Social Media for eCommerce Businesses – Tips, Stats, Best Practices


Social media has become one of the most dependable and powerful sales tools for eCommerce businesses. Companies can go the patient route by building an organic following or the more direct route, with highly-target ad campaigns.  

With 35% of millennials (and a significant number of older shoppers) making purchases via social media, there has never been a better time to get on board. Use this article as a guide for understanding the real value of social media for eCommerce, how to build an effective strategy, and tips & best practices for getting the most out of your social presence.  

Why social media is crucial for eCommerce brands

The idea used to be that using social media in eCommerce was a bit wishy-washy; no tangible return to the business and “while it could work for some brands, it wouldn’t work for us”—this was a very common belief.  

eCommerce businesses can’t afford that perception today. The fact is that every type of business can improve sales or grow the business using social media—with an extremely tangible return. The main reason is that for virtually all businesses:  

      1. Your customers are on social media; 
      2. It is extremely cost-effective to market to them;
      3. It helps create a solid image.

It’s where your customers are 

Today three-quarters of shoppers use social media when making a purchasing decision.  

Most of them use social media to actively engage with and discover brands and products to do with their interests. If you sell motorbikes, you can build a following of motorbike enthusiasts on social media—and gradually and thoughtfully sell to them.  

Some brands never sell directly on social media (we cover how to do this later) but simply use the platform to build an engaged audience with awesome content…which inevitably leads to improved sales anyway. The benefits of social media in eCommerce can be massive across the buyer’s journey: from stoking awareness of the product or solution (like we’ve just described) to actively acquiring customers and then retaining them over the long term. 

It’s extremely cost-effective 

At its most basic, social media is free. Companies can set up their pages, post content, respond to messages, and build a following without spending a dime on the platform. There are still internal costs (mostly staff costs for planning, creating content, and handling messages) but it’s still possible for businesses to enjoy massive growth using free social media.  

Paid social ads are more divisive: they can be exceptionally cost-effective (which is easy to measure since there is direct attribution) when done right. The problem for many brands is that they launch head-first into paid ads without a plan—and in those cases, the costs can get out of hand fast 

This is why the rest of this article is devoted to building and executing your eCommerce social media strategy, what to expect, and in-the-trenches advice for making it work.  

It helps create a solid image 

Social media allows eCommerce companies to cultivate, build and share their image. That’s why elements such as logos and cover photos are so important: over time, audiences learn to recognize your brand even when they’re not actively looking for your products.  

Your brand image helps you stand out and cut through the noise of social media, which is an essential weapon because that noise can be loud 


Building a social media strategy for eCommerce

 Here we’ll explore valuable, general advice for building an eCommerce social media strategy. We’ll follow this up with specific tips for building an organic following and also executing paid social media ads—these are both exceptionally powerful tactics, but each has its own set of requirements and techniques. Let’s start at the start: goals 

#1 Define your goals 

Your goal is probably to get more customers, more revenue, and more growth. But when it comes to building a strategy, your big goals should be more targeted:  

      • We want to drive more traffic to our website or specific webpage 
      • We want to build an engaged following that loves interacting with our brand 
      • We want to sell % of our products directly through social media 
      • We want to bring more locals into our brick-and-mortar store 

It might be a variation of one of these or something completely different, but this top-level aim is vital. When making decisions down the line, you can always say, “Okay neat idea, but is this helping bring people into our physical store?” It serves as a check against yourself.  

You can then create actionable sub-targets depending on your main goal:  

      • We want to drive more traffic to our website or specific webpage 
      • Convert 1% of post viewers to site visitors 
      • Hit 10,000 monthly site visits within 6 months 
      • We want to build an engaged following that loves interacting with our brand 
      • Achieve an Instagram engagement rate of 5% 
      • Grow a community of 2500 followers on Facebook 
      • Land 5 volunteers a month for your “Our Customer’s Story” feature posts 

You get the idea. Look for measurable, SMART outcomes which you can directly attribute and tie to your larger goal. Getting a boatload of new followers sounds fantastic, but if none of them are visiting your website, it might be worthless. 

