Think about the last time you went to purchase something online, only to get to the checkout page and bounce.
Was it because you didn’t have a clear intention to buy? Perhaps you realized how expensive shipping costs were, or simply grew frustrated with the complex checkout process.
The average cart abandonment rate for online shopping is a staggering 69.23%, meaning a huge volume of people could be slipping through your own sales funnel—and ruining those conversion rates you’ve worked so hard to boost.
There could be hundreds of reasons why your leads aren’t following through with their purchases:
Source: Baymard Institute
But by optimizing the power of social media, you can convince these hot leads to buy and streamline the process if need be.
Here are 24 awesome tactics you can use to improve online sales with social media content.
1. Be consistent with hashtag usage
We have already seen how powerful hashtags can be on Twitter, but the same is true of other platforms that allow the use of hashtags.
The trackable nature of content tagged with a hashtag not only makes it easy for your audience to track and participate in conversations, but also makes it easy for you to track the same.
For example, Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign is probably one of the best known.
The campaign drove sales and spawned a heap of user-generated content on social media. It worked well because it allowed for personalization on a mass scale and the fostering of community spirit.
How to use hashtags consistently and to maximum effect:
- Use hashtags that are specific and unique to your campaign or event
- Use trending hashtags
- Use hashtags for brand engagement but not when conversing with your followers
- Use content hashtags that relate to your post content but not necessarily to your brand or marketing.
2. Offer flash sales
A flash sale is when a company sells products at deeply discounted prices for a limited time.
Groupon was one of the first companies to utilize this in a big way, and still does through its daily deals. However, a number of companies have failed in their attempts to offer flash sales alone.
Companies like Zulily, however, have avoided such fates by focusing on a narrow niche—busy moms—generating excitement around what they stand for and offer, and offering a variety of products that makes their customers come back for more.
Another example is Euphoric Herbals. They produce and sell herbal products that help nursing mothers increase their milk production. Owner Cindy Collins held a flash sale to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week and pulled in $5,500 in sales, with a conversion rate of 12.68%.
How to prepare for and conduct flash sales successfully:
- Most customers want their purchases to be shipped quickly, so ensure one-day shipping is available.
- Flash sales will often result in a large number of orders for a few items. While building demand through excitement and scarcity is great, you can end up disappointing customers if they pay for products that are no longer available. So keep an eye on stock levels, build your supply chain accordingly, and stay in constant contact with the customer, offering updates throughout the process
- Flash sales can test a site’s ability to handle large volumes of traffic. The last thing you want is to disappoint customers because your servers can’t handle the load. Forecasting potential demand and being able to scale resources on demand is vital.
3. Offer coupons
In the graph above, we can see that 60% of consumers abandon their online baskets because additional costs are too high. However, your e-commerce business has the power to reduce this percentage through the use of coupon codes.
Here’s a great example of how Barstool Sports is using percentage discount coupon codes on social media to drive online sales:
You could offer:
- Percentage discounts: e.g., “save 30% when you spend $100”
- Money off codes: e.g., “get $20 off your next purchase”
- In-store credit coupons: e.g., “spend $50 online and get $10 credit to spend in store”
4. Pin a contest on Pinterest
A fantastic way to reduce your cart abandonment rate is to run a Pinterest contest, where 87% of Pinners have purchased a product after viewing it on the platform.
Pinterest content works excellently for e-commerce businesses: they drive up brand awareness and help you reach a new audience. These people are likely to make a mental note of things they’d love to buy—even if they don’t win.
Sephora has done a great job of optimizing Pinterest contests:
To get started, design a graphic that’s optimized for Pinterest using Canva. The ideal graphic has an aspect ratio of 2:3, and a minimum width of 600 pixels.
Then, promote your contest by:
- Regularly pinning to other relevant boards
- Sharing the pin to group boards
- Referring customers on other social platforms to share the pin
5. Promote free shipping
Walker Sands’ Future of Retail survey found that 69% of consumers listed one-day delivery as an incentive to shop more online. This can be a fantastic offering that reduces your cart abandonment rate.
Its Simple Clothing, a clothing brand that offers coupon codes via social media, used this tactic to promote their offer:
Start by creating a coupon code that consumers can add to their checkout page in order to receive free shipping. Then implement it into your CMS and run a test order to make sure the free shipping discount applies automatically.
