Social media marketing is about much more than just having Twitter and Facebook buttons on your home page. If you want to get the most out of social media for your e-commerce business, then you need to build trust, brand awareness, and real relationships with your customers.
This isn’t complicated – although it’s surprising how many e-commerce sites get it wrong. It does take a lot of effort, but there are proven strategies that really work. Here are a few to get started with.
Great Content, Not Sales Pitches
Would you watch a television channel that shows nothing but boring ads? Of course not. Shopping channels may look like they do this, but they keep things interesting by sharing stories, having conversations and offering useful advice.
Don’t just use your social media channels to pitch your products – give your audience great tips, fascinating facts and things that keep them entertained.
For instance, if you have an e-commerce site that sells golf equipment, repost the latest PGA news on your social media channels, write blog posts about to how to improve your swing, and share funny golfing anecdotes. You could also look for questions on Quora to cook up great content and get post ideas.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sales pitch, but do it subtly. For instance, if you’re talking about how to control your approach shots to the green, this is the time to mention that new lofted wedge you want to promote. Don’t try a hard sell – it’s much more effective to share feedback from customers who say that the club lets them stop the ball dead.
Show Off Your Products On YouTube
YouTube is one of the best ways to showcase your products. It has an enormous following, with lots of different channels catering to special interest groups – groups that are interested in what you have to sell. Because YouTube lets potential customers see your product in action, it’s a very effective way of driving sales.
However, YouTube is full of poorly produced videos with boring product pitches – and nobody watches them. If you have the budget, invest in professional-quality content that shows off your products to their best advantage.
Humor and excitement always drive more interest – for instance, if you sell dog supplies, put together a video with amazing dog tricks. “How to” videos are also very effective – if you show people how to do something genuinely useful with your product, they’ll be much more likely to buy it.
Interact With Your Customers
Remember that social media is a discussion, not a newspaper or a magazine. That’s why it’s called social media. You have to interact with your customers and have a real conversation. If you just show up occasionally to post content, then you’re not going to develop a loyal following.
When people post comments, reply to them. When they tweet something interesting, retweet it. This takes effort, but you have to do this if you want to tap into the true power of social media. Make time to do this every day – replying to someone two weeks later is useless.
If you interact with your audience on a regular basis, you’ll create a human face for your e-commerce business – and this in turn will drive sales.
The other huge advantage of having real conversations on social media is that you learn things. By interacting with your followers, you get great feedback on your products and understand why people buy them – or why they don’t.
You’ll also find out what excites and motivates your audience – not about your product, but in general – which you can then incorporate into your social media marketing efforts.
Connect With Influencers
It’s much more effective to have other people talk about your products on social media, rather than you talking about them. One of the best ways to do this is to reach out to bloggers.
Bloggers have a huge influence on their readers, giving you a ready-made and receptive audience. You can try connecting with bloggers by yourself, but one of the most effective ways of doing this is to use a blogger introduction sites such as Tomoson.
Once you have made contact with a blogger, stay in touch with them. If a blogger writes about your e-commerce site on a regular basis, then their readers will remember your brand. Don’t try to force bloggers to write what you want them to say, however.
Bloggers are fiercely independent, which is why their readers trust them. Just make sure they have all of the information and product samples they need to write honest and accurate reviews. If your products are good, that’s what you want anyway.
When people engage with you on social media, it’s important to keep them coming back. Offering great content is part of this, but you also have to give them things they can’t get anywhere else. For example, why not offer discount coupons exclusively on social media?
Publicize these in advance – for example, announce that you’re going to have coupons for a particular brand of shoes a couple of weeks from now. This allows time for word to get around, and people will come back once the coupons are available online.
Contests are another excellent way to keep people engaged on social media. One great approach is to have a contest where people share their stories – this engages your followers and can generate a huge amount of interest.
Post the stories online, and award prizes for the best ones. Not only will you get free content, you’ll also get a conversation started that keeps people coming back.
Latest posts by Jeff Foster (see all)
- 5 Ways to Turbocharge Your E-commerce Brand on Social Media - July 22, 2015
- The Ultimate Guide To Social Media Product Launches - June 23, 2015
- How To Build Great Relationships With Bloggers - May 25, 2015