Sham, the don of using social networks to sell goods, has worked with many online businesses in his day. He knows his stuff, and in five easy steps he is going to tell you all you need to know about making your business rock, online.
Whatever your business, whether it’s clothing, food, art, time machines and or so forth, you can prosper, as long as you go about it the right way. There are so many different methods to achieving ‘success’ online. There’s no one way, but here are my ace (if I don’t say so myself) pointers on how to shift units (*cha-ching*):
1. OWNING SOCIAL MEDIA
If you haven’t got a Instagram, Facebook and/or a Twitter page for your business by now, you should.
No social network platform is better than another. It’s actually better to have more than one because they all have their own benefits and attributes.
It’s all about visual creativity showing off a product/service that looks attractive and stops people right in their tracks.
Instagram’s news feed is very active. People keep scrolling and scrolling until they find something that catches their eye and gives them a reason to stop. For food, makeup and clothing businesses, Instagram is the prize for yo’ eyes.
SO LOOK TASTY AND BEAUTIFUL.
Here’s some awesome examples:
It’s all about engagement. It’s best to hit up people who would be interested in your product and putit on a plate for them. It is also a wicked place to talk to your customers directly. Also, it’s good practice to use Twitter to provide direct customer service for your product/business.
Twitter is rife (get it?) with businesses, organisations and everyday people, so don’t forget to represent your product, but don’t forget to be human too. It’s nice to have a laugh or general convo with your followers.
Just look at these beauties:
Imagine Twitter and Instagram’s baby, that’s Facebook. You can be flexible in terms of being visual and communicating with others.
Pages don’t always get a lot of attention because of Facebook’s newsfeed being poo, but it is super awesome when it does work. Facebook is perfect for businesses that needs a visual representation of what it is.
Due to Facebook’s structure, photos and videos can be uploaded, captions can be added, and conversations and privates messages can be sent with ease.
So communication and sales between you and your customers can be done efficiently and quickly and that should be utilised. For organisations that revolve around news, public figures and services (eg YouTubers, photography or Rife Magazine obvs) Facebook is the right way to go.
Check these out:
2. Build your audience EMPIRE
Social media is a beautiful, easy way to get your stuff seen by loads of people.
When it comes to promotion, always start off at home. On your own social networks, boast the heck out of your new awesome-super-unique-cool product/business to friends, family and random people you don’t know who somehow made it onto your friends list and get them talking about it.
THEN TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND GET (ASK) THEM TO JOIN…
…take over the world!…in a nice way.
To build up your following, do shout-outs and get shouted out. Ask your mates to spread the word and use hashtags to get on all sorts of bandwagons. When you’re super-interesting, followers will roll in. It can be quick, or it can be not so quick, but my dear friend, it is all about persistence, so stick at it.
Oh yeah, follow your followers and random other people too. The internet can be a nice and friendly place; make sure that doesn’t change, please. People will remember you that way, weirdly enough. You remember your first Facebook friend? Tom from Myspace? That mate that shouted you out? Of course you do.
3. You are a window shop
As soon as someone clicks on your page, you have 10 seconds to convince them that you are the coolest thing since Kanye West discovering his love for himself.
Share awesome, funny photos/videos. Talk current events/trends regularly. Don’t be boring.
Do plenty research on pages that are similar to yours that have a huge following and look at what they’re doing right. Learn from it. Don’t post too much or too little either.
Just be consistent…people appreciate it and remember you that way.
People aren’t just interested in your finished product. They like to see things develop.
Show some behind-the-scenes moments, or show that you’re at an event or even some positive customer reviews. It’s proof that people are buying your stuff and liking it, and this can set a trend for potential customers.
4. Be You, the professional you.
Everything you say and do can be held against you, so make it all good stuff.
Just so you know what to do and what not to do, I’ve written a little list for you.
5. NO MONEY, NO HONEY
At one point or another, you will find someone trying to rip you off. That’s just the way the world is. Fear not. Let’s not give them the chance. You’ve worked hard after all.
There’s a slight difference between selling products and selling services online, here we go:
When starting fresh, whether you’re accepting straight cash or a direct debit, take a deposit. This ensures your service reservation is official and provides both you and your customer with comfort and a deal that’s set in stone (at least, kinda’ set in stone).
With some services it’s better to take payment before it is actually provided, just for security’ sakes (for you and the customer). If you’re unable to take the payment before, give your lovely customer a handshake (or hug) and an invoice and take the payment as soon as possible.
If you don’t know what an invoice is or don’t know how to make one, don’t worry…I got your back:
With products, it’s straight and simple: don’t give anything without payment in full. Operate as a professional 120% no-messing-about business. No matter who the customer is, there should be no exceptions. you can offer discounts and offers, but as the header says: no money, no honey.
Remember to provide receipts after purchase, and keep in contact with your customers.
Ask customers to review your product or the service provided, then get permission to make the review public. After all, if you can actually have a human saying that your product is the most awesome thing ever, it should be heard across the globe.
The easiest way to take payments online is via Paypal. It’s a safe (worldwide used) medium that deals with payments online so you don’t have to.
If selling through Paypal, customers can pay for your goods online via card rather than having to go to the bank or getting cash out and driving all the way out to you. If set up, it’s literally a matter of sending your client a link via email or getting them to click a button and filling in some details. Then voilà, $£$£.
Then theres Etsy, which is basically an online supermarket (for products only).
Etsy is a giant online independent version of House of Fraser, except with your own little store inside. You get your own cool page that you control, plus you can link up all your social networks too.
Customers are free to rate your products, and that’s a good thing, provided that you’re a good thing.
Both Paypal and Etsy take a small cut off your sales. For each individual sale on Paypal, 3.4% of the total transaction + 20p on top of that. Whereas on Etsy, they take 13p per product posted on their site for every four months and 3.5% of the total transaction. It can sound complicated, but don’t worry it’s not all that bad.
For the time it saves and the sheer simplicity of it, it is definitely worth it, dude.
In place of these rules, you’ll need to acknowledge that this is ultimately just business, and although there are many little rules (emphasis on ‘little’) you are providing a quality and kick-ass service because of them.
You rock and you need to make the customer see that you rock.
Give customers love, let them know that they made the right choice choosing you and make sure your journey finishes with them with a huge smile on both your faces. All businesses should conclude with both the customer and business benefiting. It is all worth it in the end when someone is happy and content with your hard work, so take it all in dude, take it all in.
Did this help out? You make any new sales or boost your follower count? Or do you have any more pointers to add to this list? Hit us up @rifemag (on Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr) or at Rife Magazine (on Facebook) and tell us all about your experiences with your business or other businesses on the social media world.