Episode 8

Selling on Social

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About this Episode

Ryan unpacks the different social media platforms and how you can use them to sell your product. He explains where you should start and then where you can test the waters next. Jon and Ryan also provide an update about what you need to know about the recently released Facebook Shops.

TRANSCRIPT:
Jon:
Hey everybody, just a quick note before we jump into this episode, we recorded this episode on Selling on Social before Facebook Stores was launched, but everything we discussed still applies and is relevant. But stick around until the end, we are going to record an update on selling on social media with some details on Facebook Stores. So enjoy the episode and be sure to stick around towards the end, and you'll get an update.

INTRO MUSIC

Jon:
So Ryan, it's probably a bit maybe cliche to say that everyone is on social media these days, but as a digital marketer, it's true, right? If you're not selling on social media platforms, are you really even trying to succeed? The more I thought about this, the more I thought at The Good we don't do anything around driving traffic, which obviously would include advertising or selling on social media. So I thought, "Why not learn a thing or two from Ryan and your 6,000 clients experience at Logical Position today?" So Ryan, I'm excited to have you, to school me on selling on social.

Ryan:
Oh man, it's such a big topic and such a big opportunity, I think, that so few brands are capitalizing on, fascinates me.

Jon:
Well, this will be fun then. So Ryan, let's start with the big picture, when I say social, what channels does that really include?

Ryan:
I would say when most people say social or selling on social, social advertising, they're most likely referring to Facebook and Instagram, it's the big 800 pound gorilla in the industry. But there are quite a few other platforms that I would probably bucket into that social platform and the advertising and traffic driving that you can execute there. You've got one that a lot of people forget, and it's probably unfortunate there, but Twitter, you can still advertise on there should you want to. Pinterest has some advertising, Snapchat, you can advertise on. LinkedIn is a social channel that a lot of e-commerce companies forget about, there's still some value to be gleaned out of there for e-commerce, but it is pretty lead gen heavy.

Jon:
Yeah, I love LinkedIn.

Ryan:
LinkedIn is great for our prospecting and finding just people that talk about it, there's a lot there. And I think it's under utilized for a lot of companies, but it's also, I think, confusing to a degree on how you sell on a business social tool. Do you have any e-comm clients that are doing anything on LinkedIn that you know of?

Jon:
No, I don't, but I thought that's such a great one that you could run some highly targeted ads on, pretty easily.

Ryan:
Yeah, if you know who your target market is, and if it's a... Just a conversation with a guy that was selling to doctors today, and I was like, "Well, if you're selling it to doctors and you know that there is a certain role at a doctor's office that always is responsible for finding your product or deciding to buy it, you could target all of those people on LinkedIn very easily." So I think there's opportunity there, I don't think it says much about, on LinkedIn at least, getting click-buy, it's part of the process generally. But with some of the other platforms too, like TikTok, for some reason has just jumped out at me over the last, just two weeks. We've actually had a bunch of clients reach out and say, "Hey, we want to get onto TikTok and do some advertising, how can you help us?"
That came out of left field for us, we're like, we know it's there, but we were so focused on Facebook and Instagram with them that we hadn't been pushing for other channels. So, that was on us to a degree, so I think there's some opportunity on TikTok. And then the other one that I think a lot of people maybe think of differently, YouTube has a very strong social component. But it's because it's run through the Google Ads platform, most people don't bucket it under social, but I think there's a component there that, to a degree, could be looked at that way.

Jon:
Yeah, a lot of people are sharing YouTube videos, right? And it's got a massive comment thread on videos, and they do make social sharing on there easy so that's a good one to think about. Okay, so I had never thought about LinkedIn in the way you're talking about and really hadn't thought about YouTube, so that's really interesting, that's good to hear. And TikTok, I just feel like maybe I'm too old for it, but that's a whole different situation.

Ryan:
You and me both, that's probably why I didn't have it top of mind. I was like, "TikTok, what are you talking about? That's just Gary Vaynerchuk trying to get people to like his social stuff.

Jon:
Yeah, but I mean the minute he's talking about it, it's probably the immediate time to jump into it. Okay, so when I'm thinking about selling on social, are we really talking about advertising or actually selling, right? So for instance, I've seen brands that do Instagram Ads, right? And I've seen brands that actually make their posts shoppable, and you can actually complete a transaction on Instagram now. So are we really talking here about advertising or are we talking about actually selling?

