How To Use Social Media To Sell: 43 experts give 75 tips (Part 1 of 3)

We asked experts from different regions of the digital marketing and eCommerce world this question:

“What can an eCommerce store do to leverage social media to generate traffic and create new or recurring sales?

The response we received was amazing. 43 experts gave us 75 different tips on leveraging social media to sell more, and we're sharing them all with you.

Because we have so much awesome expert advice to share with you, we're breaking this into a 3 part weekly series. Part 2 and Part 3 are now available.

(Want all the tips now? Click the tweet button below or submit your email at the bottom of the page to download the pdf.)


Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary

Social Media Tools Guy

RazorSocial - www.razorsocial.com

Ian Cleary is a mediapreneur, speaker and technology expert who specialises in sharing unbiased information about social media tools through his award-winning website, RazorSocial

Advice: Store owners need to build better referral schemes and use gamification as part of these schemes. If you can get customers to leverage their social streams to mutually benefit you, you're on to a winner.


Alex Stegall

Alex Stegall

Public Relations Specialist

Command Partners: http://commandpartners.com/

Advice: Because Social Media isn't recognized as that direct link to making a sale, it doesn't always get the credit it deserves. It's important to remember that Social Media is about building a reputation and getting the word out, which will push potential customers closer and closer to making that sale. Share intriguing stories that involve your product and show its value. Everyone loves an intriguing story, so they are more likely to tweet, repost and share.


Joey Sargent

Joellyn 'Joey' Sargent

Strategic Marketing Expert

Claravon Consulting Group -  www.Claravon.com

Joellyn ‘Joey’ Sargent provides the clarity, vision and insight that leaders need to create powerful momentum for growth. Her fresh perspectives and no-nonsense advice help executives, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders connect strategy, brand and customer experience, delivering breakthrough marketing results with maximum impact.

Advice: Be mindful of social media overload. Monitor your customers' social engagement levels. If you start to see a decline in participation, you may be burning out your audience. Do some testing to see if the problem is your offers, content or simply too much of a good thing.


Brian Carter

Brian Carter

Keynote Speaker and Digital Marketing Strategist

CEO of TCG - http://briancarteryeah.com/ and http://socialmediakeynotespeaker.com/

Brian Carter is an acclaimed sales and marketing keynote speaker. He is the author of three social media books including "The Like Economy", "LinkedIn For Business" the bestselling "Facebook Marketing". Brian has appeared on Bloomberg TV and in The Wall Street Journal and has worked with Microsoft, SalesForce and Universal Studios. Brian has 14 years experience with search and social marketing, both as a consultant and marketing agency director. He's kinda cool, does comedy and improv in his spare time, and his 102-year old grandma thinks he's the bees knees.

Advice: "Don't think social- instead think advertising plus owned media (like emails and retargeting audiences). Fans can help as social proof, but Facebook post visibility to fans (without ads) is decreasing rapidly. Diversify your owned media and invest in growing awareness. Search ads come first as low hanging fruit but the high ROI keywords are limited. Grow your funnel with social media. Focus on ROI but don't forget you can't sell to someone who doesn't know about you or isn't paying attention. Get better at content marketing. Be more interesting. Learn from the front-runners who have done well already like Old Spice, Blendtec and Superhero Stuff."


Brandon Uttley

Brandon Uttley

Social media expert

Brandon Uttley Consulting - www.brandonuttley.com

Brandon Uttley is a seasoned web marketing and public relations professional with 25 years of experience. He has been involved in starting three web development and online marketing companies. In addition to working with a range of clients, he is a frequent public speaker and  a regular contributor to several top business sites.

Advice: Learn Social Selling. This is an emerging area that focuses on the use of social media to help you better find, qualify and close prospects. Focus on LinkedIn as the primary resource to improve your professional presence, build a high-quality network and gain warm introductions to prospects.


Sam Mallikarjunan

Sam Mallikarjunan

Head of eCommerce Marketing at HubSpot

Hubspot - http://www.hubspot.com

Advice: My best advice around social media for ecommerce is for marketers to no longer see it as an independent channel. Consumers don't consider their relationship with a brand dependent on the channel, so marketers also need a holistic view and approach to customer nurturing. For example, my local barber knows that he can reach me via twitter when I stopped coming into the shop:

Twitter communication example

Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith

Content & Social Media Marketing Expert

Foxtrot Media - FoxtrotMediaLLC.com

Long before Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google +, there were message boards, chat rooms and email groups. In 1998, Foxtrot Media founder, Deborah Smith, used these ancestors of social media to launch her first business, which owned and operated several websites serving the nanny industry.

