Here’s a universally-known-and-applicable fact: social media is evolving. Its reach, growing, and consumption, skyrocketing. As the world becomes more connected than ever, and online replaces the traditional in almost all walks of our lives, the buyers’ psychology has taken a major overhaul.
In 2019, internet users spent an average of more than 144 minutes every day using one or the other social media platforms. Now thanks to COVID-19 (and the global lockdowns announced as a consequence of which), with people spending a considerably higher amount of their day online, this number has only begun to spike.
However, the impact social media has had on ecommerce isn’t anything new. It has been on a rise ever since the advent of social media platforms. As the two grew, both social media and online shopping became more and more intertwined in the discovery and, ultimately, purchase cycle. Today, more than 80% of us turn to social media for assistance with a purchase.
With such a huge potential impact, it becomes a no-brainer for ecommerce businesses of all kinds, especially D2C, to be present on major social media platforms, and drive their share of business growth through the same.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the strategies you can apply to use social media to promote and expand your ecommerce business. But first, let’s take a quick look at why it is so critical for the success of your business.
Role Of Social Media In Ecommerce
Given that nearly 50% of the world’s population uses one or more social media platforms, the opportunity is huge for any ecommerce brand to engage with their shoppers, and the target audience at large.
Here are some of the more compelling reasons to not just pay importance to social media marketing, but also ensure you’re doing it the right way:
Generate word of mouth and brand awareness
Consumers are driven by emotions, and it’s only natural that a customer will appreciate your brand if they have a positive experience with your brand. Where will they do it? You guessed it, social media. Hence, social media marketing plays a great role in generating word-of-mouth for your business.
However, to capture the same, you need to be present. Imagine your customer wanting to recommend you and not finding your Instagram account or Twitter handle, it’s sure to make their experience sour. In fact, social media is also one of the preferred customer support channels, with 32.3% of consumers choosing to reach out to brands there.
Drive More Traffic To Your Store
For both — ecommerce brands that exist solely online and retailers shifting to an online-first presence, you need all the tools in your arsenal to grow your brand. Since you can’t rely on footfall for your online store, social media replaces this tactic without any heavy time or resource commitment.
By being consistent with your approach, you can have a steady influx of new and repeat traffic from your social media channels. Studies suggest that social media accounts for 31% of referral traffic to websites.
Capture Audiences’ Interests And Preferences
One of the most underutilised advantages of social media is how it empowers you to capture the voice of the customer first-hand. If only brands would pay attention, they’d figure out what their audience has to say about their brand, from the quality of their products to the customer support satisfaction they receive.
To add to this, social media is also a great place to experiment with and figure out what works best with your audience. What they like, what they don’t, what they’d like to see more of, and so on.
Leveraging Social Media To Market And Grow Your Ecommerce Brand
If there’s one thing you want to be sure of when using social media to market your ecommerce business is to have a clear goal in mind. Whether it is to generate more traffic, sales, or something else, having a clear baseline and expected outcome is a good way to begin. Once you have the same, follow some or all of the tips and tactics shared below:
Create, Curate, And Share Engaging Content
If all you have been doing through your social media channels is to promote your own brand or products, your audience is going to get exhausted with your content pretty fast. The more the engagement on the content you post drops, the less often new ones will be seen by your followers.
After all, every social media channel out there – be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram wants to display only the most engaging, interesting content to keep its users hooked.
Which is why it becomes essential for you to not just create and share awesome original content, but also curate content from other popular social media handles. Now, these could be other brands, influencers, or your own customers. No matter the category you are in, go far and beyond to cover topics that your audience would be interested in.
One Indian brand which ups the ante when it comes to Social Media marketing is Dunzo, here’s an example of a quirky post from them:
Use A Mix Of Organic And Paid Social
While you rack your brain trying to choose between organic and paid social media, here’s another, the simpler question you should ask yourself: “Why not both?”
Sure, when it first came to the scene, the entire appeal of social media used to be that it’s a free medium of communication for brands to grow and interact with their customers.
However, thanks to the ever-increasing competition for human attention and a space in a users feed, it has now become a pay-to-play mode of interaction.
So, in addition to using organic social media to interact with your existing set of followers, you should invest in paid to increase the reach and awareness of your brand among newer audiences.
Make Your Social Media Feed Shoppable
When you take the integrated approach of using your social media feed to market your products in addition to setting up shop, it acts as a surefire way to improve sales for your brand.
