Importance of Social Media Marketing (SMM) for E-Commerce Platforms
Today we’re going to shed some light into the realities of social media and how much it affects your E-commerce success! From the what’s to the how’s and most importantly the why’s of SMM in E-commerce. Following that we’ll provide you with essential social media strategies and technical integration to employ if you want your platform to succeed!
Social Media, arguably the next biggest innovation in technology after the internet itself. It is no over exaggeration saying that with the appearance of these platforms most if not all business and social markets have changed.
With 72% of people admitting that their purchase decisions are heavily influenced by what they saw on social media.
With another study showing that 90% of people make purchases from brands they personally follow on social media. This shows direct correlation between number of followers on social media and the number of “brand loyal” customers.
And if you’re thinking this only affects retail markets, small businesses trying to sell their custom-made watches, or mini bakeries – you’re wrong! With the slow death of cold calling, social selling is on the rise. What’s that you ask? We’ll get to it soon enough.
This is not to say cold calling is completely irrelevant, it still remains among the top methods of connecting to your audience, however it is showing a steady decline.
Today’s piece is all about using social media to your advantage and even growth of your platform! First, however, we must start from the beginning and the basics, and the first question that springs to mind is…
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)
I’m sure everyone reading this is not exactly living under a rock and knows the acronym in question. Social Media Marketing or SMM as a job position has seen a 1357% growth on LinkedIn since 2010 and according to some statistics has been declared among 100 most sought after and successful career choices as of 2017.
All this is to say that using social media networking to promote your brand, products, mission, tone, and generate new leads as well as maintain a loyal customer base has been a no brainer for almost everyone in the market.
It’s very difficult to imagine a person without any social media presence.
Aside from social life on Facebook (2.9 billion users), most everyone has an account on other various platforms like:
Number of Monthly Active Users (MAU) in millions
Why are we bringing up these numbers? Think of these as massive bases of potential customers for your products, affecting both the B2C and B2B spheres.
Social Media Marketing is the leading cost-effective way to reach your audience and potential customers. And it works for virtually all businesses regardless of their target market.
Even without technical integration and omnichannel approach to sales, improving your SMM leads to increased sales and conversion rates.
As we mentioned above, both the B2C and B2B markets are equally improved by a proper SMM approach. However, in sale’s world this has a bit of a different name, which brings us to.
What is Social Selling?
A long time ago (in a galaxy far far away..) most if not all B2B business was done via email campaigns and cold calling.
But let’s face it, cold calling isn’t what it used to be even a decade ago.
Most high-level positions in a company long ago have hired someone else to answer their phone from unknown numbers. Sales Rep’s started facing this problem all the way back in 2015, with 90% of executives refusing to answer a cold call or convert it into a buy.
The new buzzword of the sales world in the past few years. “Social Selling” is taking most everything that works out of SMM and applying it into direct lead generation by sales reps targeting those elusive Decision Makers.
Social Selling is when sales reps take advantage of social media platforms and generate new prospecting leads not via direct call to action and heavy advertisement of how great they are. But rather providing value to the market as a whole, responding to open-ended-questions, employing education SEO optimized blogs, answering comments, and educating people about their market. (Kind of what we do)
It’s all about teaching your potential clients on how your business will help them and nurturing this connection via a consistent informational content. If your business has something to teach; it’s safe to assume you have experts in the field and thus have some guarantees to a quality service.
Shameless self-promotion is bad
In case you’re only marketing strategy is proclaiming how great you and your product is, it reeks of false self-promotion.
If you see a brand using the following, would you want to contact them?
- Requesting friends & family to write reviews on your business.
- Making every conversation about their project/service.
- Email/Message spamming every day.
- Ignoring the successes of their competition.
- Leaving call to action/links to their service after every comment or message.
Best SMM Tips & Strategies for E-Commerce Platforms
All the aforementioned brings us the crucial part of our piece. What can you do to efficiently use SMM and grow your eCommerce platform?
We’ve compiled a short list of essential strategies you should use to grow the success of your enterprise. First on our list.
Organic SMM strategies
We’re big fans of organic leads and engaging content. Try to set up your social media marketing in such a way that you present your best self, your human self. Consider this your bread & butter of your efforts.
Make sure your content plan includes not only the boring RSS feed of your recent blogs or activities. Remember that your organic social media efforts should engage the community and your audience. If you’re an SME consider efforts towards consistently interacting with various groups, either on Facebook, Reddit or Quora among others.
Another fantastic way to generate new leads or partners is participating in the various world conventions or events connected to your market, either on the world stage or within country.
This is where your Sales Activation Content comes into effect. Here are some tips on what you can do as an SME.
1. Deliver unique experiences
Try to focus on creating something new that’s particularly special to your brand. If your business sells glasses, make a promotional video comparing your products with your competition on durability, quality, logistics etc.
2. Promote user generated content
When selling your product, encourage your clients to share their purchase on social media. Easiest way to achieve this is to integrate some form of discounts or benefits for doing so. Clients sharing your product is the best form of marketing.