Ryan:
Well, I think it's both. I mean, I like the old adage, always be closing, always be selling. Like if you're an e-comm site, you need to constantly be thinking about how are people going to find me and buy my stuff. And I think if you have the ability, because not everybody can check out on Instagram, or every brand doesn't have that access, let me put it that way, not every site can just flip a switch and automatically be selling on Instagram without leaving the platform. It's still in controlled level, you have to have enough followers or you have to be invited into betas to a degree.
But you want to sell as often as possible, and I think having that extra channel, if you can get that conversion on Instagram without them leaving, you do it. But all of them I think you're going to be advertising on, even if you can have the checkout on Instagram rather than your site, you're still going to be advertising to draw people to that checkout or to your page, and constantly try to find new users. And I think Facebook and Google both have a lot of creepy data, it's not a surprise to anyone, and I think Facebook even gets slightly more creepy, but it is phenomenal for marketers. We can upload a list of our clients, and then Facebook's algorithm can go find everybody on the world that looks like your current customers because they're more likely to be buying. If I buy your product and like it, you go find everybody else that has the same demographics as me, whether it's on a farm, has four kids, has too many businesses, there's maybe 10 of us out there.

Jon:
But all of them will buy.

Ryan:
But all of them will probably buy your product. So be thinking about both, I think, because of the algorithm. A lot of people forget about this, but the Googles and the Facebooks of the world, the dominant ad platforms, they've created a free platform for everybody and they make money by ads, and so they have an incentive to get people to click ads. And so on Facebook, not everybody that follows your brand, Facebook and Instagram, not everybody that follows you will see your post. And so promoting posts, getting your ads out there, you have to feed the beast, to a degree, and make sure that you're leveraging the ad platform appropriately to get the right content in front of the right people.

Jon:
Got it, okay. So where do you recommend brands start then? What channels and how would you best utilize those channels if you're just starting out?

Ryan:
Some of it depends on the size of the organization and the budget to start with. If you're already a $10 million online brand and you hadn't advertised on social, that would surprise me, but it probably exists somewhere. You could probably start a little more aggressively than somebody that hasn't hit their first $100,000 in online revenue yet, but the general rule of thumb that I have for most brands is start with remarketing on Facebook and Instagram. It's all done through the same platform on Facebook, since they own Instagram, and if you're remarketing to people that went to your site and didn't purchase, you'll get a good gauge of what kind of potential Facebook and Instagram have.
So if people that went to your site didn't buy, come back and buy through remarking ads at a rate that makes sense for your company and your products, it indicates there's potential for prospecting or finding new users that haven't heard of you yet. But if people, through remarketing, are not coming to your site and buying, it would lead me to hypothesize that finding new users is not going to be the best opportunity for through that social channel, because remarketing generally always works better than prospecting as far as the return on investment.
So start there, and also understand that when you move beyond just the remarketing pixel on the remarketing ads, social is not like search, it's not a demand capture. People, for the most part, are not going to a social channel to find a product to purchase, generally you're interrupting their flow of connecting with friends and family or coworkers, and convincing them to click an ad to go outside of that flow to look at a product, it's something they probably hadn't been thinking about before.

Jon:
Yeah, that's such a great point. You really think about, at least in my business, around conversion, right, it's all about that capture and not the creation portion. And that's a really great point that if you are able to create that demand and then make it easy to do the capture or conversion at that point, then you're really going to see some great return on that ad spend here.

Ryan:
Yeah, and understand too, that generally as you move up the funnel of purchase, the return on ad spend drops, but I think it becomes more important as you're driving people to your site off of a social channel, to focus on that conversion optimization. You want them to be sticky and you want them to buy then, if at all possible, remove as much friction as humanly possible on social traffic because once they leave, go back to the social platform, you're no longer top of mind, now you're going to be remarketing to bring them back in. So it probably extends the purchase life cycle, if I could say it that way, when they're coming from a social channel. Not always, depends on how impulsive the purchase is, but you just have to generally be watching data very closely on social as you're looking to get sales there.

Jon:
Okay, so let's say a brand has been successfully selling on social already, what's the next step you would recommend?