#2 Find out where your audience “lives” 

Nearly 3 billion people on Earth are “active social media users”. Since your customer base likely runs in the thousands (possibly the hundreds or tens) that’s a really unhelpful number. Your goal is to dominate a very specific niche, not appeal to half the world.  

If your eCommerce business is just starting with social, you don’t need to be on every platform. Figuring these platforms out takes time, and you’re better off getting good at one before moving to the next.  

Companies like Hootsuite, Keyhole, Google Analytics, or SparkToro can tell you where your customers spend their time. You can trace certain keywords or hashtags, search by demographics (based on your past customers) or see which social platforms are directing the most traffic to your website.  

Once you have the right platform(s), it’s time to start building your presence and dominating your niche—with the most relevant content and the best interactions with the audience.  


#3 Create and optimize your profiles 

When creating your company profile, it’s incredibly important to get the basic information down first:  

      • What’s your company called and what do you offer?  
      • Where are you based?  
      • How do I contact you?  
      • How do I buy from you?  

It’s incredible the number of businesses who neglect these essential details. The use of relevant keywords and hashtags, clear CTAs, and minimal jargon is essential. Optimizing for eCommerce means having clear buttons and CTAs, website links to any products showcased, and never forgetting that the end purpose of your social media profile is to convert 

#4 Start posting  

The fundamental key to building an engaged organic following is content. This can be virtually anything:  

      • Blog posts and helpful tips 
      • eBooks, Guides 
      • Customer success stories 
      • Collaborations with industry influencers or partners 
      • Webinars, Videos 
      • User-generated content 

We’ve listed most of the big hitters in terms of longer-form content. However, in 2021 we are seeing a massive rise in the popularity of snackable content: infographics, memes, quotes, and video clips are popular attention-grabbing formats for social media scrollers.  

As long as it fits your brand and resonates with your audience, your social media profile is boundless. Inject your personality into everything—doesn’t matter if you’re funny, serious, insightful, playful, antagonistic, or flamboyant. As long as it’s consistenthigh-quality, and on-brand 

Not sure where to start with content? Start by thinking about any questions your customers might want answers to—and turn the answers into content! Getting inspiration from your competition is also fair game, as well as deploying social listening: this is a relatively new technology that lets you “listen” to what people are saying about your brand, competitors, industry, or product type across social media and the internet in general. Use this data to inform content ideas. 


#5 Use tools to automate  

The biggest hurdle to social media success is the sheer amount of time you can lose racing down rabbit holes, analyzing the competition, responding to comments & DMs, creating and scheduling content, and producing analytics. From day one (and long before you see any kind of payoff) there is a lot of work to do.  

Here are a few ways you can optimize your workflow without losing your personality or credibility:  

      • Schedulers—There will be a most active time window for your audience. Use post schedulers to prep content in advance and always release it at the optimal time.  
      • Sophisticated replies—As a rule, automating replies to your brand is an awful idea. It’s disingenuous and off-putting. But some tools allow you to save authentic, pre-written responses to common questions. When a question comes through, you can send the appropriate response with a single click, which can save time for some companies without any reputational damage.  
      • Customer support chatbots—On social media, it’s generally accepted that chatbots are a reasonable first line of defense. If you get a lot of simple queries, it might be worth having a bot direct them to other resources (like guides or FAQs) or whatever ticketing and support system you use for more complex queries.  

#6 Interact with and engage your followers 

Any time a person comments on a post or sends you a private message, you should always take the time to respond—without copy pasting or giving very short responses. Apart from an inundation of similar queries (like we talked about in the last section), it’s always worth the effort to give personal, personable replies. Everyone builds your brand, credibility, and relationship with followers. 

