To say that Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are merely social media platforms would be a severe underestimation of what brands are achieving with them. They are now a substantial part of the marketing plan as more retailers shift their emphasis online and many shut their doors.
Like most websites, ecommerce sites are fundamentally driven by website traffic. While social media pioneers were trying to find a way to be transactional, users pushed back and digital marketing plans were built around tried and true tactics within PPC, email and display. More recently, social channels have found a way to compliment those primary digital marketing channels. Highly targeted advertising messaging reinforces the relationship brands have with their existing customers while attracting new customers with similar profiles and interests. Here are some keys to successfully navigating this channel as a part of a holistic performance marketing strategy.
Tell a Story
Stories provide relevance, set context, create purpose and promote action. When your audience can relate to your brand story it creates a personal attachment that gives you a competitive advantage. As your stories are shared, your audience becomes an irreplaceable part of the personality and lifestyle that defines the products and services you offer.
Successful social content strategies look beyond immediate sales. Create a relationship and establish trust by sharing relevant information. When merchants share high-quality and entertaining content that brings value to their audience, site visits increase along with the engagement and purpose that contributes to conversions and revenue.
Curating Timely Content
If content is king, timing is the crown. To stand out among the competition ecommerce brands need to be prompt in posting content that can ride a wave of prevailing interest from users. From current events, holidays, or weather - creating content that matches whatever is trending leverages your level of authenticity to the audience. Hashtags are a powerful tool to attach your content to these themes and reach an outside audience.
Merchants can sometimes focus too heavily on the ultimate engagement: a ringing cash register. A well designed user experience gives brands the opportunity to precisely measure a wide range of microconversions, which may include reading a review, watching a product video, sharing an article or signing up for email. All of these actions move customers along the customer journey and contribute to an understanding of the their interests and needs. Customer engagement is a conversation between the user and the brand and successful brands create such an attachment through the conversation, that the user invites friends and family to join in. This also means interacting with and connecting followers to create a true community.
Successful social strategies are built on highly visual content. Attention spans aren't quite that of a goldfish, but an audience's ability absorb content is spread thin due to multitasking and the enormity of messages that are thrown at them. So it's no surprise that photos, videos, and graphics will help deliver a message quicker and more successfully than blocks of text. As an example, infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content.
In the customer's mind, consistency is synonymous with authenticity. Social media campaigns have to be aligned with all other marketing strategies. Branding, promotions and cadence should all be coordinated to make sure audiences are steadily moving along the purchase path. It's in coordination with all marketing that social media will reap the biggest rewards for the business.