest pins SEO-optimized.

Utilize Rich Pins

Rich pins provide more context about an idea because they show extra information directly on the pin. There are four types of rich pins: app, product, recipe and article.

Product pins can include real-time pricing, availability and purchase information to enhance the shopping experience.

Leverage Pinterest Ads and Promoted Pins

Pinterest ads, or promoted pins, are normal pins that businesses pay to promote so that more people see them. These pins will appear in more places on Pinterest and increase visibility for what you're selling, leading to increased sales and audience growth.

Selling platforms can seem like a challenge at first, but many businesses like yours have learned it step-by-step and benefited from its resourcefulness.

In the end, social selling is just one element in your overall marketing strategy. Learn more about how The UPS Store is here to help your marketing efforts.

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