If you sell products online, you can't afford to ignore social media as a marketing tool.
If you go anywhere in a major city, chances are high that you'll notice people checking their phones. Social media isn't a niche thing anymore; it's everywhere. It's often said that a company's social media presence can make or break its ability to turn a profit. E-commerce can no longer avoid this critical sales channel to reach its target audience. "Social proof" is often needed to establish yourself as a player in your field.
What is social selling?
Social selling is the process of engaging with potential customers through social media. It's similar to lead nurturing. Your goal is to turn them into a loyal customer. You do this by not only engaging with them online but providing value.
Statistics show that social selling is a must in today’s market. According to LinkedIn, 78% of companies that use social selling outsell their competitors who don't use social media. They have 45% more sales opportunities, and they are 51% more likely to meet sales quotas.
Ever wonder what successful businesses do to make their social media marketing pop? Below are eight tips on how you can use social media to grow your e-commerce presence online.
1. Find the right influencers.
Having an A-list celebrity pitch your products is not only expensive, but it's an antiquated tactic. There has been a steady rise in the use of microinfluencers – those with under 50,000 followers. They tend to have more loyal followings, as they typically focus on a specific niche. Therefore, it's critical to have the right influencers who share your brand's vision and message. Do not simply choose an influencer based on their followers, likes and comments – do they also have the same values that your company believes in? If the answer is yes, then they are most likely the right influencer.
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2. Experiment with virtual and augmented reality.
The use of virtual reality and augmented reality in social media has exploded in the last year or so. Pokemon Go was one of the first successful apps that incorporated AR and VR. Snapchat is another good example of using AR to expose your brand to your target audience. Though these technologies are still in their early days, as companies incorporate VR and AR programs into their social media marketng, it will grow their know, like and trust factor.
3. Employ chatbots using artificial intelligence.
Chatbots should be the first line of defense for customer service. Although the human touch is great, with advances in AI, a computer can do most of the heavy lifting. AI chatbots can directly engage or even proactively chat with possible clients through social media. While humans generally work shifts, AI bots can work 24/7 to address customer service issues, respond to social media inquiries, and reach out over social media platforms to increase interaction with your platform. This will assist in streamlining your overall social media process to convert inquiries into paying customers.
4. Add buy buttons to your pages.
In the past, digital marketers wanted to funnel all visitors to their websites in order to generate sales. With advancements in social media technology, customers can purchase your item directly from Facebook without ever visiting your site. Social media platforms are no longer just informational, but they can be a form of direct sales, essentially decentralizing the sales funnel.
5. Identify the right social network for your demographic.
When creating a profile for your ideal customer, consider which social networks they use. Facebook is the most popular social media platform. However, 86% of Instagram users say they discover new products and services on the platform.
B2B businesses may have more success on Twitter, with 67% of B2B businesses using it as a marketing platform. Seventy-seven percent of Twitter users have a more favorable opinion of companies who reply to tweets, so engagement is important. YouTube is very popular with younger users: 81% of those ages 15 to 25 visit YouTube daily.
Keep in mind that more isn't always better. It's best to choose one or two social networks instead of making scattered efforts across many platforms. Using a few platforms allows you to plan your posts and engage with your followers.
6. Position yourself as an industry expert.
Creating a professional social media presence is important. One of the best ways to do this successfully is to make yourself an expert in your field. Give your audience factual and insightful information. Create your own content, and don't hesitate to share informative content from trusted sources. Ninety-two percent of B2B buyers will engage with those they feel are experts or leaders in the field.
7. Use automation tools.
Social media automation can save you a lot of time and post content consistently to your profile. Consistency is very important with marketing. According to HubSpot, consistent brands have a 20% higher net worth than inconsistent brands. Consistency also builds trust, improves the customer experience and builds your brand reputation.
Automation also saves time, which you can use to actually engage with your customers. Responding to comments is a great way to build relationships and be more relatable.
Social media listening programs can keep you on top of the latest trends, what your competitors are saying and what consumers are saying about your business. It's a great way to get content ideas, see which platforms are getting the most engagement and spot areas you should strengthen.
8. Offer value.
The best way to gain a social media following is to be worth following. Consider offering contests or discounts only available to your social media followers. Offer content that is informative and fits the tone of the platform. Stay up to date with the latest developments and news in your industry. Information about your products or sales should be balanced with information that your customers will find valuable.