Share your code on social media, while remembering that visual representations of your discount stand out more in a crowded social feed—especially on Facebook:
6. Generate leads via giveaways
People are more inclined to purchase something if they’re given an incentive. What better incentive than to offer the chance to win your product, completely free of charge?
Josh Earl grew his email list from 5,500 to nearly 200,000 in just 11 days… That’s a 3,418% increase in less than two weeks. How? By giving away a single copy of his text editor.
You can see similar results by following these steps:
- Define your target customer. What would they want to win?
- Create a landing page for your giveaway. Include entry details, T&Cs, and a way for participants to enter.
- Collect leads by using a giveaway tool that allows email integration, such as ConvertKit and LeadPages.
- Allow the giveaway to run its course while promoting on social media.
- Announce the winner via email and social media, but also direct non-winners to make a purchase on your site.
7. Be mobile-friendly
Given such trends, it is vital to have mobile-friendly social media content. Such content is generally shorter in length, so it can easily be viewed on mobile devices. This post from BOC South Pacific is a good example:
So how do you make the most of social media content optimized for mobile devices? Here are a few suggestions:
- Focus on simple objectives for your posts—build awareness, video views, etc.
- Post at peak mobile usage times—in many instances, this could be when people are commuting to or from work
- Implement device targeting with Facebook and Instagram
- Use mobile post formats and add subtitles to your videos
- Send users to mobile-optimized landing pages
8. Share seasonal, topical, and event-related content
In the U.S. alone, social media spending is expected to increase to $17.34 billion by 2019. Optimizing your use of social media by sharing non-promotional content could help you to steal a portion of the cash—and reduce your cart abandonment rate as well.
This can be done by:
- Creating event listings from your Facebook page
- Sharing brand-related content that correlates to the season (e.g., summer dresses in summer)
- Using Twitter hashtags to share topical content, as shown below:
9. Build on your brand voice
Consider these statistics:
- 59% of people cite “authenticity of content” as the main factor in following a brand
- 65% of people that feel an emotional connection to a brand say it’s because “they care about people like me”
According to Melissa Lafsky, brands that communicate successfully are successful brands. To do that you need to define and distinguish your voice.
Charmin, for example, has earned a large following because of its reputation for being humorous and sassy. This has made the brand relatable and human.
So, consider using your social media presence as means of humanizing your brand. In other words, engage with your customers in a way that fits your brand image. Most of all, don’t be afraid if it doesn’t fit in with the wrong audience or type of customer.
10. Increase exposure of your social media sites
A good way to increase exposure to your content and social media platforms you engage your audience on is to embed social buttons on your site and other communications.
For example, on this post, like on many other blogs, you can see the social media buttons for platforms that Neal favors. The buttons encourage the sharing of posts.
Some locations you may want to use to expose your audience to your social media platforms include:
- the header of your website or blog
- the footer of your website or blog
- email communications
- email marketing campaigns
- specific posts
11. Curate and feature user-generated content
Did you know that user-generated content (UGC) helps a brand feel more authentic?
It also helps the 19% of consumers who abandon their online basket due to a lack of trust in the site when handing over credit card information, as UGC—such as reviews and testimonials—can prove their reliability.
Source: Social Media Today
Here are three types of UGC you can use to reduce cart abandonment:
- Reviews and testimonials
- Customer photos and videos
- Blog posts from previous customers
Birchbox used a video review from the fashion and lifestyle blog Cupcakes and Cashmere. An influencer in their niche, the blog helped Birchbox grow their own online following and reach more than half a million potential customers through this form of UGC:
12. Encourage people to share their customer journey
28% of consumers abandon their online baskets (and failed to make a purchase) due to a long or complicated checkout process. You can reduce this percentage by asking customers for feedback on their journey and implementing new ways to overcome their biggest purchasing hurdles.
Here’s how Adidas used this approach to answer their customer’s question:
You can use social media to encourage customers to share their purchase journey by:
- Encouraging new customers to follow you on social media and send a one-sentence social post about their experience with your brand.
- Creating a customer support profile for your brand, encouraging customers to Tweet with their feedback.
- Offer discount codes for previous customers who give you a glowing testimonial on your Facebook page.
