Social media has been a huge part of the sales cycle for quite some time now, yet 93 percent of businesses don't see social selling as a priority.
So what gives?
We spend so much time focusing on the end game of making the sale, that we forget that customers need to be nurtured in order to get there.
Social selling is all about using your platforms to attract prospects to your brand, and with over 1.5 billion social users, it's not something that should be overlooked.
As with anything in the digital universe, the world of social media is changing. As users evolve, we have to evolve with them so that we can nurture prospects through to the sale.
So what does the future look like for social selling? Take a look at my three key predictions to find out.
#1. More Emphasis on Product Photography
Did you know that tweets containing images are 94 percent more likely to be retweeted than ones without?
Visual communication is a huge deal, and it's especially prevalent in the world of E-commerce. You wouldn't try and sell a product without including an image on your site, so why would you not include product images within your social posts? One of the best places for visual selling is on Pinterest, and early adopters have found this to be a great channel to sell their products.
For example, take a look at Gap's Pinterest page and you'll see an entire feed full of different looks and enticing imagery.
The reason it works so well is because audiences are invited to create their own boards, using Gap's products, and they can click through to the site to buy that look.
The key to a successful social campaign like this is to make sure that your products look professional, enticing and are of good quality.
#2. Strategic Programmatic Ad Campaigns
Programmatic advertising looks set to rise in 2016, with plenty of businesses jumping on the bandwagon. The idea behind programmatic advertising is that you create a user profile so that you can effectively advertise to them, and feed them the content that they care about.
If you look to the likes of Facebook then you can see how much emphasis the platform is trying to put on helping store owners sell their products by using this technique.
In fact, ever since the the launch of Facebook's carousel ads, businesses have seen a 64 percent increase in revenue.
If you aren't familiar with them, carousel ads are made up of three to five images that businesses can use to showcase their products.
The image tends to include a price and a link back to the store so that customers can buy the product.
The reason it works so well is because the ads are highly targeted to the user. With the help of retargeting, businesses can discover the products that a user has shown interest in across the web, and then target that user on their news feed.
I believe that we are going to see a lot more of this throughout the year.
#3. Huge Focus on Creating How- To Content
Did you know that 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every day?
Content marketing is the most talked about phrase of the past five years, so there's nothing new there.
But the digital era is changing and it's no longer enough to create random pieces of content in the hope that your audience will like it, you need to start creating content that teaches your audience something. It's this type of content that everyone wants to consume.
For example, if you take a look at the brand Proper Tasty, you'll see that they create videos that teach their audience how to make really tasty dishes in simple steps.
These videos rack up millions of views each day, and the reason they work so well is because they are highly useful to the intended audience.
But don't just stop at videos. Did you know that 82 percent of marketers who blog see positive ROI?
Blogging is a powerful tool that will not only give you content to post on your social feeds, but can help inform your audience as to why they need your product.
Another alternative is to create an infographic as this type of content is great for social shares. It combines quality visuals with useful information so that your audience can learn more about who you are, and what you do.
For example, we've created plenty of infographics like this SEO themed one below, that helps store owners sell more products online.
The bottom line is that your content needs to be highly useful so that it educates your audience in the most engaging way possible.
Related Article: How To Sell On Instagram: Emerging Trends and Platform
When it comes to effective social selling, there's a huge focus on providing visual, personalized content that is useful to your audience.
With 55 percent of buyers using social media to do their research before they buy a product, it's important that you are there to give them the content that they need to help them make the sale.
Here's to a happy year of social selling.