Research shows that 29% of consumers expect this response within an hour; the vast majority expect to hear back within a day. For successful eCommerce businesses, social media is becoming a valuable extension of traditional customer support. Not only that, but when queries are handled well and customers are delighted, social media can become a lucrative source of customer reviews 


Tips for building an organic following

You’ve already done the required legwork: you know who you’re targeting, you know their interests, and you’re actively building out content they’ll value. The first step to building an organic following is to keep up this effort with total consistency: keep creating, keep publishing, and don’t give up when nothing changes overnight.  

Ideally, you’ll use your analytics to learn to publish the right content at the right time for your audience. Maybe you get huge engagement with your hilarious snackable content on weekday mornings, or your spike in blog traffic is always 24 hours after posting. You never know what you’ll find, but hitting your audience with well-crafted and well-timed content makes for a powerful one-two punch.  

At the start, simply promoting your social media profiles is key. Promote them everywhere. After building your strategy, you need to let people know you exist! Leverage your employees’ accounts, ask industry friends and colleagues, and add it to your signature or business cards—anywhere you can get your name out.  

Another tactic to consider is identifying, following, and connecting with influencers in your industry. We’ve done a full exploration of using influencers to boost eCommerce sales, but essentially these collaborations can help bring qualified, interested followers to your channel or profile. Successful collaborations can drip-feed new followers for months!  

It should go without saying that you should interact with everyone who comments on or shares your content. Being proactive (with your authentic tone of voice!) and „mingling” with followers is crucial. It’s key to showcasing your brand’s personality and building trust.  

Finally, we recommend getting a hold of your hashtags. Deploying relevant hashtags can significantly increase the discoverability of your brand. Many social media users follow specific hashtags related to their interests—it’s an easy way to see industry news and what thought leaders have been up to without following tonnes of accounts.  

Make sure to search hashtags yourself before using them (some hashtags are used for nefarious purposes!) and where possible, create unique hashtags for your brand. On popular content, you can simply tell users, to follow this hashtag for all posts related to [subject] rather than leaving them to figure it out themselves!  


Tips for executing paid social

 There are two challenges with organic social media as a strategy: success is not guaranteed, and it’s slow. Despite being immensely powerful once you get going, most companies will put in months or years of effort before their organic social account is thriving.  

eCommerce ad campaigns are much more direct: you pay to get your content in front of highly specific audiences instantly. When the content, audience and offer align well, you can get tremendous results. Such campaigns attempt to:  

      • Spread awareness about new products or causes 
      • Increase post engagement and/or your follower count 
      • Increase overall traffic to your online store  
      • Promote a specific product, catalog, or event (like a sale) 
      • Bring potential customers in-store 

Leverage audience segmentation, targeting, and personalization  

Knowing your audience is a useful yardstick for organic social media. For ads, you can target this specific audience and exclude everyone else! Big social networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all allow you to segment audiences and create ultra-personalized campaigns.  

Say you run an online apparel store. If you understand the demographic that’s most likely to purchase a certain line of clothing, you can build that audience on Facebook and then target them with highly specific ads—but demographic is only one data point. You can also build audiences off:  

      • Specific brands that prospects follow 
      • Geographic location 
      • Job title or income level 
      • Hobbies and interests 
      • Behaviors, partner connections, and more. 

With a bit of practice (or by hiring an expert to help), this personalization creates superpowered ads.  


Understand Ad Types 

If you’re new to paid ads, you might be surprised by how many different options there are. To avoid overwhelming you here’s a quick intro to some of the most popular ad types:  

      • Image ads—These are the staple of social media advertising. An engaging, text-light image that catches the user’s attention. Most of the ads on Instagram and Facebook are image ads, with some descriptive text underneath or to one side.   
      • Carousel ads—Carousels are used when a single image isn’t enough. They allow users to swipe through various images or videos, typically for things like full product lines, seeing multi-step processes, or companies offering an array of solutions.  
      • Product ads—These let customers see the prices for every item in the ad. As Social Commerce takes off, we’ll be seeing more and more of these ads across social media.  
      • Stories ads—Brands can insert ads between users’ stories on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. These are becoming increasingly interactive, allowing users to click and navigate ads in a more immersive experience. You’ll need a good design team on-hand for these!  
      • Text ads—Your classic text-based ad still has a role for many companies, though image-driven posts have become the significant majority.  

