Everyone knows that a good social media presence is important to success in business online. However, the number of online stores that actually have thriving, exciting, social media channels that work for them is still small.
You don’t succeed on social media by just being there. You need a strategy.
Why Is Your Store on Social Media in the First Place?
If you can’t delineate clearly your goals from being on social media, you’ve got a problem. There’s no point in posting aimlessly into the void, hoping to attract new visitors to your store.
Set a real, measurable goal for this year, such as improving the number of engagements on your Instagram posts by 20% by the end of the next quarter.
Focus on Helping, Not Selling
As an online store, your first instinct could be to extol the benefits of your products and services at every turn, posting deals and offers all the time. Although social selling is certainly a thing, this should not be your main focus.
The bulk of your energy in your social media interaction should be answering the questions of your followers. When they ask you a question, answer it in a timely and personalized manner.
By showing that you care about the customer experience instead of pitching your products incessantly you’re showing your company’s worth. You’re also setting yourself up to be an authority in your market space.
You Want Relationships, Not Followers
It’s easy to get transfixed on your follower counts on social media networks, but that’s simply a vanity project. Many followers are bots. Many followers will never engage with your business.
A single follower that interacts with your company, buys products, or shares your content is worth a thousand that never do.
To start with, answer the questions that people ask. @mention the people you’re talking to in your social media posts. Don’t just retweet or like someone’s content; make your own reply to add to the discussion.
Are We Human?
This type of engagement feeds into the next crucial point – you gotta be human.
Companies are often terrified about bringing any kind of personality to their online presence as they think it might make them appear less professional.
Now, professionalism is still important and posts should always be made in-brand, but showing off the human side of your brand goes a long way to develop trust and customer loyalty. Don’t be afraid to have fun with followers on social media.
Snapshots of your team working hard can be priceless. Boosting the visibility of positive interactions between your staff and customers sells a strong message. It’s a picture of the type of experience any new customer can expect.
Who Are You Really Talking to Anyway?
Another mistake that online stores make is assuming that they should be targeting everyone. You can’t please everyone! You need to have a well-defined idea of your prospective target audience and work to impress them.
You may have different audiences that you want to target. For example, startups often want to reach:
- New customers from a specific demographic
- Potential investors
- Industry influencers
Breaking down your audience in these cross sections and further defining these audiences can help you figure out the social media sites you want to publish on, your brand’s voice, the type of content you will publish, and your posting schedule.
Many stores spend ages creating ineffective content that doesn’t speak to a defined audience. Instead, spend time profiling your active customers to understand what their challenges, goals, and aspirations are. Delve deep into the type of brands they currently follow on social and consider aping the type of content and voice they respond to.
Schedule Your Social Media Content
Creating a social media calendar for posts isn’t optional. It’s mandatory. You’ll be juggling so many social media channels, trying to reach so many different customers, and tying it all into your online store, all at the same time.
Creating a social media content calendar allows you to:
- Avoid repeating yourself while ensuring all of your posts get the maximum exposure
- Time your posts to have the maximum impact
- Avoid having to post in real-time, an exhausting task
- Fine tune your content for each platform based on a common core
Of course, you can still post outside of your timed schedule. You can react to real-world events, and discuss things with your followers. But with a social media calendar, you have the bones of your content prepared and ready to go weeks in advance. It takes a lot of the pressure off.
With all of this juicy interaction going on, you’ll need some automation or you’ll spend 24 hours a day trying to keep up with social media alone. Thankfully, software to help ease your social media is abundant.
Important note though - avoid things like automated replies to tweets – they look insincere and amateurish. If you are going to reply to a post, it should be done in a personalized manner.
Some of the top social media marketing tools in 2019 that streamline the process are Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and Buffer. These work as scheduling dashboards for posting across a wide range of social media platforms at the same time. They also include advanced tools like analytics, content curation, relationship building, and UX building.
You can use social media tools like Bambu to help you curate content. A subscription with a listening tool like Mention can let you know whenever your brand is mentioned in social media conversations. Agorapulse, besides scheduling and planning posts, allows you to compare your marketing campaign with that of your competitors.
Bridging the Gap Between Social Media and your Store
Once your social media followers make their way to your site, you should continue to give them an experience that reflects their interests.
With DataCue, if they’ve come to your site from a social media post discussing a particular subcategory of product, the entire site can be tailored to that product type. From the beginning, they’ll see products that complement their interests. This makes your website welcoming, simple to use, and it results in a much higher conversion percentage from visitors coming from social media.