How do I turn likes and follows into actual profits? How do I build my brand via YouTube, improve customer retention on Twitter or reward my fans with Facebook offers? What is the key to using social media to grow my business? As an online store operator, you surely have asked yourself those same questions in the past.
It is not easy to use social media in sales and marketing strategies, although it also seems crucial nowadays. It is pretty rare to meet someone today who is not on social media in some way, people mostly use it in order to communicate with friends and family and it feels natural to them. It is no wonder that social media has expanded to provide amazing opportunities for all types of online businesses.
The role of social media in eCommerce
A significant percentage of marketing, sales campaigns and advertising take place through social media websites. In an effort to advance eCommerce, the inclusion of social media can be highly beneficial. It provides an effective way to attract the interest of the large audiences that use social media.
Social media is a must-have part for any eCommerce business. It gives you a powerful way to create a connection with your target audience via Instagram, Pinterest etc., and allows you to really engage with your clientele. It is necessary to get to know your audience, communicate on a personable level, understand them, find things that resonate with them, and develop a sense of intimacy. Only then it is possible to build content they would actually like to engage with, using all the incredible insights social media platforms provide you with (i.e. your customers’ personalities, hobbies, interests, opinions, and most of all: their needs).
Overview of major social media platforms & their current trends
Nowadays Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform that dominates as a source of social traffic and sales and has the highest conversion rate of all social networks. eCommerce businessmen grow their community on Facebook, build their brand, advertise and use it as a channel for direct sales.
Online store managers also use Twitter to build relationships with their customers, while hosting online events or simply creating posts that are hard not to click (including free offers, cliffhangers, how tos, etc.). They tweet something their target audience would really like to engage with - they ask questions, use numbers and unique characters, make it clever as well as fun, capitalize on a current event or trending topic.
Instagram launched call-to-action buttons (sign up, shop now, install now, learn more), making it all the more easy for followers to subscribe to newsletters or purchase directly from their store. Pinterest - where the user’s average cart value is $123.50 - also launched the “Buy it” button. So not only is it easy to inspire audiences while pinning images, videos and other objects to a pinboard, but it is even simpler to purchase directly from Pinterest. The “Buy it” button will also soon be available via YouTube videos and ads.
Social media in your sales strategy: tips for SMBs
1. Connect with your audience on social media
Use social media not only for advertising, but also to create a personal connection with your target audience and build content they would like to engage with. Make them want to share, like, retweet, follow, subscribe, and comment on everything you post. Connect with your fans, create memories and enhance moments; get them directly involved in your brand-building. Post frequently and in tune with your fans, while giving them exclusive access to the things they desire. Show them why your brand is valuable, what is special about it, how it differs from competitors, and why it makes them (as your customers) unique.
2. Use social media as a reference channel
It is incredibly important to have good social media references, because more than 80% of online shoppers use reviews to make a purchase decision. So provide special offers for customers who provide honest reviews of your products. In general, it’s important to respond, react and encourage your customers to give you recommendations.
3. Sell directly through social media
Use the “Buy it” button on Pinterest (95% of Pinterest users search for purchases there!) or use other call-to-action buttons on Instagram. And first of all, open your own Facebook store, because 85% of orders coming from all of the social media is from Facebook.
4. Make social media your support tool
Use social media as a supplementary tool for support. If you want to be as close to your customers as possible then make social media your customer service channel. Become a customer care specialist and provide assistance before a customer purchases online, guide them during decision-making live and stay in touch with them even after a purchase. Lend them a hand in planning, installation, training, trouble shooting, maintenance, upgrading, etc., and proactively interview them for feedback regarding your products’ innovation or marketing and sales strategies.
5. Count on social communities
Many people forget that on social media there are many groups representing marketplaces, where people with same interests share opinions and discuss selling / buying products. Groups like bookworms, mothers, healthy-eaters, fishermen, coffee-addicts, etc. Use this communal opportunity and take advantage of groups on Facebook and other social media community forums and blogs and work with these communities. Start an open group - or even better yet, a private closed group - and let your customers know that you will be sharing special information (like discounts and sales, or host online events) only in this exclusive group.
6. Be adaptable on social media
Don’t forget to be flexible on social media. For example, if you want to expand your online store to another country, always keep in mind there are many more social media platforms famous and popular in different countries (i.e. Qzone in China, Orkut in India and Brazil, or VKontakte in Russia).
7. Include a chatbot
Very soon it will be possible to order products and services via messenger applications, so get prepared to incorporate this brand new eCommerce trend in your business as soon as possible. Conversational commerce is evolving rapidly, due in part to the influence of social media. Consider including a chatbot, an intersection of messaging apps (i.e. Facebook Messenger) and shopping.
So what is the key to using social media to grow your business? Be as close to your customers as possible. Connect with your audience, encourage them to like your products and make purchases directly from social media. Take care to guide them through the shopping process and give them incentives for leaving positive reviews and feedback. Rely on social communities and be flexible with your channels. Don’t forget to prepare for the conversational commerce revolution. And last of all, a word of advice: #Be_Social!
About the author
MonkeyData is a plug & play analytics tool for small and medium online stores. The biggest plus is that it gives all your data in one place. The connection is incredibly simple, just a few clicks and you are well on your way to boost your business. See the best eCommerce metrics & KPIs in clear dashboards. Start today!