Social media is everywhere. It may have started as a way to connect people, but it’s evolved into so much more. It’s quickly become an undeniable cornerstone of commerce. You don’t think so? Think again.

Celebrities are selling Facebook posts on a per click basis, viral videos usually feature some sort of product placement, and let’s not even get started on the web arbitrage model. But how can you effectively incorporate commerce into your social media strategy without turning off your followers?

The first step to working commerce into social media is creating great content. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again, content is king. Remember the days when a simple post linking to a deal page garnered tons of clicks? The glory days. Unfortunately for social media managers, consumers now recognize ads disguised as content from a mile away.

Audiences know ads and they don’t want them. So step one – stop trying to sell so hard. Sell smarter, better, and always alongside entertainment or editorial value. Consumers want stories – they want narratives, they want “the why” not the “what” – and they most definitely don’t want clickbait.

Products sell on social channels when the content has three things: speed, value, and nuance. Let’s break it down:

  • Speed – Get the information out fast. No one wants to read for more than 10 secs or watch a video for more than 30 – so keep it short and sweet.
  • Value – What is the product and how will it add value to the reader’s life? Really speak to your readers as friends and make sure they are truly getting something out of each post. This authenticity will not be missed, and will build trust in your audience.
  • Nuance – Pick products that are: unique, interesting, funny or discounted. What’s the angle? Your readers don’t want to be just another victim of retargeting, they want to discover something worth discovering.

If you can add these three elements to what you’re sharing on social media, your audience will listen. Create content with these elements – and lots of it. Not every piece of content you create is going to resonate, but the more quality content you create, the better.

One easy way to create content fast is live streaming. With Facebook integrating live videos, it’s easier than ever to create instant content. You’ll also benefit from real-time commenting as a medium for conversing with your audience. Live video is humanizing. It gives your brand a face (or faces) and creates a conversation in real time. Consumers feel less like they’re being sold to, and more like they’re speaking to a friend.

Incorporating commerce into social media is by no means easy – the space is constantly changing and extremely unpredictable. The key is to keep trying new ideas; staying stagnant is never the answer. You might fail a lot, but just remember to fail fast and keep trying.