Ryan:
Probably the same as with all of your marketing, it's test, test, test again, test again, test again, and not ever be satisfied with where you're at. You'll be trying out new ad sets, maybe if you haven't done video before, you need to do video, you're going to be testing new platforms. And so this is one where it's easy to get stuck on Facebook and Instagram and assume that that's your social media marketing, that's it, you're done, you've got it covered. But if you take me for example, I don't know how many years ago, maybe... gosh, I'm getting old, but what is it 15 years ago that we started on Facebook, maybe? I don't remember when it came out, but probably a while ago, and I was on Facebook for a while, thought Instagram was really stupid, why would people just not want to read anything, they just want to look at pictures, and then realize, "Oh, Instagram is pretty cool."
I no longer really go to Facebook, I am on Instagram because it's easier to scroll through the feed maybe, but I'll go in maybe once a week and check on Facebook. My mom's on Facebook now, she's not that interesting to me to follow on Facebook. She's retired, she sits at home and it's just not as interesting. And so people are going to constantly be moving from platform to platform, I think. And I think as Instagram ages, we'll probably move to something else. People have moved to Snapchat, maybe it's going to be TikTok.

Jon:
TikTok, there you go.

Ryan:
Who knows? But you want to be making sure that you're aware of the demographic shifts, maybe the baby boomers start moving on to Instagram in a heavier flow, and all the gen-xers like myself were going to fall off and go somewhere else because we don't want to be hanging out with our parents on social media.

Jon:
Yeah, this is what's really interesting to me about social media, it's so easy... and I think as an outsider, obviously I'm not printing campaigns, but it's so easy to target different demographics because it's pretty clear what channels they're on. If you want to advertise to the teenager, you're going to advertise on TikTok, that's just generally where they're going to be right now. They're not going to be on Facebook, we know that. But if I want to advertise to Ryan's mom, I'm going to go to Facebook, right? It's just where it is. So yeah, that's something to definitely think about, but what I'm hearing from you is the core tenants of digital marketing apply to social, right? So whether you're doing ads from Google or you're doing ads on Facebook, it's really the same core tenants, it's just a little bit different, perhaps, on the execution.

Ryan:
Yeah, and the important metrics are going to be a little bit different. So whereas Google's algorithm is fairly advanced, and we have a lot of really quality data around quality score, for example, we know what goes into it, we know what makes up a quality score, and how to manipulate it to get a higher one. Whereas some of that information on Facebook isn't as readily available, and there's more testing and measuring to figure out what is going to work and what's going to be a good click through rate. It may be different for different ad sets, and there's a lot more visual ad types you can create on Facebook than maybe just text ads and shopping ads on Google.
Understand it's different, but it's all the same thing, we're always looking at data and deciding what to do based on what the data is telling us. And on their demographic point too, there are young people on Facebook. And so if you do want to target younger people, you just set your targeting for younger people. You may not spend as much as you could on, say, Instagram or on maybe TikTok and be going to teenagers, but there's millions and billions of people on each platform so there's a lot of eyeballs.

Jon:
So would you recommend then that when a brand is looking to choose a social channel to sell on, that demographics would be their first elimination point? Or I'm hearing from you that, obviously there are, yes I agree, there's younger people on Facebook as well, perhaps, but would you still recommend demographics be that first deciding point where to start at choosing a social channel to sell on?

Ryan:
That's probably going to vary quite a bit depending on the brand and what you're selling. I mean, almost across the board, I'd probably recommend most companies start for the first time on Facebook, Instagram. It's a mature platform, you really know what to expect out of it, people expect to see ads, click ads and go somewhere else, and get basically their flow interrupted, it's not an uncommon thing to see an ad and click. I mean, I remember one of the best ads on Instagram was somebody that showed me a paddleboard surfboard with a rocket engine on the bottom of it. And I was like, "I didn't even know I needed that until I saw that on Instagram, and now I need to spend $2,000 on that even though I don't have-"

Jon:
Now you can be lazy during your workout.

