The buzzwords these days are e-сommerce and social media. Look around: all your actions are aimed at the end objective of building and growing your “brand” on the social media so that you can grow your business through the digital world.
If you still have any doubt in your mind and do not know yet why should one promote on the social media, if at all, the answer is very obvious! The world is there — an ocean of opportunities awaits you!
On an average, people spend about 108 minutes on social networks on a daily basis. Several kinds of research claim that most of the buying is done on the move, through mobiles or tabs — through social media sites only.
Also, social media provide an interaction-collaboration and engagement, a two-way communication between the buyers and the sellers. The store owner is able to influence the purchase decision even in the online space — through feedback, reviews, ratings, etc. Friends, colleagues, and past customers are all decision influencers and can act as sale catalysts.
Designing your social media marketing strategy
Once you have decided to promote your products on the social media, you will then need to work on the social media mix.
Certain points need to be kept in mind while finalising the channels to be used for promotion.
Identify the networks which your target audience is most likely to frequent.
Eg: If you are selling a product aimed at the teenagers as your buyers, FB or Twitter would be good options. If you are selling a lifestyle product most bought by high-end users, Polyvore or the Hunt could be recommended networks.
Choose the most common options like Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest if your client base is already garnered and you have a lot of fan following established.
If on the beginner’s path, choose sites like Pinterest / Wanelo / Fancy / Shopcade / Keep / Polyvore — which work on the product discovery concept. Let your prospective clients come looking to your shop for your particular kind of products — that increases the chances of conversion to sales
Setting up the actual communication strategy
After this comes the most important aspect, that’s defining the actual communication strategy. How often to promote and when exactly?
Frequency of posting
The frequency of posting actually can range between one to ten times.It depends on the type of product.
Eg: If it’s a common use product, 1-3 times in a day is enough. If it’s a handmade niche market exclusive product, it would require comparatively more promotions like as much as 8-10 times in a day.
Timing is of utmost importance. So one needs to promote only when your target market is expected to be online.
Eg: If it’s a product aimed at females, afternoons or late evenings would be a good timing.
For working women, in particular, morning hours and evening hours is preferable — when they are commuting between their homes and office.
Although the trick is to strike the balance between “engagement” and “cluttering”, it’s very important to realise and respect that thin line. Nevertheless, network wise, recommended ideal communication strategy would be:
- Facebook — Anytime is a good time, can post as much as 3-5 times in a day. The posts stay longer, so the target audience would certainly see them
- Twitter — 8-10 times, spread across the workday. The tweets move very fast, so higher frequency of posts is required in order to ensure a well-coveredaudience base
- Instagram — 2-4 times, off work hours. This is because people tend to access instagram on the move, on their way to / from office, in the tube / cab / bus.
- Pinterest — 6-8 times, mostly after office relaxation hours, maybe slightly higher on weekends. People are using pinterest to like and “pin” their choices, which is mostly done away from work, with a free mind
- Wanelo — 2-4 times, after 8 P.M. works best till midnight as that’s when the users are freely exploring the internet for products they may like to own
- Fancy / Shopcade / Polyvore / Keep — Its mainly fashion products suited for women audience, so 2-3 times, evening hours is best. Buying fashion to refresh your tired soul, between 4-7 P.M.
Recommended ideal communication strategy
You don’t necessarily need to be glued to your laptops / ipads / mobiles all the time in order to post so many products at such varied time intervals. You can use the Outfy app to help execute the communication strategy you design.
It’s a tool developed to help you get the maximum footage for your social media campaigns, with the minimal time spent.
It can pick the products directly from your Ecwid store, and post them to your chosen social media, at your chosen time interval — all on a shoestring budget with a huge time saving!
If you don’t even want to invest the time to choose the products yourself, Outfy tool has a handy “Auto pilot” feature, that auto selects the products based on your criterion input, and posts them on your behalf to your social media accounts.
And the best part is, its for you to try for free till you are convinced about its advantage to your business. It comes with a unique pay-per-use concept, without any kind of a fixed monthly commitment.
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Executing the designed marketing strategy
Once the strategy is structured, you need to work on execution of same. It’s very important to engage with your followers / customers / target audience.
