What is the Key to Social Selling? Get Your Product Content Right

October 9, 2019

By: Brendan Murray,
Author Title: 
Content Marketing Manager
, Akeneo
Social Selling Success | Akeneo on the Magento Blog

Welcome to the age of social media. Already, nearly 3.5 billion people around the world use social media to find new fashions and styles that catch their eye, follow the activity of their friends and family (or their favorite celebrity), and keep up with news and current events.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have long served as a source of inspiration for future purchases. Last year roughly half of internet users between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine told researchers they have purchased an item they saw on a social media, and even more, have purchased an item they saw on a friend’s feed. But now, these platforms are becoming even more powerful purchasing tools.

Especially in industries like beauty, fashion, home goods, sporting goods, and tech, which are already heavily promoted on these social platforms—they key is to give customers the right product content and enough of it.

Get Your Product Content Right

Social media has provided unprecedented access to consumers and proved an invaluable channel for connecting with them. With social selling, merchants can go beyond mere advertising and provide direct access to their products. The product content on your social channels should reflect the compelling shopping experiences that you offer in your other channels. You should be prepared to provide stunning images and videos and thorough product details if you want your social selling to succeed.

As we say at Akeneo there’s no one experience to rule them all. Rather, your team needs to present the right experience for each selling channel including social media. You can do this by putting information in the proper context and using each channel’s features and capabilities to provide a seamless and enjoyable experience to customers.

Selling on Facebook

There’s no doubt that when it comes to reaching customers around the globe, Facebook spans the farthest. As of April 2019, the Mark Zuckerberg-founded social network had surpassed 2.3 billion total users and was the only network to boast more than two billion active accounts.

But forging a connection with this legion of users isn’t as simple as pressing the “update” button. You’ll need to create and manage a Facebook-specific product catalog if you want to sell on the site, which will require rich, accurate, and consistent product data. To prepare for this, make sure your visual product assets and product information are formatted per Facebook parameters and not siloed in spreadsheets and other legacy product information solutions.

Selling on Instagram

Like parent company Facebook, Instagram has a wider reach than most other social networks, with more than 1 billion active accounts as of April 2019. It also has a particularly dedicated following in the worlds of fashion, home goods, and health and wellness, among others. What’s more, the platform’s users often become customers. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Instagram users report making purchase decisions based on something that they saw while browsing the app.

With the newly added Instagram shopping feature, which allows users to buy products directly from brands without ever leaving the Instagram app, brands can use these high-quality assets not just to advertise their products but to sell them as well. Using information from the Facebook product catalog discussed earlier. Images are obviously king on Instagram, and videos are also a strong method of displaying your products and accentuating their best attribute.

Selling on Pinterest

While Pinterest may not boast the same volume of users as Facebook and Instagram, weighing in with just 250 million active users, the users the site does tend to become buyers of products they see on the platform.

According to Hootsuite, 55% of Pinterest users visit the site specifically to look for new products to purchase, more than four times the number of users who say the same for other social platforms. To make sure that your products are capturing the attention of these highly motivated users, product assets will be as crucial as they are on Instagram because Pinterest is an image-heavy platform. Enticing, descriptive content will also be crucial on Pinterest, so be sure to include product descriptions that are emotionally compelling and make users want to spend some of their hard-earned coin on your products.

Selling on LinkedIn

Known for helping professionals make connections, LinkedIn has become a powerful social media network for B2B selling. The platform, which boasts nearly 600 million active accounts as of the start of this year, has become a hotbed of networking, collaboration, and of course, social selling. 

Of course, social selling success on LinkedIn starts with optimizing your own personal information to drive sales inquiries — but product information is still crucial here. Like with other platforms, it’s important to make sure your social content isn’t just emotionally resonant, but accurate and consistent. B2B users, in particular, need to feel assured that they are getting exactly what they’re after before making a purchase. It’s also crucial to tailor that information specifically to the business-focused context of LinkedIn. You’ll need to craft posts that appeal to your colleagues and fellow professionals — not photos designed to add more followers or show off your sense of style.

Get Your PIM and PXM Game on Point

Each of the platforms we’ve discussed so far can help you catch the attention of shoppers spending time scrolling through social media posts and platforms. But catching their attention won’t do you much good if your product information isn’t accurate, consistent, and high-quality.

If your product information isn’t up to par, shoppers won’t convert into customers. They’ll struggle to find your products via search engines or other means of discovery, and even if they do make their way to your eCommerce site, they’ll likely abandon the purchase.

Product Information Management (PIM) and Product Experience Management (PXM) are crucial to creating amazing shopping experiences on social. Simply put, PIM and PXM mean keeping thorough and organized information on your products, including visual assets. Once you have your information in order, you can feed it to social channels, simplifying and speeding up the social selling process greatly.

If you don’t think customers care, consider that nearly one-third (32%) of consumers said they had abandoned a planned purchase due to incorrect or inconsistent product data or descriptions.  They’ll do the same on social.

About Akeneo

Akeneo PIM and PXM can help your team centralize product information, streamline enrichment and spread contextualized data to your social sales channels. It also helps brands and retailers create the customized omnichannel experiences that customers now expect. Stop using outdated tools to manage product data and revolutionize how you handle product information with PIM. Get your product information and product experience ready for social selling! Learn how PIM and PXM can help your team conquer these new sales channels with relative ease by reading our blog on Turning A New Commerce Channel Into A Success, or get in touch today!