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The Dos and Don’ts of Social Selling for eCommerce Businesses

a mobile phone displaying a shopping bag on the screen

Social selling has become essential to a thriving eCommerce business. With the rise of social media, online sellers leverage these platforms to reach their target audiences and increase conversions. As a result, 73% of consumers have made a purchase because of something they saw on social media. Social selling involves more than simply promoting products and services; it focuses on creating a connection with your audience, fostering trust, and providing value.

What is social selling?

Social selling is the practice of using social media platforms to build relationships, engage with potential customers, and, ultimately, drive sales. It goes beyond traditional sales tactics by focusing on providing value to your audience, strengthening trust, and establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

Social selling provides an opportunity to connect with current and potential customers directly, which is a crucial capability for eCommerce businesses. The increasing prevalence of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter lets merchants reach larger audiences and nurture relationships with customers they might otherwise have missed. To succeed with this approach, there are certain best practices you should follow and other actions to avoid.

In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of social selling for eCommerce sellers. We’ll provide tips and recommendations for building relationships, crafting engaging content, and optimizing your social media profiles. You’ll also learn the common mistakes to avoid and see real-world examples to gain inspiration for your social selling strategy. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your efforts, you’ll uncover valuable insights to help you succeed.

The dos of social selling

To realize the awesome benefits of social selling for your business, you need to be strategic about its implementation. Here are some of the most important dos of social selling.

Build relationships

One of the main goals of social selling is to build relationships with your target audience. You can foster strong connections in many ways, including:

  • Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, messages, and mentions promptly. This shows you value your audience and are interested in what they have to say.
  • Address customer queries and feedback: Similarly, addressing customer questions and feedback quickly displays your care for your customers and your willingness to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction.
  • Offer personalized recommendations: Use data and analytics to provide personalized recommendations for your audience. This proves you understand their needs and are capable of offering tailored solutions.

Create engaging content

Crafting engaging content is imperative for social selling success. To produce rich content:

  • Use high-quality visuals: Images and videos are more engaging than text-only content. Incorporate high-quality visuals that are relevant to your brand and messaging to grab hold of your audience’s attention.
  • Employ storytelling to convey your message: Storytelling conveys your message in a more compelling way. In turn, this helps your audience relate to your brand and cultivate an emotional connection.
  • Let loose with humor and wit: Introducing humor and wit into your content helps you stand out and reach your audience on a more personal level.

Optimize your social media profiles

Optimized social media profiles are a subtle but important component of social selling. We recommend you:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords into your profile descriptions: Use relevant keywords that your audience is searching for in your profile descriptions. This helps you appear in search results and increases your visibility.
  • Include links to your website and product pages: Make it easy for your audience to reach your website and product pages by including links in your social media profiles.
  • Feature high-quality profile pictures and cover photos: Use high-quality profile pictures and cover photos that are relevant to your brand and message. These make a strong first impression and boost your credibility.

The don’ts of social selling

Along with these best practices, there are also some common mistakes to avoid in social selling. You need to take a careful approach to ensure you don’t annoy or turn off your audience.

Don’t be too pushy

Being overly pushy with your social selling tactics can backfire and drive away your audience. Here are some common missteps and what we recommend you try instead:

  • Avoid hard selling tactics: Focus on giving your audience value through helpful content, educational materials, and personalized recommendations. Displaying your expertise and providing this value establishes trust with your audience and ups the likelihood of a sale.
  • Don’t spam your audience with promotional messages: Sending too many promotional messages can make your audience feel overwhelmed and cause them to unfollow or unsubscribe from your accounts. Instead, be strategic about when and how often you promote your products or services. Focus on messaging that resonates with your targeted segment.
  • Provide value first before asking for a sale: Cultivate trust and establish your brand as a thought leader before asking prospects to buy. You can achieve this through educational content, personalized recommendations, and engaging with your audience in a genuine manner. By providing value up front, you foster a loyal following that’ll be more likely to convert when the time is right.

Don’t ignore negative feedback

Overlooking negative feedback can damage your brand reputation and push potential customers to your competitors. Although it can be difficult to receive, it’s important to handle this type of feedback by:

  • Addressing customers promptly and professionally: Respond to negative feedback in a timely and professional manner. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and work towards finding a solution to show you care and are willing to invest time to fix their issues.
  • Seizing the opportunity to improve: Negative feedback can be a learning opportunity to refine your products, services, and customer experience. Use it to identify areas of improvement and take steps to address them.
  • Keeping negative comments or reviews: Deleting negative comments or reviews can make your brand appear dishonest and untrustworthy. Instead, respond to them publicly and highlight your efforts to find a solution. This transparency conveys your willingness to take responsibility for mistakes and issues, turning a negative experience into a positive one that could win back a dissatisfied customer.

