If you’re an online e-commerce store owner, you probably have used social media one way or another to market your products. For an industry that is expected to grow to $4.5 trillion by 2021, social media is a great leveller – it has helped small online businesses compete with billion-dollar brands and make money.
The hard part is getting results from your social media efforts consistently enough to be able to justify continued investment, it does take a lot of patience and persistence.
For one, social media impressions or views alone are not enough to grow your sales. They must convert into clicks. It is easy to get confused between the two; however, it is only the clicks (conversions) that bring in the cash.
With social media marketing, there are many other variables to think about – from how often to post to which platforms to use and whether to opt for organic or paid promotions. If you don’t have a social media content strategy already, now is a good time to think about your goals, especially conversion and average order size.
This is because all social media platforms may not be popular with your target audience and you’d be better off focusing on the ones that bring you the best engagement and…you guessed it, sales!
Leveraging Social Media Platforms for eCommerce Sales
Let’s dissect the social media animal and find out how to get the best ROI from it.
Let your customers do your marketing for you!
No kidding! User-generated content performs much better compared to anything your marketing team can spin up. The figures prove it. According to a survey by Stackla, a marketing research company, customers are 2.4X more likely to rate content posted by other users as authentic. Instagram is one of the top platforms where you can share content created by your customers and leverage the peer influence factor. This means that user-generated content is likely to trigger a sub-conscious response in buyers to buy your product because someone else already has.
Show, don’t tell
With Facebook Live and Instagram TV, you can create hour-long videos to demonstrate your product, tell them what led to the idea and even do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) to answer any questions your audience might have! In 2017, Forbes found that 64% customers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video online. There’s no better way to prove that a product works than demonstrating it live and offering tips on how to make the best use of it.
In addition, infographics can be a great way for you to deliver bite-sized sales and marketing content to your audience. Cross promoting infographic content on popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat ( also throw in Slideshare and Facebook Messenger, for good measure!) can help you target new users, rank better in search engine results pages and build links to your store, all at once.
Infographics can be a welcome relief for tired eyes scrolling through their social media feed.
Optimize your landing page with professional visual content and compelling sales copy to turn visitors into buyers, to make the most of graphic content.
It’s all in the context
Social media is, by definition, a place where people connect with friends, share what interests them and have a good time, in general. Shopping is not the primary reason they’re there.
To get the most out of your social media marketing, get to know the what, why, how and the when of the topics your target customer is following.
This will help you serve content that is timely, relevant and interesting enough to catch (and hopefully retain) their attention. Monitor the most trending hashtags and tailor your content around it. Customers are much more likely to engage with posts that have hashtags, according to a study by Sproutsocial.
A great example of contextual marketing is Google Adsense which serves targeted ads based on interest, location, and other factors.
Are paid ads worth it?
That last sentence brings us into paid ad territory! If your organic content is not doing much to convert prospects into buyers, you might want to look at running paid ads. Paid ads target users based on their online activity and build the necessary momentum for your social media content to entice a prospect into your marketing funnel.
Boosting organic content with paid ads may be a good short-term strategy, especially around peak season. However, there is no real substitute for engaging social media content to finally sell your product, once the customer arrives on your page.
Partner with Influencers?
Depending on who you ask, influencer marketing may or may not be the best bet for an online store, when the overall cost is considered relative to the benefits. It is critical to find the right fit influencer who can help you reach out to a niche audience, something that isn’t easy to do – unless you have a really big marketing budget.
The alternative: Create and share promotional content with relatively lesser known thought leaders or even neighbourhood personalities.taking on the role of influencer. The trick is to niche down to the smallest micro-segment that represents your ideal customer persona.
A podcast-style interview on their YouTube, Vimeo and other video channels – where you talk about your journey so far and your plans for the future – can get you more than just views and comments – maybe not a 10K+ fan following overnight – but you will have made an impression on viewers who share your interests.
Social media marketing requires some rigor in terms of analysis and testing, not to mention ongoing tracking and reporting. That may take you away from other priorities that need attention. To walk the tightrope between average marketing and exceptional value, you are probably going to need help.
After all, focus is in short supply and the lack of it can mean poor returns on the money you spend.
Bruce Lee said it best, “The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus.”
The alternative is to delegate functions like customer support to specialist outsourced customer support providers who can execute with precision and persistence. With proven expertise in analytics, voice, live chat and email, Helplama helps small businesses create better outcomes for their customers and bottom lines, at a tempo and cost that is suited to their unique needs.
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