There are a number of articles, infographics and posts giving readers the 5 to 10 key tips ecommerce businesses need to follow to have successful social media campaigns. All the tips shared in these articles are great tips which will help, so we have put them all together in one article to create the ultimate social media guide for ecommerce businesses.
Following the tips and advice below should help to grow and fine tune your social media platforms and give you a key advantage over your other ecommerce competitors.
#1 – Find Your Customers
Very few things in life promise endless options – digital and social media marketing being one exception. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube, there’s no limit to the number of social networking channels available for your business to leverage. Key to successful social media marketing for ecommerce is choosing the right channels to reach customers.
Find out where your customers are congregating by:
- Asking them. Sounds overly simplistic, but sending a formal survey to customers or more informally polling them on your website can provide a wealth of knowledge.
- Monitoring social sites. Use a free tool like Social Mention or Trackur. For something far more robust use tools like Radian6 to discover how and where customers are talking about your brand, your competitors or target keywords.
- Leveraging the stats. Some sites like Facebook are transparent when it comes to user statistics. Or leverage research conducted by third-party firms like eMarketer.
- Review backlinks, job postings, news announcements and keyword rankings of competitors on a regular basis to get a glimpse into their online marketing health.
#2 Set Up Facebook and Twitter Profiles
Your site does have a Twitter account and a Facebook page, right? These two are the “big guns”, with hands-down the most traction for your social media efforts.
You have to focus first on what social media networks make the most impact, and these two services are the best places to start.
#3 Monitor What Your Competitors Are Doing
Whether your ecommerce business is new to social media marketing, or just need to take your efforts up a notch, competitive intelligence can be very useful. Spend some time by conducting a competitive audit of your top five competitors on the social web. Include:
- The social sites in which they are active
- The type of content they publish on the social web
- The number of followers/fans/views they have on each site
- How they promote specific products, programs or events via social media
#4 Finding a Unique Place for your Sharing Buttons
Instead of using a generic sharing widget in the same place across all your sites, try putting sharing features in prominent placements in different places in your site’s design.
For example, after a customer creates a review of a product, give them an easy way to share the review with Facebook friends or Twitter followers. They’ve already shown they’re in sharing mood by filling out a review, why not capitalize on the good vibes? You could create a simple link that sends the url of the page to their Twitter account to send, or use a Facebook share button.
Here are some other unique places on your site that you might put sharing links or widgets:
- The thank you page, after making the order.
- sale confirmation email
- mailing list email templates
There are plenty of other nooks and crannies on your site that you could add sharing links. Don’t feel limited by this list. Just click around your own site for more ideas.
#5 Add Product Videos
Videos are great sales tools. People like seeing a product in action, so video is an excellent way to improve sales.
But aside from the improved sales, adding product videos on YouTube or other video sharing sites adds another social factor. People like sharing videos, and they’re more likely to embed the videos other sites. Videos are a great way to add a viral factor to your product pages.
#6 Sell Products Through Social Media
Facebook isn’t just a great source of traffic. You can also sell directly on Facebook with a Facebook Store. It’s easy to set up, and a great channel for making sales. Make it easier for customers to reach you on the biggest social media platform in the world.
#7 Don’t Just Push Products and Promotions
The primary goal of your ecommerce site may be to sell products, but your social media marketing strategy should encompass a wider range of tactics than simply promoting offerings. With too much product pushing and not enough engagement, you’re unlikely to experience optimal success.
Incorporate some of these ideas into your ecommerce social media marketing strategy:
- Share messages or news stories from external sources
- Create a blog on your website and feed blog content to your social accounts
- Ask questions, participate in discussions or poll your customers via social media
- Post pictures from company events or videos from your CEO’s speaking engagements
#8 Don’t Stay In ‘Sell Mode’
Companies often only post things related to selling on their social media profiles. But that doesn’t provide much benefit to your followers, does it? People want more from social media than just a constant stream of sales pitches.
Use your social media profiles to tell customer stories, stats, news, and other things related to your business.
Here’s a crazy idea: what if you shared one of your competitor’s deals? You’d show that your brand is interested in helping your followers, not just making money from them. It would be insanely useful to your fans, and it would add trust and loyalty to your brand.
#9 Become More Relevant With Social Sharing
#10 Promote Exclusive Social Media Offers
In order for your ecommerce business to gain a following on whatever social channel you choose, entice customers with something they can’t get anywhere else.
Offer an exclusive item to social media followers or fans, such as free shipping or a weekly coupon. You can also offer “breaking news” that does not appear anywhere else, like pre-product release announcements or an inside look at your company’s inter-workings.
