Facebook on a Smart Phone (Photo credit: Johan Larsson)

Mobile accounts for a massive percentage of digital transactions these days and everyone wants in. Social networking is also huge with well over a billion users on Facebook alone and millions more on sites like Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. New services appear every day allowing you to sell exclusively on community sites or mobile to mobile, without any additional website or marketplace. You may be wondering, should you forget the webstore and just focus on selling on social networks and mobile platforms?

Before we go any further, let me just point out that nearly every single major marketplace or ecommerce option already includes both mobile sales and social selling as part of their base service. Marketplaces, add-on shopping carts, full featured webstores and, of course, Amazon, eBay and Etsy, all have mobile versions of their checkout built into what they offer. eBay in particular has one of the most popular mobile marketplaces available with mobile sales out pacing those on the regular site. Many sellers are looking to branch out from their current platform because they’re afraid they’re missing out on the mobile market without realizing that they’re likely already benefiting from mobile sales.

When it comes to selling and sharing on social networks, there are numerous services, many of them either completely free or with a free plan, for importing or cross listings items from all the major marketplaces and platforms. From apps that display your items in a little mini-storefront on your Facebook page to services that automatically share your selling activity across your networks, there’s a wealth of options out there giving you the opportunity to share your items with your networks your way without having to commit to a whole new marketplace just to get that mobile component.

Mobile and social go hand in hand and it’s almost impossible to find a service that offers one but not the other.

What should I use?

There are literally hundreds of options for social selling, especially for selling on Facebook as it’s the largest platform worldwide. Google around and you’ll see what I mean. Which one is right for you depends on what social networks you want to target and whether you need their service to work with your existing marketplace or store. Soldsie, for example, just lets you sell on Facebook and only Facebook for a per item fee without any external store while EasySocialShop and StoreYa are just two of dozens of services that will import your existing items to Facebook for free. Chirpify is a service for selling items on Twitter and SellPin is designed to work with Pinterest. The list goes on and on with more coming out every day.

If we’re talking about a service for selling exclusively on a social network, the things to look out for are similar to those we referenced with the big three. Do their policies restrict how you’ll be able to sell your items? Do they charge fees and are they worth it for what the service is? Do they give you tools to grow your business and brand?

If you’re looking to add a social store to your existing marketplace selling or storefront, start your search by looking for a tool to specifically integrate with your current services so you’ll know what your options are. Of course, your existing platform may already have native social tools so you won’t even need to use an external service. Even without a specific app or service, you can use the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed for your items to share on social networks, which is something the big three all have and most e-commerce services offer if you know where to look. Once you have the feed link, it’s simple to set up automatic posting using a service like Networked Blogs or Twitterfeed, both of which do import to Facebook and Twitter for free. While these services are really designed to import blog posts, they are easy to adapt to your items. The downside? When you import your whole store feed, depending on how many items you regularly list, you can overwhelm your customers with too many posts.

It may take some research, but social selling is such a big part of the future, it’s worth investing some time to learn as much as you can about it. In the end, you know your items and your customers best and you’ll be able to use that knowledge to pick the best tool. The more distinct your brand, the easier you’ll find selling socially since you’ll already have the social part covered.