The emergence of online shopping platforms like Amazon has taken the headache out of looking for a product and added the convenience of home delivery. Eighty-one percent of people in the United States have a social media profile, and social media platforms have become another method for consumers to look for and purchase products. Whether you're operating an e-commerce website or running your own brick-and-mortar business, extending your social media presence and setting up online stores can add convenience and make connecting with customers even easier.
Social media spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $17.34 billion in 2019, according to Statista. It's a compelling market, and luckily, some solutions have emerged to help you merge your online store with your social media accounts. If you're looking to head up social media selling on your own, whether through advertising or establishing online stores on sites like Facebook or Pinterest, check out our guides to using Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest business accounts. By establishing a business account, you can connect with customers without having to pay extra for another software.
If you're too busy or not the most tech-savvy business owner, some social media selling solutions can get your store up and running so you don't have to worry about connecting with customers. A lot of these solutions require little oversight and maintenance. Once you set up your account, you can go about running your business without having to constantly do upkeep on a store on social media.
The price will vary depending on which solution you choose. Most don't list their prices online, but you can usually request a demo to try out the service and decide whether it's right for your business. Before you purchase anything, make sure it works for you and your business – sometimes, establishing business accounts on different social media sites can provide you with all the engagement you need.
Shopial is a platform that integrates your online store with your Facebook page. It curates your products and features them so users can make purchases directly from the social media sites. You can install the Shopial Facebook app into a new tab on your page, and shoppers will be able to view and purchase products. This platform can also handle advertising on Facebook. If you click Promote, Shopial will design and organize your Facebook ads for a product. If you sync Shopial with Pinterest, it will turn your products into optimized pins. Shopial also offers custom reporting, so you can track your ad performance and campaigns. This platform integrates with Etsy, Shopify, eBay and Magento, so you can easily track data in one place. Shopial provides tools so you can worry about your own online store without having to handle social media selling as well.
Soldsie turns your Instagram feed into a shoppable list of products, so your users can make purchases directly within Instagram. This added convenience can drive sales to your business. Soldsie provides your business with a unique link feature in your bio called Have2Have.it. When users click on this link, it opens your feed and makes your posts and comments clickable. This is an ideal service for an e-commerce platform with a strong Instagram presence or a publisher looking to push more content on Instagram. The only barrier of this service is that a user must be on your profile to click the link – they can't do it from one of your posts that appears in their feed. Soldsie offers a 30-day free trial, and it uses a pay-per-click model that charges a monthly fee based on how many clicks a link garners. Soldsie also integrates with Shopify.
Olapic is a platform that allows you to curate user content and then transition your feed into an e-commerce selling solution. It collects images and videos customers share so you can view the best content involving your products. From here, you can request rights by commenting on a post with the hashtag #sharemyphoto. If the user agrees, you can then feature their post on your own feed and activate it so other customers can purchase products directly from your store. You can add a store link to your bio and build your feed to draw more customers. Olapic also offers some advanced features, like data and analytics, scheduled social media posts, and integration with your e-commerce site. To get started with Olapic, you can request a demo.
Much like Shopial, Beetailer is a platform that can handle selling your products on Facebook. It integrates with your e-commerce store and manages sales on your social media sites. Once you set up the account, you don't have to do anything – Beetailer curates your products based on your site's inventory. Besides adding a store to your Facebook page, Beetailer provides tools to run promotions and integrate Facebook back into your own website. This easy access can help customers drive discussion about your brand.
Unlike Shopial, Beetailer provides its pricing directly on its website. It offers three plans, including a free option for one store featuring up to 30 products. There's also a 14-day free trial, so you can try Beetailer and see how it fits into your workflow.
Inselly curates your Instagram posts into an online platform. It's a simple service – when you add #Inselly to a post, it will appear on your online store on Inselly.com. Once you've established a profile, you can add product descriptions, pricing and other details to each item. Include the link to your store in your bio so your customers can easily find what products they're looking for. The best part about Inselly is that it's completely free – users can create a mobile-friendly store, add an unlimited number of listings and adjust delivery options all with a basic Inselly plan. Inselly can only be used with Instagram.
Chirpify differs from some of the other solutions on this list in that it focuses on driving discussion about your business as opposed to converting a social media page into a web store. You can use this platform to listen to and analyze what customers are saying about your business and issue incentives to help drive discussion. Chirpify integrates multiple social media channels and manages customer profiles so you can get a better understanding of the online habits of your buyers. The platform allows you to manage multiple customers across multiple channels and issue discounts and incentives to customers who use a particular hashtag, refer a friend or promote your products. The CRM features of this software also allow for enriched data about your customers. While Chirpify offers robust features, it may be geared more for enterprises than small businesses. You can request a demo to see if Chirpify is right for your business.
Small business owners can use Heyo to create Facebook campaigns and promotions to drive sales. Heyo's online platform provides templates and intuitive drag-and-drop features to make designing campaigns easy. Heyo is an ideal app for small business owners without design experience looking to run original campaigns and promotions through Facebook. Once you've created a campaign, you can publish it directly to Facebook. Heyo's campaigns are responsive – they adjust and fit to both mobile and desktop screens, so your customers will have easy access to promotion information regardless of what device they're on.
Heyo offers multiple plans with varying features, the most basic of which is $25 per month, billed annually. It also offers a seven-day free trial.
A lot of these solutions will complement your e-commerce platform well. They can make the buying experience more convenient for your customers, and with their custom analytics and reporting, you can manage customer behavior and interaction across multiple platforms. We featured some free solutions, but if you're still testing the waters with your business, try setting up business accounts on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
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