 Design ads with a mobile-first focus 

79% of users exclusively access social networks on their smartphones—if your ads are still set up for desktop, they’re set up to fail. The easiest areas to focus on are:  

      • Simplicity. Keep all artwork, text, and designs simple and easy to understand.  
      • Concision. Convey your message impactfully, but with as few words as possible.  
      • Display. Build all aspects of your design around smartphone use, then scale up for desktop users. It’s all about tapping, scrolling, and swiping.  
      • CTAs. Make all buttons and CTAs as obvious and prominent and easy to find as possible.  

One interesting idea is the B2Bob framework. Instead of „business to business”, we should rethink the acronym as Brand, 2 seconds, Benefit. Or in other words, you should aim to showcase your Brand within 2 seconds by highlighting your Benefit, while speaking to a human-like BobRead more about the B2Bob framework 


Test, Measure, and Optimize 

Testing lets you discover which of your ads works best. You iterate on the successes to create increasingly effective ads for lower costs. Once you have a successful ad, make small and iterative adjustments—if you just change everything, how will you know what was working?  

Facebook in particular makes assessing and improving your ads straightforward. They provide heaps of data (including which audiences are most receptive to your ads) to help you improve. This is because they provide an out-of-the-box A/B testing tool that allows you to change the various variables in your ad campaign (such as audience, placement, or ad creative). 

The difference between eCommerce social media and “social commerce” 

The main ideas of eCommerce social media are building brand awareness, engaging with prospects and clients, building trust, and ultimately contributing to the final conversion. More recently another powerful function has emerged: selling products directly within your social account, and this process is referred to as social commerce 

Most of the major social media platforms now offer native shopping solutions:  

      • Instagram—Shoppable Posts 
      • Facebook—Facebook Shops 
      • Pinterest—Shoppable Product Pins and ‘Shop the Look’ ads 

Snapchat and TikTok are dipping their toes into social commerce but haven’t committed yet. Once smaller social platforms have a cost-effective way to join the party, social commerce will become ubiquitous. After all, jumping from one app to another is an extra hoop for customers and will cause some churn.  

And of course, social media companies want your social commerce to succeed so that users stay on their apps for longer in general, since this all helps them increase revenue. It’s a natural partnership and the impact of social media on eCommerce is only rising—keep your eyes peeled.   

Start your social media journey

If your eCommerce is considering a move into the world of social media, there’s no better time to start than right now. Across this post and our other content, you’ve got all the information and guidance you need to make a considered and impactful beginning. Power up your social media from the start with this list of 14 great social media tools to help you create images, schedule content, access analytics, and much more!  

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5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All eCommerce Sellers Must Know

ecommerce marketing strategy

With more customers shopping online than ever before, and ever-increasing competition for attention, online businesses will only be able to maximize their success if they learn how to build on organic engagement in social media.

Don’t get me wrong, gaining organic traffic through search, and even conversions from paid ads, are still great ways to build a business. However, leveraging a community to build sales from organic engagement costs nothing more than your time. And besides that, there are plenty of tools available to help you along the way.

Here are five practical strategies you can implement straight away which will help boost traffic and sales through your social channels.

1. Create, Curate, and Share Awesome Content

If all you do through your social channels is promote your products, your audience is going to burn out on your pages and posts pretty fast. The more the engagement drops on your posts, the less often your new posts will be seen by your followers – after all, channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest want to display only the most interesting content to keep users engaged (and there are a lot of brands competing for the limited space in a user’s social feed).

