What determines the success of an eCommerce business?
Answers will vary but one thing’s clear. Successful Shopify, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay stores share a burning passion to deliver exceptional brand experiences at every point of engagement.
In the technology era, social media is a powerful way to reach the constantly connected consumer, which is why the world’s leading eCommerce businesses are passionate about building a stellar social media presence. More than just a pretty logo splashed across social media accounts, they express their brand in every aspect of social channel design, product selection, and organic and paid advertising. Consistency is key!
“Social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum independent of the rest of the customer experience. Done well, with proper investment and resources, social media is an integral part of acquiring customers.” – Christopher Penn, Co-founder and Chief Data Scientist at TrustInsights.ai.
We’ve invited seven of the best and brightest thought-leaders in the eCommerce world to share their favorite recipes for success in branding, paid media, and analytics tools.
We’ll explore the key ingredients that, when combined, cook up a five-star social media dish!
1. Branding Strategy
Tried and true attention-grabbing tactics
Attention is everything in the marketing world. If we marketers can grab and hold a potential customer’s attention, we have a good chance of making a connection or, better yet, a sale!
Consumers have a very short attention span, 8 seconds to be exact. You literally have one- to two- seconds to grab their attention.
“A tactic I’ve used that has boosted product sales are short, explanatory videos that immediately showcase benefit to the viewer and lead to a tight, concise landing page.” – Jay Baer, Founder of Convince and Convert.
In today’s world where most of us face an onslaught of 6,000 – 10,000 digital ads while stuck at home, live streams, how-to videos, and genuine content can really help a brand stand out as authentic and engaging.
Once you have a potential customer’s attention make sure you steer the customer clear of any potential obstacles, meaning you should have a clear CTA, fast loading speeds, and quick customer support.
“When you have someone’s attention, present them with a low-barrier, no-cost sale i.e. subscribing to an email list.” – Christopher Penn.
With the introduction of legalized privacy policies in the EU and the US, it is becoming ever more difficult to track customers throughout the marketing funnel. A viable long-term cookie-free solution is essential to ensure the longevity and success of your business’s online marketing. Social media is great for getting people to your site, but once they’re there, you want to be sure to bring them back by retargeting them on other channels that they use most.
2. Paid Media
Although the debate of paid social vs paid search continues, one thing we can all agree on is that paid advertising is a must-have in the age of digital marketing.
Organic doesn’t cut it
Nowadays, it is extremely difficult to scale organically. Social media is saturated by ads, and Facebook’s algorithm has down-weighted pages’ organic retail posts heavily since they made a push to make the newsfeed more about family and friends, rather than about business. Social media ads are pay-to-play. If you aren’t playing the game you can’t win.
“Converting from organic social is challenging for every eCommerce brand, so paid media, either in terms of paid social or influencer collaborations, are the tactics that will boost product sales the most.” – Neal Schaffer, Author of The Age of Influence.
While organic social may be a challenging way to generate leads, it is vital to building positive brand experiences. Social media has become the storefront for many businesses, with consumers checking out your Instagram way before checking your reviews. Your organic content should be up-to-date and provide compelling value to your audience.
“Keep up with current trends. Assess the current social media atmosphere for your business and ask yourself questions such as; In which social media outlets are other businesses like mine having success — and why? Addressing these questions can help you grasp a better understanding of how to target more customers and create that desired sales funnel.” – John Rampton, founder and CEO of Calendar.
Optimize each channel individually
Learning about each channel, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or TikTok, is essential to ensure your ads function optimally. Crafting unique messages that meld with native content on the platform will make your brand seem more genuine and engaging.
“Online retailers should take advantage of sponsored ads, which are videos made to look similar to the native content on the platform. An algorithm chooses which sponsored videos to show based on each user’s interests and the types of content they engage with. eCommerce businesses can offer people paid sponsorships to talk about their brand. This is a great marketing tactic because sponsored ads are just in the mix of videos users watch.” – Misty Larkins, President of Relevance.
While the concept of influencer marketing isn’t new, which platforms they primarily use are constantly changing. TikTok has been growing exponentially over the pandemic and has recently announced its expanded partnership with Shopify. TikTok is a little different from other platforms, so we suggest spending some time figuring out the best way to promote your brand on it.
“TikTok has a language and culture of its own so the best way to use TikTok as a tool to grow your business is to blend in with the culture. Anything that feels like an ad or feels like it’s not native to the platform will not perform well. Study TikTok trends which are a combination of sounds, filters, and language. If you can tap into how users participate in the platform and leverage that in your content, you’ll see success.” – Andréa Jones , Creator of OnlineDrea.com
One strategy that works particularly well on Tik Tok is for online retailers to, “share the behind-the-scenes/making of their products. Follow the trends they see for makeup and outfit ‘before and afters!’” – Rachel Pederson , Founder and CEO at rachelpedersen.com
3. Analytics Tools
If you are an eCommerce brand that is just getting started with organic and paid social media, the biggest thing we can recommend is to solidify your analytics capabilities. Without optimized analytics, you won’t be able to determine which ingredients are delivering traffic that converts into sales.
“A must-have for eCommerce brands is a decent analytical infrastructure. A robust marketing technology stack helps you measure and manage everything relevant along the way. Social media is a channel, not a strategy or tactic. You should be set up to track its impact at any given point in the customer journey. Service software like chatbots, FAQ management, and CRMs, etc. can all help self-directed buyers make their purchasing decisions. Make the commitment and the investment upfront in a comprehensive, integrated marketing technology stack.” – Christopher Penn
The mass movement towards stronger online privacy for users has caused a shift in how eCommerce stores have to advertise their products. Google’s announcement to scrap third-party cookies greatly sped up this process. Cookies are becoming a thing of the past and new cookie-less analytical solutions need to be utilized.
Social media is one of the most valuable communication channels an online business can use. Whether you’re a new eCommerce store or an established business looking to gain a competitive edge, having a stellar social media presence is a must-have.
When done right, social media branding can truly optimize your business to its full potential.
I hope this article helps you cook up your own Michelin-starred social media strategy!