#11 Add Exclusivity
Make a strong call to action for your visitors as to why they should follow your brand on Twitter, Facebook, or any other network. Include special offers, coupons, tips, and other things that customers wouldn’t get unless they were following you on social media sites.
#12 Engage Customers
It’s one thing to just create a Facebook page or Twitter account, but it’s another thing to actually engage with followers. Social media takes work, you have to daily interact with followers to be successful. Easy to say, much harder to do.
Figure out who’s talking about your brand (or your competitors) and open a dialog.
Social media is a great tool to help promote products away from your ecommerce site. You can get people to your site with social media, and once they’re on your site you make the sale.
#13 Monitor and Improve
One of the best things about social media marketing campaigns is the amount of information available about its performance. Measure your activity across all platforms to find out the best times to post, what types of content get the best engagement and even which products are most popular. You can then use this data to improve your website and refine your social media activities.
Keeping your eye on the statistics and continually experimenting and refining your strategy is a sure way to keep your audience engaged and to stay in front of your competition.
Url shorteners like bit.ly give excellent click analytics. When you share links on social networks, you can track and see how many people are actually clicking the link.
Knowing what gets people to actually click a link means that you can tailor your messages to get the most impact from your social media efforts. For example, you might find that your followers click a lot more on links to coupons versus links to product updates.
You could even drill down how effective types of links are across different social media sites. You might find that your Facebook followers like to click on coupons, and your Twitter followers like breaking news.
The more you know about your followers and what they like, the more useful you can be to them.
#14 Integrate Your Customer Service Strategy with your Social Media Strategy
People are already talking about your brand on social networks, and odds are a few of them are venting frustration about something. Instead of waiting for them to call or email you, diffuse the situation by reaching out to them.
There are plenty of success stories of major brands reaching out to unhappy customers and diffusing situations quickly with social media.
#15 Get Visually Creative
Across all social media platforms photographs possess the highest sharing potential. Photo sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are a perfect fit for ecommerce businesses selling products such as clothing or home accessories, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in the social campaigns of other types of businesses. With a bit of creative thinking any brand can find a meaningful way to create and share visually appealing content.
Quotes, infographics, motivational images and usage examples are all types of visual content that should be considered. And don’t forget about acknowledging and sharing content that your consumers have shared. Reposting an image from a consumer using your product not only engages new customers but strengthens your relationships with existing customers as well.
#16 Optimise your Use of Hashtags
Hashtags (#) are among the most important tools to use these days when posting on social media platforms. They perform multiple tasks:
- Increasing exposure
- Organizing content
- Setting it distinctly apart
So, you should go ahead and make full use of hashtags. They are likely to help your content on social media platforms get discovered by your target audience more frequently.
There is a common trend of using too many hashtags in social media content, however. So, refrain from doing that. Instead, figure out the optimum number of hashtags for your audience (usually two to three in a tweet) and use that as a guide in your social media posting.
#17 Increase Key Metrics
#18 Curate Content from Third Party Websites
You needn’t limit the content you post on social media to topics related to ecommerce either. You should also use other interesting content, which might be related to your business in some way.
Social media platforms require updates on a regular basis to be properly effective. You need to post content in proper frequency. This can be a real challenge, especially if you have to create completely unique content on a regular basis.
There’s a way out though. You can curate content from different sources on the internet. Find relevant content and organize it in a way that will help your ecommerce website’s business prospects.
Try to make the curated content as captivating as possible. It’s OK to share content from another source. Just be sure to properly credit the origin of the information or content you are sharing.
#19 Staying Ahead Of The Curve
It’s a brave new world in marketing. Never has it been easier to reach an audience. But as Facebook grows, the deluge of content we see is off the charts. There’s really a need today for smarter, more targeted social marketing strategies.
Staying ahead of the curve means experimenting with the way you interact with customers, advertise and publish content. The Internet makes it easier to test, optimize and test again. And now, the latest technology, like social analytics and content publishing tools, have put marketers in a position to truly measure their social marketing reach.
#20 Paid Advertising Optimisation
The days of free marketing on social sites are numbered. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all made paid advertising a more important part of their businesses, and ecommerce marketers will likely have to increase their paid advertising spends to reach the same audience. There are some advantages to paid advertising on social networks:
#20.1 More Effective Segments
Think about it: Facebook and LinkedIn have made it much, much easier for marketers to target customer segments, by age, location, interests, job title and much more. Shopify, an online retail start-up, saw a 50-percent reduction in cost-per-lead thanks to the Facebook Custom Audience segmenting tool.
#20.2 Video Advertising is Becoming More Sophisticated
A recent study found that YouTube led all social networks in its ability to convert users. There are a few reasons for this. First, video is an amazing way to showcase your product. Consumers are researching the products they buy online more thoroughly these days, and video provides an interactive way to see these products in action before they buy. Additionally, video is much more engaging than text, and when your audience is more engaged, conversion follows.