Ramp up engagement by finding awesome repurposed content. I’m not just talking about reposting old articles or sharing cool stuff you found on other websites. Instead, take the Skyscraper approach or create something similar to Buzzfeed’s listicles.

Find an interesting topic and mold it into something much better than the original. That’s what the guys at Shopify did when they were tasked with launching a profitable business in just three days.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

Using BuzzSumo, they searched for pieces of highly-shared content that was relevant to their audience. Using the original video created by someone else, they took the tips and created a targeted list post, then shared that to a relevant community online.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

It didn’t take long for the new content to start driving traffic to the online store where the article was hosted.

While this surge of new traffic usually won’t result in immediate sales, well-optimized content like this will continuously send traffic and generate sales over the long run.

2. Embrace Micro-Content

One of the problems faced by many marketers today – not just those in eCommerce – is that the web is in a constant state of information overload. Audiences are bombarded with updates from their favorite brands, publishers, and media outlets, both directly and through the shares of people in their network.

With limited time and shrinking patience, consumers just aren’t willing to spend a lot of time digesting content anymore, you can’t expect them to be willing to watch a 10-minute video or read a 5,000-word article when they’re on the go.

This is why micro-content comes in handy. Short, 10-second Snapchats or brief videos posted to Instagram and Facebook – or even a video converted to GIF format for Twitter – can bump up your engagement.

With micro-content, you get the same benefits of video, and your audience is more likely to watch when they know it won’t cost them more than 10-20 seconds of their time.

Major brands have been leveraging this since Vine took off, including Lowe’s, Doritos, Taco Bell, and even NASCAR.

3. Blogs Are Social, Too

It’s not uncommon for marketers and online store owners to have tunnel vision and get stuck on the idea that social media is all about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. But blogs are absolutely forms of social media – they’re platforms where content is posted, and that content sees shares and comments, just like the more popular social platforms.

When you’re marketing an eCommerce business, be sure to include regular blog outreach in your social media strategy. It can drive a LOT of traffic back to your store if you do it right.

That’s what Richard Lazazzera from A Better Lemonade Stand learned when he challenged himself to launch a t-shirt business in just 24 hours. After creating his store on Shopify and listing his products, he reached out to a local blogger to ask if he would be interested in covering the products since they related to an article the blogger had recently published.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

When Richard woke up the next morning, he found a stream of notifications from new customers that came from that blogger publishing a post about the shirts. That post not only led to sales but other people interested in collaborating with Richard.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

Don’t just create your content, reach out to influencers and bloggers who align with your audience and work with them to get your business or products featured on other sites and social channels.

4. Create More Engaging Content

Whenever you post content on your social channels, it should have a purpose, whether that’s to generate comments, and shares, drive traffic to your store, etc. The best way to do that is to always create content with a focus on maximizing engagement.

Some of the best ways to do this include: asking questions, crafting strong call-to-action specific to engagement, and targeting your audience’s emotions with a little controversy from time to time.

This is particularly effective if you center your content around a product or your brand like Ahole Gear has done.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

Doritos recently combined another one of the above approaches by creating a short video clip that leverages its product and adds a touch of political controversy to get people talking.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

The more engaging your content is, the farther it will reach beyond your immediate followers as they comment, like, and share the content. This will lead to repeat customers as well as the acquisition of new customers who weren’t previously aware of your brand.

5. Use Social Reviews

Customer product reviews are great ways to build social proof on your product pages and let new customers know what they can expect when purchasing from you. A lot of eCommerce platforms use apps like Yotpo to develop more engaging reviews in their online stores, but you can also leverage reviews from your social media.

Not only does Yotpo enable you to connect your social accounts to post user-generated content on your pages, but Facebook also has its own native reviews that you should activate. This way, when prospective customers discover you in social media they can see right from the channel, without ever going to your site, that people are raving about your products and service.

For example, Coval Vapes is a brick-and-mortar store that also sells its products worldwide on its online store, and it has amassed a nice run of highly-rated reviews on its Facebook page.

