Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn have become almost ubiquitous in our daily lives. The effect is so strong that today it is imperative for businesses to have a social presence. Yet, not all are using the true potential of social media to improve their bottom line. In fact, it is indeed painful to see that most businesses are using only a small fraction of their marketing budgets for social media spending. Would you believe us if we say that social media spending for majority of businesses is as low as 9 percent of their overall marketing budget? This is exactly what a 2014 Duke University survey found.
However, the good news is, this number is expected to expand to more than 21 percent in the next five years. The survey also found that significant number of companies are now spending more on social media efforts, considering the effect it has on connecting businesses with their target audience.
This is especially true for eCommerce businesses as number of online buyers are now using social media sites to shop for products. Moreover, 90 percent of the social buyers trust peer recommendations when it comes to making buying decisions. For an eCommerce business therefore using social media effectively is mandatory in order to compete online.
Here is how you should leverage the popular social media sites to drive more business to your eCommerce site.
Start with the Basics Choose the Right Platform
When it comes to social media marketing, the first step to success is to select the right platform. Now, you really don't need to have presence on all known social media sites to reach out to your target audience. Just a few, well-chosen ones should suffice if you can use them properly.
Besides, managing a small social media network is easier than doing so on a broad-spectrum approach. And you can also do them well. However, make sure your social media networks are relevant to your target audience. For example, eCommerce brands selling women's fashion will find Pinterest more beneficial for promoting their products. Around 42 percent of U.S. online adult women use Pinterest while just 13 percent of the online adult man of the country use this photo sharing platform.
BabySteals.com, for example, use Pinterest to promote their deals and this site typically targets mommies a.k.a. female buyers.
In addition, you should also target Facebook and Instagram if your target audience includes more number of females. On the other hand, B2B eCommerce will find LinkedIn more advantageous with more relevant choice. However when it comes to Facebook, include this social media channel irrespective of the demographics of your target audience as this platform will give you the advantage of numbers. As on November 2015, Facebook has already surpassed 1 billion registered accounts.
Leverage User-Generated Content
User generated content is one of your best tools to encourage engagement on social networks. People love to read what others are saying about your products/services. And by getting your existing customers and most loyal fans talk about your brand, you are actually making your products social proof. Besides, putting together user generated content is a lot less work than writing a post from scratch.
So the question now arises: What is the best way to leverage user generated content on your social media networks? Simply recognize what others are saying about you. Whenever you come across a positive product review or anyone praising your products/services, feature them on your social profiles and take the opportunity to express gratitude. By simply recognizing a customer, you can gain a loyal fan for life.
Lets see what IKEA did in one of its Twitter post.
Here IKEA is just displaying how creatively real customers use their products with the help of an image. This was a real smart move and an effective social media strategy as tweets that have images are 94 percent more likely to generate retweets. In addition, IKEA used hashtags pretty well here without overdoing it, keeping it to three hashtags. Finally, this global furniture retailer used a clear call to action along with a link, giving a clear instruction to its followers.
Provide Useful Tips
To sell your eCommerce brand being amazing is not enough these days. You need to be useful to your target audience as well. What we mean is that you need to position yourself as an industry expert, a thought leader, someone people look up to for out-of-the-box solutions. This is especially important for B2B eCommerce brands.
Understand that eCommerce is an extremely competitive environment and the one of the best ways to reach out to your potential customers on social media is by being useful to them. Start writing short, helpful tips and ideas related to your products that will benefit your target audience and post them on your social networks.
Lowes is doing something similar on Facebook. The furnishing company provides inspiring ideas and tips to help its users improve the look of their home interior.
In fact, the ideas and tips provided by Lowes are not just limited to text posts and images; instead, it also posts short videos on a regular basis comprising of helpful ideas and tips. This is again a very smart move as uploading videos on Facebook will help you get more organic reach compared to other type of posts.
Sharing tips is one of the best ways for eCommerce brands to expand their market reach and obviously more effective than bombarding your social networks with promotional messages. But make sure you are adding value to your content i.e. they are really useful to your potential buyers. The secret lies in keeping your fans and followers interested and engaged so that they dont even mind your promotional posts.
These days, the opportunities for eCommerce businesses are immense. People are always connected and are getting more and more comfortable with online shopping. However, the competition is immense as well. You will therefore need an effective marketing plan to reach out to your potential buyers. And social media is your best bet when it comes to increase your eCommerce brands visibility. Better yet, it improves your customer engagement to a great extent and boost your ROI as well, if done right. All you need is a proper social media marketing strategy and a little dedication.
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