Ryan:
Exactly. So start with what's known, where there is a lot of talent to execute for you, because there's not a lot of people right now that are TikTok marketing experts on the planet. And so if you're going to go off and start on TikTok, it may be much more difficult to get the goals that you want achieved there. Start there and then branch out as you see data, so set the demographics, knowing let's say you're going to target the younger demographic, and so people that are 18 to 24. You start on Facebook, Instagram, set your target demographics there, see how many there are, see how they respond, because you have a lot of... a mature platform is just easier to work on generally, knowing that you probably want to end up on TikTok as well, Snapchat, and expand out of that once you have a baseline to say, "Okay, I know that Facebook, Instagram, I get this return on ad spend, let's see how TikTok actually works for my brand as far as a return."

Jon:
So, I get asked this question all the time, Ryan, what's a good conversion rate, and people don't like my answer, generally, because-

Ryan:
Better.

Jon:
Yeah, one that's improving, right? That's generally how you should be thinking about it. Is there a goal for brands when it comes to selling on social, should we be thinking about specific goals or is there a percentage of a brand's overall revenue you prefer to see coming from selling on social? What are the metrics that you think are most impactful, and are there general standards for those metrics that people should be aiming for?

Ryan:
Unfortunately, no, it is very similar to the CRO question that it's an improving one, and you've got to look at your brand and who's buying, why they're buying, and where are they buying. So if you sell CNC machines online, you're probably not going to get a lot of direct conversions out of social for that. But it's an awareness thing, you can do some good top of funnel work there, that maybe it's not necessarily the final attribution is coming from social, but it is on the path. And so I think it's only going to get more and more complex as we continue to get more ways to engage with people through different channels, that I would probably never be able to put an exact number on it. But one thing I do like doing, and I do this in my own brands, I keep each marketing team siloed to a degree, so the Google Ads group, the social media group, I generally, personally at least, don't want the same team doing both because I want them both competing for a share of my sales.
I want them to say, "Hey, the social should be bigger." Okay, if the same person's running Google and social, they may not care which one's bigger, they just want to push where it's maybe easier. And I think there's always a chance to win on social or win on Google, but I want hungry teams that are going to make that channel work no matter what. And so I would say, I always want it to be more but I also don't want to lose money. Anybody can sell a million dollars through Facebook, but some companies, it might cost you 20 million to sell that one million and so it's not worth it. So you just have to be aware and monitor what's happening and where that social channel fits for your brand. One of my brands, I haven't even gotten it on social advertising yet, I'm still Matt trying to max out Amazon and then I'm going to try to max out Google, and then I'm going to try to push on social. So there's so much you can do that it becomes mind boggling at some point to where you can be pushing a brand.

Jon:
Awesome. Well, I think we've sufficiently tackled this topic. Do you feel the same?

Ryan:
I mean, it depends on who's probably asking that question, but I feel like at least we've covered a topic and we've gotten some good insights.

Jon:
So Ryan, we promised at the start of this episode that we'd provide an update on the just released Facebook Stores, and I'm counting on you to educate me because quite honestly I heard about it, but I did not read anything about it. So can you give us a quick overview of what Facebook Stores is?

Ryan:
Yeah, so welcome to the world of e-comm, where things change more rapidly than we can produce podcasts, but it means it's fun and things are constantly changing. So Facebook Stores is basically what it sounds like, it is a store for your business on Facebook properties, mainly Facebook and Instagram. Allows people to checkout on the platform, many companies were, at least, aware of the checkout on Instagram feature that was in closed beta for a while, so it's basically all of that rolled into one. Facebook has an entity they're trying to release quickly to help local [inaudible 00:21:06] that maybe never had a website, offer the ability to transact online, at the boiled down version of it.

Jon:
Okay, and do you think this was in reaction or response to COVID and a lot of retail not being open?

Ryan:
I think that was the initial thought, but I think it was also quite an opportunity for the Facebook engine to push into e-comm with a lot of people paying attention, and that's a very easy release at that point.

Jon:
Great, and so it's separate, because I know Instagram is owned by Facebook, but it's separate from, or is it somehow linked to Instagram? I know you could sell on Instagram for some time now, not necessarily in a store, but you can do shoppable posts.

