There are no shortcuts or secret potions when it comes to e-commerce.
But, there are some ingredients and tools you can use to boost your business. Social media is definitely one of them.
However, to see great results, you have to know what you’re doing.
How many times have you witnessed a brand trying to follow a trend on social media, only for their efforts to backfire epically?
It’s not that uncommon. All it takes is one single misstep, and instead of turning followers into customers, you’re ruining your chances of making a sale.
Of course, that doesn’t have to be the case with your brand. On the contrary!
With a solid social media marketing plan, you can positively affect all aspects of your business. And, what’s more, you don’t even have to make huge investments.
So, if you’re wondering about the best way to use social media for e-commerce, here are a few tips you should try and follow.
Go after your target audience
Six of the most popular social media platforms (aka advertising spaces for e-commerce websites) all have over 1 billion monthly active users.
In other words, this is where your customers are. All you have to do is identify and join them.
But, as any social media marketer will tell you, having an account and posting (no matter how amazing and consistent your content is) won’t be enough.
You have to know exactly where your target audience is.
So, before you waste your precious time and energy, try to do a little bit of research regarding where different audiences spend time.
For instance, Conscious Coconut is a brand geared more towards women, selling eco-conscious coconut products.
It’s no surprise that they have a large presence on Pinterest, but not on Twitter.
Compare this brand to Netgear, an online store that sells networking gadgets like modems and routers.
They have a sizable Twitter account, a social media platform popular among tech enthusiasts, and no Pinterest at all.
Furthermore, if you haven’t done so already, use tracking pixels or cookies to retarget website visitors who haven’t made a purchase.
Also remember, you don’t just have to work hard to get positive feedback. You need your customers to leave reviews and share their great experience via word of mouth.
Build a community through your organic social media strategy
Once you’ve found the social media platforms that work best for you, it’s time to start engaging with your audience.
The beauty of these online spaces lies in the fact that you can start conversations around a variety of topics related to your niche.
You can create polls, share original content, ask for feedback, or take the first step in interacting with your followers.
The closeness you’ll develop by doing these things is what will help convert your followers into customers.
One great example of an e-commerce brand doing social media right comes from electrolyte mix brand Elemental Labs.
They built a tight-knit Instagram community centered around their love of jiu-jitsu and support for fellow small businesses.
The brand’s passion for martial arts is evident and, more importantly, contagious.
This allows them to establish familiarity, have meaningful interactions, and, ultimately, to find new potential customers.
Social media & social proof
In addition to familiarity, recommendations and social proof have a significant impact on sales.
On average, online reviews influence almost 70% of purchasing decisions.
When people go from social media to your website, there should be plenty of social proof elements on your site to encourage sales.
Add a reviews section to your product collection pages.
Online mattress brand Zoma does a superb job of showing off social proof.
A reviews section shows what existing customers’ thoughts about their purchases.
An “In The News” section highlights blurbs about their brand in popular publications.
And they even feature photos of professional athletes who are their customers.
This level of social proof on a landing page can help take someone who just happened to stumble across your Facebook video from being ambivalent about your product to being excited to buy.
An organic social media strategy with user-generated content
Another great way to encourage more sales from social media is by getting your followers and customers to do the work for you of creating content.
User-generated content might have an even more significant impact on boosting sales than reviews or magazine blurbs.
It works due to several reasons:
- It creates a sense of belonging among customers
- It invites active engagement
- It’s 35% more memorable than other types of media
And best of all, it is easy to incorporate into your marketing strategies.
Vitamin company Future Kind ran social media campaigns asking customers to post feedback on their accounts.
What they received was a wide variety of photo and video content that they could proudly present on their homepage.
Better yet, it was organically shown to their customers’ followers as well. They did all this without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money on promoting posts or risking a low ROI.
The results of this type of campaign are twofold.
For one, it’s an efficient way of reaching new potential customers.
On the other hand, it’s a great way of gathering social proof, which is going to increase the chances of the campaign generating sales, both in the near future and further down the line.
Use social media as a listening device
Here’s the deal: a dissatisfied customer isn’t just business you’ve lost.
They’re also likely to share their negative experience with 9 to 15 other people.
In fact, some experts believe it takes 40 positive customer experiences to undo the effects of a negative review.
This means that you don’t just have to work hard to get positive feedback, but you also need to listen to what your customers are saying.
And social media is the perfect place to do that.
By using social listening tools such as TweetDeck, Keyhole, or Hootsuite, you can follow conversations about your brand, products, or competitors and engage when appropriate.
This way, you get an opportunity to resolve issues before they turn into major problems (or bad reviews).
You also can keep an eye out for future development possibilities.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your organic social media strategy
The five tips above are just starting points for e-commerce businesses wanting to get more out of their social media activity.
In truth, the limits of these platforms are being pushed daily, and they offer great potential to anyone willing to do the work.
Whether you decide to invest in PPC advertising, repurpose content from your company blog, focus on customer retention, or build a loyal community, your profiles are a great place to start.
And with the right approach, you’ll see that they can also be an enjoyable space to reach, engage, and make your (existing and potential) customers happy.