Social media marketing is still a great way to connect with your target audience. There are many ways to use social media for ecommerce brands that drive sales and increase brand awareness.
You know you should promote your brand using social media channels. But it feels overwhelming. There are more options than ever, and many require you to pay to reach followers, let alone engage with potential customers.
Thankfully you can quickly figure out which social platform to be active on, what content to post, and start building a framework that will allow you to be successful. It shouldn’t be a minefield that others might make it out to be!
Here are the basic steps to use organic and paid social media with your ecommerce brand.
Social Media For Ecommerce, Why?
Your target audience is far more sophisticated than they were 5 years ago. They’ll research a company and products before buying. So, being active on a few social media channels is a must.
According to Hootsuite’s Global State of Digital 2022 report:
- 57.5% of internet users aged 16 to 64 buy a product or service online weekly.
- 26.5% of social media users go to social platforms to find products to buy.
Yes, there seems to be a new social network launched every week, and they all require you to learn new skills. But you can’t get away from having to interact with customers online. It’s an easy way to build trust and brand awareness.
Social media marketing is not solely about pushing a message out. Part of it is about listening. You can easily do endless market research by being involved in a few Facebook groups and Reddit forums.
With organic social media, tracking the interaction that led to the purchase might be trickier than paid social. However, as another touch point in the buyer’s journey, it’s highly important.
Simply put, if your car needed fixing, would you trust the garage with an active Facebook page or a company that hasn’t posted an update since 2008? I bet you’d go with the first.
#1 Define Your Ecommerce Company’s Social Media Goals
Is your goal to provide better support to existing customers? Create attention around new products? Or build brand awareness?
Your goals will depend on the type of business you run and your target audience. For example, if you’re a DTC brand, your social media marketing goals will be more complex than if you’re a B2B wholesaler.
Start by considering your top-line goal for social media, which could be:
- Promoting and driving traffic to an ecommerce website
- Selling products directly on social media
- Engaging with customers and prospects directly on social channels
- Providing pre-and post-sale support to customers
- Collecting insights about your industry and market
- Building an online social media community around your brand.
Next, consider a figure you’d like to achieve with this goal over the next 12 months. For example, drive 10,000 visitors to your Shopify store, build a social following of 50,000, or reduce support calls by 50% as you can better answer them on social.
We’ll come on to KPIs in a moment, so don’t worry about getting too detailed at this stage. Pick a single goal for the next 12 months that’s achievable and easily defined.
#2 How To Create A Social Media Strategy For Your Ecommerce Brand
As we’ve talked about before, marketing strategy is the overarching plan. Tactics are the action steps you take to reach the goal. Start by defining why you’ll use social media to do what. A good strategy only needs a sentence or two.
For example: We plan to use Facebook and Twitter to interact with our clients aged 18 to 55 as these are their most used social platforms. We will build brand awareness, drive new sales, and lower support emails.
That explains the Why and What but not the How (that’s the tactics!). Your strategy shouldn’t change. But the tactics you use to reach that goal will evolve as you test and measure.
#3 Set KPIs To Help You Easily Measure Your Progress
You should pick 2 or 3 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). I see KPIs as a quick health check that you can measure with either a yes or no. Setting KPIs should be easy! However, as it depends on your goals, it can be difficult to do.
What makes it tricky is there’s no way to measure brand awareness. So, if that’s your social media marketing goal, you’ll need to find some secondary metrics to measure that support your goal.
If your goal is to drive more sales, using analytics you can attribute purchases to a traffic channel, making it easier to measure if you hit a goal or not.
A good KPI defines what success looks like as a number. It’s a top line measure that helps illustrates the big picture.
Here are just some of what you could measure:
- Video views.
Again pick 2 or 3 and define what success looks like in numbers. Data doesn’t lie!
Your KPI could be: reach 10,000 followers by the end of Q1 or drive 100 new sales per month. Make them simple and easy to measure!
#4 What Social Media Channels Should Your Ecommerce Brand Target?
There’s a common myth with social media marketing that you have to be everywhere and always active. No one wants to be chained to their computer or smartphone, so this isn’t realistic.
Plus, your target audience doesn’t exist everywhere online. They largely use a few sites that make it easier to choose which marketing channels to be active on.
If you’re a b2b ecommerce brand, your best social channel could be LinkedIn. With an eco-friendly D2C brand, Reddit might be the ideal platform to promote your products.
We could be active on:
My best advice is to pick 2 and master them. You can always repurpose existing content on other social platforms and use them to build brand awareness without having to dedicate hours to them.
#5 Create And Optimize Your Profiles
If you don’t already have profiles set up on your two/three chosen platforms, now is the time to get started. You’ll probably need a banner image, your logo, and a short description.
Once you have these assets, you should be able to reuse them or at worst tweak them slightly to fit within the requirements for a particular social platform.
It’s best to stick with one name across all your social media channels, as this makes it easy for customers to find you. If you can’t get your direct name, try adding your country (2/3 letter code) at the end.
