Social media has transformed from a place where people could catch up with family and friends to a marketing powerhouse. In 2019, USA Today looked back at the last 10 years of social media, highlighting some of its defining moments:
- The number of users logging on to Facebook has tripled to reach more than three billion
- “Tweet” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013
- Instagram influencers have built entire careers off of their curated profile feeds
What will the next 10 years of social media bring? Likely lots of growth, and more opportunity for businesses to reach consumers in new ways. Let’s explore how your ecommerce business can benefit from using social media.
Social media brings a lot of opportunities for ecommerce
As of 2021, more than 4.2 billion people across the globe use social media, which is a little over half the world’s population. The most popular platforms include Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
Social media is a popular place for consumers, which is one reason ecommerce businesses should have a presence. Moreover, research indicates that 39.6% of consumers use social media as their preferred communication channel with a brand.
Here are some additional benefits for ecommerce businesses using social media:
- It provides real-time updates for fast, straightforward communication.
- It extends business reach and increases brand awareness.
- It builds and strengthens relationships with current and potential customers.
- It offers an opportunity to position your business as an expert.
- It can increase traffic to your ecommerce site, which boosts SEO rankings.
- It lends itself to real-time customer feedback. It allows you to keep an eye on the competition.
With so many benefits, it’s no wonder ecommerce businesses are jumping aboard. Let’s explore some best practices on getting started the right way.
Getting started with using social platforms for ecommerce
Technically, anyone can sign up and create a profile on a social media platform. But if you want to reach specific business goals due to what you do on the forum, you will have to approach it with strategy.
1. Look at your target audience’s social media usage
You can have the best social media strategy, but if your audience isn’t on social media or a specific platform, it’s not going to matter. Take a look at where your target audience spends time online.
2. Research what your competitors are doing
Taking a look at your business competition can be an excellent way to see what works and what doesn’t. Are your competitors using social media? If so, which platforms?
How often are they posting, and what types of content are they posting? For example, maybe they’re posting not only images, but interactive content, behind-the-scenes videos, digital courses and tutorials, or even podcast episodes.
Are followers interacting with their content? Use this information to your advantage when you create your social media strategy.
3. Evaluate your business capacity
Doing social media the right way — with a strategy — takes time to plan, implement, and measure. Depending on your goals for using social media, it can be a full-time job.
Evaluate your resources. Will you be creating content and posting on social media, or do you have a team? How much time can you — or your team — dedicate to social media? The strategies you choose should be dependent on your capabilities with time and budget.
Effective social media strategies fit for your store
There are many different strategies you can use that will help you be effective on social media.
Whether you decide to team up with a reliable social media marketing agency or go in-house, the approach you take should align with your business and your social media marketing goals.
1. Batching and automating
One reason social media is so time-consuming is that it takes regular posting and interaction. No matter your publishing schedule, you can use external tools to schedule and publish posts for yourself.
This way, you can plan what you’re going to post and when you’re going to post it. You can set aside time to work on a chunk of your content instead of going at it one day at a time.
While you can’t automate the interaction portion of social media, you can save yourself time and headache by designating an amount of time each day or week to engage with followers. It’s the difference between checking your email multiple times per day versus once or twice.
2. Creating a monthly content calendar
Instead of planning a day’s- or a week’s-worth of content, plan for the entire month. Use the planning and scheduling tools to create a calendar. This way, you can see what’s coming up, and you won’t have to spend an afternoon reacting to something you forgot.
Having a content calendar also ensures consistency on your social media profiles. You always want to make sure you’re posting regularly, not only in terms of how often you post but also what type of content you’re posting.
3. Work with a niche influencer
People are more likely to trust and take recommendations from people they trust. Word-of-mouth recommendations are successful in many industries, including restaurants, electronics, and apparel. Using an influencer to showcase your brand is similar to these personal recommendations. It gives your marketing efforts social proof that is more persuasive than any other method used to make people take actions.
Many consumers trust influencers, and they buy products they see influencers using and recommending. Working with an influencer is a way to show another side of your brand and reach a new audience. The key to success is to find an influencer that aligns with your business and the products you sell.
LARQ — creator of the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle — collaborated with NBA Champion Draymond Green in 2020. This partnership introduced LARQ’s products to athletes, which complements LARQ’s core audience of outdoor adventurists. Green is from Michigan, where residents have been affected by a clean water crisis since 2014.
4. Sell within the social platforms
You can sell directly on Facebook and Instagram in several ways. Learning how to sell on Instagram or Facebook efficiently can help you grow your eCommerce store. Allowing users to shop in-app reduces friction and provides a positive user experience.
Spearmint Love — newborn and baby apparel and accessories — links items pictures in its Facebook posts. With just two clicks, a user can purchase the item(s) in the post without leaving Facebook.
5. Value and share user-generated content
Interacting with the content your customers share can have a positive impact on your social media presence and your ecommerce business. You can “like” and comment on a user’s post, but you can also share it, primarily if it features one of your products.
Review your social platform success
Once you have launched a social media strategy, you will need to track its success. Pay attention to the data that matters to you. Tracking the number of followers you have is a way to measure brand reach, but having higher engagement could mean more conversions and sales.
If your current strategy isn’t bringing in the numbers you expected, you pivot to the next plan or make adjustments.
In January 2020, Statista conducted an email survey of global marketers that revealed the benefits of using social media for marketing. The top benefits were increased exposure (86 percent), more website traffic (78 percent), and lead generation (67 percent). To see the maximum benefits, you’ll have to take a strategic approach that aligns with your ecommerce business.
What’s been your experience with using social media for marketing? Let us know in the comments!