5 Practical Social Media Marketing Strategies That All Ecommerce Sellers Must Know | Social Media Today

Be sure to consistently encourage your fans to leave reviews. Rather than ask for reviews through your social channels, send follow-up emails after purchases and include a highly visible call-to-action note. Ask them to please come back and review their purchase on your social channels, or within your store, so you can later benefit from greater social proof generated by satisfied customers.

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7 Easy Steps to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

marketing strategy

Social media marketing can help you build engaged audiences where your customers and target audience already spend their time.

Or, it can be a time-consuming obligation that spreads you thin, resulting in a drain on time and money rather than the asset you’ve seen it become for many established brands.

The difference is having a social media marketing plan that keeps your actions focused, along with a process that enables you to execute without taking too much attention away from running your business.

But starting from scratch can be a daunting task, especially with so many different channels to build a presence on and the commitment that comes with it.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to walk you through how to approach your social media marketing strategy, along with tools and tips to help you pull it off.

What is a social marketing strategy?

A social media marketing strategy gives you a big-picture view of your social media marketing goals and how you can best achieve those outcomes. Brands continue to ride the wave of social media marketing, with 73% of marketers believing their efforts have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.

Whether it’s TikTok ads or influencer marketing, social media lets brands access cost-effective marketing. Like a Swiss Army knife, a social media marketing plan can serve all kinds of marketing functions from:

      • Driving traffic and sales;
      • Tapping into influencer networks;
      • Building brand awareness;
      • Amassing an engaged audience;
      • Connecting with customers and prospects;
      • Providing customer support.

This is because you have a wide range of channels to incorporate, each with its strengths and weaknesses to consider.

For the sake of simplicity and making it easy to get started, we’ll split your social media strategy into seven parts:

      1. Goals: The outcomes you want from your efforts and how you’ll measure them.
      2. Target audiences: Researching and defining your easiest customers.
      3. Metrics: Creating a data-driven marketing strategy.
      4. Content mix: Recurring ideas or post types to include in your social media programming.
      5. Channels: The social networks you want to dedicate your time to and what you’ll use them for.
      6. Infrastructure: Setting up the process and tools to execute your strategy efficiently.
      7. Improvements: Adapt and innovate on your progress during the year.

This isn’t a prescription for digital marketing success, of course, only a framework to help you lay the foundation. By the end, you’ll be better equipped to understand how all of these pillars are connected and inform each other, helping you to make smarter decisions and revise your social media strategy over time.

How to create a social media marketing strategy

Analysis from Kepios shows that there are 4.65 billion social media users around the world in April 2022, equating to 58.7 percent of the total global population.

A good strategy will help your brand find the right customers in this growing space. It will also help you determine which social media platforms you should focus on. Whether you’re new to social media or revisiting your strategy for 2022, follow these steps to create your strategy.

      • Set social media goals that are relevant to your business;
      • Identify your target audiences on social media;
      • Decide your metrics and KPIs;
      • Create your social media content mix.

Set goals that are relevant to your business

Everything you post or do should be tied back to one of your goals as a business owner. To start, write your goals down and think about how you’ll measure the success of your efforts.

Social media marketing requires a lot of testing and trying things out. You can’t improve any particular aspect of it without knowing what signals to pay attention to. You can even use these signals to define targets for your social media marketing plan to help you stay motivated and on track.

Beyond branding, you need all the social handles. People need to find you. They need to be able to find you on social and on your website and have it all be clear and consistent.

John Cascarano, founder of Beast 

Here are just some of the goals you should consider for your social media marketing:

Drive brand awareness. Reach more people to increase the likelihood of your brand getting seen by the right people. You can measure this using impressions/reach, likes, shares, mentions, or any other signal that shows a real person has seen your post(s).

Create demand for your products. Get people interested in your products with relevant inspiration or education, which you can gauge by clicks to your site, products added to a shopping cart, or comments/messages from interested customers.

