Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media to establish and increase brand awareness, generate website traffic, and boost revenue. Not only does it drive up a brand’s engagement rates for the better, but it also combines the power of advanced data analytics tools to accelerate further growth. Given that social media has a global penetration rate of 58.4% and can account for 4.6 billion active users, it is clear that it’s a powerful force for any business. This is exactly why social media for eCommerce businesses is so important as they should tap into what SMM can do for them. With an effective SMM strategy, they can grow and strengthen a credible online presence.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about SMM — how to make the most out of it, social selling, the best social platforms, and inventory management.
Decide on goals
Setting up a social media profile is relatively effortless, but in order to get the most out of it, you need to consider goals from the get-go.
In a case study from Purdue University called Social Media Marketing in a Small Business, it is highlighted that 58% of marketing professionals are using social media. Despite the popularity of social media for businesses, many still struggle when it comes to seeing results. Arguably one of the main reasons for this is a lack of goal setting.
The first step towards a successful SMM strategy is by identifying your goals. Some of the most common goals include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Boost brand engagement
Once you’ve defined a goal, you can begin working towards it and aiming your strategy toward achieving that goal. However, it’s important to settle this fundamental step first before you do anything else.
Although some businesses find that they do see results without a goal, this is not sustainable and your SMM strategy may not align with your overall business strategy.
An example is the case of Mercedes-Benz, a German luxury automotive brand. While it already has a grand reputation, it feels that its brand doesn’t relate too well with a younger audience.
That changed in 2013 when it embarked on a journey to grow its presence on Instagram. Apart from simply expanding its reach on the social platform, it targeted a younger audience.
So the team hired five skilled photographers. Then it asked these new hires to capture stunning photos of a Mercedes and the photographer whose photo had the most likes gets to keep the car.
The campaign was phenomenal. And the goal of winning over a younger audience was met.
Other laudable results of Mercedes-Benz’s SMM campaign:
- 2 million Instagram likes
- 87 million organic Instagram impressions
Determine which social platforms to use
Before social media and digital marketing, it was incredibly difficult for businesses to get in front of an audience. Businesses had to travel to places to promote themselves. And not only is it costly and time-consuming, but it also doesn’t guarantee any effectiveness.
Thanks to the growing popularity of social media platforms, marketing embraced virtual engagements and changed for the better. Especially amongst a younger audience, social media statistics show that it is used daily and its usage grew during the pandemic.
Notably, it made way for businesses to:
- Introduce their brand: This includes informing their target audience about their mission, services, and core values.
- Communicate: They can engage with their audiences more easily. And they can do it more often, too.
- Provide upfront value: They can give audiences a taste of what they can do. For example, they can provide free trials of their services.
- Become omnipresent: They can establish a presence on various channels. The more people see them, the higher their chances of achieving their goals.
- Offer personalized content: It’s a common marketing practice to provide personalized content to an audience.
- Encourage industry collaboration: They can reach out to influencers and industry leaders to cause a bigger impact.
Which social media platform should you be on?
There are a variety of different social media platforms available, and although it may seem like a good idea to create accounts on as many platforms as possible, this may not always be the best choice. Instead, it may be more beneficial to only create accounts that you can regularly maintain.
This leads to the question; how do you choose which social platforms to use? This comes down to your target audience. Essentially, you need to be creating content for your target audience, and on a platform that they are likely to use.
Prior to setting up a social media account, it is important to do some research into the options, and determine which platforms our target audience is most active on.
It is also good practice to factor in your budget and the type of product and/or service you offer.
Some of the biggest social media platforms in 2022 are:
- Hyper-fast growth
- Allows businesses to show visual references
- Created to be easy to use and specifically for mobile
- Enables geo-tagging and real-time responses
- Doesn’t allow clickable links in caption
- Top-notch targeting features
- Enables local SEO options
- Can help find and gather information fast
- Low engagement
- Low barrier to entry and competition
- Impressive algorithm
- Video-focused layout
- Limited or flawed marketing features (e.g. broad targeting options and trending content are unusable because of copyright infringement)
Take advantage of social selling
Social selling involves building relationships as part of the sales process. It is a tactic that is especially important with social media for ecommerce businesses.
Unlike many other social media strategies, social selling focuses on building a one-to-one communication style with the end goal being to drive sales.
According to LinkedIn, there are four pillars of social selling:
- Build a professional brand
- Focus on the right prospects
- Engage with valuable insights
- Forge meaningful relationships
Essentially, the goal of social selling is to establish credibility and develop relationships that will lead to sales. In order to do it correctly, you need to put time into gathering data and actively listening.
Although it seems like a great option as an eCommerce marketing strategy, it is not a “quick fix” strategy and it requires lots of hard work. A few ways of ensuring social selling works for your eCommerce business include:
- Create and share relevant content to build trust and loyalty
- Engage authentically in the comments and respond to messages
- Build a tech stack that helps run social platforms and tracks results
Inventory management software and social media marketing
At first, inventory management and SMM may seem like two entirely different concepts, and in reality, they are. However, they are both integral components of an eCommerce business. Inventory management focuses on internal operations and social media marketing drives interest in the business and increases sales.
However, the most prominent example of inventory management and social media colliding is “The Dress”.
Do you recall that incident about a dress that went viral on social media back in 2015? It broke the internet because people argued about its color:
- “It’s blue and black!”
- “There’s neither blue nor black in it — only white and gold!”
For the average person, learning about its color (and maybe why certain people saw it the way they do) is all there is to it. But for eCommerce businesses, it worked as a storytelling tool that brought an incredible amount of attention. And it’s about how inventory management and SMM go hand in hand.
Some eCommerce businesses capitalized on that social media trend by stocking up on versions of that dress. They produced dresses that are clearly blue and black, and also gave way to white and gold versions.
Their sales went through the roof, of course. And it’s not hard to tell why. Because they listened to current events and what the people were saying at that time, they made a name for themselves.
Following suit were other those with products that went nearly as viral. There’s that controversial shoe, slippers, and clothing pieces.
Social media for eCommerce businesses is a challenging and ongoing task. In order to see results, it is important to persevere and regularly track progress.
When done right, social media marketing can produce incredible results by boosting brand awareness, improving lead generation, and ultimately increasing sales.
So for your eCommerce business to reach new heights, tap into the power of social media marketing.
Rebecca DiCioccio is the Marketing Manager at Paperform. Outside of work, Rebecca can be found exploring the outdoors or with a book in hand. Rebecca’s background in copywriting and a keen interest in SEO and digital marketing mean she understands the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends in a dynamic and ever-changing industry.