The social media market is saturated with brands trying to stand out and reach their customers, and with 1 in 10 online purchases spurred by social media, you can’t afford to risk losing business to your competitors due to a poor social media presence. Instead of ads and product pictures, consider sharing more useful content, such as product demonstration videos on Facebook and gift idea lists on Instagram. Use social media to tempt them back to your site with products that pique their interest, or to alert them when a product they perused goes on sale. Familiarize Yourself With Chatbots & AI When you can’t afford an employee to man your messaging apps 24/7, don’t discount the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI investment is expected to triple in 2017, as brands use chatbots to answer customer questions and solve their problems quickly. Think of common needs your customers have, such as comparing prices or finding similar products and build a bot that answers their needs. Interact With Customers Using Live Video 43% of marketers are planning to use live/interactive video in their social media campaigns this year, according to Social Media Examiner, up from just 14% in 2016. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch all allow you to connect with your audience — but again, make sure you know where your audience lives before you choose a platform. To keep up with your competitors, don’t discount expanding your social media marketing budget. The problem, of course, is that social media platforms are crowded with other brands trying to reach these same customers — so if you don’t have a sound strategy backed by analytics, then your outreach is going to be edged out by the 77% of businesses that do.
Having a social media marketing strategy is par for the course these days. But it’s not enough to go in with a meager budget and some vague notion of goals.
The social media market is saturated with brands trying to stand out and reach their customers, and with 1 in 10 online purchases spurred by social media, you can’t afford to risk losing business to your competitors due to a poor social media presence.
In this article, I’ll be showing you how to use social media to spark real growth in your online sales using some personal insights and a healthy dose of advice from the experts (referenced throughout).
1. Focus on Your Audience’s Favorite Platforms
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Periscope — oy vey. There are hundreds of social media platforms to choose from, so how do you sink time into crafting a persona on all of them? Short answer: you don’t.
The trick is to find the platforms with the highest concentration of your audience and then nail your content marketing and targeted advertising on those channels. As Social Media Strategist Peg Fitzpatrick says, “It’s better to be amazing at one or two social platforms than suck on five or six.”
2. Create a Compelling Identity
February is a time for romance, and what better way to say “I love you” than with… toilet paper?
Charmin’s penchant for humor on social media has earned it thousands of followers and a sassy reputation. You can use your social media feed similarly — as a place to humanize your business.
Interact with your customers in a way that best fits your brand image: start conversations, make jokes, share breaking news stories that align with your core values, and let your colors show. Most of all, don’t be afraid of scaring (the wrong) customers away.
3. Publish Exceptional Content
Last year’s “good content” won’t be good enough as social media channels become more and more saturated with brands vying for their audiences’ attention. As Robert Allen notes in Smart Insights’ 2017 E-Commerce Trends, “Good e-commerce marketers will need to produce exceptional content to manage to stand out in 2017.”
So what does exceptional content look like? For starters, it’s often not a highly targeted ad with a “Buy Now” CTA. Sure, this might net you a few sales, but exceptional content warrants a bookmark, a share, or a return visit. Instead of ads and product pictures, consider sharing more useful content, such as product demonstration videos on Facebook and gift idea lists on Instagram.
4. Don’t Go “Tool-Crazy”
Once I would have advised you to “choose the right tools for the job,” but for most people, that’s not an issue in 2017. The issue is tool overload. According to Chiefmartech, who keep close track of the marketing technology landscape, the number of products in the space has reached almost 3,500 in 2016, compared to 150 just 5 years ago.
It’s important to manage your social media feeds and monitor them for mentions, but with more than 3,500 marketing technologies all jockeying to be your go-to solution on everything from content marketing to sales automation, it’s easy to muddy up your site with too many tools. Be selective and stick to tools that improve both your life and your customers’ experiences.
Which tools are best depends entirely on you, but if it helps, here are some of…