Don’t focus on getting everything perfect. Instead, get profiles up and running, and start posting content. You will evolve, so good is good enough at this stage!
#6 Start Posting On Your Social Channels
You don’t need a grand strategy that took you a year to devise. However, you do need to test and measure. There’s a lot of bad advice online when it comes to social media.
Here are our top tips:
- Have a posting schedule
- Vary your posts
- Measure what works and what didn’t
- Use this feedback to improve what you post.
Have a posting schedule
Most businesses fail at social media marketing as they’re not working to a schedule. For example, if you’re using Facebook and Instagram. You could post on Facebook on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. With Instagram, you could post Tuesdays and Fridays.
From there, you can test different times and ideas, but you have the basic structure in place to ensure consistency.
Vary your posts
We’ve all seen companies who post about their products daily on their social media. It’s boring.
You can post links to products now and again, but don’t make them the sole focus. Try to promote reviews, tips/tricks, blog posts, interesting things happening with the company, etc. There are plenty of ideas for posts you can use.
Measure what works and what didn’t
Without reflecting on what you’ve posted, you’ll see the results fall. So, it’s vital you take a moment each week to ensure you pick out the posts that did well, so you can reuse them later.
A post that does well doesn’t mean it got a load of likes or comments, it could be one that led to 3 sales or a post that helped increase follower numbers.
You have to align the activity with your KPIs and goals, otherwise, you’re just testing and measuring a random metric.
Use this feedback to improve what you post
Collecting data alone isn’t very helpful! You need to use it to fine-tune your plan and the tactics you use. Don’t keep posting the same old stuff and hope for better results!
#7 Interact With And Engage Your Followers
You’ve probably also seen enough social profiles where the brand hasn’t taken a few seconds to reply to a comment, a review, or simply to interact with their followers.
It’s worth interacting as much as possible with your followers and trying to reply quickly. This doesn’t mean you need to be chained to your smartphone or answer every comment. Just be active and show you appreciate every person who wants to interact with you!
#8 How Much Website Traffic Comes From Social Media?
It’s hard to benchmark how much traffic or sales will result from your social media marketing efforts. You might only use organic social and get a trickle of visitors. Some will mix organic and paid tactics, resulting in more traffic and sales. So it’s hard to give general advice.
Even if your social media doesn’t directly drive traffic, it’s still worth doing as it’s a touchpoint within the user’s buying journey. They’re likely to check your social channels to ensure you’re still in business and active. So it’s worth posting regularly to convince these buyers.
#9 How Do I Check My Social Media Traffic?
Shopify shows a breakdown of traffic sources using the built-in analytics software. If you’re using Magento or WooCommerce, you’ll need to install Google Analytics. I’d recommend doing this with Shopify too, as you can access even more data.
#10 Use Automation Tools To Make The Job Easier
Being active on social media doesn’t mean being chained to your computer or phone. You can use automation tools to schedule posts in advance or program chatbots to deal with the most common questions you get.
Before you automate anything, take the time to understand how your customers use social media and devise a tactical plan that matches their expectations. When you later add automation to the mix, you’ll have a much better idea of what to do and how to do it.
The more you study how your customer behaves, the better you can use tools to help you interact with them without having to be active 24/7.
#11 Try Social Media Paid Campaigns For More Sales
Sadly, you can no longer rely on organic social media tactics alone. You will have to pay some money for visibility. By mixing organic and paid social media marketing, you can reach more customers and increase brand awareness.
Paid social is its own beast and not something you can throw together over a weekend. So it’s best to work with a specialist who can set up and optimize campaigns for you.
#12 Explore Social Commerce Options
Rather than using social media to promote your store, why not use them as your ecommerce platform? Social commerce means uploading your products to a platform and letting them market them for you.
It’s never been easier to drive more sales using social commerce. Currently, there are four social media apps with native built-in social selling capabilities:
Also, Twitter and Snapchat have both partnered with Shopify to create social commerce tools. So, it’s won’t be long before they embrace this revolution.
There are plenty of benefits to using social commerce solutions, including:
- Free to set up
- Create memorable, interactive online shopping experiences
- Streamline the sales process
- Increase where sales can happen
- Enable headless commerce
- Create live shopping experiences.
Hootsuite has several guides that will help to experiment with social commerce. You could open an Instagram Shop, a Facebook Shop, use Product Pins on Pinterest or invest in Video shopping ads on TikTok.
Test, Measure And Optimize
We’ve covered a lot in this article about social media for ecommerce brands. Marketing, in general, is an exercise of testing, measuring, and optimizing. You won’t get it right the first time, but you can apply what you learn as you go.
So pick two major social media channels to be active on and spend time mastering them. From there, figure out how to repurpose your content on another one or two social media platforms. Use templates and document the process to speed everything up.
After running social for a month or two, you can step back and see if your result measures up to your KPIs. If not, don’t worry. Simply adjust your tactics and try again. You’ll get there in the end, so long as you keep testing and measuring!
With our help, Paula learnt how to engage with clients on social media, leading to 10% increase in sales last month.
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