Deborah is a sought-after social media consultant, strategist, marketer, trainer, coach and public speaker. She uses lessons learned from her own personal experience, as well as the latest social media educational training, to help businesses and organizations harness the power of social media, from the very basics to the most advanced social strategies.

Advice: Embrace Pinterest. For ecommerce companies nothing is driving more direct sales. Make sure your website is optimized for Pinning. Photos should have good, SEO worthy descriptions because when people pin from your website, those descriptions come along too.


Viveka Von Rosen

Viveka Von Rosen

Linked Into Business -  http://www.LinkedIntoBusiness.com

Viveka is author of best selling LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”. CEO of Linked Into Business and Co-Founder of LinkedProspecting, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter and co-moderates LinkedStrategies, the largest LinkedIn strategy group on LinkedIn.

Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer, and she has been cited in Money Magazine, Simple Living, Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner.

Advice: When I tell an eCommerce business owner that he or she will never sell their product or service on LinkedIn, they look at me like I’m crazy. That’s the whole point, right? But the truth is, you must create a sense of relationship and visibility to effectively sell on LinkedIn. Through engagement on LinkedIn, people will get a sense that they know you, and after that it’s a relatively easy step to “like and trust” – and, yes, sell! How do you move from “know and like” to trust?

  • Make sure your profile accurately represents you and your brand by using unified copy, branded images and existing marketing collateral in your profile.
  • Establish connections with your target market by using the Advanced Search and “People You May Know” features to research and reach out to the right people to grow your business.
  • Start sharing some useful content through the use of updates, group discussions and messages (you can find all you’ll ever need in LinkedIn Pulse)

Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer

Author -  Social Media Expert

Maximize Your Social - http://maximizeyoursocial.com

Neal Schaffer is the author of the definitive book on social media strategy Maximize Your Social, global social media speaker and consultant, and founder of the leading social media for business blog Maximize Social Business. Neal also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Mini-Social Media MBA program.

Advice: We all know the importance of visual content to engage our audiences in social media. One good place to look for content that might be relevant to your community is Instagram. Search for hashtags of your company, product, and competitor names, and begin to understand how your fans truly visualize your products. While some companies, like Disneyland, rely on Instagram to curate/crowdsource their content, it's equally valuable as a market research tool.


Adi Domocos

Adi Domocos

Founder & CEO

Hot in Social Media - http://hotinsocialmedia.com/

Adi Domocos is the Founder of Hot in Social Media. He is passionate about tech, social media, marketing and traveling.

Advice: Put social media share buttons to all your product pages.

There are still a lot of ecommerce stores, who do not have social media share buttons on their product pages. If you tried hard everyday to bring traffic to your ecommerce store... you don't want to get free promotion from your visitors? Add a couple of social media icon channels to your product page (is preferred to have a branded page for all the social media channels that you will add the icons) and in a couple of months (depending of how much traffic you have) you can see some important results.


Brian Honigman

Brian Honigman

Marketing Consultant and Social Media Enthusiast

Brain Honigman - http://www.brianhonigman.com/

Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. He's written for Forbes, the Huffington Post, Business Insider and others. Follow him for insights on digital, social media, marketing, content creation and more @BrianHonigman.

Advice: When it comes to social media the biggest issue I see is businesses not using each social network in a unique way. Posting the same content across Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook isn't beneficial to your audience. It'd be like receiving the same message in the mail 4 times. It isn't helpful and can quickly become annoying to your audience. To avoid this problem, develop content specific to the intricacies of each network. For example, GIF's do well on Tumblr and quick digestible insights do well on Twitter etc.


Lori Ruff

Lori Ruff

Integrated Alliances - http://www.IntegratedAlliances.com

Lori Ruff, “The Voice of Influence” on InfluenceRadio.net | Forbes & AGBeat Top 50 Industry Influencer | Keynote Speaker, Author, Columnist, Host | CEO, Integrated Alliances: Teaching LinkedIn for B2B

Advice: I recommend using the services of a high tier social media consultant to help you make sound decisions. You may think you can't afford one, but even for a basic consultation to talk to someone who is a thought leader in the industry, you might pay $500 for a 3-call coaching package.

