You’ve heard it many times:
Social media has an important role in ecommerce.
Today, there are roughly 2.34 billion social network users around the world. This means you can reach one-third of the global population through social media and drive website traffic.
Starting a new account is easy. You don’t need to be a social media guru to do that, you just need social media posting tools. But, what happens next?
I’ve heard a lot of ecommerce site owners say that social media didn’t produce the results they expected. They struggle to get likes and shares, and the traffic they produce from social media is almost equal to zero.
Not surprisingly, many give up and return their focus to other marketing channels.
I’m here to tell you: Don’t give up on your social media effort! Sure, there are plenty of other stores on social media, and everyone is competing for customers’ attention. But, that shouldn’t hold you back. You just need to learn how to stand out from the crowd.
We designed this guide to help ecommerce stores that don’t have an in-house social media guru. This is a step-by-step guide to the best practices for using social media to drive traffic to your site. Plus, at the end of the article, you can download our Social Media Management Checklist for FREE.
OK, let’s jump right in.
Social media overview
First, we’ll take a quick look at the most popular social media sites and their demographics.
Facebook continues to be the most popular and largest social media site with 2 billion monthly users. According to reports, nearly 8-in-10 Internet users in America use Facebook (79%). More recently, older adults have started to join Facebook.
A much smaller number of people report using other social media sites:
- 32% report using Instagram – mostly young adults
- 31% report using Pinterest – primarily women
- 29% report using LinkedIn – more popular with college graduates and high-income earners
- 24% report using Twitter – also more popular among highly educated people
Other social media sites that are also worth looking into are Snapchat, YouTube, Google+ and Tumblr.
Check out this infographic from Tracx. It will give you a pretty nice overview of the usage of social media sites and where your audience is hiding.
Note: This is just a part of the infographic. To see the full version, click here.
Be active on Instagram
Selfstartr states that Instagram is just getting warmed up. They created an awesome infographic about why brands should embrace Instagram. Here are a few reasons:
- 68% of Instagram users engage with brands, while on Facebook, this number is only 32%.
- Only 36% of marketers use Instagram, which means there is plenty of room left for your brand.
- Instagram can reach followers better than Facebook.
- Business accounts see an average monthly growth of 1.46% Instagram followers.
- Getting free followers on Instagram is fairly easier than getting followers on Facebook.”
Alright, that’s enough information to get started.
But before you do, remember to choose a suitable username for your social media accounts. A username generator can help you create a unique identifier that represents your online identity.
Let’s keep rolling and look at some of the tactics you can use to drive traffic to your site through social media.
Social media basics
2. Track your KPIs weekly
Now that you’ve some goals. It’s important to check on them regularly to keep making progress. Start tracking your goals from week to week.
One easy way to do this is to create a Google Sheet or an Excel spreadsheet where you can track your numbers. Every Monday, start your week by checking your KPIs and analyzing the results. Make some changes and then check to see the impact the following week.
It helps to follow the general rule of A/B testing: don’t make too many changes, or you won’t know what works, and what doesn’t. Make small changes and track the impact of each change to create a winning strategy overall.
3. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is the key to success on social media. By knowing your audience, you will know what appeals to them, how you can stand out from your competitors, and how to simply get noticed in a busy newsfeed.
Customer personas are a great way to tailor your messages towards your ideal audience. To create a persona, you choose from different demographics and interests to create a fictional character:
- Education level
- Relationship status
- Challenges & pain points they face
- Where they look for information
- Other characteristics
Once you’ve created one or more customer personas, you can conduct research on how to best connect with this audience on social media.
Creating personas also helps you with advertising by improving your targeting with more detailed information.
There’s a saying in marketing: “If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.” And this is 100% true for social media. Define your ideal customers and learn how to connect with them.
4. Know your limits
There’s another very important consideration before you start promoting your business on social media: your available resources.
How many accounts can you optimize at once? How many free hours do you have? Do you have the resources to have a dedicated person manage your social media? Answer these questions before you get started. It’s better to be “awesome” on 2 platforms than be “okay” on 5 platforms.
If you can’t decide which platforms to use, think about your audience and the research you conducted before.
Use this information to focus your social media efforts where your audience is more likely to be. For a younger audience, look at Instagram and Snapchat, for an older audience, try LinkedIn.
Optimizing your posts
5. Post frequently on social media
There are a number of studies that examine how many times you should post on each social network.
Usually, these studies say, you shouldn’t post more than once per day on Facebook. LinkedIn and Instagram are like Facebook, you shouldn’t post more than one or two messages per day.
Unlike the social sites mentioned above, Twitter works better if you tweet multiple times a day. 10-15 posts per day are usually recommended.
6. Optimize your content for each network
Never share the same message on each network. Never. I’ll say it again, just to make sure: never!
