If you run an eCommerce business, then you already recognize the power of the internet. In 2021, it is the largest global “city”, with a virtual population of 4.66 billion users. That is more than half the population of planet Earth! The world wide web is also a roaring hub of buyers and sellers. And they are often introduced to one another, through social media, by a powerful market of influencers.
Social media (SM) is no longer the plaything of yuppie tweens. In fact, SM is increasingly being taken over by the wealthy and influencial, in almost every demographic segment!
Here are some interesting statistics on the penetration of social media in 2021:
- 4 billion floating population, with half a million new additions in Jan-Jul of this year.
- 90% check their social media accounts at least once a month. Also, 90% use their phone to do so.
- The average user spends 5 hours a day on social media – approx. 15% of their working time!
With such lofty figures, eCommerce businesses can no longer ignore the power of Social media. As prolific author Erik Qualman said, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it“. Indeed!
Now if you are a newbie, you might feel daunted with all that possibility and responsibility. Fortunately, Social media has you covered on that ground too, as the power is concentrated in a few mighty hands.
Here are the highlights:
- Facebook provides for the largest stomping grounds, with a massive base of 2.85 billion users. (More than 25% of Earth’s population!)
- YouTube is a close second, with 2.29 billion users.
- Other notable platforms include WatsApp (2 billion), Instagram (1 billion), TikTok (680 million), and Twitter (330 million).
- Facebook also has majority stake in WatsApp and Instagram, further shrinking this circle of SM power.
With this, usage of social media as a potent marketing tool is doable, logically approachable, and unquestionably profitable!
Here are 3 sure fire ways to do this right.
Use SM as your primary advertising agent.
Advertising in mainstream media still has its uses. But reserve your big guns (and budget) for social media if you want a chunky slice of that 4.4 billion user base. In recent times, you also don’t have to put in the work to build a SM audience base from scratch. You can partner with highly influential social media celebrities, so their audience is organically directed to your business.
Regardless, here are some do’s and don’ts about social media advertising:
- Begin by having a strong social media presence on the top 4 influential platforms. (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter). Also, use a business account as it offers more benefits.
- Post content at least once a week, preferably 2-3 times a week.
- Use the 80-20 rule – 80% content to engage audience, and 20% for pure advertising.
- Use #hashtags unapologetically, to feed a trend and capture virtual attention.
- Use polls, captions, videos and other visual imagery to quickly draw in the audience in large numbers.
- Use graphs and statistics to impress upon your audience and influence your potential buyers.
- Integrate your virtual selling space into your SM presence. Your audience should be able to buy your products from your SM accounts with a few mouse clicks.
- Do not be frugal with discounts, especially if you wish to build a large fan base. You can offer small but frequent discounts positioned as enticing promotions.
- Do not be frugal with paid While SM is free for the most part, you sometimes have to give a little to get a lot.
Also, don’t miss our blog on top digital marketing trends for the year 2021.
Use SM to build brand awareness
By its very nature, social media is highly interconnected. So if you latch on to any powerful Social Media influencer, you will automatically attract a lot of readers to your company’s SM pages. But not all of them will be your buyers.
Social media also works like a massive, virtual marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers from different streams. So you may initially get quick returns when you hop on to the Social media advertising bandwagon. But if you want to sustain this for the long term, it is important for you to build brand awareness. And just like it is in the physical world, this takes time, persistence, and a successful strategy.
Here are some tips:
- Reserve company resources (time, money, personnel) for enhancing your brand, beyond immediate advertising.
- Bring in the SM experts. The top platforms offer several tools (like Google’s AdSense, Facebook’s Ad Manager and business suite, Twitter’s Audisense, aHrefs, etc.), to measure and enhance your SM advertising experience. There are also tools that you can use (like Biteable, Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.), to quickly and consistently manage content on multiple SM platforms. An SM expert can help reduce the drudgery and unpredictability of SM marketing.
- Bring in the audio-visual They can help you develop a strong but unique voice, with consistent visual imagery on SM (like logos, jingles, images, watermarks, etc.). This is essential to transform your brand into a powerful and easily recognizable symbol, among your target audience.
Use SM for customer service
Social media can be great for building an audience and a loyal customer base. It can also work as a double-edged sword for existing customers. For instance, it takes a few happy customers to spread the good word and make your promotions viral. It also takes just one disgruntled customer posting an unfavorable review on SM, to ruin years of brand building. It is important to allocate dedicated resources to engage and manage your audience and customers on SM, so they remain loyal and happy.
Simple tips are listed below:
- Keen in touch with your existing customers through strategic SM engagements (polls, comments, promotions). In this digitally-social world, SM has also taken on the load of phones and emails.
- Respond to every comment on your SM handles, no matter how inconsequential or unfavorable it may seem. An unaddressed comment is akin to a waiting customer. It can quickly and dramatically escalate into vengeful dissatisfaction!
- Always respond to SM comments with grace, even if the comment is downright unfair. What you post on SM lives for virtual eternity. You never want to be in a position where an old comment made in haste comes back to ruin your brand.
- There is no line between personal and professional, at least in the SM world. What you post in your personal handle can and will influence your professional brand.
In closing, social media is a potent resource for the success of any online business today. But there is a method behind all that madness and social euphoria. This guide can help you ease into it, so you can quickly master the science of social commerce for tangible benefits to your business.