Acquire leads and customers. These are paying customers, or at least their emails, which you can nurture into sales. A large amount in itself, won’t help you drive sales!

Network to form partnerships. Engage with influencers or like-minded brands for influencer marketing or co-marketing campaigns.

Build a loyal following. Grow an engaged audience that wants to hear from you; don’t inflate your follower count with fake or bought followers. You want to build an authentic community of people who are interested in your products and who will promote your content or products to others. You can measure this by followers you’ve added or lost in a certain time frame, or your engagement rate (total engagement divided by the number of followers).

Establish social proof. Source positive testimonials or content generated by customers/influencers that cast your products in a positive light and can potentially be used in other marketing efforts. Sharing testimonials is an incredibly effective social media marketing tactic and can generate increased awareness and sales.

Provide customer service. A social media presence opens you up to customer questions, complaints, and inquiries. So one of your goals will be to provide this support to customers or direct it to another preferred, private channel. One way to measure this is through your response time for direct messages. (This is displayed as a badge on your Facebook page, for example.)

Become a thought leader in your target market. Social media gives you a voice that you can use to not only participate in conversations but shift them in the direction you think they should go in and build credibility around your products or services.

Everything you do should tick one or more of these boxes, and ideas and new tactics you plan to test out should be evaluated on their potential to achieve these goals.

Keep these broad objectives in mind as we get into the next step: figuring out who you’ll be trying to reach.

Identifying your target audiences

An effective social media marketing strategy starts with understanding your ideal customer. Building rich context on your target audience takes time, but there are steps you can take immediately that will provide lasting value.

Spend some time researching your target audience, looking for demographic and psychographic data or observable patterns that help you form a mental image of who is likely to buy from you. This exercise won’t just inform your initial strategy but also help you develop a voice and tone for your brand that resonates with them.

If your business naturally focuses on a specific niche market (like cat owners, for example), your job will be easier than if you’re trying to appeal to a more general audience (like telecom and airline brands). Check out places your audiences often hang out, such as in subreddits or blogs, to see what they’re interested in.

Facebook, being one of the largest social media platforms and, thus, a database of 2.89 billion monthly active users, is also a great place to do some audience research. Check out your competitors’ pages, clicking through on the profiles of some of their engaged followers to get a better sense of who they are.

Once you’ve done some digging, you can put it all together to create an ideal customer, or buyer persona, who is likely to buy your product.

You don’t have to fill out every trait, but describe what you can to paint an image of this person as it is relevant to your business. The more effort and detail you put into this section, the more impactful your findings will be for your social media marketing strategy.

personas checklist template

The point here isn’t to be 100% accurate but to outline your best guess at the kind of person who would be the easiest to convert into a customer.

As an example, let’s say I’ve started up my apparel brand that sells t-shirts catering to potential customers in the Toronto area:

      • Location: Toronto, Canada
      • Age: 22 to 34 years old
      • Gender: Male and female
      • Interests: Foodie, hip hop, bars, basketball
      • Career/Industry: Business or tech
      • Income level: $30,000 to $70,000
      • Relationship status: Single
      • Favorite websites to visit: BlogTO, Toronto Life, Instagram, Facebook
      • Motivation to buy: Show off their pride as native Torontonians
      • Buying concerns: Prefer to buy from an established competitor or avoid brands that don’t seem authentic or truly familiar with Toronto

Most of these traits can be targeted directly or indirectly through social media ads, but having them written down also helps inform the kind of content I can share to resonate with them.

Keep these buyers’ personas detailed. This is all subject to change or evolves as you begin getting feedback when you start to execute your strategy, pursuing the marketing goals we identified earlier.

Maybe one of your assumptions was wrong or your customers share another trait you didn’t expect at all. Either way, social media marketing is one of the best ways to find out who your customers are, and what you learn can even be incorporated into your larger business roadmap, such as what products you’ll come out with next.

