The Social Sale

If you thought social media was just about being social, think again. Today it’s about “social selling.” Previously denounced from social content, the social sale is now accepted—and even demanded—by our consumers.

Given that social networking takes up nearly a quarter of all time spent online and reaches more than 75 per cent of all Internet users, the development of the likes of Facebook and Twitter into sales channels could see you make a compelling uplift in sales.

Here’s a run-down of the four key platforms breaking the e-commerce mould with Buy buttons. Some of these are in beta only, but it helps to have your finger on the pulse of such developments, so that you can steal a march over your competitors when these products are pushed out to the wider business world:


Facebook doesn’t want you to ever leave Facebook—not to look at photos, nor to read the news, nor to chat with friends—and now you don’t even have to leave to buy a product. The social giant’s new Buy button (and associated e-commerce infrastructure) lets you make a purchase directly on the site. Once you click the button, which is currently being tested with select small business partners, a pop-up will prompt you to confirm payment and shipping info, before completing your purchase whilst remaining completely contained with Facebook’s secure environment.


Twitter is now in the process of integrating with Shopify and other e-commerce software companies to offer its Buy buttons to a much wider range of businesses, big and small. What’s more, Twitter recognises that a buyable tweet may not offer sufficient exposure to products, and has responded with product pages. These provide more information and content about a given product, including multiple tweets. What’s new here, however, is that the basic information is bolstered by the functionality to actually make a purchase.


Pinterest buyable pins do indeed look similar to any other Pin on the network—except that in addition to the familiar red Pin It button, buyable Pins will feature a blue Buy It button.


Instragram is testing a variety of call to action (CTA) buttons, in blue, outlined font, on the bottom right of an image upload. In its official blog, mock-ups were shown of Shop Now, Install Now, Sign Up and Learn More buttons

As functions, the above represent very exciting next steps in the evolution of social media into a viable e-commerce platform. That said, advertisers simply shouldn’t lose sight of the essence of social media, if their social sale endeavours are to come to fruition.

Remember to target your ads to a relevant audience, highlight genuine product USPs and to synthesise natural online conversation with your product pushes.

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