Did you have an affinity for telling stories when you were younger? It may have gotten you into trouble with your parents and teachers back in the day, but that skill can pay off big time as an ecommerce marketer on social media. Big Commerce reports that a growing number of ecommerce brands have started using storytelling to engage with their customers over social media.
“Building a successful online store in today’s hyper-competitive ecommerce landscape requires more than an attractive website, a nice product display, and easy checkout. When a customer reaches your shopping cart, it’s often after he or she has encountered your brand throughout a long journey filled with multiple stops and detours… Captive audiences are a thing of the past, which makes brand storytelling vital to distinguishing your brand in a crowded marketplace.”
I had the opportunity to monitor the #SMTLive Twitter chat a couple of months ago. A lot of marketers chimed in with their perspectives on storytelling as a form of social media marketing. I noticed one disparity though – too many people were focusing on the benefits for local businesses. They didn’t spend as much time discussing the benefits of social media storytelling for ecommerce companies, even though a growing number of ecommerce brands have started embracing the practice as well. However, the approach should be different.
Moen, the largest faucet manufacturer and online retailer in North America, created an Instagram Stories campaign a couple of months ago. The campaign was remarkably successful and Moen generated 45% more impressions after the campaign. This almost certainly generated more sales through their online store. I have recently discussed several other brands that have started following similar strategies, such as WestJet.
The most interesting thing about the Moen case study was the nature of the industry. Faucets aren’t exactly the most exciting things to talk about, but Moen still found an interesting way to engage with their customers. They took some of their highest quality images and created a powerful .gif, which was very engaging.
However, the approach may not have worked quite as well with lesser known ecommerce sites. They need to focus on building a brand and generating conversions on a tight budget. Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when creating a storytelling campaign for one of your social media channels.
Connect Your Story to Customer Needs
Remember all of the Geico caveman commercials? They didn’t exactly focus on addressing a customer need. Geico was able to get away with that because they were a national business trying to bolster their brand, rather than generate conversions.
Ecommerce marketers don’t have the same luxury. They have to sell customers on the benefits of their product, especially if they are competing in crowded marketplaces.
Having a great story, unfortunately, isn’t enough. You will need to make sure that your story has a creative hook that shows your customers why your product is superior.
How do you do this? The first place to start is by listening to your customers. I have a friend that sells weighted blankets online. He has generated a six figure income from it while working part-time, partly because he understands his customers very well.
In his industry, there are a lot of reasons people use weighted blankets. Some purchase them to alleviate anxiety. Others use them to cope with insomnia or ADHD. If he was to create a social media storytelling campaign, he would want to create custom campaigns for each of these customers.
Make Your Story Personal
When you are marketing an ecommerce site over social media, you have two goals:
- Generating sales
- Building a personal brand
Sam Ovens, the 27-year old millionaire and founder of Domination Media, states that all businesses need to focus on building their personal brand from the very beginning. Storytelling over social media is a great way to do that, so make sure that you focus on yourself as much as your products.
When you use storytelling in your ecommerce company’s social media marketing strategy, you want to make sure that you are connecting with your audience on a personal level. Your goal is to get them to know your brand – not just tell an interesting story.
As an ecommerce company, this is your best chance to get to know your customers. They will never meet you in person like they would if you were a local brick-and-mortar business. Take the opportunity to show pictures of yourself and your products. It will make you seem more genuine.
Use Quality Images
It is easy to get lost in the words behind the story. You aren’t telling ghost stories over a camp fire. You’re engaging with customers over social media, so quality images are very important. Videos can work great too. Keep in mind that customers are four times as likely to prefer content with images over written content.