Social Media Branding Tips For An Ecommerce Website
Your website is about your business
Facebook promotes your brand
LinkedIn is about you
Twitter targets your niche /speciality
Your blog is your message
YouTube is your voice
If you aren’t discovering which in social networking channels your customers spend time and include them in your ecommerce marketing mix, you’re probably missing out on building relationships, community and increasing new customer acquisition through online word of mouth.
- Go Where Your Customers Are
Very few things in life promise endless options – digital and social media marketing being one exception. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube, there’s no limit to the number of social networking channels available for your business to leverage. Key to successful social media marketing for ecommerce is choosing the right channels to reach customers.
Find out where your customers are congregating by:
- Asking them: Sounds overly simplistic, but sending a formal survey to customers or more informally polling them on your website can provide a wealth of knowledge.
- Monitoring social sites: Use a free tool like Social Mention or Tracker. For something far more robust use tools like Radian6 to discover how and where customers are talking about your brand, your competitors or target keywords.
- Leveraging the stats: Some sites like Facebook are transparent when it comes to user statistics. Or leverage research conducted by third-party firms like eMarketer.
- Review back links, news announcements and keyword rankings of competitors on a regular basis to get a glimpse into their online marketing health.
- Monitor What Your Competitors Are Doing
Whether your ecommerce business is new to social media marketing, or just need to take your efforts up a notch, competitive intelligence can be very useful. Spend some time by conducting a competitive audit of your top five competitors on the social web. Include:
- The social sites in which they are active
- The type of content they publish on the social web
- The number of followers/fans/views they have on each site
- How they promote specific products, programs or events via social media.
- Promote Exclusive Offers through Social Media
In order for your ecommerce business to gain a following on whatever social channel you choose, entice customers with something they can’t get anywhere else.
For example, promote a contest via social media.
Alternately, offer an exclusive item to social media followers or fans, such as free shipping or a weekly coupon. You can also offer “breaking news” that does not appear anywhere else, like pre-product release announcements or an inside look at your company’s inter-workings.
- Don’t Just Push Products and Promotions
The primary goal of your ecommerce site may be to sell products, but your social media marketing strategy should encompass a wider range of tactics that simply promoting offerings. With too much product pushing and not enough engagement, you’re unlikely to experience optimal success.
Incorporate some of these ideas into your ecommerce social media marketing strategy:
- Share messages or news stories from external sources
- Create a blog on your website and feed blog content to your social accounts
- Ask questions, participate in discussions or poll your customers via social media
- Post pictures from company events or videos from your CEO’s speaking engagements.
- Sell Products through Social Networks
Many ecommerce sites leverage social channels to make it even simpler for customers to purchase their products. Ecommerce sites large and small can still indirectly sell products through their social profiles. For example, highlight new products or best-sellers and provide a link to the order page on your website. It may not be quite as simple as purchasing directly from the social profile, but it can be just as effective.
- Find unique places for sharing buttons
Instead of using a generic sharing widget in the same place across all your sites, try putting sharing features in prominent placements in different places in your site’s design.
For example, after a customer creates a review of a product, give them an easy way to share the review with Facebook friends or Twitter followers. They’ve already shown they’re in sharing mood by filling out a review, why not capitalize on the good vibes? You could create a simple link that sends the url of the page to their Twitter account to send, or use a Facebook share button.
Here are some other unique places on your site that you might put sharing links or widgets:
- The thank you page, after making the order.
- sale confirmation email
- mailing list email templates
- Add product videos
Videos are great sales tools. People like seeing a product in action, so video is an excellent way to improve sales
But aside from the improved sales, adding product videos on YouTube or other video sharing sites adds another social factor. People like sharing videos, and they’re more likely to embed the videos other sites. Videos are a great way to add a viral factor to your product pages.
- Engage customers
It’s one thing to just create a Facebook page or Twitter account, but it’s another thing to actually engage with followers. Social media takes work, you have to daily interact with followers to be successful. Easy to say, much harder to do.
Figure out who’s talking about your brand (or your competitors) and open a dialog.
Social media is a great tool to help promote products away from your ecommerce site. You can get people to your site with social media, and once they’re on your site you make the sale.
- Add exclusivity
Make a strong call to action for your visitors as to why they should follow your brand on Twitter, Facebook, or any other network. Include special offers, coupons, tips, and other things that customers wouldn’t get unless they were following you on social media sites.
- Don’t stay in “sell mode”
- Companies often only post things related to selling on their social media profiles. But that doesn’t provide much benefit to your followers, does it? People want more from social media than just a constant stream of sales pitches.
- Use your social media profiles to tell customer stories, stats, news, and other things related to your business.
- What if you shared one of your competitor’s deals? You’d show that your brand is interested in helping your followers, not just making money from them. It would be insanely useful to your fans, and it would add trust and loyalty to your brand.
- Integrate your customer service strategy with your social media strategy
People are already talking about your brand on social networks, and odds are a few of them are venting frustration about something. Instead of waiting for them to call or email you, diffuse the situation by reaching out to them.
There are plenty of success stories of major brands reaching out to unhappy customers and diffusing situations quickly with social media.
- Track what people click on social media sites
- Url shorteners like bit.ly give excellent click analytics. When you share links on social networks, you can track and see how many people are actually clicking the link.
- Knowing what gets people to actually click a link means that you can tailor your messages to get the most impact from your social media efforts. For example, you might find that your followers click a lot more on links to coupons versus links to product updates.
- You could even drill down how effective types of links are across different social media sites. You might find that your Facebook followers like to click on coupons, and your Twitter followers like breaking news. The more you know about your followers and what they like, the more useful you can be to them.
- Give back
Giving back creates trust, which is crucial for your brand. Think of ways that you can be useful to your followers. Share news and tips that they’ll find helpful. Ask their opinions. Give them coupons. Interact with them.
The important thing is that you’re openly trying to be helpful to them. The more useful you are to your following, the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.