Business Essentials
How To Use Social Media To Sell Online

How To Use Social Media To Sell Online


If your small business hasn’t incorporated social selling into your funnel, you are likely losing business to competitors who are more savvy about social media. Social media is a highly cost-effective and personalized way of reaching your customers, while giving them valuable insights into your brand.  

In a recent Alignable survey, 42% of small businesses asked for help learning about new tools to boost online sales. Meanwhile, 69% said that they use Social Media tools to sell online.

In this article, we’ll dive into how to start selling your products and services on the most common social media platforms, and how to do it right. Not sure how to get started? No problem. You’ve come to the right place. 

How To Sell On Facebook 

Facebook has the largest audience of all social media platforms available today, with 2.91 billion active users in 2022. On Facebook, business owners can find several options to create an excellent shopping experience for customers. 

Here are a few ways to leverage Facebook to boost sales: 

Facebook Marketplace

Think of it as the “Craigslist” of Facebook. The purpose of the Marketplace is to keep transactions local, so users can log in to find items for sale in their immediate area. Facebook Marketplace is suitable for individuals looking to sell their products. 

And, in a recent Alignable survey, 33% said that they leverage Facebook Marketplace to sell their products online. Want to join them and share in their success? Here are the steps to take: 

  1. Create your listing: Add a high-quality photo of your product, product description, price, and condition. 
  2. Join local Facebook groups: Being a member allows you to post Marketplace listings to local buyers within the group.
  3. Sell through the Marketplace sales channel: This feature allows businesses to make their Facebook shop products visible on Facebook’s marketplace.

Facebook Shop

Setting up your Facebook shop should be your top priority as a small business owner if you sell products. Unlike the Marketplace, Facebook shop allows you to run campaigns, grow your brand identity, and connect with customers. Buyers can leave reviews and directly contact the business, allowing owners to monitor and gain valuable data.

Set-up your Profile

  1. Make a Facebook Business Page
  2. Create an account with Facebook’s Commerce Manager
  3. Allow customers to check out directly on Facebook
  4. Enable Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers and directly address their needs

Customize your storefront

  1. Organize your inventory into collections and include a vivid product description and cover image
  2. Control your shop’s visibility by choosing which products and promotions you want to display

Market Your Products

Facebook is a platform incredibly saturated with content. Simply creating posts regularly may not be enough to get your content in front of the people you are trying to reach. To truly stand out on Facebook, running inexpensive ads that run as low as $1-5 is the essential move to make.  

  1. Boosted posts is a post that you apply money to in order to “boost” it to a target audience. This is the simplest way to advertise on Facebook for increasing engagement and brand awareness. 
  2. Ad campaigns are much more customizable, as you are able to select objectives, placements, targeting, and maintain creative control through Ads manager. To create more advanced ad types and campaigns, use Ads manager. 

Learn more about how to do this at https://business.facebook.com/

How To Sell On Pinterest 

You may think of Pinterest as a place for DIY crafts and outfit inspiration, but it’s also a powerful shopping destination. Shopping is a top priority for nearly half of all Pinterest users— and they’re willing to pay more. Pinterest users have an average order value of $66.75, which is more than any other social media platform.

Here’s how to boost your online sales using Pinterest: 

Optimize your Pinterest Profile

  1. Add your product catalog to your Business Pinterest Account
  2. Sync your Pinterest account with your online store
  3. Join the Verified Merchant Program to add credibility to your brand and showcase your brand’s values

Implement Rich Pins

  1. Rich pins is a free feature that allow users to click through products and direct them to your online store. This streamlined process will help increase the number of sales on your website and is an essential part of selling on Pinterest. There are three different types of rich pins you can use to best fit your business needs. 
  2. Product rich pins feature the most up-to-date price, availability, and product description right on the pin. 
  3. Article rich pins allow you to add a headline, description, and author of an article or blog post from your website. 
  4. With recipe rich pins, you can add a title, serving size, cook time, ratings, ingredient list, and dietary preference to recipes saved from your website. 
  5. You can also customize your rich pins into catalogs where your pins are organized into a group and promoted as shopping ads to boost visibility.

Learn more on how to add rich pins to your site here! 

Use high-quality visuals and descriptions

  1. Pinterest is a highly visual medium. That’s why it’s important to define your aesthetic to maintain a strong visual identity. Try incorporating a cohesive color palette, high-res photos, and a variety of logos, graphics, and other designs that match your brand spirit. 
  2. People are more likely to pin posts that are visually appealing and eye-catching
  3. Pinterest uses broad phrase and keyword match, so use keywords in a sentence or two that are SEO-friendly and relevant to your content. In your titles and captions, include the most popular keywords in your industry to increase your visibility. 
  4. Use your profile to tell stories about your products and educate your customers.