Thanks to democratising setting up shops on their networks, Facebook and Instagram have made it easier than ever for brands to make their feeds shoppable. Using the features provided by them, both shopping and product deliverability on your social media feed becomes a seamless experience for your customers.
Since they share the same backend operations, after loading in your product catalog or linking your online store’s ecommerce platform (such as Shopify, Bigcommerce, or Magento), you’ll be able to tag products on to your posts.
Go Beyond Conventional Social Media Channels
Like all marketing channels, conventional social media networks are called conventional for a reason. With the influx of massive marketing dollars, they have become stagnated when it comes to providing a profitable return on investment, making them increasingly more expensive.
Whether your audience is more active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or a combination of these you’re not going to reap the maximum potential from your social media marketing efforts if you just stick to these. You have to continually figure out newer, albeit niche audiences you can find on other social media channels.
And not just that, social media doesn’t start and end at the popular ones. There are a plethora of social media networks out there that are preferred by people for their unique purpose. Think Quora to grow their knowledge or clear doubts, Reddit, and YouTube for entertainment, Pinterest for browsing, and saving their ideas — the world is really your oyster.
Optimise Your Social Media Posts
Here’s one thing which gets overlooked: not all social media posts are created equal. Some are created better than others. Why? Best practices. As you play the role of a social media marketer, it’s imperative for you to know the impact following certain best practices can have on your social media marketing efforts.
From increased engagement with your posts to more number of shares, it definitely pays to keep yourself abreast of what the latest best practices for posting content in your niche is. Here are some universal best practices that are sure to take your social media game to the next level:
- Use imagery (photos, gifs, or others) to boost engagement on your posts
- Add hashtags to your posts to increase their discoverability and longevity
- Respond to your shoppers’ queries and mentions promptly
- Maintain a consistent brand voice and image throughout your engagements
- Use tools to automate and schedule your posts
Invest In Building A Community Of Raving Fans
One of the biggest benefits of having social media is the ability to foster two-way communication between a brand, and its audience (or fans). The thing that many consumer brands and social media marketers fail to take advantage of is the potential of treating their social media followers and subscribers as a community. A community of fans who’ve decided to engage and interact with their brand, and believe in their vision.
Given that your online store would be catering to a particular niche, it only makes sense for you to build a closely-knit community to foster that two-way communication. Having a strong presence on social media isn’t all that you need to have in your social media marketing strategy, you have to go a step ahead and make sure the people decide to engage with your brand get their time and attention’s worth.
Here’s how the homegrown D2C sleeping solutions brand Wakefit does it by sharing a testimonial from one of their customers in a series of posts, encouraging word-of-mouth from other happy customers as well.
Embrace The Potential Of Moment Marketing
In case you haven’t been active on social media of late, one phenomenon that has taken social media by storm has been the advent of moment marketing on the scene. According to Google, ‘moment marketing’ is the ability to take advantage of an event to deliver relevant and related, seemingly spontaneous, and often fleeting interactions with customers in real time.
The consumer of 2020 is always updated on the know-how of the world on their fingertips, and with attention span getting shorter and shorter, sometimes the window of opportunity your brand is going to have to attract their attention would be as low as one look at your social media post. If it clicks with them, it does, otherwise, they’re going to engage with a brand that does.
Surely you’ve come across Amul’s topical ads, that’s the most quintessential example of moment marketing. Here’s an example more closer to home for online brands, Zomato does it in style in response to Indian cricket legend M.S. Dhoni announcing his retirement:
The Rules Of Social Media Are Written With A Pencil
In a nutshell, the rules that drive social media marketing at any given point in time, are written with a pencil, and not ink. In that, they are temporary, and might change sooner than you’d think. As you get down your own path, you’ll realise that it’s not a spray and pray approach that can ever work. What works now, might not work tomorrow, and what works for Brand A, might not work for Brand B, and vice versa.
With so much competition from so many brands, the battle for capturing consumer attention is only going to get much fierce in the coming years. So, the only real differentiator you can have is how well you understand your audience, their pain points, their likes, dislikes, interests, and whatnot.
By ensuring that you’re providing your audience with a brand experience and story that is unique and engaging, you set the social media marketing strategy for your ecommerce business up for success. If you get all the basics right, there’s no stopping you.