The e-commerce industry has grown exponentially over the last five years. A recent study from Forrester shows the US e-commerce industry will generate over $500 billion in sales by 2020. Social media has played a key role in driving revenue growth for e-commerce sites.
E-commerce brands must understand the importance of social media and leverage the right strategies to generate online sales.
Best social media practices for e-commerce brands
“Yet, many brands often continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to integrating social media with e-commerce. Among the most common mistakes that many companies make is thinking that a presence on a social media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter, is enough to attract customers. It must always be kept in mind that socializing is the primary reason that most people choose to participate in social media networks. Shopping is secondary. The best way to take advantage of social media is to deploy it for enhancing the customer’s shopping experience rather than vice versa.”
While social selling can be tremendously effective, it requires a lot of thought and discipline. Here are some proven practices to leverage social media for e-commerce.
Choose Social Media Platforms Carefully
There are literally thousands of social media websites across the Internet. Some of these websites are much better suited for your brand than others, so it’s important to choose them carefully.
Facebook is universally considered the best social media site for e-commerce Advertising. This article from Simon Walker of Social Media Today points out that e-commerce websites generated 85% of their social media sales from Facebook last year.
However, there are other social media sites that may offer in even better ROI. Online retailers specializing in women’s apparel and jewelry have had a lot of luck with Pinterest and Instagram. They rely heavily on brands like Vibbi. However, some other brands have found Pinterest was not nearly as effective because it didn’t appeal to their target audience.
Before promoting your e-commerce site on a social media platform, it’s important to understand the targeting and demographics of the user base.
Utilize Social Testimonials
Getting testimonials is one of the most effective ways to promote your e-commerce brand. Dan Shewan points out that brands can get testimonials from both consumers and colleagues. Of course, both can be beneficial, but consumer social testimonials tend to work the best.
“Many brands use this as their primary format of customer testimonial because of its inherently organic, natural “feel.” Captured from social media accounts “in the wild,” these testimonials are often reproduced as-is, with no fancy formatting applied and no editing of the message. Oftentimes, they’re pulled directly from Facebook or Twitter.”
Using social testimonials from actual users seems much more authentic, so it can significantly improve the positioning of your e-commerce brand.
Choose Content Format Wisely
Blog posts will always be effective, but there are many new types of content that e-commerce brands can capitalize on. You should consider using visual content, such as infographics and video because they have been proven to significantly increase traffic and sales.
Simplify Your Social Media Strategy with Marketing Automation
If you are in the early stages of a growing startup, you should consider utilizing marketing automation tools. They can save you thousands of hours that could be better invested elsewhere.
Social media marketing requires a tremendous amount of work. Many entrepreneurs report that they spend over 20 hours a week on social media alone, which has driven the need for social media marketing automation tools.
While social media can be very beneficial for your brand, you probably have other priorities. Spending too much time on social media can leave you burnt out. You also may not have the budget to hire a full-time social media marketing team, so it’s better to invest in quality marketing automation services instead.
Startups stand to benefit the most from marketing automation services but have been reluctant to adopt them. Daniel Brzezinski, CMO and VP of Marketing and Product Development at GetResponse told VentureBeat that they intend to serve this untapped market.
“SMB marketing automation has seen low market penetration for two simple reasons,” Daniel Brzezinski, CMO and VP of Marketing and Product Development at GetResponse, told me. “The first is price. SMB marketing budgets are comparatively small. Most automation tools, on the other hand, are expensive, forcing long-term contract commitments. The second challenge has been sheer ease-of-use. Unlike enterprise businesses, most SMBs don’t have extensive IT expertise in-house.”