Pandemic Playbook from Amber Engine: Social Selling for Furniture Companies

  •    Author: Mike Jasfer

Now that you built a community on social media and have a fully stocked digital catalog of products to sell, it’s time to embrace the art of social selling. We call it an art because it’s a subtle sales tool that varies greatly from the offer and close of traditional retail.  
For effective social selling, carefully consider your audience’s interests. What types of media do they respond to? Is there a particular topic or inspiration type that evokes a like, comment or share? Model your new material to the identified preferences and begin creating social content that’s relevantly linked to products in your digital catalog.
Whether you link to an individual product or a product category is up to you and what you’re highlighting. For example, if you have overstock on a particular rug and want to sell it at a deep discount, you’ll link to the individual rug. If, however, you’re showcasing indoor/outdoor rugs for the spring and summer patio season, you’ll link to the category page in your catalog. 
The key, here, is to remember that social sales numbers won’t be or behave as traditional inside or outside sales. What matters most is that your offer(s) moves followers from your social channels to product pages where they can make an informed and inspired purchase.
The Channel
LinkedIn is a must for great B2B relationships. You can search and connect with buyers and decision-makers by title and/or company name – which makes this a fabulous networking tool. Additionally, you’ll find a wonderful mix of employees and prospects. This means that in addition to offers, make sure to talk about your company culture and offer thought leadership by way of publishing or sharing content with other business professionals.
Facebook is an amazing lead generator. With a massive audience of regular users, the Facebook Ad generator is a wonderful tool for collecting information to feed your funnel. And it’s shockingly easy with their setup wizard. To get started, prepare an eye-catching image, a great headline and offer copy with a clear CTA. Then, follow the prompts to set your budget and determine the information you want gathered. We do recommend keeping it short and simple – the less people have to complete the more likely they are to do it.
Instagram is a great place to capture the attention of a younger audience. Visually rich and inspirationally driven, it serves as a great platform for finding and sharing user-generated content. Be sure to ask permission and give credit for the image – Curalate is a great catalog/influencer management software that makes it easy to gather and reshare approved images.
The Bio
While people don’t typically associate a social media bio with social sales, it’s a key piece of your strategy for search success. On LinkedIn and Facebook, be sure to complete all the “About” fields using keyword-rich descriptions. You can also use a keyword list in areas where you’re to detail your specialties.
Instagram bios are a bit different since brevity is a must. Provide a short description of your company, a clear CTA, any relevant hashtags and a trackable shopping link. It’s up to you whether or not you use emojis in your bio. Some companies swear by them, some are fine without them. Whether emojis benefit or hurt your reputation depends largely on the type of business you run. Think about a contract lawyer – do you really want to see ice cream, praise hands, stars in their bio? Probably not. But it makes sense for someone who specializes in nursery furniture. 
The cover and profile images you use should vary by channel. This keeps things interesting for people who visit you on several different networks for research purposes. However, a simple cover in bright colors is a great scroll stopper. You can include text, a CTA or an offer on your cover image, but that’s not necessary.   
The Offer
There are two posts you’ll typically make for social sales. The first, a direct click-to-buy post. The second, a post that gives a valuable download or piece of information your audience can use.
Both types of posts feed your CRM, but the second moves people through your value proposition in a different way. The value-add strategy is designed to create lifelong consumers, while the direct sale is great for moving overstocks or generating a buzz.
The challenge with both? You can’t hammer people with sales speak or you’ll lose them – unless your offer is an unheard of 90% off. Then, yes please, shout it from the rooftops!
Keep your post copy conversational and ask questions or encourage comments. For example, if you’re a B2C retailer selling a sofa, you might use a gorgeous room scene with the caption, “When all of this is over, who will you invite to sit on our plush sofa?” Of course, your image and/or bio will feature a trackable link so people can make an online purchase. But the post doesn’t scream “BUY NOW!” 
Likewise, if you’re a B2B wholesaler, you’ll speak to timely stocking when Stay Home orders are lifted and let your retailers know about your plans for safely reopening in the name of getting them the products they need. Perhaps you offer a discount, maybe a disinfection guide for safe furniture receipt and display. Either way, you’re adding value without hammering the audience with “FOR SALE!” 
The trackable link used in each of your sales posts is essential because your marketing team wants to monitor the amount of site visitors coming from various sources. This information helps your creatives better tailor future messaging based on what catches the audience’s attention.
The Tips

Don’t sell all the time. Social media is about relationship building and opening another avenue TO sales rather than replacing traditional strategies and teams.

Keep your content conversational and don’t be scared to show the human side of your business. For example, Covid-19 is scary, and it’s okay to express concern and care on your channels.

Monitor your progress and adjust your social strategy with your goals in mind.

Test different types of content with different audiences. Social selling isn’t a one-size silver bullet to change your business overnight.

Traction takes time. You’re not a Kardashian – and that’s wonderful. You be you and grow your company’s audience in its own time.

Encourage employee engagement. This is a great cultural reference point and it helps drive conversation on posts.

Tailor your offer to your audience’s preferences. For example, don’t offer a whitepaper if a short video was off-the-charts successful on your page. Offer a video and adjust your future offers as the relationship deepens.

The art of social selling is something that takes time. Yes, this information taken all at once is quite overwhelming. But you’re not expected to complete this for homework. Social selling is a process. And with slow, steady, reliable steps you’ll chart a course to success.

The To-Do List
 

Research keywords for your products/services and update your social media bios accordingly.

Add a trackable shopping link to each of your bios.

Complete missing sections of your About sections, including links to your product catalog, retail hours, phone number, address, website and the like.

Review the images associated with your business on each social channel. Are they attractive, eye-catching and appropriate?

Evaluate the tone of your current and past posts. Is it conversational? Are you inviting engagement or are you hard selling? Make some edits to your scheduled offers.

Create new types of content to test with your audiences: quizzes, resources, freebies, event updates/reviews, product updates/reviews, employee spotlights, cultural snapshots, business articles you find interesting, and thought leadership articles your company developed.

 
See the previous post in this series, Choosing an Ecomm Platform for Furniture.
 
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