8 ways in which eCommerce businesses should be using social media

by | Mar 15, 2020 | The Marketing Mix | 0 comments

If you are an indie retailer you can’t afford not to be active on social media in 2020. Social commerce is the buzzword of this year and it’s unsurprising given that 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process and 55% say they have made a purchase after discovering a product on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or another social platform.

And social media isn’t just a place to showcase your brand and products. It’s a place for a two-way dialogue – a place for you to research, listen to what your customers want and hear what people are saying about your brand and products.

If you are a product-based business or indie retailer, here are 8 ways you should be using social media to connect with your audience and convert them into loyal customers.

 

eCommerce businesses should be using social media…

1. To find and engage with customers

Number one should be no brainer but is frequently overlooked. All too often on social media I see eCommerce businesses post about their products and expect a queue at their door.

But I’m afraid it’s not quite that simple, especially if you are yet to build a loyal following. You need to put in the groundwork, seek out your ideal customers and engage with them to start to build awareness of your brand.

Find your ideal customers by checking out who is following your competitors, similar businesses and influencers (and vice versa). Don’t overlook hashtags – do your research and find out which ones your potential customers are using and following and check in on them frequently. And don’t forget to engage – like and comment (authentically – no “great pic!” or “love your profile, check out ours” here please!) on their posts to encourage them to check out your profile.

Finally, spend time engaging with those who have taken the time to comment on or interact with your posts.

2. To tell the brand’s story

The most successful brands today, and more importantly the ones that make the most impact, have got there by telling great stories. In the same way as we remember the stories from our youth, we remember and feel a connection to those business and brands because of their stories.

But how do you tell stories as a brand? In this blog post, I take a look at how you can use storytelling in your social media brand communications.

3. To promote products, launches and sales

Of course, you’ll want to use social media to promote your products, launches and sales. When doing so organically, stick to the 80/20 rule – with 80% of your content being brand, community or value focussed and just 20% directly sales focussed.

If you haven’t already, set up a shop on Facebook and use the shoppable tag feature on Instagram to make it really easy for your customers to click through and buy the products you’re promoting. Soon, you’ll also be able to make sales directly from Facebook/Instagram using the new checkout feature (watch this space for more on this as and when it rolls out!).

Now is also the time to consider putting aside some of your marketing budget for Facebook/Instagram advertising. Without it you are missing out on opportunities to convert more customers, make more sales and keep those customers coming back for more.  

4. To build relationships with influencers

Social media influencer marketing is a powerful way to connect with new customers and build trust in your brand. You don’t have to partner with huge influencers to be successful with influencer marketing. And if you are thinking you need to be a big brand to partner with influencers you are wrong. Indie brands with smaller marketing budgets can get in on the action by partnering with micro influencers. Their following might be smaller but, providing they are engaged, a mention by a micro-influencer can have a mighty impact on your brand.

5. To leverage user-generated content

Your customers are your best asset when it comes to content creation and sharing user-generated content (UGC) is a great way to build credibility with potential customers. In fact, UGC is viewed as the most authentic form of content by consumers globally and most say they have made purchasing decisions based on this type of content.

Encourage users to share their photos of your products by asking them to do so on your website, social media platforms and receipt/compliments slip. Consider using a branded hashtag (such as Mutha.hood’s #stronggirlsclub) to further encourage sharing and create a community of brand advocates.

When customers do start sharing photos of your products, telling your story and raving about your brand, leverage this word of mouth and share what they are saying!

6. To gather reviews

When was the last time you bought a product without first searching for and reading what other customers had to say about it? Research shows that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Facebook has a built-in tab specifically for reviews, so if your business is present on the platform make the most of it! And don’t just leave it at that. Use a design tool such as Canva to create graphics from your customer reviews so that you can repurpose them across your other social media platforms. Reviews are also a brilliant way of grabbing attention and adding credibility in Facebook Ads too, so next time you run an ad, consider including a glowing customer review!

Finally, don’t forget to respond to any reviews you get – positive and negative – which brings me nicely onto number…

7. For customer service

Brands that engage with customer service requests via social media earn 20-40% more revenue per customer, according to Bain and Company.

You should check your Direct Messages at least daily (including those hidden ‘message requests’ on Instagram) and respond to all genuine questions/requests. The faster you can respond the better – 37% of consumers who use social media to ask a business a question expect to get a response in under 30 minutes!

8. For research

Last but by no means least on my list is using social media for customer research.

Social media is a critical touchpoint with your customers and potential customers. Not just for showcasing your brand and products, but for listening and questioning too. In fact, you should be listening and questioning as much – if not more! – than talking on social media.

Search for your brand/product names and hashtags regularly. What are customers saying about them?

Ask your customers/potential customers direct questions to help inform how your business evolves. Which product would they like to see you launch next? In which colourways? What are their favourite products from your range and why? The interactive features offered by the social media platforms you use – such as polls and question stickers – are a great tool for this! Making customers feel like they are part of your decision-making process can go a long way in enhancing brand loyalty.

Finally, use social media to research your competitors and other brands with a similar customer base to yours too. What are they saying? What are their customers saying about them? What can you learn from this?

 

If you need further support with your social media strategy I can help. Get in touch and let’s chat over a virtual cuppa!

 

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