Five Ways to Boost Online Sales With Social Media

If you’re looking for ways to expand your brand to a new audience look no further than social media. 62% of millennials say they are more likely to become a loyal customer, if a brand engages with them on social networks.   Plus, social media is where your new customers are spending most of their time. The average person spends about two hours a day on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.  Having a presence where consumers spend a lot of their time increases your brand exposure and allows you to target new clients who haven’t heard of your company before. With e-commerce projected to make up 17% of all US retail sales by 2022, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to capture new customers.  So how do you translate your social media presence into sales? Here are five ways to increase your online sales through social media. 

Use Retargeting Technology

Ever wonder why those great pair of running shoes you placed in your shopping cart follows you all over social media platforms if you don’t checkout?  The last 10 purchases I have made online have been through a social media ad, but how do they know what I want, need, and like? Companies place pixels or cookies to track your online footprint, Adweek's Josh Sternberg told TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson. "It's seeing web history, your interests, based on what you're searching for on search engines or the sites that you visit or the links that you click on."

The phenomenon is called behavorial retargeting. It's been used by advertisers for at least seven years, and it's now growing increasingly popular, as tracking technologies improve and companies spend more money advertising online. According to Dan Hecht at Hubspot, “There are tons of third-party platforms to do web and social retargeting, such as PerfectAudience, AdRoll, ReTargeter, Bizo, and many more. You can also do retargeting through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Lock in lost revenue from a customer who maybe distracted online by serving retargeted ads through social channels.

Host Social Media Competitions

Giving people an incentive to share will create more buzz about your product organically, sending more traffic to your social media platforms and your website.  Make sure the giveaway is relevant to your target market. You want to attract consumers who will become customers.

For example, if you are an Italian restaurant you would have a giveaway like, dinner for two or lunch once a month for a year!  Giving away something like a tablet, would get a lot of shares but is it reaching your pasta-loving market?

Make sure the competition requirements encourages users to engage with your social profiles like to: like your page, like the post, share the post, comment/tag other users on the post.  The more engagement your social accounts receive, the greater chance social algorithms will post them on newsfeeds increasing your brand exposure.

Hashtags, Tagging & Location

Whether it be a hashtag for a competition or one for getting your slogan out there, hashtags offer a simply way to track and quantify your content.  

A great example of hashtag success is #ShareYourEars.  For every post, Disney would donate $5 to Make-A-Wish Foundation. It went viral instantly due to having such an honorable cause.  With everyone that participated in the campaign a little over $1 million was raised. “Thanks to the millions of Disney fans who took part in this year’s #ShareYourEars campaign over the holidays, Disney Parks will once again double its original donation to Make-A-Wish® from $1 million to $2 million, which will help grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses and their families around the world”, stated Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director at Disney Parks.

By creating your own hashtag, you can guide the conversation and boost brand awareness.  Make sure not to get too crazy with the #hashtags and be sure to read them a few times out loud.  With hashtags you can’t put spaces in between words or special characters or it will render not trackable.  So be sure to make the hashtag simple and readable.

On most social media platforms, you can not only tag the business in the post but you can add the business as a location to where you are.  Tagging hyperlinks your handle name (i.e. @sawgrassmktg) and adding a location will link to a map with all other posts associated with that location.  Posts with a tagged location result in 79% higher engagement than posts without a tagged location.  

A location can expose your brand to potential customers in the area, plus it allows current customers to share their experience at your business with friends on social platforms.  Farms and pumpkin patches are all the rage during the fall season and even these farmers are wise to the social media buzz. They set up free photo opportunities for guests, with pumpkins stacked all around hay bales and their farm name on a strategically placed sign.


Once you start making sales online, the first place most consumers go after selecting an item to purchase is the reviews.  Consumers want to make sure the brand is trustworthy. According to an Olapic study, 70% of U.S.-based respondents are more likely to buy products after being exposed to a relatable or positive image created by other consumers.    Here are a few examples on different social media platforms, where reviews can be done:

Facebook & Google:  Users have the ability to give you up to a 5 star rating.  They are also able to comment with that rating. On your business page, it will show how many users have given you a rating and then the average rating based on those opinions.  An example would be 4.8 out of 5 based on the opinion of 74 people.

Twitter & Instagram: Users can share images of your product(s).  Encourage your followers to post images of their purchase and how they have enjoyed the selection they made.  They can use hashtags such as: #yourcompanyname #yourproduct and even add hashtags like #review #5starrating.

Other ways to gain more reviews is follow-up after purchases have been made.   A great way to implement this would be, adding an automated email 10 days after an online order has been shipped, asking the consumer to leave a review on FB/Google for $5 off their next order.

Customer Service

Customer Service is also still very important when it comes to online purchases. 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.

Some quick rules of thumb when engaging with consumers:

  • Respond quickly: 49.4 percent of customers would rather contact a business through a 24/7 messaging service than through the phone.  Social media platforms are striving to be more transparent to users. Facebook users can see your business's average response time and even your response rate.  Which means, how long it takes you to reply back and are you replying back to everyone who messaged your business.

  • Show personality:  Add a signature, so the consumer knows who they are talking to.  This not only creates accountability for the brand, it makes the consumer feel more than just a number.  Add some flare to the conversation by using GIFs. Creating an environment that is professional, yet friendly will keep people coming back for more.

  • Keep it positive: We hope every customer has a pleasant experience, but that may not be always the case.  Nowadays everything can be screenshot, so be careful how you handle situations on comment sections and in private messaging.   

Remember, social media was made to be SOCIAL, so most of all keep it that way.  As crazy as it sounds, the less you post about offers, deals, and sales the more your followers will be inclined to buy.  Consumers want an experience, not a “car salesman pitch” in their newsfeed. Build your target audience and help guide them through the purchasing process. By implementing these marketing tools into your social platforms, expect to see an improvement in your engagement and sales.