Ryan:
You can do shoppable posts, but those still take you to your website for transaction. There was that swipe up feature that was very popular, if you get over 10,000 followers, you get automatically put into it if you're a verified Instagrammer. A lot of value to those, we've seen some great data, but this is the next iteration of that, which is you don't have to leave the Instagram platform to transact. Once you've transacted on Facebook or Instagram, they store your data if you want them to so you can easily transact without having to put any data in. So just kind of try to make it as seamless as possible.
So a great [inaudible 00:22:26] I believe, but one of the things people are going to realize as they start doing their research is when you have such massive organizations that try to move nimbly and quickly, there's some struggle. So by no means is Facebook Stores just [inaudible 00:22:41] working for everybody as they think it would at this exact moment. In fact, even me personally, my wife and I are trying to get our businesses up on Facebook Stores, like with Shopify a couple days after it came out, did not work. It was not just a click a button, you are going. You've got to have some things in place that will allow your business to work, and so obviously you've got to a Facebook page, so if you don't have [inaudible 00:23:08] out there.
If you're going after people that are in the younger [inaudible 00:00:23:14], younger than baby boomers, you should probably have an Instagram profile. You need to have a platform that can easily get products into Shopify, and so this where Facebook and their post called out a few partners in the intro that came out right after Zuckerberg's live thing, where they say, "Hey Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, [inaudible 00:23:44], and Feedonomics can all [inaudible 00:23:46].
I don't think all those integrations are perfect yet, and I've tested on some Shopify sites where you can add the Facebook Commerce Manager, get the Facebook shopping plugin, the Instagram shopping plugin and it's be live [inaudible 00:23:59] not perfect. So I think that most businesses have to realize going into this is, if you've never been online before [inaudible 00:24:08] to accomplish that you've ever done. If I'm seeing articles and blogs from people, the e-comm experts not being able to do this, the switch, just with their knowledge, then I would say at least test measures and things, test [inaudible 00:24:22] things. If you get stuck, there are going to be a lot of blog articles, there are going to be a lot of help things within Facebook trying to solve these problems, but you're going to need some patience for sure.

Jon:
So Ryan, knowing all of that, how does one get access to Facebook Stores?

Ryan:
You need to go in and set up Commerce Manager, and so that's step one, like a great digital marketer that I am, I just go Google, Facebook Commerce Manager and find it. It wasn't as simple for me to find inside the Facebook platform, you also want to have a site like a Shopify, BigCommerce that already has a plugin for it, so you may need a plugin on that. Our Shopify site, we had to put a plugin on the site to get to send inventory over to Facebook, you've got to have something sending those product details over, along with inventory, what's available. Every business that has a Facebook page should be able to do Facebook Stores, but that doesn't automatically open up Instagram Stores, or so we're finding.
There's a lot of misinformation out there, so you need to do some research on your own and see your business is able to do certain things. There were some articles that my wife came across that said, "Okay, if you try to do an Instagram Store, you can't do a Facebook Store and vice versa." I don't think that article is necessarily true, but the Instagram Stores or the Instagram checkout is still closed beta if you go to that page on Instagram.

Jon:
Okay. So, we should state that there's a lot in flux here, right? And we're doing our best to get this information out quickly, but things are changing rapidly is what I'm hearing from you as well.

Ryan:
For sure. So we're recording this today, and people are going to get access to it probably in a week and there's going to be constant change until we get to a homeostasis in the Facebook Stores environment, and so we'll probably have to do an update a little bit later. But as of now, just know that there's a lot of moving pieces at this point, and if you're on a platform that doesn't have an integration already built into Facebook, it's going to be much more difficult for you to get that thing set up.

Jon:
Okay, so what does Facebook cost? I assume they're not doing this for free.

Ryan:
It'd be nice if everything was free, but unfortunately Facebook is a business, and they have an obligation to shareholders to make money, nothing wrong with that, they do provide a service for free for people getting their own profiles. But as of now, they are charging 5% per transaction, now that is great in some areas, it does say that includes taxes and processing fees. And so that could be good, but I do have some struggle with that because if your business already has nexus in Washington, for example, you need to be collecting all of the sales taxes in Washington, which add up quickly. If you sell in Seattle, you're getting charged almost 10% sales tax up there, that that 5% just can't cover taxes.
So that's how I know a lot of this is going to be changing and updating, because I'm not sure that it built out everything for tax collection perfectly. Because when you jump into e-comm and you have stores like mine and they sell on Amazon, their website, retail storefronts, I mean there is so many potentials for tax nexus they had to be collecting that Facebook sells a unit there, I'm on the hook actually as a merchant for that. And so that's where stores need to be aware that that's there. If Facebook doesn't collect the tax, nothing on them, I mean, they're not coming to Facebook for that, they're coming to the person that actually sold that product on Facebook for the tax.

