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Use social media to keep your business top in mind among today’s social savvy shoppers.
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Note: This blog was originally published on May 13, 2021 and updated on October 1, 2021.
Want to keep the momentum and success of your business? Social media needs to be a key part of your online strategy. Social media has become an avenue for shoppers to connect with their preferred brands as well as a key channel for businesses to not only interact with customers but also to drive sales and traffic. A successful social strategy leverages social media’s casual and conversational nature to forge meaningful, two-way relationships with your ideal customers.
In this article, we share some of the most current social media trends in ecommerce and discuss important tips for keeping your business top in mind among today’s social savvy shoppers.
No one likes to see social media updates that sound like product commercials. Whether your platform of choice is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, or some combination of these and other channels, focus on making your social media updates brand-focused and story-driven, as opposed to sales-based.
You can link to current news stories that are relevant to your industry, share trivia and tips, produce entertaining videos that reveal your brand values, and create interactive contests for people to participate in. Informative, useful, and entertaining content goes much further in building customer loyalty than endless product mentions and sales pitches.
Live streams and ephemeral content like stories have always been popular formats for making educational and informative content, and this is likely to stick around in the years to come. Today’s shoppers prefer to do business with brands they know on a deeper level. You will need to include these digestible and highly engaging content forms in your social strategy to connect with customers and let them get to know you more closely.
To stand out on your customers’ feeds, your business needs to incorporate the latest developments in social media to increase awareness and showcase your brand. Here are some of the most important trends that are shaping the social media landscape:
Social media technology continues to advance, particularly the use of augmented reality (AR). Brands are jumping on this trend by creating AR filters to promote new products, launch creative campaigns, and increase user engagement. Consider incorporating AR into your social content to engage with customers, keep them entertained, and attract new followers to your business.
Not only are more and more people engaging with important social, cultural, and environmental movements on social media, but they’re also expecting their favorite brands to join in as well. To connect with today’s conscious customers and give them a reason to follow your business, your business has to consider incorporating purpose-driven initiatives into your social strategy. Whether it’s sustainability and environmental awareness or diversion and inclusion, you’ll want to create social messaging that aligns with what is most important to your audience.
Don’t neglect new up-and-coming platforms in your social strategy. TikTok, in particular, has become as a major interactive channel for ecommerce in the past year. Businesses across various industries are experimenting with entertaining and viral content to reach TikTok’s young customer base. As the platform continues to grow, consider brainstorming content ideas that align with your brand and prepare to jump on any opportunity to expand your reach.
While customer engagement is important, your social media also needs to generate results. Social media platforms are constantly evolving to enhance the user experience. The latest native commerce features on platforms like Facebook and Instagram make it easy to sell directly on your social channels. Consider leveraging these social commerce features to reach new customers and move them through the buyer journey.
What are your direct competitors doing on their social media channels? If you don’t know, now is the time to find out. Identify your top 3 competitors and conduct research to find out which social networks they’re on, the number of fans and followers that they have, the hashtags they use to increase their reach, and the types of content and promotional strategies that they are implementing on social.
By keeping a pulse on your competitors, you’ll gain valuable insight into what you need to do to compete with them. You can also get inspiration for new tests to run to further refine and optimize your social media. In addition, knowing what is working for competitors will help you to determine what will work best for your own ecommerce site. Use these insights to craft a social strategy that’s relevant, agile, and always responsive to the latest in your industry.
Do you know who your key demographic is? To succeed on social media, your strategy must be based on a deep understanding of your audience. Review your sales data and web analytics to better understand your target audience and to segment them based on their wants, needs, and preferences.
Once you know exactly who you’re targeting, you can then connect with them on the right social media platforms. Each social platform has a different audience and purpose. For example, Facebook is often used for consuming news and entertainment, while Instagram is more for visual inspiration and discovery. Knowing your audience and their preferred social channels will enable you create content that is consistent, engaging, and highly targeted.
Another popular (and effective) way to target an audience is by partnering with influencers. Find influencers that appeal to your key audience and work with them to create content that enhances your reach and attracts a relevant audience.
In addition to shopping and entertainment, social media has become a primary channel for businesses to deliver customer support. Consumers look to social media to communicate and engage directly with their favorite brands, as well as to get their questions and concerns resolved quickly. The comments, posts, and messages that they leave on your social platforms are very public.
To maintain a positive online presence, your business needs to prioritize quality service, prompt communications, and regular interaction with your followers. This ensures you keep your existing followers happy and shows prospective customers browsing around on social media that you are an attentive, relatable, and trustworthy brand.
When done right, social media marketing can deliver spectacular results for your ecommerce business. To determine whether your strategy is hitting the mark, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your social media metrics. Your goals will help determine the right metrics to monitor—for example, if your goal is to increase conversions on your site, you’ll look at metrics like social traffic and conversion rate to determine whether your posts, ads, or influencer content were successful.
Social media metrics help provide a snapshot of the health of your online presence and the impact it has on your business. While the metrics you choose to monitor will depend on the specific goals and needs of your business, here are some essential metrics that can help you determine the success of your social media strategy:
Instead of looking at your total follower count, consider tracking the overall growth rate of your audience. Your growth rate can reveal the strength of your online presence, and offer new ideas, strategies, and campaigns for you to better expand your reach.
Social media is a two-way communication channel between your followers and your brand. Average engagement rate is a good metric for evaluating whether your content is resonating with your target audience.
If you’re looking to know if people are seeing your content, you can take a look at your post reach. This metric can help you strategize the different components of your publication strategy, including the date, time, hashtags, and frequency of your posts.
One goal of social media should be to inspire some action from your audience, whether it’s completing a purchase, clicking a link, subscribing to emails, or joining a loyalty program. Conversion rate is a key metric to evaluate whether your social media is driving these actions, and it could provide insight on where you can further elevate your strategy.
Click-through rate is how often someone clicks on the call-to-action in your posts or paid social media (CTA). Click-through rate is a useful metric for evaluating the effectiveness of your CTAs and making changes to improve the ROI of your ads.
As consumers continue to use social media to connect with the world, your priority should be to attract the right customer and to maximize their engagement. Leverage the latest trends and strategies used by successful brands to create a social strategy that meets the right customer with the right message at the right time.
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Tony Huynh is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Miva, Inc. Tony is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering ecommerce topics like site optimization, ecommerce marketing, and business transformation. He brings to Miva a combination of in-house ecommerce and digital agency experience, with the goal of addressing the needs of online sellers and helping them to succeed online.