#20.3 More Accurate Social Data Analytics
A number of tech companies are making products that enable marketers to measure every aspect of their social campaigns – from top-performing networks, to the types of social content that works, and the actions that customers take. These kinds of social data analytics tools make it easier for ecommerce marketers to tie social campaigns to results.
#20.4 To Better Distribute Content
It’s been said that every brand is a publisher, and today, anyone with an Internet connection and a social profile is a publisher. Take a look at Starbucks, the coffee company. They don’t just sell coffee; Starbucks is an Instagram rock-star, as one of the most-followed brands on the site.
#21 Give Back
Giving back creates trust, which is crucial for your brand. Think of ways that you can be useful to your followers. Share news and tips that they’ll find helpful. Ask their opinions. Give them coupons. Interact with them.
The important thing is that you’re openly trying to be helpful to them. The more useful you are to your following, the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.
#22 Use Social Login to Stop Shopping Cart Disruption
#23 Use Facebook Apps Strategically to Guide Users
As social media expert Amy Porterfield mentioned in her recent “ShoeDazzle, the discount footwear retailer, with its custom Style Profile app.
Once Facebook visitors grant access to the app, they’re able to complete the quiz to find their ideal style matches and are then redirected to specific purchase pages on the ShoeDazzle website, encouraging purchase decisions and eliminating the “tire kicking” that can occur with social media visitors.
This Facebook app works well because it helps drive Facebook visitors directly to the products that will appeal to them most back on ShoeDazzle’s own website.
#24 Use the Right Conversational Style On Twitter
Reaching out to consumers via Twitter is a great fit for “geek chic” ecommerce retailer, ThinkGeek. Not only is its target audience extremely active on Twitter, ThinkGeek’s conversational style and immediate response times have earned the small-but-growing company more than 500,000 followers.
It’s clear ThinkGeek knows how to cultivate the right communication on Twitter for maximum social engagement. By developing its Twitter community, ThinkGeek increases brand loyalty, as well as the possibility that tweets regarding its products will be shared socially among followers and non-followers. Both of these benefits have the potential to increase sales substantially.
Tip: Use your audience’s language when engaging via social media. Social networking site users are extremely sensitive to “phony” interactions, so be sure the person handling your company’s social media profiles is able to use the appropriate tone and language when communicating with followers.
#25 Use Playlists on YouTube
Specialty-goods retailer Vat19 has a wide-reaching social media presence, but where it really shines is on YouTube. Collectively, the company’s video channel has amassed more than 115 million views—no doubt resulting in significant traffic back to its ecommerce website.
Besides the high quality of the company’s video production and the regularity with which it publishes new content, one of the keys to Vat19’s success on YouTube can be attributed to its use of the often-overlooked Playlists feature.
YouTube playlists are a useful tactic to keep visitors on your own YouTube channel longer. Because YouTube playlists allow channel owners to select which videos will play sequentially (interrupting the YouTube Autoplay feature which may automatically launch videos from other brands’ channels), the company’s use of this tool enables it to present viewers with additional products they may be interested in and increase sales.
#26 Intergrate Instagram
The average order value from Instagram marketing is $65.00. That’s higher than from any other social media platform except for Polyvore ($66.75).
In addition, a recent study has found that Instagram gives brands 25% more engagement than any other social media platform.
If you use the right hashtags, appropriate filters, and post at the right times, then you’re well on your way to building a big following on Instagram. The key to mastering Instagram marketing is engagement with your users.
What are some ways to engage with your audience? You may try out running campaigns or contests, going behind the scenes for your products, and most importantly, showing pictures of your customers using your products. These are called user-generated photos, and they’re an excellent way to demonstrate that to potential customers that you have happy current customers.
User-generated photos are a great way to generate social proof. Prospective customers see that your products are regularly being purchased people just like them, and feel more comfortable doing something that others are doing.
So keep building your Instagram following and engage more with them.
#27 Let Your Audience Share Ownership of Your Products
Plenty of ecommerce websites are integrating social sharing tools into their product listing pages, which is a great way to encourage interactions on these sites. But while this is a great first step (and too often is the only step that retailers take), what makes clothing retailer Free People stand out is the robust communities they’ve built on multiple social networking sites.
Free People allows customers to create their own clothing collections to share on popular social networking websites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
Starting from the company’s main shopping page, consumers can hand-select items to form their own “look book” style collections, which can then be explored and voted on by other users. Customers can start from standard company collections or create their own unique sets to share on the Free People website and social networking profiles.