Social Media for eCommerce: How and Where to Start Your Strategy
For businesses with storefronts, customers are brought to the door by sidewalks, signs and streets. But for ECommerce businesses, traffic relies heavily on the web. Social media is one major way to connect with customers. It allows you to build ongoing relationships with them, much like a store manager or a sales clerk would in the brick-and-mortar world.
Through social media, you can build your brand, connect with customers and convince them to buy.
Savvy ECommerce businesses understand that social media has value far beyond just connecting with long lost friends and relatives. Social media is both a way to connect and promote. But the virtual landscape is constantly shifting—remember the days of MySpace, Vine and Google+? It can be tough to figure out what platforms are relevant to your brand and audience. Beyond that, you must determine when and how to join or begin a new conversation, engaging your audience.
We have two questions every Ecommerce company should ponder as they plan their social media strategy, as well as a quick snapshot of the most popular social media sites for building awareness and sales of your brand.
What do we sell, and who do we sell it to?
The answers to these two questions will help drive your social media efforts. If you sell high-end home décor or clothing, for example, Pinterest will be a good fit. The site is dominated by products and tips tied to style –décor, recipes, health, fashion, gardening. If your products cater mostly to women, Pinterest is even more valuable to you as 41% of U.S. women use the platform – but we’ll get into that more later.
On the flip side, if your business provides further education courses online, Pinterest probably isn’t the best fit for your social media efforts. Instead, build a presence on LinkedIn, recognized as the social media for serious business and personal development.
How much should we tackle?
Most ECommerce companies are doing some social media marketing, but, not all are doing it effectively or well. It can be easy to spread a small staff too thin. Initially, you might want to call in a consultant, who can help you build a framework and advise you how to automate as much of the process as possible. Start small and build. Perhaps choose a couple of social media platforms that you believe make the most sense for your product and its intended audience. After you have them in place and begin to gauge traffic you get as a result, you might want to invest more time and money in your social media strategy.
Our top social media network picks for ECommerce
As of Buffer’s January 2019 report, Facebook dominates the social media space, with 2.23 billion monthly users worldwide. Having the opportunity to get in front of such a wide audience has business value, but there is a lot of competition to get users’ attention and a lot to keep up with considering Facebook’s frequent changes to its business model and security/privacy updates. The marketers who get the most from Facebook are those who have invested in Facebook ads, which work as well for small businesses as they do for large ones. And of course, eECmmerce companies also use Facebook to share their stories through content, photos and videos as well as engage with their customers by answering their comments and concerns in a professional, polite, friendly and prompt manner.
As Search Engine Journal shows, there are many ways to use Twitter to promote ECommerce. For example, you can create a hashtag campaign or jump into an existing hashtag conversation connected to your business or industry. Additionally, show the different ways your product can be used–for example, if you sell holiday lights, promote a different way to decorate with them with a tweet and photo. Twitter also is a great place to engage with customers. Customers often use Twitter to both compliment brands and air complaints. How you these situations in the public eye has an effect on potential customers. When others see how well you respond, they will be ready to do business with you. It’s important as well to understand who’s using Twitter, so you can make sure that its users include your audience. (One interesting stat: At last count, 63 percent of users were between 35 and 65.)
Nowhere is the power of image better expressed than on Instagram. It is the definition of online eye candy. To succeed here takes investment in powerful photography and a good design sense as well. Collaboration through engaging with others on the platform, liking their Instagram posts, encouraging them to repost your posts. As with other platforms, social influencers can also help you spread the word. In addition to promoting your brand and products on Instagram, you can sell directly to your audience. Through your Instagram business profile, you can connect to a Facebook catalog of your items – allowing you to sell directly on your posts.
Known as the world’s largest professional network, with more than 645 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is a valuable platform for building your business image and sharing your story. Ecommerce businesses can use it to tell their unique story – profile your founder, feature different departments or employees to give an inside look at your business. Talk about your mission or vision. Share relevant articles or TEDTalks, curating content for your audience. Promote the posts of suppliers and business partners and celebrate their achievements–and those of your company.
Pinterest is unique among the platforms in its appeal to women and the latest stats reinforce that. If your audience is primarily men, don’t discount this platform as their demographic is growing, eMarketer predicts a 30/70 gender split by 2022. In addition, 50% of new users were men, Pinterest reports. This site, home to a mind-blowing 75 million ideas, is, like Facebook, a platform where businesses can buy ads. Pinterest is on its way to making $771.40 million in ad revenue this year. How to use it for ECommerce marketing? Set up a Pinterest business page and add pins to all the products on your website to encourage website visitors to follow your brand. Marketing basics like using clear calls to action and bright, interesting photos are also key for this visually driven platform. Ninety percent of weekly users use Pinterest for purchase decisions. Engage users with “Shop the Look” Pins which allow them to shop directly on the site. Lifestyle photos set the stage and allow users to imagine themselves living an ideal life with your product, prompting purchases and brand engagement.
Our top social media site picks are not a one-size-fits-all list. Consider your unique business goals and audience. Want to talk it out? Reach out for additional information about how you can best use social media.
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