The Basics of Using Social Media for Marketing Your eCommerce Business

This guide will introduce you to the world of social media marketing: what it is, how to use it, and what strategies will help you grow your brand.

Consider this a foot in the door into the world of social media marketing. By the time you’re done, you should have an idea of basic strategies you can incorporate, and what your next step should be.

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What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing, also known as SMM, is based on a simple idea: use social media to grow your brand.

The goal of social media marketing is to create value for you audience. Before you start, ask yourself if you would want to follow your company on social media.

SMM also refers to sponsored social media advertising. That includes Facebook Business and Instagram Business. With sponsored ads on these platforms, you can reach your target demographic directly.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Why bother with social media when there are other avenues to reach your customers?”

There are two main benefits of SMM: outreach and specificity.

  • SMM is also highly specific. Thanks to targeting options, you can market directly to your key demographics and audience. Most major social platforms let you select the exact age range and geographic location of people who are shown your ads.

SMM also helps create a level playing field for businesses. As long as you have an account and a clear idea of your audience, you can leverage social media to reach them directly.

Does it work? Of course. 73% of marketers say that SMM has been effective for their businesses. If you want to avoid ending up in the other 27%, you’ll have to know how to approach SMM.

Common Social Media Marketing Tips and Strategies

SMM isn’t like traditional advertising. It’s more active than passive.

You'll need to do something more than put out a sign on a busy street and expect that people will call your number.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t expect similar results if you know how to work social media platforms. Let’s go over some foundational strategies that work.

Start With the Content First

No matter what you do on social media, it all comes back to telling an engaging story. That starts with your content.

Focusing on the strength and quality of the content you share is vital. But if we take this goal as a given, there are still some other characteristics of your content marketing you’ll have to consider:

  • Choosing the right content for your target demographics. Different demographics tend to consume content in different ways. For example,  71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35 while those under 25 are more interested in Snapchat.
  • Getting a step ahead of your audience with a content calendar. Content marketers who plan their content in advance can take advantage of special holidays and events. Consider using tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance. You can use these tools to make sure you launch your most important posts at the ideal times with every platform.

Don’t forget your social media profile, either.

You’ll want to remember that every time a user visits your social media profile, they’re interested in your story. What’s going on in your world?

Consider the Instagram profile of Lush Cosmetics which currently has over 4 million followers.

The Lush Cosmetics Instagram profile follows best practices for social media marketing.

There you see a few elements that tell an interesting story:

  • A hook. “Get naked” is a fun play on words for a cosmetic brand, and it immediately draws in your attention.
  • Sharing. Lush encourages people to use the #LushLife hashtag. What is a Lush Life? Users can find out by browsing the hashtag, further immersing them in the Lush Cosmetics brand.
  • A link. The story continues with a link. In this case, it’s Lush’s link to its LushUSA website.

Short, simple, effective. It doesn’t take very long to make your brand bio an engaging place to visit. It only takes a compelling story.

Reach out to Customers and Engage With Them

If you’re using social media marketing for eCommerce, this tip is specifically for you.

Social media is particularly effective at establishing trust with your customers. A survey found that 49% of people rely on social media influencers when looking for product recommendations. It also showed 71% of people who’ve had a positive experience on social media are more likely to recommend your brand to someone they know.

Success on social media is built on word-of-mouth style marketing. If you can create a good experience for one customer on social media, you can potentially earn a recommendation that goes out to hundreds (even thousands) of their followers.

You don’t necessarily have to bend over backward, either. The numbers suggest that you’ll see a significant increase in customer engagement simply by reaching out. One study found that customer advocacy increased by 25% when a company answered a complaint via social media. Customers also tend to spend as much as 20% more on brands that interact with them on social media.

Remember: social media is a two-way street. It’s not simply a megaphone. The more you encourage interaction amongst your customers and followers, the more likely it is that you’ll humanize your brand.

Get Specific With Your Analytics

As you attract new followers, you’ll have to remember one important quote: What gets measured gets managed.

The good news here is that many of the platforms offer robust analytics when you use them. The key here is to watch out for your KPIs (key performance indicators). What are the variables that you want to improve? Maybe metrics like:

  • Engagement rate. It’s not enough to earn impressions; those impressions should motivate people to do something. Divide your engagements (follows, shares, etc.) by your overall impressions to better understand how often your social media content motivates your audience.
  • User demographics. Are you hitting your target market, or does your content need adjusting? Look at the age groups of your content views to ensure that you’re hitting the mark.

But what demographics should you be shooting for? And how do the demographics of the different media trend? Before you start, it’s important to know which platforms tend to perform best with which audiences.

The Differences Between the Top Social Media Platforms

Chris Lott’s photograph of the differences between the top social media platforms is funny, but it also explains a lot.

Chris Lott explains social media marketing using donuts.

It’s funny, but there’s an underlying point here. The top social media platforms tend to have different audiences and styles. The sort of content you’ll want to share on Twitter is likely different than the content you share on Facebook.

Let’s look more closely at these differences.

Notable Social Media Demographics by platform - by Pew Research

Demographics of Instagram

  • 59% of all users on the Internet between ages 18 and 29 already use Instagram, according to Pew Research.
  • Researchers also found that Instagram is generally more popular with women than men (39% of women respondents versus 30% of men).
  • Both higher and lower income users tend to use Instagram, making it equally effective at marketing bargain brands as luxury outlets.

Demographics of Facebook

  • Facebook’s demographics are so wide (with 1.47 billion daily average users) that most demographic trends tend to be only slightly different than the general population.
  • Visuals like images tend to generate the majority of Facebook’s advertising performance.
  • Facebook tends to reach the older range of social media demographics with 62% of Internet users aged 65 and above on Facebook.

Demographics of Twitter

Demographics of Snapchat

Matching Your Content to a Specific Platform

In addition to the demographics of the individual platform’s users, make sure that you pay attention to the particular types of content that perform well with the medium.

Depending on your business and target market, you may find that your brand emphasizes one platform over another. But make sure you’re careful about which you select. Make sure that your goals align with the platform’s demographics and unique outreach abilities.

eBook - Acquisition Strategies for eCommerce

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