Best Practices for Marketing on Social Media
Social media marketing can help your business strive creating website traffic, brand awareness, identity and positive association as well as opening up communication and interaction with your potential customers. However, without proper strategy it can end up as failure. So, to help you, here are a few points you need to take into consideration in order for your social media campaign to be successful.
To achieve this though you need to plan! Consider your business’ goals and what your business hopes to achieve, in order to know the best strategy to take and make your campaign a success.
2. Know Where Your Customers Are
Just like when you start off any marketing campaign, you need to understand your customer. Most importantly, you need to find out which social media channels your customers prefer and how much time they are spending on them. There is no limit to the number of social networking channels available for your business to leverage, however, the key to successful social media marketing for ecommerce, is choosing the right channels that work for your business, reaching the most of your customers. Here are some tips to help you find this information out:
Yes that’s right, as simple as it sounds, go ahead and ask your customers for information. Create a survey or poll your customers on your website to receive their beneficial feedback.
- Keep track of social sites
Free tools like Social Mention or Trackur are available for free and enable you to discover how and where customers are talking about your business and your competitors.
3. Be Aware of What Your Competitors Are Doing
Competitive intelligence can be very useful, so always keep a ‘Hawk-eye’ on the competition inside social media. Reviewing your competition is vital and will give you ideas and information beneficial to your business marketing campaign.
Identify your competitors and note:
- The social site they are using
- Content they are publishing
- Number of likes / followers / views / fans they have
- How they promote using specific social media channels
4. Gain Customers by Promoting Offers Through Social Media
Promoting exclusive and seasonal offers on social media will gain you web traffic for your ecommerce and most importantly, urge customers to follow you, increasing sales and social media followers! To gain a following on social media you need to entice customers with something they can’t get from your competitors.
You could try:
- Promoting competitions via social media
- Offer exclusive free shipping or discount to social media followers
- Offer your latest releases, updates and announcements on social media first
5. Update and Post Content Frequently
For your social media campaign to really work and help your ecommerce business, you need to ensure you regularly update information, news and content on your social media channels. For each social media channel there are different posting frequencies, for example on Facebook it is beneficial to post once a day, however on Twitter 4-6 times a day works better. You also need to think about the times you are posting content. This is vital as you need to make your posts seen therefore, you need to know what times your customers are more likely to use social media.
Tools that can help you to schedule posts to different social networks:
6. Images Say a Thousand Words
Photos on social media catch the customers’ eye and attention greater and easier than text alone. Facebook is a fantastic social network to post photos to and it has been shown that photos generate over 50% more likes than text alone. Also think to yourself, when 65%-85% of people would describe themselves as visual learners, how much sense it makes to use image-centric marketing! It is likely your competitors mainly publish written content so get ahead of them using images.
Top tips when using imagery:
- Lines and lines of text can be boring so using vibrant, colourful images will stimulate the mind and easily take the social readers’ attention
- Be sure to use the right image that says what you need it to say
- Add your main content to your image, something that will draw the potential customer in
7. Don’t Over Push Your Products/Business/Promotions
Although it seems like a good idea to just post and publish your businesses offers and products on your social media networks, to gain optimal success you need to also engage with your target audience. The best way to market on social media is to mix up your posts, they don’t always need to be about your business! People use social networks to get valued information, not to see your blatant self-promotion. So get your social media audience to pay attention with something they are interested in and they will more likely be interested in your company related posts.
The keys to engagement:
- Post recent news from external sources
- Use your social media networks to participate in discussions
- Ask your social media audience questions
- Use blog content on your social networks
8. Keep It Short and Sweet with Micro Content
With a huge amount of information to read on social networks, most users tend to skip quite a lot of content as they simply don’t have the time to consume it all. The key is to create bite size chunks of information for quick and easy consumption. The best way to do this is by breaking down your content so it can be shared as a comment, tweet or even a micro-blog post.
When creating micro content remember:
- To pick out the most useful, concise and informed content that is most likely grab the social media users attention
- To always include a call-to-action in every piece of micro content
9. Run Competitions Through Social Media Networks
A great way to achieve success with your social network marketing campaign is by creating competitions. Everybody loves a freebie and this is a fantastic way to get social network users interested in your company.
You can use this to your advantage, by gaining users email addresses that they must provide when they enter your competition. For optimal results, expose your competition by giving social media users an incentive to share your competition or invite friends to like/follow/join your company on social media, one incentive for them could be having a greater chance of winning the competition.
