Given today’s environment, both eCommerce and social media have never been so widely used. With varying physical and social distancing protocols, and in some cases, complete lockdowns, customers are shifting to purchasing more online and using social media to stay social and connected. There is no doubt these two platforms can leverage one another, engaging customers effectively on different social media channels and boosting conversions and sales.
eCommerce businesses today cannot solely rely on organic traffic for product sales on their website. Social media channels provide another platform for online businesses to market their products and even sell them directly. In fact, some businesses and solo-preneurs only sell on social media, using Facebook Shops and product posts on Facebook and Instagram, whereas more established brands, large retailers and especially direct-to-consumer brands will want to maintain offline visibility as well.
Let’s explore some trends, strategies and tips that your eCommerce business can implement to leverage social media.
Choose the Right Platforms and Use Them Intelligently
I know, I know it may sound obvious, but before you launch into social commerce consider how appropriate each of the channels are for your audience. It’s vital that you don’t waste time and resources on platforms that simply aren’t a good fit for your product. Your buyer personas play a critical role here as they provide a clear idea of your target market and which social media channels you should invest in as they will reach and engage your audience.
For most companies, Facebook and Instagram are the go-to channels for social commerce. However, there are other channels that can work — and possibly better. TikTok, for example, has grown exponentially in the eCommerce world. Although it started as a platform for people to lip-sync on, it’s taking over a large share of many businesses’ product advertising and influencer marketing. YouTube is another platform not to overlook. Video is still content king, and businesses can use this two-fold: to create content to sell products, as well as, advertise or sponsor on creators’ videos to make sales.
When it Comes to Content….Be Strategic. Be Consistent.
Just as you selected your channels strategically, the same goes with your content. A social media content calendar will provide you with a guide on what to post, when to post, and how to post. Whether it's seasonal, new product launches, a sale, or trending products, planning your content will provide a more organized and strategic approach. Furthermore, not all content works on all channels. You may need to rework your content and your assets based on the platform where you are promoting your products.
Optimize Your Visual Content
Did you know, content with attractive visuals can expect 2.3x more engagement than text-only posts? But how can your eCommerce company leverage this? Simple, really: use branded and consistent pictures and video. Choose images that meet the visual tone of your product and business and that’ll resonate with your followers. And don’t forget to optimize by testing. Test out different visuals as well as types of content. In fact, Facebook image carousels have been reported to drive a 10 times increase in CTR (click-through rate) as they provide businesses with more ad space to drive action by highlighting different attributes, benefits, or even multiple products in one.
Maximize Your Channels Features
Many social media channels have launched features specifically for eCommerce. One key channel feature includes Facebook Shops. This is an extension of your company's Facebook page where you can create a digital storefront by adding your products or importing them from your website. Not only do you have another eCommerce experience to attract customers and sales, but you can integrate product tagging into your posts.
“Swipe up for more!” Most of you have heard this, and it is a great direct link feature in Instagram for companies to push traffic to a product, a sale page landing page or a checkout page.
Advertise! Boost! Remarket!
Pretty much every social media channel has a paid advertising feature that businesses can utilize to further customer reach, brand visibility and sales over your organic efforts. Through paid social media campaigns, you can optimize ads for different metrics like awareness and engagement, as well as clicks and conversions, which are important for eCommerce businesses. These campaigns also provide you the ability to create different kinds of content — like photo, text, or video-based ads — and provide insight into what type works best for you. There are many different ways you can use paid advertising including:
- Boosted Posts - Whereas you can put money behind posts, such as blogs and case studies, to reach your audiences and increase visibility.
- Advertising Campaigns - The basic paid ad campaigns are general in nature and are developed to start your advertising journey. You can test different content and collect valuable information to better inform your dynamic advertising or remarketing efforts.
- Dynamic (Personalized) Ads - A more targeted approach to advertising, as it uses specific demographic data as well as previous interaction and engagement data to show customers ads.
- Remarketing - This advertising strategy remarkets to users who’ve at some point interacted with your business. Such campaigns can include remarketed ads to those who have viewed your products, abandoned their carts, or can be used to upsell based on past purchases. Additionally, you can take audience data and create other lookalike audiences to find new leads.
Influence Customers with Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the newest strategies for today's marketers. At its roots, influencer marketing is a form of paid advertising through sponsorships where you pay influencers to mention and/or use your products in an effort to reach your audience and make a sale. For many businesses, this approach can work wonders, increasing sales and brand awareness, and reinforcing social proof over traditional advertising. That being said, ensure you do your research and find influencers who can increase your ROI and align with your business values and corporate responsibilities.
Promote Social Proof
There is a strong correlation between eCommerce social media and social proof. How many of us look to online Google, or Yelp or other customer reviews before making a purchase? Albeit they may be strangers, the written words in a review can have a profound impact on a customer's decision. One of the best eCommerce practices is obtaining customer feedback, ratings and reviews, which you can further leverage on social media. Not only are social channels a great platform to collect user-generated content, but you can use this to share social proof and build trust.
Engage with Your Community
Lastly, do not shy away from engaging with your social community. Social media is not just about pushing content to your followers, hoping they will fall into your sales funnel. It is about reaching out and engaging with your audience, creating brand loyalty and finding the holy grail of marketing: brand ambassadors. Set up your customer service through Facebook Messenger, actively respond and start conversations with customers and do not shy away from those difficult conversations - like based reviews or complaints.