1. BRAND AWARENESS
Social media platforms provide an easy – and relatively cheap – way to build buzz around your product or service amongst a wide audience, and drive them to your main e-commerce website (although you may be selling directly on social – more on that later). The unique thing about social media is the ability to communicate and interact with your audience directly, in exactly the way you would like. It's a place to tell your brand’s story in the way you want - and the more imaginative, the more creative, the more original, the better! These top tips should get you started…
Finding your customers. Firstly, you need to identify which platform(s) will best connect you to your target customers. Conducting a competitor analysis will show you which social media platforms brands like yours are using to reach customers, what content they’re sharing, and what conversations they’re involved with. You can integrate the best practices learned here into your own social media advertising. Find our template to conduct a competitor analysis right here!
Think ‘storytelling’. Social media platforms are where you should share your brand’s message with authentic and engaging content. Telling people about your products is fine, of course, but try to think of how you draw users in by telling the story of your brand and the ideas behind your products. Pangaia4 is an innovative clothing company with a commitment to using sustainable materials for its products. It uses its Instagram photos to tell the stories behind the materials, where they’re sourced, and how they’re better for the environment. It combines this with a powerful influencer marketing strategy, capitalizing on its popularity with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Justin Bieber. It helps the audience to connect with the brand on a deeper level, then provides the opportunity for readers to share content organically.
Be personal. Online fashion retailer SilkFred5 spends a lot of time talking to customers and answering their queries on Instagram, and always signs off each response with the name of the customer service member writing it. The brand’s social media team monitors conversations between customers on the platform and jumps in with compliments and styling suggestions where appropriate. This is one of the key aspects of a successful social media strategy – don't assume people will flock to your Instagram business account or your Facebook page just because you built it; you’ll need to work to get the attention of an audience with a notoriously short attention span. Look for pages or channels where your target market gathers, and engage with the conversations they’re already having. Like, comment and share to become part of their community.
Show your product in all its glory. It may seem obvious, but your social advertising images have to be thumb-stoppingly good to gain the interest of your market, so carefully consider how you're going to present yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to use the right content in the right place: Facebook videos attract more attention than images or long copy, Instagram photos can present your products as a lifestyle choice, and Twitter’s news feeds are a great way to keep your customers informed of new products or offers. Furniture company Maker&Son6 has flooded its Instagram page with slow-motion videos of people running and jumping onto its sofas, before sinking into their giant cushions. The message is loud and clear – look how comfy our sofas are! Simple, yet effective – you don't have to spend a lot of money on social advertising, but you should invest time and effort into making it as interesting as possible.
Use it to learn more about your customers. “Social media platforms are an easy way to get reviews, comments, feedback and just hear what your customers have to say” says Petra Odak, Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals7. Analyse the data on a regular basis to understand how your audience behave - what content they like and what content they ignore - then use these insights to improve and evolve your products.
Be fun! Last, but by no means least, remember that social media is a platform where people go to be entertained. E-commerce checkout company Fast8 recently took to Twitter to explain its service using only GIFs from the musical Hamilton, prompting likes and retweets from users and gaining earned media coverage from others who admired the inventive approach. People like sharing funny content, so don’t be afraid to use memes and GIFs if they suit your brand. You can also retweet, like, share and repost others’ content to give your own social media feeds a boost – just remember to put a little strategy behind it; share content that is relevant to your brand or product, not just things you find entertaining. The goal is to share content that offers value to your followers: the more useful they find your social media channels, the more time they’ll spend interacting with your posts, which builds trust and loyalty for your brand.