Have you taken the first steps towards your digital income dream and launched your own online store? Now you need to come up with a viable marketing strategy for your site and meet your customers where they are - on social media. Why does social media commerce work so well? A lot of it comes down to how easy it is to reach people on social media – the immediacy drives connections, which in turn drive sales. Here is how to set out a successful social media strategy.
Pick your Poison
Launching an ecommerce store on social media is easy – as long as you know where to launch.
Rule number one: be where your customers are.
1.Do your research and analyze data to find out where your target demographic hang out. There are a number of different tools and software available for audience research, but old-fashioned social media and forum snooping still work!
2.Once you know where your users are, launch on your social profile of choice with load of original content. Follow as many people as you can to up your follower count.
3.Match your content to your platform – only share fit for purpose content that’s aligned with your audience.
4.Get to know the different platform algorithms – you need to learn how to ‘hack’ them in order to get your content out there.
5.Don’t go down the route of indiscriminate blasts – keep your social content targeted in order to up engagement levels – just sharing mundane updates isn’t going to cut it.
6.Start seeding your product and brand on social media way before you’re even ready to launch – this means that you will launch to a group of followers who are ready and waiting, instead of an empty profile. This kind of social word of mouth marketing is super powerful.
7.XBox have multiple Twitter feeds and accounts – they make sure that all the accounts share and retweet each other’s content to improve post reach. They also host frequent giveaways (with their own hashtags). Takeaways: multiple accounts can help you hack post reach + host giveaways to increase follower count.
Social Engagement Optimization
Customer behavior is changing rapidly and you need to keep up. The majority of website users are power users of social media, flipping from browser to social media app at a dizzying pace.
1. No one talking back to you? Share engaging content with a strong call-to-action (like a controversial question – tread carefully). If you don’t want to court controversy – just ask your audience to share their own experiences with your product and service –people love to share.
2. Reply to all comments and shares to build a strong community around your profile. It’s time-consuming, but actually engaging with people is the only way to build a good brand on social media.
3. Social media should also impact your web design strategy – if social’s what people like; why not make your store and content look more like a social media platform with visual content and comments? Encourage users to share your ‘thank you’ purchase page after they have bought an item, and embed user photos and comments into your product pages.
4. There’s no excuse for a lack of social engagement on your store – most ecommerce CMSs (Shopify pictured) offer free social media integrations for your site . Use the free versions and pay for premium if you need to – social media is an investment that pays off in traffic and sales.
Kill with Kindness & Great Customer Service
Customers will post any positive or negative feedback publically. Errors, downtime, bad delivery, an unhelpful phone call – you’ll hear about it.
- Keep close tabs on what people are saying about you or your brand online with social media monitoring tools and ensure that you are engaging with and responding to customers comments swiftly. Fast response rates will help you downplay any potential customer service issues – defuse negativity by being super professional and polite. Don’t rise to the bait.
- Technology companies struggle with sudden, unavoidable downtime and glitches with their products or services – social media is the perfect place to keep customers informed of progress. Post screenshots and support messages online to prove that you’re actively trying to solve the issue.
- Nearly half of all users on social media are looking for a quick and direct answer to a question - so make sure you are ready and waiting with some premade response templates (just personalize).
- Your company should be providing excellent customer service across the board, not just on social. Phone calls, live chat, even text messaging are all important for your customer retention rates.
Tell Your Brand's Story
The best way to capture the hearts of your users is through your brand's story.
1. Relatable nuggets of your personal story will take your audience on a journey with you – don’t think that you need to hide your team (or yourself) behind a corporate wall.
2. Getting your brand's story right is especially important for technology companies because their products are intangible (or complicated to understand). Tech giants like Google, Skype, Amazon and others always focus on what their software and products enable other people to do (rather than who they are). Storytelling can extend way beyond just your products’ every day use case.
3. Add humor and personality to your posts to show your human side.
4. Brand cohesion is important so ensure all content reflects your tone, branding and voice for consistency.
5. Encourage users to tell your brand's story through their own eyes. User generated content is a powerful tool that will earn you trust and loyal customers. Prompt customers to share their purchases or experience on their own social profiles to increase viability and brand trustworthiness.
Social media brings companies closer to their audience than ever before, allowing direct access to the online behaviors of their customers. Embrace social media channels to expand your reach – but don’t simply see it as sales tool – it will help you deal with customer support and brand-building too. What social media platform are you using for your ecommerce store?
Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer. I’m currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where I share engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs and business owners. You can follow me on Twitter here.