What I would caution against is taking the advice of someone who does not look credible online as compared with their peers. Yes - that takes a little investigation, but it's worth the look. Lot's of people can give you advice on what you "should do", but no one knows your business better than you. So take in all the advice and then decide what's right for you. Someone might tell you they know social media yet they've only been "doing it" for 4 months. Sure - ask their advice - but certainly ask for more opinions too! What do you do if they are conflicting? READ! There is a plethora of free material - Knowledge is free; wisdom costs money... that's where an experienced consultant comes in to play.


Don Power

Don Power

Social Media Speaker and Author

Don Power - http://www.donpower.com/

Don Power is a Professional Speaker, Social Media Consultant, Editor of  Sprout Insights, and author of Twitter For Skeptics.

Don teaches business leaders how to use Social Media to connect with customers, generate leads, and discover opportunities they never even knew existed!

Advice: If someone is making an ecommerce purchase, they really need to see the product before they order. Ecommerce store owners and marketers should really pay attention to including short form videos like Vine, Instagram Video, and even Snapchat in their marketing mix. These very popular platforms can be used to highlight important product features or even demonstrate quick and quirky "how-tos" about how to order or use the products for sale online.


Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Social media expert

Cool Cat Teacher - www.coolcatteacher.com

Author, Reinventing Writing (2014) and Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds

Vicki Davis is a full time classroom teacher recently named as one of Mashables top 10 Teacher Rockstars on Twitter with more than 70K followers. She uses social media to inspire educators and to help them understand how to write effectively using technology with her upcoming book Reinventing Writing.

Advice: Make an appointment with yourself to plan your tweets for the week or for a period of time. Using a list of the kinds of tweets that you want to send (funny, informative, promote new product, etc.) and schedule them using buffer during the times that they are online.


Monica Romeri

Monica Jade Romeri

Content strategy and social media expert

Darwin Digital Content - http://www.darwindigitalcontent.com

Monica Jade is a prolific writer on topics ranging from inbound, content, email, mobile and social media marketing—including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+—to SEO.  Her content is frequently published on Social Media Today and Business 2 Community.

Advice: You cannot make social media work for your business without original content, which is what draws prospects back to your website and prompts lead generation.  If you have not already, start blogging, find an agency or hire a content writer.  You should share the content of others as well.  Content curation—exploring, finding and sharing relevant, industry-leading content across at least Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn—is integral to social media marketing.  Social media is meant to be social, so do not only talk about your brand without listening and engaging your social audience.


Isra Garcia

Isra García

Internet business transformation advisor

Isra García -http://isragarcia.com

Isra is the creator and author of the paradigm that has revolutionised the social media: Human Media. As well as cofounder of Mapmakers, the Spanish-speaking platform about change and inspiration that's most visited in the world.

His blog on Social Media, Marketing, disruption, inspiration and change is visited by more than 110,000 people every month. Only 29, Isra has taken part as a TEDx speaker on two occasions and has participated, as speaker, in more than 270 industry events.Isra´s early work as a consultant, in charge of teams and Social Media strategies for Social Media & Community. There are just a few of the highlights of his career. Undoubtedly, Isra adds a visionary and human-technological way to understand this new environment that the Internet has provoked.

Advice: Social platforms are communication and marketing channels and, as we’ve proven, are still viable sales channels. However, they need to be led correctly. They need a coherent strategy and execution that focuses on results, on connecting with our community, therefore creating certain resonance with our people in a dynamic, interesting and brilliant way.

Social Media doesn’t create a different world; neither does it invent or define. This is something that only comes about with an idea, initiative, project or business. At the end of the day, it’s only marketing through a new means of communication. Navigate your project or brand through these channels, seeking a clear, defined project. Do so without losing track of the people because, most of all, you need them right now. The value you provide is the value that the world will give in return.