Run campaigns using Pinterest Ads

  1.  Pinterest Ads allow you to reach people early on in the marketing funnel and increase the traffic coming to your website. In fact, brands who used both Catalogues and shopping ads saw a 15% increase in their return on ad spend.
  2. Shopping ads are single image ads that include details such as pricing, product availability, and reviews. These ads help you engage with your customers early by promoting your product while they are looking for inspiration. 
  3. Collection Ads are slideshow and video content to help people shop for similar products. Unlike shopping ads that appear as one image per product, personalized collection ads combine a large image or video with three smaller images. This is most suitable for businesses trying to showcase a variety of products by encouraging users to explore your wide product catalog. 

To learn more about how to incorporate Pinterest Ads, click here!

How To Sell On Instagram

Instagram Shopping is a set of features that allow people to easily shop your brand's photos and videos all across Instagram. This feature on Instagram allows people to easily shop via your small businesses' photos and videos posted on Instagram. 130 million people are tapping on an Instagram shopping post every month, and 84% of users are looking to discover new products on the platform. 

Setting up a shop on Instagram is a non-negotiable move to boost sales if you sell products. 

Here’s how to do it. 

Set up Instagram Shopping

  1. Convert your personal account to an Instagram Business account
  2. Upload a product catalog by uploading your inventory through Commerce Manager.
  3. For a more seamless and secure shopping experience, set up the Checkout feature. Learn more about how to do this here
  4. Activate the “Shop” tab on your Instagram profile.

Create consistent, engaging content

  1. Choose a signature theme or aesthetic, and stick to it
  2. “Gamify” your content: post tutorials, quizzes, or Q&A polls to make your page more interactive.
  3. Write captivating captions that provide value and prove your expertise
  4. Connect with followers through comments, replies, and direct messages to build a strong relationship.

Create shoppable Instagram posts

  1. Create product tags. Tags gives customers the ability to make a purchase within the Instagram app or be directed to your website for more information.
  2. Refer followers to the URL in your bio to encourage traffic to your online store (ex. “Link in bio”).

Reach customers through Instagram Ads

  1. You can purchase ad placements through Commerce Manager for Instagram and Facebook.
  2. Take advantage of running ads on: Instagram feeds, stories, reels, the explore page, and the shop tab homepage.

How to Sell On TikTok

Tiktok is the fastest-growing social media app. It has exploded in popularity over the past few years and is an excellent tool to use to sell both services and products online. TikTok should be adopted by all generations as it’s becoming a widely popular way to consume content and learn more about business products and services. 

Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok’s homepage, known as the “For You” page, is an endless stream of content from people you don’t follow, but may be interested in. This means the likelihood of exposure to new customers is very high.

If you’re unfamiliar with how to use TikTok in the first place, check out “A Beginners Guide To TikTok” written by Wired

Here’s how you can leverage TikTok to boost online sales: 

Determine your niche

  1. Get familiar with different communities on the app and learn the types of content and language that are trending within that group.
  2. Authentic and fun content is what will thrive. Try participating in trends and viral challenges happening on the app. And, avoid being “salesy”

Use product links in your TikTok Content

  1. Tag your videos with products to point users to your website for purchase

Leverage Tiktok’s product ads

  1. Tiktok offers a range of ad options, but not all are affordable. Some lean on the expensive side and are more suitable for larger brands. 
  2. The most popular and budget-friendly format among small businesses are in-Feed Native Videos. These are pop-ups that appear within the user’s “For You Page,” where they can interact by leaving a like, share or comment. This is a less intrusive ad compared to other formats.  

In summary, selling online can really help you BOOST your online sales. With social media, the more places you are, the more exposure your brand will have to the customers you truly care about. 

If you’re looking for additional advice, here are a few resources to check out. 

Additional Resources 

Alignable Groups 

Join Alignable’s Social Media Support Group: Ask questions to experts, share advice & attend expert events to become better at leveraging Social Media for your biz. Link to join here. 

Join Alignable’s Selling Online Tips & Tricks Group: Ask questions to experts, share advice & attend expert events and become better at Selling Online. Link to join here. 

Business Tools To Help You Sell Online  

Check out & review Social Media tools that Alignable Members love and share your opinion to help other small business owners. Check it out here. 

Check out & review e-commerce tools that Alignable Members love and share your opinion to help other small business owners. Check it out here. 

About The Author

Milynn Lekhavanija