3. Create open promotional events, or exclusive ones
Target your audience with creating open events with giveaways or conventions among your peers. If you’re selling artist paint, organize a public painting market or a “paint-off” among the artists in your region.
Another method is creating an exclusive “club” of your clients and partners, which have access to your products in advance before official releases. People love the feel of being an elite, whatever your service, providing VIP status is a sure way to make people talk about your brand.
4. Keep an eye out for trends
Trending hashtags rule the world! Keep tabs on the various social networks and what people are doing. If there’s a popular dance video everyone is making, you should to, regardless of the size of your enterprise or target audience. One splendid example was the #Jerusalema dance challenge popular between 2020-2021.
5. Surprise your audience
Or better yet, create a new hashtag yourself! A new inspiring or thought-provoking campaign to try and create a new trending fad in the world. Barbershop business? Create a campaign promoting healthy beards and importance of skin care. This is probably the hardest tip to re-create but also one if not the most beneficial.
6. Target niched groups or activities
Any product, whatever it maybe has niched groups who use this type of product. Connect with these groups! Find them on social media, interact with them, propose joint events. i.e: selling mountain bikes? Contact mountain biking groups and offer a test drive to their users, create a whole event out of it, but we’ve already talked about it.
7. Annual events are great!
Consistency is key in any marketing campaign. Creating an annual event that in itself will generate interest from customers anticipating your product. Important to make it memorable, consider the tips above.
8. Promote brand’s values
Aside from the obvious values you might see in a company mission statement, there are other values to promote. With a myriad of problems in the world we live in, there’s no shortage of issues to address. And as bad as it might sound, you should use them.
Not in any malicious way but having a strong stance (observed/declared) on issues like the wage gap, global warming, racism etc. is incredibly important, make sure to dedicate part of your content to these issues.
9. Create giveaways
Might sound obvious but having a certain budget for annual or regular giveaways on different basis is a great way to garner attention from your audience. Giveaway online events for subscriptions on your web-app or highest spender will affect positively on your brand loyalty!
10. Educate your audience
As mentioned previously, building brand loyalty and awareness can be done by consistently educating your audience about your product. Fun facts, technical description, use cases etc. are all valid when promoting any sort of product, it can be done both in social media platforms and direct email infographics. Just make sure not to be too spammy.
PPC targeted Ads
Running paid ads, if not as cost effective as SEO/organic, this is still an amazing way to get started. We’ve wrote about in our previous piece about SEO vs PPC.
In short, using paid per click ads gives you a targeted megaphone towards your clients who fall into appropriate target audiences. By activity, interests, region, time etc. This gives you a lot of control over statistics where you can clearly see what works and what doesn’t.
However, remember that this option is quite costly and still involves a lot of experimentation in the beginning phases. Creating a good PPC ad is as much art as it is a science. Just make sure to do a thorough market research on your competition and what their ad campaigns look like.
Finally on our list is the influencer approach, whatever your target audience is, it surely has its own celebrities within their circles. Your goal should be finding them and approaching them with an enticing offer. The offers could either cross promotional campaigns, contracts and payments for posts, or simple giveaways/review offers.
The secret in using “Influencer marketing” is like many things in marketing – consistency.
If you’re considering paying for sponsored content on someone else’s blog or platform, make sure it’s a planned long-lasting campaign with weekly posts and not just one post that will inevitably be lost in the noise.
Make sure to track your ROI with coupon codes and see how effective one influencer is over another. Receiving valuable feedback is among the most important things to have when you’re going through the experimenting phase of your marketing strategy.
Also consider using so called “micro-influencers” compared to big names in the market. At least according to statistics 82% of people are more likely to convert into a buy from them compared to big names which everyone knows is “ads”.
Technical Integration or Omnichannel paradigm
In essence it requires a multiple data base system and combination of various systems from your backend, frontend, and social medias API to make it work. Think of it as a module or feature when designing your WebApp/eCommerce Store.
The Omnichannel Paradigm from the technical perspective deserves its own post, which we will eventually get to.
Matter of fact the question of SMM technical integration is as deep as most topics about eCommerce.
Simply put, every piece of functionality from automatic Email sign-up discounts to welcome emails, cross integration with social media platforms and payment systems, are all very technically complex and require thousands of hours in development if you’re building your own eCommerce Platform from scratch.
And if you want to start right this second, whatever your product or service is, perhaps start from the basic and work from there? Make it simple, lovable and importantly complete.
And that about does it, there’s still plenty where that came from, eventually we plan to discuss what is the future of SMM and where it’s heading. After all we’ve already seen quite a metamorphosis in the past decade, and there’s no reason to expect things to settle down and not keep evolving.
If you’re aching to start developing your eCommerce platform in the nearest future and don’t have time to read our next issue, why not give us a direct call?
Finally, why use someone else’s platform like Facebook or LinkedIn? How about creating a whole new social media; Afterall we consider this might be the best time yet.
But what do you think? Tell us the most interesting piece of marketing you’ve seen from other companies? What stuck to you the most?
Here’s our favourite:
And as always, stay classy business and tech nerds!