How Social Media Can Create a New, Impactful Revenue Stream

7 minute read, posted on 03/01/2024, by Amanda Pollitt 

Banner - How Social Media Can Create a New, Impactful Revenue Stream

Almost all brands use online and social channels for marketing. Many use social media for providing customer care. But only some are generating revenue through friendly, proactive online interactions with prospects. And THAT is a lost opportunity.

Your social media experts can generate so much more than brand awareness, CSAT, and goodwill. With conversational commerce (c-commerce), they can contribute directly to the company’s bottom line.

As explained in a recent VXI blog, c-commerce is a type of e-commerce involving social media comments, direct messages, online interactions, and more. With c-commerce, a prospect or customer may not have initiated an online conversation with a desire to purchase, but through a series of friendly, personalized, and informative exchanges with your team, they are convinced to buy.

At VXI, we have created a formula to estimate how many prospects may be open to purchasing via c-commerce. It is largely a numbers game but, with the right tools and team, you can find candidates on social for sales at scale.

Infographic - Calculating the Potential of a Conversational Commerce Strategy Executed by Your Social Media Team

In a recent webinar and Q&A session (below), VXI’s social media practice lead, Amanda Pollitt, shared some of the key elements for conversational commerce success.

  1. What elements must be in place before a social media team is ready to turn conversations into conversions?

After having implemented this with some major brands in the past, I would say that you need five main things:

  • A sales goal or target marketing outcome – Choose a campaign sales target (in terms of dollars) for the team and each respective staff member.
  • A defined audience – Because you need to understand a fair amount about the prospect before engaging with them, it becomes too overwhelming without a specific focus.
  • A social listening tool – I have used Sprinklr extensively, but other platforms like Khoros work as well. Modern listening tools use AI to locate and filter target prospects and keywords across platforms.
  • A process for handling the prospects – Your team needs training materials and guidance on where to direct customers (e.g., specific web pages or DMs), any preferred or specific language, related promotional materials, and so on.
  • A mechanism for measuring conversion success – You need a tool (e.g., Google or Adobe Analytics) to show that the website activity is a direct result of the social engagement. UTM codes link the website traffic and purchase activity directly back to a social account or even a user who published it.
  1. What are the hallmarks of a social team equipped for conversational commerce?

Social media team members who have the most success are passionate and knowledgeable about what they are offering. They should be easily able to compare the product they’re selling with other similar products because they are interested users or fans of the product themselves.

Those good at conversational commerce are socially savvy, friendly, and able to connect with a wide variety of audiences. If they’re hoping to sell a TV, for example, that social team member should be able to chat with a 20-year-old gamer, a 50-year-old overseeing a home remodeling project, or an office manager who needs multiple TVs for a conference room.

As a manager, you can build that fandom or hire for it. The ideal scenario is hiring travel enthusiasts to sell cruises, pet owners to sell pet insurance, gamers to sell VR headsets, and so on.

If you’re hoping to create a revenue stream, you need to scale. You need processes, tools, and a team that is not only articulate and creative, but results-driven and able to seal the deal in a friendly, natural way.

  1. What are some good conversational commerce examples?

There are loads of excellent examples of conversational commerce if you take a moment to explore. I find that the major quick-service restaurants are quite creative, but some of the retailers are, too. I’m biased, but the LG social team executes campaigns quite successfully. Here are a few examples…

Screenshots showing good conversational commerce examples in social media

Screenshots showing good conversational commerce examples in social media

Screenshots showing good conversational commerce examples in social media

  1. What are the best platforms to start generating a revenue stream on social?

The key is choosing the channels where your target audiences are posting, where commenting and interjecting is acceptable from an etiquette perspective, and where social listening is technically easy. My recommendations would include the following:

  • X (formerly Twitter) — X has the fewest restrictions with their API, it is widely used, and open commenting is encouraged. I would recommend starting with c-commerce here.
  • Instagram — More people shop on Instagram than on any other channel. Suggestive selling drops are easy to do, but follow-up links are not clickable without using direct messages (DMs).
  • LinkedIn – If you are selling B2B, this is the place to be, but sales pitches need to be truly helpful.
  • Facebook – Facebook has become restrictive. Posts may be open only to friends and private group members. There may still be potential here if you are willing to do the work manually.
  • TikTok and YouTube – These are not widely used for c-commerce, as they require manual processes. However, if you are working with a specific audience or expensive offering, the effort may be worth it.
  • Reddit, Medium, and Other Publishing/Blog Platforms – These are tricky, as the expectation is that the author and followers can speak freely without brand commentary or sales interjections.
  1. Do you have any last tips for conversational commerce timing or flow?

Ideally, you want to engage publicly and in-channel rather than in private messages, as the link will get more exposure that way. If the channel does not allow such links (like Instagram), enticing them to switch to a DM for a personalized shopping experience can work as well.

When it comes to generating a revenue stream from social, it can be hard to show growth, results, or proof of concept if you take on too much at once. Discrete campaigns that focus on specific targets, have end dates (e.g., President’s Day), and links to specially designed web pages make the effort easier to track.

Ensure the web page links you share redirect the prospect to another related page when the campaign is over. Just because you share a link on social doesn’t mean the prospect will click on it right away. If the prospect clicks two weeks after the sale is over, they could become frustrated. Create a sense of urgency to get them to click ASAP.

If you have questions about getting your social selling program off the ground, I would love to chat. I can help you start formulating a campaign, calculate the potential revenue you could earn, advise on the best channel for your audience, and more. Please reach out! There is still a lot of money to be made on social media.

About Amanda Pollitt

Amanda brings over 20 years of experience leading social and digital customer care teams. Amanda’s experience consists of developing digital channel strategies, designing and implementing processes, and driving excellence for some of the world’s largest brands, such as Walmart, McDonald’s, Philips, Meta, and Starbucks. As VXI’s social media practice lead, she leads a team consisting of specialists in social media management and engagement, analytics, training, and SaaS enablement.

Legendary starts here. Ask us anything.

Real people.

Real experiences.

Real emotion.

Your customers' lives are busy, we’re here to make them easier.