How does the right social media strategy help your business? Does it really save time and money? And how critical is it to have a marketing plan dedicated to social media alone? We’ll discuss this and more below…
More than ever before, shoppers would rather buy online than in-store. To put a number to it, a recent Pew Research study shows that 8 out of 10 Americans are now shopping online. This rapid increase in the online retail market allows small eCommerce businesses (like you) to put more of more of their products and services in front of a global audience than ever thought possible.
We, as a society, are embracing the digital shopping experience… and it shows.
Almost everyone in eCommerce can feel the gradual build of pressure and expectation. Why is this, though? Because nowadays, there’s heavy competition and a push for constant innovation. As a result, a whole new avenue has sprouted in social media marketing to address the growing demands in eCommerce. This growth not only helps online shoppers but also assists eCommerce business owners who are looking to build an excellent brand recognition and increase sales.
By now we should all know that social media is not just a fad. It has become an essential asset for every business, especially online businesses. The power of social is an incredible tool that can build, strengthen, and engage with your niche market in direct, personal, and practical ways. Not having, is like business suicide.
All eCommerce businesses need a quality social media strategy.
A social media strategy is a brand’s campaign to reach out and engage with their shoppers and followers. It hopes to get consumers
1) talking about the company and products it represents and
2) sharing the information with peers by word-of-mouth or other social networks. When developing your social outreach strategies, you (and most experts) will use a variety of social media sites. The ones you choose will depend on where your target market is more likely to hang out online.
These social efforts are necessary as online shoppers often look for the social experience of their chosen eCommerce destinations. Nowadays, we could even go as far as to say that consumers take social media for granted. They naturally expect to find a social experience (and online customer support) from any eCommerce business. They also expect to find an online presence from most brick-n-mortar stores. Businesses, online or physical, that do not offer a positive social experience risk losing customers by failing to provide what is now considered a common feature.
Building A Social Media Strategy
Objective and Goals
Would you aim your arrow and shoot if you didn’t have a clear target in front of you? Of course now! Having that goal in front of you is important for success, and for not losing your arrow! We know that instinctually so, why is it, then, that so many online business owners will make random social posts without a clear goal in mind? Before you started your eCommerce business, you had ideas and goals that you hoped to achieve. The same goals should be kept in mind when developing your social media strategy. Whether your priority is to boost traffic to your site, increase sales, or just work on your online reputation, having clear objectives and expectations lined out will allow your eCommerce businesses to work towards a clear goal. This will help your success and allow you to adjust your social media campaigns. It also allows you to make the most of your marketing budget and time by making sure the efforts you’re putting out are driving your company towards it’s set objectives.
Social media is so much more than just fishing for ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. While those virtual pats on the back are great, you need more than vanity metrics to succeed. Most eCommerce businesses need true engagement, sharing, and sales completion to reach their goals and stay in business. Choosing the right metrics to achieve those goals is the key to long-term prosperity. Focus on tasks like creating powerful social posts that lead to quality landing pages. And make sure your posts have powerful ‘call to actions’ that result in lead generation, an increased conversation rate, and a healthy following that shares.
And for all that is good in this world… keep your audience in mind as you plan your social objectives and goals.
Here’s an easy task – write down at least three social media goals and ask yourself how they will look to your audience and what their end result will be.
Now… implement and track them to determine their effectiveness.
Social Media Audit
Before creating a new social media marketing plan, you’ll need to assess your current social media strategy so you know how it’s working. Social media should be about listening and measuring results. This means figuring out who is connecting with your current message, which social media networks your target market uses, and how your social media presence compares to your competitors.
Analyze all of your brand’s social media networks to see how they work. Do they follow the same mission statement? Do they have the same goal and personality? To do this, you should create a spreadsheet with Who, What, When, Where, and Why columns. This type of organization will help keep your efforts clear, easy-to-read, and efficient. See the example below by MarketingTeacher.com.
Understand Your Target Audience
A marketer’s deepest desire is to know and understand their consumers so that they can shape the perfect marketing messages – one that revolves around their intimate wants and needs. It’s good to first understand that social media is not always about marketing, however… it should also be about listening.
Who are they? Where do they hang out? What do they like? What do they hate? Narrowing down your target audience and their wants isn’t an easy task but with the right questions and posts, you’ll get your focus. Then, you can send this coveted information back to your various teams to help improve everything from customer service to product design. There are a variety of details that go into whittling down and being as specific with your marketing messages as possible (without alienating potential new customers). So, gather data and create posts that help answer questions like these:
- Age, Gender, Socioeconomic Status
- Location, Hobbies, Interests, Family
- Job Title, Passions, Academic Interest
- Level of interest in your current product line
- How they would use your current product line
- What they expect from customer service
- Where they hang out most when online
Identify Key Success Metrics
After setting up your most influential social accounts, what’s the next step? You may have identified and set your objectives, completed a social media audit and gone the extra mile to understand your target audience but now, how will you measure your success? You’ll need to look further than vanity (aka gaining followers and likes). Success is measured in true conversions. Afterall, depending on the type market you’re in, sometimes one brand will have thousands of followers and likes but few sales while another brand may have little to no social vanity but ‘call to actions’ that actually convert. Which do you think will be more successful?
To identify posts that are not doing well, look to your analytics! Here are some metrics to watch:
- Click Throughs
- Site Visits
- Total Organic Shares
- Completed Sales
How effective is your current content? We all know that Google recognizes and rewards quality content that addresses a reader’s needs. But did you know that grammar, sentence structure, natural use of keywords, the variety and/or length of the article, and many more details are also important? If you have all of these things in your content and you’re running on a quality eCommerce platform, you’ll naturally influence users to engage with your brand. A highly engaging and informative post, article or promo adds value to your site and brand reputation and is generally well received by your audience.
Choosing the different types of media can be the fun part of content creation. Here are some examples you can use:
- Blog Posts
Once you have posted an informative video, great photo, or any content that is high quality, there is a good chance that it will have a better reach and your audience will love it. Make sure to stick with your mission statement while creating content.
For extra structure and organization, consider building a content calendar. This will help avoid repetition and keeps things fresh. Afterall, you do not want to bombard your audience with the same content type or repeat topics too often.
Social Media Management Tools
Do your marketing team a favor… invest in a quality social media management tool. Doing so will save time and increase your social productivity. Your marketers will get burned out if they have to repeat tedious daily tasks that could have been scheduled with a convenient social aggregator. (And scheduling is just one of the many benefits of social media management systems.)
Some of the social media tools you can use are:
A social media strategy is essential for the promotion and overall success of your business. Without guided management, marketers must rely on trial and error. By simply planning ahead, tracking results, and analyzing data, you can always tweak and optimize your results. Let the history and success (or failure) of previous data drive your marketing efforts and any changes to your social media channel.
Create a good strategy. Continue to grow. And learn more about both your business and the audience.