Social media should be a valuable source of traffic and revenue for online retailers. Between the ‘big five’ — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube — there are billions of potential customers businesses can reach with online profiles and pages.
In recent years, these platforms, and numerous others have implemented algorithms. Social media marketing agencies and professionals were quick to vent their annoyance. Algorithms have forced brands to pay to reach an audience, meaning more often than not you need an advertising budget to generate revenue from social media.
However, for brands that don’t want to limit themselves to those they can only reach through advertising, there are numerous ways to generate sales with organic social media marketing.
The good news is that 23% of time online is spent on social networks, and 70% of social media users shop online, according to a report by Nielsen. Here is how to get their attention and encourage them to shop in your online store.
#1: Know your audience
You can’t appeal to everyone. You should have a clear idea who your customers are, or you can create personas to identify them more easily. Everything you post online should appeal to this audience: your customers.
If you know they enjoy memes and sarcastic GIFs, then that is what you need to give them. Go where they are. If your customers are on Instagram, then invest most of your efforts on images, videos, Stories and content that performs well on Instagram. Don’t spend too much time chasing a few hundred fans on Facebook when you could have thousands on other platforms.
#2: Think short and long-term
Short-term activities include offers, discount codes and Instagram Stories (that last for 24 hours) with links to pages where people can buy products straight away. These are always useful and a great way to test something, see what works, and make improvements for next time.
Long-term activities include photo shoots, with content you can use for weeks or months, videos, and blogs, which generate long-tail SEO benefits. Use a combination of the two to drive traffic and conversions now and down the road. Only focusing on one or the other won’t generate the results you need.
#3: Work with influencers
Depending on your audience, influencers could generate fantastic results. Bloggers, Instagram stars and YouTube creators give you organic access and an endorsement that reaches an audience more inclined to buy what these influencers promote.
Contrary to popular opinion, a larger audience isn’t always what you need. It depends on who you want to reach. Make sure your customers and the influencers fans overlap, that there is some synergy. And ask for examples of campaigns, what ROI other brands have got from working with them? Take a trust, but verify, approach. Providing this looks like a good match then they can create content that will promote your online store and appeal to their audience.
Pro Tip: Before launching any campaign, use a tool such as SocialBlade to verify that the majority of their fans are real — some are known to use bots, so be careful.
#4: Encourage social referrals
People love to tell others on social media when a business has let them down. Especially retailers, restaurants, hotels, and any company that has delivered poor quality customer service. Getting people to share good news and referrals is harder, which is why GIFTD created social referral tools — such as giving customers a discount if they’d tell others about your online store (using a trackable link).
E-commerce retailers have found how valuable this and other tools are, with customers that use them spending more than they did before, and telling others. With the right tools, strategy and content, online retailers can increase traffic, conversions and revenue, without spending a penny on advertising.