Tammy Fennell

Tammy Kahn Fennell

MarketMeSuite - MarketMeSuite.com

Tammy Kahn Fennellis CEO and co-founder of MarketMeSuite, the leading social media management dashboard for small- and mid-sized businesses. Tammy launched the MarketMeSuite platform in late 2009 after years of experience marketing her own small business online. Prior to that, Tammy lived in the ecommerce world, running a small antiques and collectibles store on eBay (BakertowneCollectables).  Today, MarketMeSuite's easy-to-use, affordable platform has over 30,000 users.Tammy writes frequently on social media and small business topics and shares her knowledge and advice with thousands of SMBs via radio, Web seminars and live presentations.

Advice: Content fuels social engagement, as an ecommerce merchant you have great content in the form of your store listings. and Share your products on social!  Most ecommerce sites like ebay and etsy have what is called an RSS feed. If you copy that link and put it into a tool like MarketMeSuite, you will be able to have your new listings shared with your fans and followers as you list them, which is a huge time saver.


Bob Hutchins

Bob Hutchins

CEO – Social Media & Digital Marketing Expert

BuzzPlant – www.buzzplant.com

Bob Hutchins (Franklin, TN) runs Buzzplant, a 12+ year-old Internet marketing agency targeting the faith/family market. His team was an integral part of the online campaign for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, Soul Surfer, and many other movies, books, music releases, and events. His client/partner roster includes Time-Life, Sony Pictures, General Motors, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Warner Brothers, Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan. He is co-founder of The Faith-Based Marketing Association and Ground Force Network, and has been featured on Fox News, MSNBC, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Fortune Magazine, MarketingVOX, American City Business Journals, Dallas Morning News, and on various television/radio media.

He is also the co-author of Faith Based Marketing, published by John Wiley and Sons, and his second book, The Recommendation Age.

He also teaches Social Media Marketing to MBA students at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Advice: Social media marketing budgets are projected to double over the next five years – and this statistic was published before Facebook practically came out stating that it would begin charging brands for News Feed exposure. Bigger budgets can help, sure. But doubling your budget isn’t necessary for keeping up with the Joneses. In 2014, truly successful social media marketers are going to start establishing themselves on social platforms where they can be industry leaders. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see B2B thought leaders cropping up on medium.com, big image-heavy brands creating a presence in Google+ communities, and edgier corporations shifting into platforms like Reddit and Tumblr (which haven’t yet been truly capitalized on). In 2014, don’t assume the obvious like Facebook and Twitter. Start exploring non-traditional outlets, where your competition is smaller, your dollars go further, and your voice is louder.


B. L. Ochman

B.L. Ochman

Digital Strategist to blue chip companies

Publisher of What's Next Blog, contributor to AdAge, DigitalNext, and co-host Beyond Social Media Show. B.L. Ochman has been helping companies including IBM, Meijer, McGraw-Hill, Transitions, Cendant and others to incorporate new media into their online marketing since 1996. B.L. is a Google-certified GooglePlus Coach and YouTube Partner.

Advice: In order to establish and maintain search visibility, you'll need to establish an active presence in Google Plus. It's so much more than a social network. Google Plus is integrated into every Google platform - from email to analytics, YouTube to games - and if you ignore G+, Google search is going to ignore you.

I won't sugarcoat it: there is a large learning curve to using Google Plus. But I consider it to be the biggest advance in online communication since the interactive website and I advise any company that wants to succeed to find a good coach and get started now.


Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown

Social Media Expert

PFSweb - http://www.pfsweb.com/blog/

Matthew is a social media specialist for PFSweb who works with brand intelligence, analytics, and developing social media strategies for current and prospective clients. Matt graduated of the University of Minnesota in 2005 with a degree in Sociology and Statistics. He is a huge Chelsea FC fan and even attended the 2012 Champions League final in Germany. (Link to LinkedIn Profile)

Advice: Choose social media channels that fit your brand - Too often I see brands create presences on social media "just to be there". Make sure your brand really evaluates a social channels before joining, including the content it will need to generate on the channel to be successful and the time to manage it. A dead social channel can be misconstrued by consumers as a brand who is lazy and doesn't care about their customers.


And that's all for Part 1.

Tune in next week for more tips by Hubspot's Head of eCommerce, Sam Mallikarjunan, and LinkedIn expert Viveka Von Rosen,  and more! We'll be releasing Part 2 with 20 more tips and then Part 3 in 2 weeks. Stay tuned!

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