Doing business online tends to take a lot of work to rise above the “noise” and stake your own piece of popular turf.
Young businesses face an ongoing challenge to boost their visibility and credibility, requiring them to be across multiple online channels.
It’s fairly easy to justify having some kind of social media strategy for ecommerce, especially given the following statistics:
Source: Marketing Tech Blog
The stats tell an impressive story of why your ecommerce business needs to be on social media, but the “how” is the most important piece. Get it wrong and you can waste a lot of time (and potentially money) for little gain.
If you’re within your first year on Shopify or any other ecommerce platform, it can be tricky to know what to do to make the most of social media, so we’ve put together seven ideas to help boost your business on social media.
A common mistake made by many ecommerce businesses is to try to be across every single social media platform out there. The thing is, doing so and doing it well can turn into a full-time job, which is simply not feasible for most.
It’s easy to see why. If you spend time as we do reading blogs, learning about the success stories of others, and finding the latest marketing news, you will find advocates for every platform who have done very well for themselves.
When you spend a lot of time online looking at those marketing stories, it can be so easy to fall into FOMO (fear of missing out), thinking that if you’re not on a platform you could be losing valuable business.
Instead of considering all possible “what ifs”, look at it this way: how well will your business come across if you are spread too thin? Would you rather do one or two platforms very well, or do all of them half-heartedly?
We say choose wisely. Start with two or three platforms where you know your ideal customers hang out and focus on doing the best that you can on them first.
Start with 2-3 social media platforms where you know your ideal customers hang out.
You should always have a good picture of what your target customer or segments of customers look like. Once you’ve done that, there is plenty of information out there which will help you to choose platforms that are the best fit.
Pew Research Center is a great place to start. They perform studies on social media usage and users on an annual basis, providing results such as the demographics of each platform
You should also evaluate each platform based on how it will fit with your business and its objectives. Are there other businesses within your niche getting good interaction on the platform? Will it be a good medium to represent your product or service?
Kimber Powers for Vertical Response suggests that you evaluate each platform with the following questions:
Understanding the main purpose of the platform is a very good point. If you leap onto Facebook, which tends to promote loyalty and story-telling, and you immediately start being “salesy”, you’re only going to lose engagement and possibly damage your brand.
Why do some ecommerce businesses get massive engagement on social media, while others get zilch? Apart from getting the preferred content of the audience down, many of those businesses are optimizing their posts well. Here’s how:
Do you know what your “money” keywords are? These are also important to use in your social media posts so that they show up for searchers. (NOTE: Do not “stuff” your posts with keywords. This only looks obvious and unnatural to viewers).
To check on which keywords your website is getting found with, sign-in to Google Search Console, then look under Search Traffic > Search Analytics. Anything that is getting more than about a 5% click through rate are the words you want to be targeting.
“Visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.” (Hubspot)
“Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without images.” (Hubspot)
It may be quicker to throw up a quick text-only post, but research shows that images are going to do better on every channel. If you look in the support documents of each different channel, they will usually have information on how to optimize posts and images, but here are a few general tips:
Mix your images up to include different types. There is some evidence to show that images of people don’t necessarily get more shares. This is thought to be because people can better project themselves onto a scene without people already there.
Facebook page posting tips
You’ve got to make use of all the tools available to you if you want to get your posts found, this includes appropriate tagging of other users and use of hashtags. We say “appropriate” because there have been a number of people who have made the blunder of just tagging anyone in their post - this comes across as spam and is not a good idea.
When you have created a piece of content which mentions or is directly related to a person or company, that is when you should be tagging them. An ecommerce example might be if you’re posting about a particular product and you tag the manufacturer. You could also tag others when you are sharing something of theirs.
As far as using the right hashtags, especially if you are a relatively new brand, you will want to use hashtags that are already popular in order to get better reach for your posts. There are tools to help you do this; try Hashtagifyme for Twitter and Iconosquare for Instagram.
This might seem kind of obvious, but never forget that the purpose of social media is to be social. If you want your brand to get a boost, you need to be replying and interacting, not just throwing up posts and leaving them there.
This could extend into things like using Facebook’s recently-added “live” feature - your followers will be notified that you are live and you could always ask them to submit questions or comments.
Another point to note is that sometimes you may get negative comments on your social posts, but it is always those that others are watching to see how you react. Respond appropriately to anything negative and keep it professional. You don’t want to end up as a Buzzfeed headline like this Facebook rant from Amy’s Baking Company.
If people have good things to say about you, make sure those reviews get shared! Those Facebook reviews are not automatically shared on newsfeeds, though people who look at your timeline can see them.
You could choose to right a “thank you” post, tagging the reviewer and quoting their review, or you could even take a screenshot and share it. Just make sure it gets out there!
Consistency includes not only the regularity of your posts, but being true to your brand. Posting on a regular basis ensures that a) your posts are more likely to be seen, b) your brand is more visible and, c) you are more likely to encourage engagement and drive traffic back to your website.
You also need to have some kind of brand “voice” and strategy with your social media. If you are all over the place, you will confuse people and your posts will be less effective. Keep the content on-brand and in line with what your target audience wants to see.
A common problem that business owners have, especially if you are a small or solo operation, is finding the time to commit to a regular social media schedule. We suggest that if you can set aside some time to schedule a bulk number of posts, the task becomes less onerous than it would be if you’re trying to find time every day.
“Relevant” will be groups where your ideal customers hang out, or even where others who have a similar audience to yours hang out (you never know who might refer their followers to you).
Use the groups to build relationships, join conversations and share interesting, useful information. The key is to put being “useful” first; if you use groups merely as an advertising ground, you will find yourself swiftly either ignored or kicked out. Check the rules carefully - there is often a “no advertising” rule, but many will allow you to introduce yourself and what you do.
One possible strategy to look for is to share the posts of others to your account where they will be useful to your audience. This can prompt reciprocity and help you to establish rapport with people.
As a small business, you probably don’t have a huge marketing budget, so you want to be wise with how you use it. Let’s look at a few tips:
For small ecommerce businesses who don’t have the manpower, keeping up with social media can be a daunting task. Fear of missing out or thoughts that they “have to” can mean many businesses have accounts on every platform but aren’t able to commit the time to doing any of them well.
If you are a young business with limited time, focus on the one or two key platforms where your target audience is found. You will get better results using one platform well than all of them badly.
If you optimize posts and advertising, interact with followers, are consistent, join relevant groups, and share your reviews on your page, you will already be on track to boost business for your Shopify store.