12 Social Media Tactics to Drive Traffic to Your eCommerce Site
September 23, 2015
If you run an eCommerce business, you’re probably well aware of the increasingly important role social media plays in the evolution of online shopping. With 93 percent of consumers turning to social media to help make buying decisions—and 90 percent of them saying they trust product recommendations from their peers—avoiding social media simply isn’t an option if you want to compete online.
Start With the Basics
The eCommerce universe is driven by website traffic, but attracting consumers to your site through social media is easier said than done. Achieving sustained success requires more than just tactics; it takes a social media marketing strategy that takes into account the following:
Setting goals: You need to set benchmarks for what success will look like before you even think about tackling tactics. Be as specific as possible by setting measurable objectives that include the:
Amount of traffic you want to receive from social media
Number of fans and followers
Ratio of visitors to conversions
Number and type of posts compared to the amount of engagement
Ratio of audience growth and engagement to sales
As a benchmarking example, according to HubSpot’s 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report, companies in the consumer goods/retail/eCommerce industry average 6.02 posts per week, have 370,321 followers, and average 11.4 interactions per post
Understanding customer content needs: You have to know what your prospects and customers need before you can start posting content that meets those needs. Get insight by asking customers what they want to learn about and monitor your target audience’s interactions on social media sites.
Leveraging data: Your website’s analytics provide a wealth of information on customer behavior, including where your social media traffic is coming from, which types of content receive the most views, and when visitors engage with the content. You can use this data to post particular content at times that receive the most engagement on each respective platform. Before you create your social media strategy, remember to go back and review historic performance to see what was most effective and combine that behavior with new initiatives moving forward. This is how you discover best practices.
Sharing, not selling: Although more and more consumers begin their purchasing journey on social media, most don’t visit social media sites with the intent of shopping. Social media marketing is about building relationships first; selling is a distant second. That means you need to focus on sharing helpful information and establishing trust before trying to make a sale. In the world of B2B sales, decision-makers interact with five pieces of content on social media before they’re ready to speak with a sales representative. The same principle carries over to B2C eCommerce marketing.
Tracking progress: As you develop your social media strategy, define how you will go about tracking progress and changing behavior—such as creating reports, revising your plan, and communicating updates to team members every month. Trends change and your social media strategy has to account for them.
12 Top Social Media Tactics
Once you’ve developed your strategy, use these twelve social media marketing tactics to boost traffic and grow your eCommerce business:
Optimize social media posts: Using high-conversion keywords in your posts can increase their visibility in search and thereby enable you to reach an even larger audience than your direct followers. Perform keyword research to discover the terms consumers are searching to find content related to your industry, business, and products/services, and then strategically incorporate them into your posts. Also, whenever possible, add a visual element to your posts to help grab the eye of your busy, scanning readers.
Share the right content: Sales pitches are a sure-fire way to turn away customers. Instead, provide useful, share-worthy content that adds value to your prospects and customers. Keep the experience social, interactive, and contextual, using your posts to tell customer stories, share news, and provide helpful tips. Balance promotional posts with ones that educate, inform, entertain, and put customer needs above your own.
Use your reviews: Let your satisfied customers do your social media marketing for you by sharing their reviews of your products. Reviews are powerful tools because prospects are more likely to be open to a product assessment when it comes from an objective third-party—such as a loyal customer. In fact, 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Add social sharing buttons in strategic places: Adding sharing widgets like Facebook’s “Like” button to all of your product pages can be very useful for attracting customers who are further along in the buying cycle. In addition, consider placing sharing buttons in prominent areas in your site’s design. For example, enable customers to share their review of a product with their Twitter followers or Facebook friends, or allow them to share a sales offer or even a sales confirmation email.
Use visual content: Image-based content is naturally more engaging than text-based posts, making it perfect for marketing your business on social media. In fact, studies show that using images is the most important tactic for optimizing social media posts. Make your product images shareable on sites that favor image-driven marketing, such as Instagram and Pinterest (i.e., include Pinterest’s “Pin It” button on all images). You can also get creative and feature customer selfies with products on your product pages.
Interact with followers: Social media is the perfect platform for interacting directly with prospects and customers. Monitor posts and engage with them on a daily basis to ask questions, respond to their comments, thank them for sharing your content, and participate in discussions. It’s a great way to show you truly care about them and are interested in serving their needs, which can go a long way towards building trust and shortening the sales cycle. Here are a few ways to promote engagement:
Join groups: Participating in groups is a great way to keep tabs on keywords, hashtags, and conversation topics. You can comb through posts and retweet, share, or repost articles, videos, photos, and other interesting content that can prompt prospects and customers to return the favor. It’s a good way to establish rapport online.
Build relationships with influencers: People who have a strong following online can give a huge boost to a brand’s reach and trust factor. Fashion brand Kurt Geiger knows how effective this strategy can be as it continues to build its relationship with popular fashion blogger Niomi Smart. Smart, who has over one million Instagram followers, discusses Kurt Geiger products and even posts pictures of herself wearing them. Similarly, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff has developed a social media partnership with supermodel Karlie Kloss, who recently launched her own YouTube channel. Both brands benefit from being associated with celebrities in the fashion industry.
Host live chats: Live chats are perfect for having real-time conversations about industry topics and trending news For example, outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, an advocate for the environment, hosts live chats on issues such as sustainability. You can create hashtags for live chats so you can track their reach and effectiveness.
Be consistent: Posting content on a regular basis is critical to improve customer engagement and drive more traffic to your eCommerce website. Frequency can vary based on your market, but consistency is key to show your audience that you’re interested in constantly sharing valuable content. To make this process easier and save time, use a marketing automation tool such as Around.io so you can schedule posts in advance.
Start a blog: Not having a steady stream of new content is a common complaint of many eCommerce businesses. One of the best ways to remedy this is to maintain an active blog with educational and inspirational content so you always have something to talk about. In addition to showcasing your company’s unique perspective or expertise, a single blog post can produce dozens of social media posts that engage followers and compel them to click-through to your website.
Use hashtags: Hashtags help your content get discovered more frequently on social media platforms. They organize content, expand the reach of your posts, and promote interaction. Avoid using too many hashtags in one social media update, limiting them to one to two per post.
Be short and sweet: Concise and compelling updates attract more engagement on social media than longer posts. Your followers are much more likely to share your short, visual posts since they can quickly be digested and passed along. For example, tease a blog post with an engaging image and an intriguing headline.
Add tweetable quotes to blog posts: In addition to enabling readers to tweet an entire blog post, try adding “tweet this” functionality throughout your post to make quotes and phrases tweetable. Tools such as ClicktoTweet convert code for you to make this process fast and easy.
Use paid advertising: If you have the budget, take your social media marketing to the next level with Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, or Promoted Tweets that you link back to a product page for conversion. As long as they’re highly targeted, these paid options can help you dramatically boost website traffic.
Integrating social media into your marketing mix is critical to be competitive in eCommerce. If you put the right strategy and social media marketing tactics in place, you can improve brand awareness, drive more traffic and conversions, increase customer engagement and loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.