Podcast Ep. 34: How to Leverage Social Media for Sales (Without Paid Advertising)

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It should come as no surprise that consumers use social media to discover and shop brands they love. I do it, you probably do it, and your next customer is doing it right now. So how do you get your own brand to stand out in the social commerce game? In today’s episode, I’m sharing some of my best strategies for leveraging social media so you can make more sales for your fashion brand.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The #1 Email Marketing Strategy for Fashion Brands

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TRANSCRIPT

It should come as no surprise that consumers use social media to discover and shop brands they love. I do it, you probably do it, and your next customer is doing it right now. So how do you get your own brand to stand out in the social commerce game? In today’s episode, I’m sharing some of my best strategies for leveraging social media so you can make more sales for your fashion brand.

According to Hootsuite, 76.8% of global internet users purchased a product online in 2020. I honestly don’t know how that number isn’t 100% but that’s still a pretty high stat. More specifically, 70% of shopping enthusiasts use Instagram to discover brands and products. 

The pandemic showed us that it’s no longer an option to rely solely on a brick and mortar retail strategy – that means selling your brand from a physical store. I truly believe that you must have an online presence to be successful in the modern-day fashion industry.

The general strategy of social media selling looks like this:

  1. You can promote an ecommerce destination, like your Shopify website, and drive traffic to it from your social media accounts
  2. You can sell your products directly on social media (this is called Social Commerce)
  3. You can use social media to communicate with your customers, field questions, respond to complaints and conduct customer service
  4. You can collect insights about your industry (your audience, competitors, demographics, etc.)

Your specific strategy can look like one of these things, all of these things or a combination of a couple of things. But in my humble opinion, you need to at least choose one.

So that begs the question, once you start using social media to sell what are some specific strategies to use?

1.  Let’s start with my favorite strategy, which if you know anything about what I teach or have listened to this podcast before, you know how big a proponent I am of growing and using your email list.

You can go back to episode 13  (I’ll link to it in the description below) but the general gist is that your email list is one of the most valuable marketing assets that you own. As a reminder, you don’t own your social media accounts or your content but you do own your email list. And getting into the inboxes of people who have willingly subscribed to your email list is one of the most powerful ways to generate sales.

So how do you combine your email list with your social media strategy? By driving your social media followers to your website where they can subscribe (or opt-in) to your email list. You can then continue to follow up with them via email to get them familiar with your brand, introduce them to your products and if done right, make the sale. While social media may have a higher engagement rate, marketing studies are still showing in 2022 that email has a higher conversion rate. And conversion = revenue for your business.

2.  The second strategy for leveraging social media for more sales is using Instagram Live. Again, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but are you actually using it? My husband loves to say “Instagram is the new QVC” (he’s not on social media personally but he does have an ecommerce company and uses IG Live to sell).

So yeah, Instagram Live is a way of selling your products live by getting in front of the camera, wearing or showing off what your brand sells and then directing people from Instagram with a link to your website. There are so many different ways to do this – ranging from simply modeling the garments and talking about the fit, to showing close-ups of the fabric and details to having someone else wearing the clothing and talking about.

3.  On that same note, but as strategy #3, you can also do this by partnering with influencers or other complementary but non-competing brands. Host a joint Instagram Live to promote your brand and products, you can also do this in Instagram Stories where it’s more planned and less off the cuff. Just remember that when it comes to any partnership or collaboration, make sure you have the deliverables and expectations for each party very clearly defined, typed out and agreed upon.

4.  The fourth strategy is social commerce, in other words selling directly from Instagram. This strategy is pretty straight forward – you create a Product Catalog and link it to your Instagram account where you can sell direct. You can tag products in your Instagram content and your followers can click to shop. I won’t get into the exact step by step but if you Google “How to set up Instagram Shopping” there are multiple tutorials to get you started. 

5.  And the fifth and final strategy for today’s episode is short-form video content. This could be Instagram Stories, reels or grid posts, as well as Tiktok. All of the social media platforms are really pushing short-form video – YouTube has even introduced YouTube Shorts – and that push isn’t likely to go away. That’s all to say, it’s worth investing your time into learning how to make a reel or at least investing some of your startup capital to outsourcing this task.

Here’s the thing, I often get asked about paid advertising and how to run Facebook and Instagram ads. People often look at paid ads as the magic wand they’re not waving, but I will tell you, first hand, and our Factory45 Mentors will say the same thing, paid advertising is not the answer or holy grail you may think it is. It takes a lot of money and time to test ads and actually see a return and that’s why I will always, first and foremost, promote organic social media strategies like the five I just went through. You are so much more likely to see a return on your time and effort faster and more efficiently.

Can I ask you a quick favor? If you’ve listened to more than five episodes of this podcast would you be so kind as to leave a review? It helps more people find out about the podcast which then incentives me to keep creating new free content for you. 

And if you’re interested in learning more about the Factory45 program and how we can help you go from idea to raising money and launching, you can book a free discovery call with our Director of Enrollment to learn more. Just go to factory45.co/apply