13. Make it easy to buy on social channels
Almost a third of online shoppers use social media to browse for new items to buy. Clothing, home décor, and gifts for others are just a handful of categories popular with social commerce, but you could optimize this to reduce your cart abandonment rate.
Source: Marketing Week
That’s because 20% of consumers abandon their online basket due to website difficulties. If you’re making it easy for potential customers to browse your products on social media, it could give them the nudge to make a purchase.
The easiest way to make it easy for customers to purchase on social media is to constantly show a stream of your products. In the data above, we can see that 56% of people like or follow brands on social media because they can view new products.
If your site is cluttered with errors and leading to a high cart abandonment rate, displaying products on social media could improve user experience—and lead to a sale.
14. Monitor conversations about your products and brand
Does your website crash when customers add items to their baskets? Is your sign-up process too complicated? Is your returns policy driving potential customers away?
These account for 60% of all cart abandonment, but you won’t know it’s an issue unless you hear from people who’ve experienced it. That’s where monitoring brand mentions can help.
Simply sign up to receive email alerts on:
- Your brand name
- Your social profiles
- Your website link
…And receive notifications whenever someone references them online.
Customers may be too shy to give their feedback to you directly, but monitoring your brand mentions can build an accurate picture of how people are reacting to your e-commerce site.
15. Provide sales support with native chat and Facebook Messenger
27% of customers abandon their online baskets due to a complicated checkout process. These people may have questions or are unable to understand some aspect of your product or site.
This is an opportunity to improve online sales by offering assistance. Research indicates that 77% of customers won’t make a purchase if there is no live chat support.
In this case, you can use Facebook Messenger and native chat to offer sales support. Since these people are hot leads and ready to purchase, it could be a genius approach to boosting conversion rates.
Monitor Backlinks optimized the call-to-action on their Facebook page to make it easy for customers to reach out should they run into any problems throughout their buying journey:
You can offer the same level of sales support by:
- Creating a separate Twitter account solely for customer support.
- Adding a call-to-action to your social profiles, with “email us at …”
- Installing live chat on every page of your e-commerce site to make it easy for customers to share their problems and get support.
16. Create social-friendly images and videos
Considering that 97% of adults aged 16-64 admit to logging into at least one social network within the past month, there’s a big chance your ideal customer is using a social media platform.
You can grab their attention (and stand out from the 50 million businesses using a Facebook page!) by crafting social-friendly images and videos, like this example by Love Layla:
When creating graphics for social media, photo editing software usually has templates suitable for each platform.
However, you can use this guide to ensure you’re always creating visual content that is social-media friendly:
Source: Louise Myers
17. Invest in micro-content (snackable content)
Micro-content or snackable content is really content that is easy and quick to digest. This makes it ideal for social media, where getting attention and engagement is hard. In other words, this content is visually appealing, short, easy to consume, evokes emotion, and engages your audience.
For example, Philips created an interactive video targeted at men who had not considered electric shavers.
Viewers on average watched the video on mobile devices for 4 minutes and interacted with it three to four times. The video increased sales by 16%.
How to create and use snackable content:
- Use quotes
- Create and share infographics to condense a lot of information into an easy-to-consume visual format
- Share a tip or a how to post
- Share videos or do a live stream
- Share teasers of upcoming events and releases
- Share lifestyle posts
18. Use Facebook dynamic ads for remarketing
The spend on digital advertising is overtaking traditional TV ads in the U.S. For that reason, it’s wise to promote your products on platforms like Facebook if your e-commerce goals are to reduce cart abandonment rates.
The easiest way to do this is through dynamic ads, which is a form of retargeting. It shows the consumer the exact products left in their basket, making them tailored to each person.
Source: eBoost Consulting
The average click-through rate for standard display ads is just 0.7%. This is boosted to 7% when using retargeting, and you can begin testing dynamic ads for your eCommerce site by:
- Installing Facebook Pixel on your site, along with key Event tags.
- Uploading a product catalog to your ad account.
- Creating a new campaign that’s optimized for product catalog sales.
- Creating an ad set with the criteria of people you want to retarget, along with a product set (if you’re only retargeting a small selection of products) or all products.
- Enter your budget, placement, and schedule.
- Record your results.
For more details on running dynamic ads through Facebook, follow this guide.
