Social media is a core traffic and acquisition channel. It has become like death and taxes for anyone trying to crack ecommerce — you can’t avoid it.
But it’s really not that complicated or painful.
You just need to remember to tailor your content around two things:
- Who you are targeting
- What you are trying to encourage them to do
Most businesses are trying to:
- Build brand loyalty
- Convert existing customers into returning customers
- Increase the average order value
- Attract new customers
Social media is a wonderful channel in which to achieve these objectives.
But you need a strategy. You need to be organised and follow a plan. Here’s some recommendations.
Use Free Social Media Tools
The first thing you should do is to make use of the free tools available to let you organise and gain insight to the content you’re posting on the web. Here are some examples:
- To help you plan
Social media planning tools are a great way to organise your content over a length of time. They allow you to schedule tweets, posts, Instagram pictures, etc. Check out:
- To help you measure
Social media measuring tools also give you great insight into how you’re performing on social media and what content is generating the most engagement. Check out:
- To help you follow or ‘unfollow’
Keep an eye on who you’re following and who is following you back on Twitter and Instagram. This handy tool can make you ‘unfollow’ people who aren’t following you back, or who are inactive. Check out:
Sign up to all of these services. Although they provide similar services, they all have different features that are useful for businesses.
Organise your Social Media Activity
To avoid getting lost in the world of social media, your activity needs to be organised, consistent and engaging.
Here is an example of the kind of activity you should be engaged in. Naturally this is a generic plan — amend this according to your specific business needs.
- Update Twitter/Facebook/Instagram
Respond to any comments
- Comment on other Facebook pages
Retweet any favourite, relevant tweets
- Respond to any blog comments
- Engage with relevant bloggers on their blog
- Check out cool content on the web and share
- Write new blog post
- Use Google Analytics, SumAll, Facebook/Twitter insights to check out performance/statistics
- Gather new content to share from the likes of StumbleUpon, Reddit, websites, and so forth that are relevant to your target audience
- Check brand mentions with Feedly and respond
- Schedule content for campaigns in the upcoming week via Klout/Hootsuite/SocialBro
- Follow new relevant pages and people on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/YouTube
- Upload new YouTube content (you can do this weekly or fortnightly, depending on your brand and volume of content)
- Schedule content for campaigns in the upcoming month via Klout/Hootsuite/SocialBro
- Distribute newsletter/catalogue (again this is adaptable to weekly/fortnightly/quarterly depending on your brand and content level)
- Remind subscribers, followers, ‘likes’ to check you out on other social media channels
You can break this down even more into the kind of content that you should be posting daily, weekly and monthly:
Products and trends
- New products
Make sure everyone knows that you have new products, brands, etc.
- Reminders of best-selling products that you have promoted via pictures
Vary which product pictures go on which site — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram should all contain slightly different content even if you are telling essentially the same story throughout these channels.
- New trends and news in your industry
Post links to external articles and original content that you have written yourself about the news or trend.
- Cool content online that might be of interest to your audience
Search relevant keywords, for example ‘BMX’ and select the news tab on Google.
- Seasonal greetings and promotions
‘Merry Christmas’ tweets, Easter promotions, etc.
- Seasonal content about what the staff and stores are up to
‘Check out our regional manager dressed up as a pumpkin!’
‘Look at our Manchester store all set for the Valentine’s Day.’
Encourage customers to tweet/Instagram/Facebook their purchase or favourite products using promoted #s.
- Promote your posts across other channels
- Any upcoming promotions
‘20% off on Black Friday’ (make sure you tweet about it every day in the week approaching, etc.).
- Countdown until promotions end
‘Only 24 hours left of free delivery.’
Your business and your team
- Any press, media or blogs you have been featured in
‘Check out this great piece about us on Cycleblogger.’
‘Read Megasport Magazine’s interview with Lucy, our ecommerce manager.’
- Depending on your brand, ‘What’s going on in-store today’ can work really well
‘Today the staff are having PIZZA because we are crazy animals!’ + a picture can be endearing and build customer loyalty.
- Any updates on the store
‘We are opening a new branch in Surrey! Come and check us out’ + picture.
‘Building the new cabinet display is coming on nicely’ + picture.
- Anywhere you’re out and about
‘We are holding a stall at the international market today — come see what we’ve got on offer’.
Remember to schedule according to what fits your business. If you know well in advance every new product that’s coming in over the next month, schedule them into your posts. If you’re unsure about the date of a product’s arrival, it’s better to post or tweet about it once it’s arrived.
Use pictures for at least one-in-three posts. Research shows that pictures are much more likely to engage than text alone.
Where relevant, remember to include backlinks to your website as this improves SEO and provides impatient or on-the-move shoppers a quick link to your store.
Think of how your content should be distributed as ‘Jab Jab Right Hook’ — it should be two parts engaging content and one part direct promotions for your online store.
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be scary; in fact it can be really fun and is a great free marketing tool.
Many brands have gone viral purely because of their social media campaigns. Good social media engagement can make all the difference when it comes to brand loyalty.