You can do this in multiple ways. You can:
- Promote images of your own products you have on offer
- Share your promotion campaigns — Eg: a collage of different products in a particular “collection”
- Announce sales — this tempts your existing customers as well as target audience to visit your estore
- Provide discount coupons — exclusively on social media, so that audience becomes your regular followers, and eventually loyal customers
- Post suggestions on related products / accessories — For example, if you are selling ladies dresses, you can provide suggestions on shoe types that would “match the look.
It’s important to plan precisely and then go in for multiple, short-term campaigns.
Launching contests and discussing future launches to get feedback is also important as it arises interest and builds a returning traffic. Just keep the information flowing, and keep your followers, viewers and prospective customers ‘engaged’. This engagement grows into ‘fan’ following and eventually converts to sales.
Well, let’s say you have launched your campaigns, but how do you achieve a long term growth? This is possible by creating a brand presence — building your fan following on the social media.
For this, you need to follow the listed suggestions.
Keep the message simple
It should be easy to understand, having an effortless comprehension. Use small sentences with simple words. If a 12yr old can understand the message, you are good to go. Eg: If you are selling handmade fused glass jewellery, and you describe same with ‘spectrum 96 glass’ — it may complicate understanding for someone who is yet to use fused glass jewellery. So, you lost the chance of a potential sale. Instead, you could use simple, common use words like handmade glass jewellery in the promotion, and give the exact description in the ‘materials / specifications’.
You need to do it so that prospective followers / buyers can ‘find’ your products easily, and with time can become loyal to your brand.
Eg: #handmadegifts, #glassjewellery, #pearlnecklace, #giftsforher, #exquisitexmasornaments, #handmadejewellery could be few suggestions for a shop selling handmade glass ornaments targeted at female buying audience.
You can actually test out your hashtags by searching products with your chosen hashtags. If products similar to yours do appear in the search result, then you are on the right track.
You can take help from some hashtag sites like www.hashtagifyme.com, etc for the trending hashtags for your segment of products. Do not try to be different by ‘creating’ your own hashtags. Commonly used hashtags appear in SEO. Follow the leader, even if that’s your competition.
This is needed for a path to your e-store while promoting products on the social media, for easy access whenever your reader wants it. Regular, multiple promotions are required and that will only lead to a brand name established over a period of time.
You can use help from websites like www.bitly.com to shorten the links to your e-store (to save on the character space). Try using the customization option on ‘bitly’ to display your brand name or an easy recall name in the link, for full optimisation.
Use a lot of images
They get more views on any social media and increase the chances of traffic directing to your e-store and building brand recognition.
Eg: If you are selling jewellery, and you need to promote a pendant, you can use 4 different images for 4 different promotions of the same product:
- Image of the pendant — front view
- Image of the pendant — back / side view
- Pendant with a chain
- Pendant with a chain on the neck of a lady
Measure the results
Finally, how successful have been your efforts? This is determined by measuring the ROI (return on investment). You can use analytics to measure the clicks (eventually sales) through each medium. Once you have the inputs, invest more time / money in the channel that is most productive for your kind of products. Social media sites provide some limited analytics for free promotions
Eg: You can get the number of impressions as well as link clicks from Twitter. For a more detailed analysis on whether that click resulted in an actual sale or not, you would need to invest money in a ‘paid’ promotion.
Your next steps
Concluding, please remember the basic thumb rule for you to follow for getting maximum sales:
- Promote more and more — be ‘noticed’
- Do repeated promotions to ensure maximum traction
- Promote multiple times — With different frequency rates as recommended for each network
- Schedule promotions for optimal time, networkwise
- Use most popular hashtags, increasing the chances for your products to be ‘found’. Monitor them regularly, and rotate them over time
- Keep the message short and simple
- A picture speaks a thousand words — so use lot of images
- Use links back to your website, e-store for easy access, customised links for increasing brand recall
- Keep analysing the results at regular intervals, and tweaking your promotions
- Use Video (up to 60 seconds) to put your message across. Outsource it to the expert TheVideoCompany.sg, tell them your objective and they will help you craft a good video content that sell.
Try out these suggestions and you will find the ‘sweet spot’ for your business soon!
Happy marketing and happy selling!