As an eCommerce business, being active on social media platforms is no longer a question; it is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Since most consumers are socially connected and spend incredible amounts of time scrolling through their various news feeds, online retailers mustn’t miss out on these stellar advertising opportunities to get their products in front of more people.
One great thing (among many others) is that social media marketing is highly measurable. Most platforms are equipped with analytics tools to help you determine the ROI of your organic and sponsored posts so that you can track your KPIs and adjust your strategies easily. Another great thing, of course, is the fact that it is relatively low-cost compared to other types of advertising methods for your products.
More and more often now, when consumers are asked where they heard about a product, the answer is ‘I saw/heard about it on social media.’ The probable reason is likely that nearly half of the world’s population is now on social media with 3.48 billion users as of summer 2019, putting your audience in very reachable spaces on the internet. So, the fact that social advertising and selling can drive e-Commerce sales really shouldn’t come as a surprise.
When building a social media marketing plan with the goal of generating sales, it is important to evaluate which platforms best suit your business. For example, in which types of products does your business primarily sell? Which age group does your business serve most? How does this group use and interact on social media? From there, you can choose the platforms you want to tackle, rank them for budget allocation, and work-out the type of messaging that will resonate with consumers.
For sure some platforms are better for certain types of products, but according to Shopify, driving sales through Facebook is a winning ingredient as part of any social media marketing recipe. They report that, “an average of 85% of all eCommerce orders from social media come from Facebook,” and that “Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media eCommerce traffic at 1.85%.” Furthermore, the Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2019 contends that Facebook is the number one choice for 72% of B2C marketers when it comes to social advertising channels. There are a few ways to advertise on this social network: through messenger, on news feeds, retargeting, remarketing. The difference between retargeting and remarketing is that retargeted ads are aimed at those who have actually visited your site from a previous ad, whereas remarketed ads use vanity URLs to continuously retarget those that haven’t made it onto your website yet. Understanding the difference between these and setting up remarketing can be tricky, but this video clears a lot of confusion up. Both of these methods are powerful in acquiring customers considering that it takes about 7 touch-points before someone clicks on your ad, and then of those that do click, 98% of them won’t buy on their first visit to your site. All in all, Facebook is a promising channel for driving sales and offers many ways to get your products in front of consumers.
Another social platform great for advertising on is Instagram, which is actually owned by Facebook. This channel is especially powerful if your business’s target audience is in their 20s, considering that 67% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 to 29 and are more likely to purchase than the under-18 demographic. Being a more visually charged (rather than driven by marketing words), Instagram presents a special opportunity for businesses to present their products in creative stills or short videos and can really work on evoking emotions that invite people into the world of whatever it is that’s being offered. There are approximately 25 million business profiles on Instagram that consumers can directly interact with, and 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one Business profile daily. According to Instagram, these ads help 60% of the platform’s users discover new products! Instagram ads are as easy as any other to set up too…and even more of a cinch if you’re already advertising on Facebook; ads for both platforms can be configured directly through the Facebook Ad Manager. Basically, the takeaway here is that if you want to attract and engage younger audiences, Instagram is worth having in your social media marketing mix, but if you’re focusing on older generations, don’t spend too much time and money here.
Next, let’s take a look at a similarly visual social platform – Pinterest. This channel is a favorite of Millennials; since this generation will soon hold most of the consumer world’s purchasing power, putting some budget towards promoted pins is worth it. In fact, promoted pins are 7x more likely to result in purchases than traditional marketing, helping many businesses to acquire new customers from here. Considering that as of 2019’s first quarter, there were 219 million active monthly users and half of these users made a purchase because of promoted pins, businesses that put money towards this social network most certainly enjoyed a significant return on investment.
Last but not least, one must never forget about Twitter. This social network may not drive many sales, but it serves as a major cog in the machine that builds customer relationships. Strong customer relations eventually lead to loyal customers, repeat sales, and an overall positive reputation of the brand. Eighty-five percent of SMBs agree that this platform is an important part of providing customer service. This is no surprise considering that 83% of people who tweeted at an SMB and received a reply left the interaction feeling better about that brand. Keeping consumers feeling positive about your business is no small matter – savvy marketers know that 93% of Twitter users who follow a business’ profile on the network plan to purchase from that company in the future. So, even though you may feel that you don’t have to put any budget towards actual Twitter ads, being an active contributor to trending topics related to your offering and replying to consumer questions or comments in a timely matter can surely set some stepping stones for sales in the future.
Of course, there are many other social media channels that can serve your business and help drive sales. Some may work better for your specific business due to the region you operate in, the products you offer or the demographic you target, however, the above-mentioned few are the ones we feel are especially useful for an organization offering personalized photo products. Facebook and Instagram the two main platforms for sharing photos and videos, so why not advertise on the channels that serve as online suppositories for the images that may be used to customize the products on your website? To make the customization and buying process even simpler for those that come onto your site from these platforms, connect directly to the shopper’s profile so that they can fetch their desired photos easily. Pinterest, on the other hand, is a top platform for people to find ideas for various projects or decor. This presents a great outlet for promoting your personalized product offering as it is known to introduce new products to its users who are usually browsing posts with open and creative minds that are already primed for DIY. When it comes to Twitter, as we mentioned already, though it may not deliver sales directly from the ads, the interactions you have with consumers and the relationships you build with them via this network will definitely contribute to the revenues generated through your social media marketing plan.