10. Let Everyone Know you’re on Social Networks
Now you are on social networks you need to gain followers! You need to let people know which networks you are channelling and invite them to join/follow you.
Great ways to do this:
- Embed social buttons within your website that links to your social networks
- Include social icons on your company stationery
- Add social links in your newsletter
- Use social links in your email signature
11. Achieve Loyalty and Trust through Interaction
Participate in discussions on social networks and become engaged with your followers. Offer your thoughts about certain subjects to show your interest and in return ask for their feedback about a particular topic relevant to your company/products. Asking for their opinions and feedback will give them a sense of loyalty towards your company and it will give your company beneficial information and feedback about your products. This can also lead to more social network users joining in and becoming involved, exposing your company and its products further.
Interact with social network users by:
- Posting a relevant question to generate a discussion
- Using images of your products and asking for opinions on the product
- ‘Like’ your facebook friends pages/status’
- Re-tweet tweets you like or are relevant to your company
- Ask questions with open end answers
- Ask questions more about your industry or niche rather than about your business or brand
12. Build relationships
Whilst creating loyalty with social network users, you should also seek out prominent figures within your industry’s community. Make extra time for admins of facebook, independent bloggers, fan website owners as these relationships you build will be invaluable. Send them your products to review and let these credible individuals discuss, rate and review your product on social networks! Seeing a product promoted by different sources not just by the own company, not only gives the product further exposure but also makes the product trusted.
13. Become the Wikipedia of Your Industry!
Be the “go-to source” for information and answers people in your industry are looking for, and they will keep coming back—again and again and again. People will see you as a credible source, your popularity will increase and your website traffic will boom!
14. Brand Your Company with a Social Media Personality
To have an effective brand voice, it’s essential to understand the medium you’re speaking through and identify how you want to be portrayed. Do you want a brand personality that’s silly or serious, hyperactive or subdued, edgy or conservative? Once you have identified your personality keep it, as changing your brand personality will only confuse and alienate people.
- Set the right tone for your audience
- Pay attention to how your target audience communicates
- Don’t lose your brand personality beneath a corporate façade
- A Few Extra Tips Unique to Individual Social Networks:
Facebook has many different features available on their business pages for business owners, which makes it a great social network to develop a marketing campaign. Be sure to use these to your advantage!
- Have a call-to-action – ask people to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on your post and have links directly to landing pages for ebooks and webinars to generate leads from facebook.
- Remember facebook is for fun – facebook is a social community where people go to have fun. This is a social network you can have some fun with, keep true to your brand but find ways to entertain facebook users, you will find more success this way.
- Use different pages for different countries
- Experiment with powerful cover photos
Twitter is a great social network to build your brand and generate leads. But with over 400 million tweets sent out per day, it can be tough to develop a successful marketing campaign, so here are a few tips to success.
- Make use of hashtags - Using hashtags in your tweets makes it simple and easy for readers to find your content. Hashtags followed by keywords can dramatically increase popularity of the tweet. Always keep hashtags to a minimum.
- Twitter name - Your twitter name is how you will be known on twitter so make it good. Use your name, or your passion/function, something that fits in well with your business.
- Follow to be followed - is the best way to gain followers! However, only follow relevant people. Another way to gain followers is by offering an incentive to follow you.
- Cover industry events - Tweet live coverage of events that are relevant to your business and followers.
LinkedIn is a networking and recruitment site and a very attractive platform for marketers. For example, a Hubspot research study found that more companies had acquired a customer through LinkedIn than any other social media channel. There are now over 225m registered LinkedIn members, including 77m in the US and 50m in Europe. Linked In has great features, for example you can create “click-through” banners to entice your target market over to your website, sales page, commerce site or other social media sites. And what’s more, it’s free!
- Ask for recommendations – the most powerful way to establish your credibility on LinkedIn is by being recommended, so ask people to recommend you!
- Join groups – join groups where your customers are present and become a helpful member of the group responding to questions and participating in conversations.
- Share content - share all forms of interesting content, including pictures, videos and links, that are valuable to people in your industry.
With over 70 million users, Pinterest has quickly become a leading source of traffic from social referrals and for some companies can be a huge social network marketing opportunity.
- Include a ‘pin it’ button on your website – if your website is very visual, this ‘pin it’ button works great. It allows users to share the images straight from your website to their pinboards, easily creating further exposure for your business.
- Run Pinterest Competitions – ask users to create pinboards using the content from your website and let them know the best pinboard will win. This will generate a huge amounts of your website content been spread across pinterest which, with links back to your website and product pages can only dramatically increase your sales!
- Take time to create thought through boards