article by Elizabeth Chalarca Posada
You have to be adaptable when putting together marketing strategies to stay in front of your ever changing consumer landscape. Either you are flexible to the change or you fail.
It’s not a secret that when companies do not understand how their consumers want to discover, buy and use their products, they lose the opportunity to grow and eventually disappear. We have seen it time and time again. Toys R Us. Blockbuster. Payless Shoesource. These once-loved, now-bankrupt retailers lost sight of their customers' needs and paid the ultimate price. Their brands may live on in nostalgic customers' hearts and minds, but their businesses are no longer with us.
If you have an ecommerce business and you are uncertain about who your customers are or what their preferences may be, or if you just don’t know what people think about your brand, it is likely because you are missing an essential component of your ecommerce marketing strategy: A social media strategy that integrates with your online business.
These days, almost nobody makes a purchase based solely on the merits of the product itself. Today's customers want to know about your brand, the human component of your company, and everything that stands behind what you sell. For this they often turn to social media.
It is essential that merchants understand the role social media plays in ecommerce. Social platforms not only attract customers and let you share your image and voice. They facilitate the sale of your products.
This is why today we want to share with you five ways to strengthen your ecommerce sales by implementing smart social media strategies.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Ecommerce Sales with Social Media
1. Focus on the social platforms that suit you best.
You are excited to start with your social media strategy and decide to create accounts on YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You start out strong by posting regularly across all of these platforms, but soon find yourself overwhelmed and running out of steam. You do not have time to take professional pictures, much less produce quality videos, research the latest hashtags, AND keep up with the conversation happening around your industry. Eventually you find yourself only having time to post a few updates on Facebook and upload a couple of iPhone-shot videos to YouTube. Big Mistake!
It is important that you choose the appropriate platforms for your type of business and that you keep them constantly updated.
When choosing your core platforms consider both your target audience (which platforms do they prefer?) and your content (do you have a lot of quality images and video to share, or do you express your value better through words?). The needs for a perfume sales company are not the same for one that sell office supplies. Each social platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and there is a right-fit out there for just about every type of business imaginable.
Tip: Start working with the platform that is most convenient for your business and leave the others for when you have the time to manage them.
Remember that when you abandon a social network account you risk affecting your corporate image and losing credibility. It it better to start small and give yourself room to grow rather than fall.
If you are concerned that users might be looking for your business on a platform you don't have the resources to actively maintain, or that someone else could come along and take the username that fits your brand, consider claiming your account and setting up your profile and providing a clear pathway back to the places you are active. Add a note and link in your bio or pin a post to the top of your feed where people can see it. Most importantly, keep your profile info, banners, and avatar images up to date with your current branding and contact information. Just a little bit of effort can take you very far.
2. Humanize your customer service.
People are tired of not finding the answers they seek with the immediacy they require. They hate waiting days for their complaints to be heard and their questions to be answered. They detest automated responses that almost never give them a solution to their problems.
Thanks to social media, companies and consumers now have the ability to connect in a much simpler, faster, and more direct way. Social media allows companies to be humanized, to pull back the curtain, present the person behind the machine, and create a closer relationship with the customer.
No more digging around a website or searching through your inbox to find the support page or email address when you have a question. Just hop onto Twitter, send the brand a DM or "@" mention them in a post, and you're on your way to a resolution. Brands can also monitor social networks for passive/untagged mentions of their brand, products, and team members for even greater customer service opportunities and reputation management.
And when those customer service interactions happen between brands and customers on social media, it's easier to have quality conversations. Customers are naturally more relaxed communicating in a familiar platform. No more awkward formalities and robotic responses. Just real, human communication.
3. Post quality content.
How many times have you hopped onto social media to scope out a new company and get a feel for their brand, only to find a sputtering, trickling feed, no recent pictures, and obviously outdated information?
Did you buy their product anyway, or opt for another seller who invests a little more effort into their image and customer care?
Do not let this happen to your company! It is not enough just to have many followers on social media, you need to build loyalty and the best way to achieve this is to generate quality content. This often means being thoughtful about which platform you're on and what users there are expecting to find.
When using a visual social platform like Instagram, post images with good resolution. On LinkedIn share professional articles that help people in their jobs. Share information that really draws the attention of your followers. Encourage them to participate and comment. Give them a good reason to visit your site and interact with your products.
Links from social media are great for boosting your site's SEO rankings and enhancing your brand's presence in search engine results.
4. Turn your customers into fans.
Social media is for socializing. Talk to your customers! Get to know them, find out what their interests are. Ask them what they would like you to implement in your business. Create special content just for your followers. Share special offers to your Instagram and Facebook stories. Create expiring deals on Snapchat. Encourage users to follow and watch closely to get these exclusive offers. Since this content is meant for short-term use, you be a little more relaxed, natural and fun. Consider what customers really way from a brand. They want to be entertained, cared for, validated, and inspired.
Keep in mind that 71% of consumers who have had a good experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to other people in social media.
5. Explore ad adjustments.
Social Media gives you the possibility to create campaigns with increasingly advanced user segmentation tools, often at a much lower price than in traditional marketing and advertising channels.
Through these tools you can identify who your followers are, know what they like, their age, even their geographical location, which allows you to create messages that have greater appeal and reach. You can also direct the traffic generated by your advertising campaigns back to your ecommerce site. Then let your awesome ecommerce solution do the work from there!
Facebook is one of the companies that have made the most efforts to make improvements and updates to advertising functions. You can integrate your product catalog with their Marketplace, run special ad types for your product collections, and much, MUCH more. Why not do it? Currently there are 4 million businesses paying for advertising on that platform and it is expected that the number will continue increasing next year. Facebook might not still be growing like it used to, but it still has an enormous user base with lots of buying power.