As an online business, you should be in touch with the content consumption channels that your ideal customers use.
Publishing valuable content on your official blog is a step in the right direction. But when it comes to generating profits, it’s not exactly the most cost-effective strategy out there
To accelerate the growth of your online presence, one of the premier platforms you need to leverage is social media.
Not only will it help you connect with a wider audience, but it’ll also give you the opportunity to build your brand’s authority and pull in more customers to your digital storefront.
Here are the top social media marketing strategies every e-commerce brand should know:
1. Create a Killer Facebook Business Page
According to statistics, 32 percent of Facebook users engage businesses regularly.
Facebook is known as the most effective social media marketing and advertising platform to date — thanks to the 1.47 billion users who religiously use the network every single day. To make the most out of its massive reach, you need to create an official business page that will help your brand make a solid first impression.
The straightforward business page creation interface will allow you to breeze through the process. Just supply accurate and complete information about your business when asked, starting with your business name, category, and photos.
After creating your business page, Facebook will provide you with a series of “Page Tips.” These instructions will help you build an authoritative business page that Facebook users can trust.
Below are the things you need to remember when setting up your Facebook business page:
- Use recognizable photos
Your business page’s profile and cover photos are the first two things users see when they arrive. This could be a logo or your own headshot photo, whichever you think is more exposed in your other content channels.
- Add text to your cover photo
When creating Facebook business pages, plenty of brands waste screen real estate with a cover photo that doesn’t contain a call to action (CTA), contact details, or their company’s vision statement. Don’t make the same mistake and add something that can pique their interest.
- Create buttons
On Facebook, businesses can choose to display a CTA button that allows users to take action right then and there. You can help them visit your official website, download your mobile app, make a purchase, and so on.
2. Go Visual to Maximize Social Media Shares
Before you fork out money on more social media ad campaigns, it’s a good idea to fine-tune your current content strategy to fit your new distribution channels.
Incorporating the use of visuals, for example, will help improve the engagement value of the content you share on social media. Studies show that infographics—a widely-used form of visual content—get 3X more engagement than other types of content.
An infographic is a visual representation of data or information that is usually distributed online. While some publishers use a unique graphical structure when creating infographics, traditional data visualizations like charts, graphs, and timelines are also often used.
You can create infographics yourself with a free, cloud-based tool like Canva. On top of the drag-and-drop interface, it also has a selection of premade layouts that can speed up production.
Canva also offers templates that are tailored to specific social media networks, allowing you to create visual content with the ideal resolution for these platforms.
3. Make Social Sharing Easy
Once you give your visual content development efforts the green light, you can further stimulate social media shares by integrating sharing buttons.
Most modern e-commerce platforms have plugins or extensions that make it easy to support this feature.
Shopify, for example, has the Social Sharing Buttons plugin by Zotabox that can be installed within seconds. The tool itself may also be configured and customized without having to write a single line of code.
You can also use a tool like Image Sharer by Sumo to encourage your visitors to share your visual content. Upon activation, this particular tool displays a floating sharing button bar over image assets on your website.
4. Run Social Media Ads
Relying purely on content to drive your social media marketing efforts usually takes a significant amount of time.
Keep in mind that social media networks are already teeming with brands similar to yours. Even if you regularly post quality content on your social media channels, chances are you will be overshadowed by bigger brands who already have a massive following.
That’s why every brand should run ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and other major social networks. Doing so will allow you to quickly snag the audience’s attention and push your brand’s content to more people in less time.
A story-driven brand awareness video that focuses on entertainment value often works because users normally log on to social media to unwind — not watch brand-centered advertisements that offer nothing to their experience. This, paired with the advanced ad targeting options in most social media networks today, can help any brand reach their ideal audience without shelling out a fortune.
5. Curate Popular Content
In social media marketing, your content shouldn’t be the only ones you share.
If you want to garner positive responses from your social media audience, you should also curate valuable content from other popular publishers.
The idea is to find topics or trends that are already proven to reach a high level of engagement. Social media marketing tools like Hootsuite will help you automate this process by managing your content streams and scheduling your posts.
You may also go the traditional route and handpick popular content in your niche with content research tools, such as:
6. Encourage Social Media Reviews
A customer review is one of the most effective types of user-generated content (UGC) in terms of building buyer confidence.
According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Survey, 85 percent of consumers trust online product reviews as if they were personal recommendations by people they know. 73 percent of consumers also end up trusting a local business after reading a positive review of their products or services.
You probably already have product reviews enabled on your e-commerce website. Again, there should be third-party integrations or apps you can use to take advantage of this functionality.
On social media networks, however, you only need to encourage customers to share their feedback — the ability to write reviews and leave ratings are already built into the site.
A proven way to encourage customer reviews is to automate after-purchase emails with an email marketing platform. Even a free service like MailChimp has ready-to-use automation workflows you can use to complete the automation.
You can also include review requests in every piece of content you publish on social media. For example, whenever you post updates, you can add the following line into the post’s caption:
“What do you think of (product name)? Feel free to leave a comment or write a review on our page!”
7. Encourage More UGC
Another type of UGC that your e-commerce brand can leverage are your customers’ social media photos.
In addition to giving your social media followers something relatable, resharing this type of UGC also helps build social proof for your brand. It shows the audience that your previous customers are satisfied with your products — thus, making them more receptive to your offers in the future.
If you’ve been in business for a while and have an established customer base on social media, you can passively invite them to upload UGC with an announcement in your profile descriptions.
There’s no need to overcomplicate this step. A simple sentence like “tag us in your photos to be featured on our page” should be enough to motivate customers who had a good experience with your brand.
To check if users are already talking about you, leverage a social media listening tool like Mention. Upon setting up an account, you can immediately enter the name of your product or business that you want to monitor in the social media sphere.
You can also input your brand’s website and social media accounts to find posts that mention you directly. Of course, these are completely optional, but they can be incredibly helpful in finding social media mentions of your brand.
8. Run a Social Media Contest
In digital marketing, one of the best ways to encourage the audience is to incentivize the process.
Launching a social media contest will allow you to engage the majority of your followers as you earn UGC. Although there are third-party services that can expedite your contest strategy for you, social media platforms themselves have all the functionality you need to run a contest.
An Instagram hashtag contest, for example, can be done simply by asking your customers to upload a photo with your product and use a specific hashtag for a chance to win something valuable. To pick the winners, all you need to do is perform a hashtag search on the social media network and select the best submissions.
Giveaway contests can also be done to help expand your brand’s social reach. A typical contest mechanic is to require participants to share your post and follow your page.
Although this particular tactic won’t help you earn UGC, the mechanic is easy enough that more social media users will be compelled to join, especially if you offer a promising reward.
9. Diversify Your Social Network Presence
Many brands focus their time on the big social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). That’s great, those have the largest audiences, but those brands are also missing out on great opportunities to target specific demographics. Think Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, for example.
Let’s focus on Pinterest. Pinterest for business purposes is an untapped social media marketing weapon for most companies. Especially for companies and brands that are targeting to women. A staggering 83% of Pinterest users are women. They also have a nice range of ages, from millennials to baby boomers, and are typically more wealthy. Depending on what target your brand is looking for demographically, Pinterest (and other niche social networks) are a great strategy to reach them.
We’ve reached an age in e-commerce where an effective social media marketing strategy is no longer optional. Unfortunately, a lot of brands underutilize social media networks by treating them merely as content distribution channels.
With the strategies above, you can help your brand be more visible and impactful to your audience without the need to hire third-parties. Just be patient, learn to adapt, and make social media marketing an everyday commitment. Good luck!