19. Run a sign-up campaign before you launch
Remember how we mentioned that 41% of social media consumers follow brands to view exclusive launches? But it’s not just email addresses you can collect by running a sign-up campaign before you launch a new website, service, or collection of products.
You can run campaigns to get people to follow you on social media pre-launch. When you do launch, cart abandonment rates will likely be quite low, as your audience has already expressed an interest in what you have to offer.
Bestow, for example, pointed social followers toward their pre-launch landing page:
You can do the same for the following launches:
- Product collections
- New services
- Entire websites
- New branding
20. Try various blog post titles for the same content
Did you know that 66% of marketers use blog posts in their social media content? Not only does this promotion drive traffic to your e-commerce site, but it overcomes the trust issues that result in 19% of cart abandonment.
That’s because blogging is a tried, tested, and proven way to build trust.
Just take a look at companies like Buffer, which builds blogging into its content marketing strategy. They see thousands of page views every month and use one tactic to constantly share their content: using variations of their blog post titles every so often.
Using a variety of titles helps keep your content fresh on social media. If you’re promoting the same blog post for one month straight, varying the text and visual content will make it appeal to more people.
You can do this by using CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool.
Craft 5-10 blog post titles with a scoring of 70 or higher and measure the success of each in terms of engagement and click-through rate.
21. Host a Twitter Q&A
Another fantastic way to build trust through social media—and convert more hot leads—is to host a question-and-answer session on Twitter, like this example from WhoScored.com:
The business behind this profile uses Q&A sessions to share its knowledge on the topic and engage with its community.
Considering that trust is the most influential factor in buying decisions, it’s an easy way to prove that you’re a reputable business that can be trusted with sensitive personal information.
Here’s a quick guide to hosting your own Twitter Q&A:
- Create a hashtag so you can monitor any questions.
- Set a time and a date for a weekly/fortnightly/monthly session.
- Inform your audience about the session and how they can take part.
- Reply to every question you receive, linking to your site where relevant.
22. Make it easy for customers to share and pin your content
If you’re seeing a large number of cart abandonment when selling high-ticket items, make it easy for customers to share your content on Pinterest.
Pinterest has an average order value of $50, which is higher than any other major social platform.
Here’s a great example of optimizing content for Pinterest by Don’t Feed After Midnight, which includes an optimized graphic in their blog content:
You can see similar results for your business by:
- Adding Pinterest-optimized graphics to blog posts
- Embedding social share buttons on your website
- Regularly pinning content from your site onto your business’ profile
23. Create a complimentary board on Pinterest
Following on the previous point, your e-commerce business should regularly use Pinterest. Their algorithm favors profiles that spend time on the platform, which could give your pins a boost in your followers’ feeds.
72% of Pinners use the platform to decide what to buy offline. So, even if you’re not improving your online cart abandonment percentage, it’s likely to impact your in-store sales.
Complimentary boards are created when you run a handful of boards, all relating to a similar topic. Here’s an example from Tasty:
You can do this by listing 10-15 sub-topics in your niche and regularly pinning content that relates to each.
24. Leverage social reviews to generate word-of-mouth marketing
How powerful are social reviews of products?
Consider the following:
- 84% of consumers they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services—making these recommendations the highest-ranked source for trustworthiness.
- 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
Not only do product reviews increase trust—they can offer insights on your products and are a great way to increase sales.
How can you harness social reviews to generate word-of-mouth marketing? Here are a few tips:
- Get users to provide user-generated content
- Share testimonials and reviews and repurpose them as copy on specific pages
- Show off product ratings on your site
- Offer an incentive
- Create a referral program using ReferralCandy, Woobox, or Friendbuy
- Build relationships with influencers and thought leaders
- Offer a unique, shareworthy experience
Social selling should not be about pitching people offers; after all, people come to social media to engage socially. So, it should be no surprise that ads on social media are not very effective if that is the only tactic you use.
Instead, use one or more of the 24 tactics above in your social media mix to give your social media content the engagement it deserves with your desired audience as you guide them through their purchase decisions.
Once you’ve implemented a handful of these suggestions on your social media profiles, expect to see a dramatic improvement in your site’s conversion rates.
Not only will potential customers be more inclined to buy, but you’ll be able to retain hot leads—and nurture them.