Jon:
Right. So definitely something to keep track of, and I think we both know in e-comm, and there's whole companies dedicated to just helping you figure out your commerce tax situation. And it's down to the street level at times, local taxes and sometimes stuff like that.

Ryan:
Yeah, good luck in California, it's just not going to happen.

Jon:
So since this was released, and it is in beta as we were kind of talking about, what do you think is still being worked out with Facebook and their Stores platform?

Ryan:
Some of it, I think, is going to be that cost, like they want to have something that works and keeps it simple. But as of yet, I haven't seen how you can simplify commerce to a flat rate for everybody in every possible scenario. So I do think that's going to adjust somehow, and Facebook is potentially opening up for a local store that's never had a website, to sell across Facebook, which is a massive opportunity, but also adds in massive complexities to a small local business that [inaudible 00:29:10] had to consider before. Especially if you're in Oregon, where we don't have sales tax, that's just kind of a foreign thought to us that, "Hey, I can go anywhere I want, I buy something and whatever it says on the tag, I actually pay versus not having to worry about tax."
Whereas I go to Washington, there's all kinds of taxes added on that as an Oregonian I'm just not thinking through. So an Oregon business, you have to be aware that most of the country charges sales tax, and if that collection's not there, how do you do it? And maybe Facebook has taken some liability in some of their fine print saying, "Hey, we're going to charge 5%, and we'll make it right, some how, some way." I don't necessarily think that Facebook shareholders [inaudible 00:29:50] too keen on that.

Jon:
Yeah, not for permanent, right? But I could see them doing that upfront to get users and to kind of buy their way in.

Ryan:
Yeah because it would be great if you could simplify processing and taxes into just one number to [inaudible 00:30:05]. You're just taking 5% and I'm done, that would be huge, and I think a great opportunity.

Jon:
I have to think, yes, we're in Oregon, so not really up on every other State sales tax, but I have to think that there's some States that have more than a 5% sales tax, right? So even just then, they would be losing on processing or any of the over right away.

Ryan:
Yeah, and it could be maybe they're pulling that from their small business fund that they talked about, where they say, "Hey, we're going to release a 100 million to small businesses." And so instead of giving them ad credits, they're just going to use some of that to collect the data. Because I think some of it Facebook needs is that data, because they've not done enough online commerce to actually have the data to know this is what it is and here's where things can go bad. Unless they hired some high up people at Amazon that have all this data that they could pull with them, I doubt it.

Jon:
Yeah. Well we all know that, and this perhaps is for a whole nother podcast, but we all know Facebook loves their data, so they'll get it one way or another. So is there anything we didn't talk about, you thought I should have asked you about Facebook Stores today?

Ryan:
I don't think so, I think as a business there's very little reason not to get into this channel and test it. Every business is going to have a different level of success with it, but if you're going to open up a massive channel, I think there's more risk to not exploring it than there is to explore it and put some of you inventory there and see what happens. I mean, I'm going to get all of my businesses on there that I can to say, "Hey, I want to be available where people are trying to transact." And if Facebook is successful at creating an e-commerce platform to rival the Amazon's or Google Shopping's, then I for sure want to be an early adopter into that system so I can get as much data as I can get to make smart decisions for myself and any of our clients. So I would say, get in, take some risk, take the time to study it, and just see how you can make it work for your business and your specific situation.

Jon:
Yeah, that's great advice. I mean, there's still millions and millions of people on Facebook, so it's a massive audience, right, and you might as well try to throw your store up there and see what happens. So, okay, great. Well, this is really helpful and I think it's a great add on, as we said, things are going to change rapidly with this, but hopefully this gets people started. They know where to look now, they have some understanding of what it's going to cost them, and why they should do it, and I think that's a great add onto this episode. So thank you, Ryan, again. And I look forward to doing an updated show in the future as things settle down with Stores.

Ryan:
Yeah, looking forward to it. Thanks, Jon.