Social media can be a powerful tool for ecommerce businesses. There are now a multitude of channels with hundreds of millions of users that can create a direct impact on bottom-line sales.
Depending on your following, throwing up the odd post with latest discounts or new products may help drive a few more sales. But it’s consistent ideas and strategy that really helps ecommerce retailers leverage these powerful platforms.
The challenge tends to come in finding ideas and strategies that garner attention and make you stand out from the crowd.
In this post, we’ll go through three of these strategies and discuss how they can be used to engage with your market and, ultimately, drive more ecommerce sales.
1) Social media competitions
Starting competitions on social media is a great way to encourage sharing of your ecommerce products across various platforms. This usually works best in conjunction with current deals, sales or exciting announcements like a new product launch.
For example, social media competitions are often a fantastic way to create huge buzz as part of your Black Friday marketing. By giving people an incentive to share, you’ll accumulate more attention and see increased sales.
The key is to always remember to ensure any prizes or giveaways are relevant to your target market. Giving away an iPad may get lots of shares, but if you sell golf equipment then it’s not specifically targeting who you want to reach.
There are a multitude of different giveaways and competition ideas you can use. The best ones tend to involve asking users to share images, so let’s take a look at two great ways to do this:
Pinterest Pin to Win
Latest estimates show that Pinterest has around 200m active monthly users. If your target market hangs out there then starting a ‘pin to win’ competition could be huge for you.
It works by simply encouraging customers to ‘pin’ pictures of your various products. Each person who does this will be entered into a draw to win some kind of prize or special discount.
A tool like Woobox can help organize this competition for you.
Hashtag giveaways can be very powerful yet simple to keep track of. Just create a hashtag of your own and encourage people to use it on Twitter and/or Instagram to win a prize.
The rules are up to you. But the best ideas usually involve requiring users to post a particular photo involving your products or brand. This creates a buzz and showcases your items to lots of potential new customers.
Fashion retailer Cavender’s runs a competition every Friday and is a great example of an ecommerce brand doing this well.
2) Facebook retargeting
This must be a frustrating statistic when you consider the time and money ecommerce brands invest in getting people to this point. And then three-quarters of them don’t follow through and make a purchase.
But Facebook’s ad platform and retargeting feature is a major help in combatting this.
Most people aren’t going to buy from your site at the first visit. They may browse around and then not feel ready to buy or get distracted by something else. It doesn’t mean they don’t want it at all, just that they’re not ready to buy right now.
How to use retargeting
With Facebook’s retargeting feature, you can ‘remind’ someone that the cart they abandoned on your site is still there. And, more importantly, with one click they can go through and complete their purchase.
Here’s a retargeted ad from The Economist that appeared on my Facebook feed after I visited their site but didn’t subscribe:
This can be a complicated but rewarding procedure. It involves building custom audiences off the back of tracking pixels you install on your website. You’ll then create specific adverts that show to anyone who visits certain pages on your site and hasn’t gone through to make a purchase.
There’s more detailed information on how to go about doing this on Facebook here. Rebrandly also has a pretty cool link retargeting feature which allows you to retarget people who have never even visited your site.
But it’s worth noting that any old advert isn’t going to have the desired effect. You need it to be convincing.
This means giving the person looking at it a reason to click through again. Use reviews and social proof to increase the likelihood of the user clicking through and completing their purchase.
3) Encourage social media reviews
Social media isn’t just about entertainment. It’s rapidly turning into a place people go to in search of opinions and reviews before making buying decisions.
Recent research carried out by market intelligence firm Mintel suggests that 69% of people (and 81% of 18-34 year-olds) seek out opinions from others before purchasing. The same research also suggests that 72% of 25-34 year-olds and 50% of 45-54 year-olds value the recommendations of social media contacts.
This means encouraging happy customers to share their opinions on social media can be fantastic for increasing future sales.
Just think how much of a sway this could hold if someone is on the fence about making a purchase from you. They find your Twitter account or do a search for the product and all they see are reviews from happy customers.
Zappos are masters of this. Take a look at this Tweet thread where the person got a response from Zappos as well as several other unbiased Twitter users:
Found the shoes at Macy’s but I see they have them on Zappos $30 cheaper is Zappos a site you can trust?
— (@buttermytoast_) September 26, 2017
Of course, this kind of engagement doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication and willingness to regularly interact on social media in order to build this.
But you can start by actively encouraging customers to go onto social media and share their experience after purchasing from you. This could be a share button on the purchase thank you page, or even a note in the delivery box asking customers to Tweet about their experience.
This, however, may be harder to get people to do than it sounds. It’s therefore important to consider offering some kind of incentive for people to actually go ahead and post a social media review. Entry into a prize draw could be an idea, or even a discount on their next order with you.
Regardless of how you get them to do it, it’s vital to keep a close eye on the different channels so that you know when they do. And whether it’s good or bad, it’s imperative that you respond as quickly as possible to either thank or apologize.
Using these three tactics is a sure fire way to get more eyes on your ecommerce brand. And the more of the right people you get in front of, the more sales you’ll make.
Do you use any of these right now? Let us know your experience or if you have any more suggestions in the comments below.
Guest Author: Duncan La Barre, Veeqo
Duncan is Head of Communication and Brand at Veeqo. Veeqo is used by large online retailers all over the world to manage and grow their ecommerce business. Duncan is based in Swansea, UK and loves writing about ecommerce growth, social media and website optimisation.
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