In the second decade of the 21st century, you can no longer ignore social media’s effect on e-commerce. As a major driver of sales and brand awareness, social media can make or break your e-commerce brand, which is why you need an effective social media strategy. By creating a social media strategy that takes into account your audience, metrics and the different types of social media marketing available, you can use social media to grow your brand.
Social Media’s Effects on E-Commerce
Here are some of the major effects that social media has had on online business:
- Everyone’s on social media these days, not just the younger generation, so a wide variety of audiences are discovering e-commerce brands through social media.
- Social media influences purchasing decisions via paid ads, influencers, and recommendations. It’s a major driver of traffic to e-commerce sites.
- Social media is an important advertising avenue, both through paid ads and organic reach (i.e. followers sharing your content).
- Social media is a key tool for brand awareness. Social media can help you target your brand to specific audiences, but it also means you need more consistent branding.
- Managing your reputation online is more difficult with social media; any campaign errors can quickly be shared among a large group of people, and there is a lot of competition, so you need top-quality online customer service and engagement.
Good use of social media will increase brand awareness and engagement, and generate sales; poor use will mark your brand as a fossil which doesn’t value its customers.
Social Media Strategy:
The importance of social media for e-commerce makes it essential to have social media strategies (both a social media content strategy and a social media marketing strategy) so that your brand can get the most out of social media’s potential for brand awareness and attracting new customers.
Because it doesn’t rely on paid ads, a social media strategy can be incredibly inexpensive. Content marketing and platforms’ free analytic features make social media an effective tool for growing your e-commerce brand without breaking the budget.
The first thing you need to think about when creating a social media strategy is what your goals are. Are you looking for engagement? Brand awareness? Sales? A combination of these? Figuring out what you’re looking for will allow you to tailor your social media strategy to suit your brand.
Before planning a social media strategy, you should look at your current performance on social media. What types of posts work for you? What platforms are you getting the most followers on? All social media platforms come with their own tools (such as Facebook Analytics), and you can also use third-party social media analytic tools. Look at awareness (page views, etc.), engagement (clicks, likes, etc.), and ROI. You’ll need to check your metrics regularly to see how your campaigns are performing.
What are your competitors doing with their social media? What content are they posting? What’s their brand persona like?
Look at what audiences they attract; you’ll likely have similar audiences, and this can help you gather audience metrics. There are tools that allow you to listen to your competition and follow conversations that fit within your niche. We recommend checking out Sprout Social to take advantage of their listening tool.
Of course, you should do more audience research than just looking at your competitors’ pages. From your existing social media presence, try to create a customer persona, or an imaginary customer with similar metrics to your audience (i.e. age, education level, gender, interests, etc.). You may find that you attract different sorts of customers; and if this is the case, you can create different buyer personas. In doing so, this will bring light to your business’s need for different pages to cater to each of your audiences.
The interactive nature of social media means that you need to make your brand seem almost like its own person—someone who your customers can relate to. This is called a brand persona. Your brand persona should be based on what you know about your audience.
You have several different social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok) to choose from. You could have a social media presence on each of them, but you should consider where your audience spends most of their time, as different platforms have different demographics. For example, Facebook has an older average demographic than TikTok. If you have multiple audiences, having accounts on different platforms will help you diversify your reach.
What Content Are You Going to Share?
Now, you need to decide what content your brand will produce. Content is very important for a successful social media presence, as it gives customers an opportunity to engage with your brand, and to see what your brand is about (i.e. brand awareness). While content won’t directly sell your products, a social media content strategy is a form of content marketing, so it will make your followers more likely to become customers in the future.
Whatever type of content you use, you should optimize it using SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
There are several types of content you should consider, some of which are unique to social media.
If you haven’t already, create a blog for your brand. Blog posts are easy content to produce, and showcase your brand’s personality and expertise.
Video is a very popular form of content. Short videos are a fun way of showing off new products or content related to your brand and can garner millions of views on different platforms.
User-generated content, or content that has been produced by your social media followers, is incredibly effective for engagement as customers see people interacting with your brand and want to do so themselves. User-generated content also makes your brand seem more trustworthy and friendly.
Retrieve user-generated content by encouraging followers to share photos or experiences on your social media pages.
Obviously, you hope to get organic reach from people sharing your content and following your page. However, there are other ways of increasing your brand’s reach and brand awareness on social media.
Influencers, or social media users who create trends, are great brand ambassadors because of their large followings on social media and status as trendsetters. Getting an influencer to try out your products or even market them will grow your brand by increasing brand awareness and sales.
Vocal and its 34 unique communities are home to hundreds of thousands of unique readers and creators. This platform is one of the most effective ways to gain organic exposure and reach new audiences, all while making some extra money off the reads and tips your posts generate. That’s right, Vocal is the only platform that pays you to advertise your business.
Want to hire freelance writers to write authentic content for your brand? Go right ahead. Looking to spread awareness by writing a letter from the CEO or founder? Even better. Want to create a ‘how-to’ post to further inform your clientele? The list goes on and on. Creating on Vocal means endless possibilities to get your business the attention it deserves—all at no cost to you.
While most of your social media strategy is free, you should consider paid ads; they can be targeted to your audience, and will make it easier for your pages to be seen. All of the major social media platforms have their own versions of paid advertising.
It’s not enough to know what content you’re going to share. You also need to plan out when you are going to post on your social media accounts, considering how many times a week as well as the best time of the day. Your content calendar, as with every other part of your social media strategy, will depend on your audience’s habits.
Once you have your social media accounts up and running, you’ll have to engage with your followers. Followers will tag your account, comment on your posts, and ask you questions. It’s important to respond quickly: a quick response time is vital in keeping followers and building your brand’s reputation. Moreover, your engagement will drive new followers and potential customers to your pages. You can use a social media monitoring tool to make sure you don’t miss any interactions.
Social media has had an undeniable effect on e-commerce, increasing the importance of branding and customer engagement. It also gives you a great and inexpensive opportunity to grow your brand through effective use of social media marketing and a well-thought-out social media strategy, such as the one outlined in this article.
Creating a social media strategy is one thing, and implementing it is another. Between coming up with the strategy, implementing it, troubleshooting and analyzing its success along the way, you might find that this is more than an in-house job. If you find that your business could use a helping hand, Seller’s Choice will always be there for you and your team.
Seller’s Choice is a digital media solutions agency fortified with communicative industry experts. Contact them today to optimize your online presence and learn how to stay at the cutting edge of the quickly evolving and competitive e-commerce industry.