This is where most people fail.
They use a social media automation tool, write one post and share it on every social network with one single click.
You need to consider the following optimizations:
- Length of your post
For instance, you only have 140 characters on Twitter. You shouldn’t post a “novel” on Instagram either. On Facebook or LinkedIn, you can create longer posts.
- Image size
All social networks have different ideal image sizes and dimensions. Check the requirements and optimize your images for each network.
On Instagram, hashtags are very popular, and you can use even more than you would on Twitter. On Facebook, you probably shouldn’t use them at all.
Since you are likely to have different audiences on each network, you should optimize your content too.
8. Track engagement and traffic
Generally, you should track your results on social media using the built-in tools available on each social media platform. For example, Facebook Business Manager and their Page Insights allow you to see detailed information about your audience and engagement per post. Other social media sites offer similar tools.
You should also track the traffic you are driving from social media to your eCommerce site. To be able to track the URLs you post on social media, you have a few options.
You can use a URL shortener, like bit.ly which also lets you see the number of clicks.
Or you can add UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters to your link with the URL Builder tool. It allows you to easily add campaign parameters to URLs so you can track Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics.
All of these options help you track your results from social media better.
9. Use visuals
Visuals are an essential part of social media. You can see this trend in image-based platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. This trend is beginning to impact ecommerce. Now businesses need to think more visually if they want to engage with their audience.
According to a Buffer study, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.
Facebook shows similar results. Photos generate much more likes than text-based posts.
Since there are a lot of people posting images on social media, you need to make sure that your image is going to stand out among all the cute kitten and baby photos – tough competition!
When you optimize your images, you should consider a few things:
- Use bold, contrasting colors that match your brand
- Use a minimal amount of text and it’s better to place it on the right side
- Make sure any text is easily readable, even when viewed at a small size
- Use images that elicit emotions
- Use bright, eye-catching images
Emojis are also part of the visual impact you have on social media, so be sure to include some of these in your posts from time to time when appropriate. Like hashtags, be careful to not get carried away with too many emojis.
10. Use paid advertising
With the help of Facebook ads, Promoted Tweets, and advertising on other networks, you can make the most out of your social media marketing. By targeting the right audience, you can boost your website traffic significantly and speed up your overall results from social media.
Facebook continuously improves its advertising platform, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the updates and trying them out before your competitors. For example, have you heard about a recent update that allows you to display ads in the Messenger app home tab? You should try it out.
11. Start a blog
Having an active blog gives you plenty of new content that you can share on social media and helps you to drive traffic to your site. It also helps you to rank higher for specific keywords in Google, and it can help you to drive sales.
If you’re new to blogging, check out this article to learn more about becoming a powerful blogger. We’ve collected 7 of the most important content marketing lessons we’ve learned after writing hundreds of blog posts.
12. Use tweetable quotes
Creating tweetable quotes in your blog posts definitely helps you to get more shares. In addition, it makes your content more readable. There are quite a few free tools that you can use for this, see which one you like best.
14. Build relationships with your followers
This is a very important step. The secret of the most successful companies is that they are interacting in an authentic way with their followers.
Always take the time to respond to your followers’ comments – even if they might be negative. Don’t make automated messages, interact with each person one-on-one.
Encourage your customers to post about what they bought and comment on their posts. You can get creative here. Offering a discount on a repeat purchase when someone posts a picture of using your product on social media is a great way to boost your social media efforts and increase sales at the same time.
15. Encourage customers to leave a review on Facebook
According to a report from 2015, 71% of respondents trust Facebook. That’s why Facebook reviews are an effective way social media tool for boosting your business.
Believe it or not, the best way to get reviews is to simply ask for them. Try reaching out to your repeat customers. They will probably have a few nice things to say about you.
If you need some ideas about how to get customer feedback, check out this article.
Tools to use
16. Manage your social accounts from one place
Using a tool that makes it easier for you to schedule, automate posts to multiple channels from one place is a good idea. While you want to customize posts for each channel, it’s helpful to see the “big picture” using one piece of software.
There are many social media management and automation tools you can choose from. Check your budget and choose something that you can afford. Don’t worry, you can find tons of free tools as well.
17. Use Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a great way to monitor comments about your brand – not only on social media but all over the Internet.
Monitoring comments with Google Alerts allows you to respond in a timely manner to any feedback, positive or negative. This builds further trust and can also lead to repeat business.
Social media management checklist
So, what’s next?
It’s time to take action. Grab a pen and a paper, or open Google Docs, and start sketching the basics: goals, KPIs, personas.
And, don’t give up! By planning ahead and focusing on the best networks for your business, you can see real results from social media.
What social media management tools or techniques do you use? Let us know in the comments! 🙂
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