A recent survey showed that social media played an important role in shaping the purchasing decision for nearly 87 percent of consumers. There are three key objectives every eCommerce store needs to have with respect to social media – drive brand reputation, build a targeted following, and shape public opinion. Converting these followers into buyers is simply an outcome of these objectives.
There are a number of popular social media platforms on the internet today. While platforms like Facebook and YouTube has a following among all demographics, others like Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn target specific niches of audiences.
Furthermore, there are a few deeply industry-focused communities for different groups of audiences. Picking the right social media platform and executing the right marketing strategy is paramount.
Find where your audience is
ECommerce marketers tend to focus on social media channels where they can project their brand quite effectively. This may not work out well if your target audience is not active on these channels. The right way to go about this is to find social media channels where your prospective buyers hang out and build a strategy for this channel.
Building a marketing strategy
Once you have picked the channels you want to target, the next step is to build a marketing strategy for each of your core objectives. Let’s start with branding. Every branding campaign must target three objectives – build customer awareness, establish the right positioning for your store, and add value.
These objectives have to be met with a strategy that works well on the social media channel you are targeting. For instance, an online store selling premium fashion accessories for women could promote a blog content outlining the latest designs on Facebook. This works because your Facebook audience likes to read content that enriches them.
However, if you targeting the same audience on Instagram, you should be looking at publishing high-quality photos or videos of your premium accessories. This projects your brand image, creates the right aspirational value for your products and thus helps build your brand equity.
When it comes to building a targeted following, eCommerce store owners have to acknowledge the limitations of a social media channel. A platform like Instagram can help you build a narrative and shape public opinion. But it’s not always the best platform to convert.
Your strategy should hence focus on growing a following that has a potential need for your products rather than those who have an intent to purchase.
There are a few ways to do this and it depends on the platform you want to go with. Regardless of the channel, however, it is important to maintain a consistent style for your posts. This is for two reasons.
Firstly, focusing on a style helps you narrow down your focus to an audience that is interested in this specific style or brand. Secondly, when you do this, target buyers tend to associate your brand with the style and message you consistently convey through your posts.
One strategy that works effectively across social media channels is the use of influencers. These are users who have a significant following on social media platforms. Depending on how established these influencers are, their recommendations carry a lot of weight. ‘Shoutouts’ from influencers can help your business in both growing your followers as well as making sales.
Other strategies to grow followers include hosting giveaways, partnering with other brands, following people who like competing pages and using lots of hashtags. While conventional marketers recommend using only a handful of hashtags, some eCommerce marketers like Nicole Martins Ferreira from Oberlo advise using as many as 30 hashtags in order to maximize reach and following.
Social media monitoring
Once you have established a strategy, the next step is to execute them. It is worth pointing out that what works for one brand may not essentially work for another. Also, a lot of advice you read on the internet is from early movers. That is, by the time you start executing the strategy, it may have already become ‘stale’ and not effective.
It is thus important to experiment with new and innovative marketing strategies for social media. More importantly, it is worth monitoring the performance of your key objectives and mapping them against your eCommerce sales. This way, it is possible to assess the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.
Do you have a social media strategy for your online store? Share your tips and lessons in the comments.