Don’t overdo automation

While automation can be helpful for managing your social media accounts, overdoing it can lead to a lack of personalization and engagement. For best results with automation:

  • Don’t rely solely on automated responses: Automated responses are great when managing large volumes of messages, but relying on them entirely can make your audience feel like they’re talking to a robot. Automation should supplement your social selling strategy, so be sure to respond to messages personally when appropriate.
  • Personalize your messages and interactions: Personalization is key to making your audience feel valued and heard. Use the information you have on your audience to tailor your messages and interactions to their interests and needs. This builds stronger relationships and increases your chances of driving sales.
  • Don’t underestimate the human connection: While automation can streamline routine tasks, it can’t replace the influential impact of human interaction. Be sure to engage with your audience personally whenever possible, such as responding to messages, commenting on posts, or hosting live events. By striking a balance between automation and personalization, you’ll construct a social selling strategy that’s both efficient and effective.

Social selling in the real world

Thanks to the rapid rise of social media and influencer marketing, there’s no shortage of social selling examples to show you how it’s done. Here are a few for inspiration as you consider how you can leverage social media in your sales strategy.

Warby Parker

This eyewear company uses social media to showcase their unique designs, as well as offers a virtual try-on feature on their website. The brand shot to internet fame thanks to its innovative approach to marketing using social media!

Warby Parker’s business model for selling prescription eyeglasses has been largely successful as a result of social media, which made it easy to reach huge audiences. The brand focused on transactional communication as opposed to traditional, linear advertising, which established trust early. In addition, word-of-mouth marketing via platforms like Instagram and Facebook meant influencers and everyday users delivered social proof on behalf of the brand.


This beauty brand capitalizes on social media to display their products and engage with customers. They employ user-generated content to create a sense of community around their brand, which has increased their brand awareness and consumer loyalty.

Glossier is now considered a “blueprint for social media community driven marketing” due to Forbes naming it the “Beauty Brand for the Generation Instagram.” The company also boasts more than 2.6 million followers on Instagram alone. They’ve excelled at branding and playing into meme culture, leveraging user-generated content, and keeping their content both authentic and approachable. They know exactly who they’re targeting and maintain a simple but effective approach.


eCommerce retailer Zulily offers flash sales and personalized recommendations to their customers on social media. By leveraging social media to promote its products and offer exclusive deals to its followers, Zulily has grown its customer base and increased its sales. But that’s not all.

Zulily’s Affiliates & Influencers program allows the brand to spend less time and money on linear advertising methods by capitalizing on the audiences of influencers on social media, who also deliver social proof and brand trust by sharing their perspectives, experiences, and posts. In 2017, Zulily used social media to find new campaign stars, tapping their fanbase and encouraging users to send in photos of their children for the Zulily Cuties campaign.

Creating a social selling strategy

Now that you know what to do and not do in social selling, it’s time to build your strategy and put it to work. To create an effective social selling strategy, follow a structured approach that aligns with your overall eCommerce goals. Here are some foundational steps to take:

  1. Define your target audience: Before you begin selling on social media, you need to identify your target audience. This entails understanding their demographics, interests, and pain points.
  2. Hone in on your social media channels: Determine which social media channels your target audience is most active on and establish a presence there. Popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others.
  3. Develop a content strategy: Your content strategy should focus on crafting engaging, informative, and relevant content that resonates with your target audience. Consider formats such as blog posts, videos, infographics, social media posts, and more.
  4. Leverage influencers: Partner with influencers in your industry to promote your products and reach a larger audience. Be sure to choose influencers whose audiences align with your target market.
  5. Measure and monitor your results: Run analytics tools to monitor the performance of your social selling strategy and adjust it as needed. Track metrics such as engagement, traffic, leads, and sales to evaluate the success of your efforts.

Wrapping up — Extend your reach with smart social selling best practices

Social selling is a powerful tactic for eCommerce brands to engage with their target audience and attract new buyers. By leveraging social media channels to showcase your products and provide personalized recommendations, you can build strong relationships with your customers and boost sales.

However, you must follow best practices and circumvent common mistakes to find success through this approach. These include being authentic with and nurturing trust in your audience, providing value before asking for a sale, and avoiding pushy or spammy behavior.

A well-structured social selling strategy must align with your eCommerce goals so you can reach your target audience effectively on all the platforms where they’re most active. Remember to track your progress and adjust your strategy as needed to optimize your results. With a smart approach, you’ll increase your brand awareness, grow your customer base, and drive sales.