You can go further and develop several audiences or “target segments” to speak to, such as a significant other looking for a gift (not the customer themself), shoppers who already buy from one of your competitors, and people or companies you want to build connections with.

But for now, you’ll be in a better position to consider the next part of your social media strategy: what you’re going to post.

Determine important metrics and KPIs for your social media marketing plan

When tracking your social media marketing performance, it can often like there are a million numbers to look at for your social media analytics. There’s a number for almost everything.

Each social media platform has a different analytics tool. What you decide to track on each one will depend on your goals above.

However, there are a few numbers you’ll want to keep an eye on to grow your social media accounts.


Social media marketing engagement involves tracking the number of different metrics. It’s used to understand if your audience actively interacts with your content and how effective campaigns are. High engagement rates indicate audience health (i.e., how responsive they are) and that your content is interesting.

You’ll look at different engagement metrics such as:

      • Likes, comments, and retweets. Engagement rates like shares or retweets are different on every platform. But likes and comments are universal across all.
      • Post engagement. This number takes the amount of post engagements divided by impressions for each.
      • Clicks. Closely tied with your click-through, this metric shows the number of times someone clicks on your content.


Awareness metrics can tell you about your brand’s visibility on a platform and are critical to track for your social media marketing efforts. If you have goals for increasing brand awareness, look at:

      • Account mentions. The number of times someone mentions your brand on social media. These can be positive or negative and give you the chance to respond to people and shape your brand’s perception.
      • Impressions. The total number of times a post showed up in a browser’s timeline.
      • Reach. The total number of unique people who see your content.
      • Sentiment. Your brand’s share of voice. It shows how many people are talking about your brand compared to competitors.

Return on investment (ROI)

One of the most important social media analytics for any social media campaign is your ROI. You can track sales if you’re using an in-app store like Facebook Shops. You see how many people purchased something on your website from a social channel in your Shopify Analytics under Sales by social source.

Create your social media marketing strategy content mix

Managing a social media marketing channel is a bit like running your TV network. You can produce social media campaigns with new “weekly episodes.” You can syndicate your content to other channels. You can have reruns of fan favorites or #ThrowBackThursdays to fill in for empty time-slots and commercial breaks to sell your products.

Defining your content mix—recurring formats and post types—makes it easier to think up and produce social content while adding a rhythm to your posting schedule to offer your audience both variety and consistency at the same time. Otherwise, you’ll wind up scrambling for something to publish every day.

Most social media accounts worth following make an implied promise to their audience that they consistently fulfill. For business owners, it often starts with a question:

Beyond your products, how can you consistently provide value to your target audience?

It’s not only about what you post, but how you allocate your resources (time, money, creativity) to maintain your social media presence. Some ideas will warrant a greater investment because they help achieve a number of your goals at once.

Within your content mix, you want to have ideas you can plan for in advance, reproduce, and schedule to go out regularly. For example, you might feature a customer testimonial every Tuesday and share a quote graphic every Wednesday and Friday.

These pieces that are relatively easy to turn around can keep your social media calendar full while you build out more elaborate assets, such as a promotional video or a blog post.

The content mix you develop can incorporate:

      1. News. Information about what’s happening in your industry or posts that are based on what’s trending at the moment.
      2. Inspiration. Motivation to use your products or pursue a certain lifestyle, such as quote graphics or photos from around the world.
      3. Education. Share fun stats and facts or how-to posts from your blog or YouTube channel.
      4. Product/promotional posts. High-quality product shots of your products being used, demo videos, testimonials, or feature explanations can help you achieve your ultimate goal of getting sales. You can often run these as ads after you create them.
      5. Contests and giveaways. A contest or free download in exchange for an email is a great way to promote something of value to both you and your audience other than your products.
      6. Customer/influencer features. Shots or videos featuring your customers or the people they follow.
      7. Community events. Share meetups, fundraisers, or learning opportunities, especially if you’re a local business.
      8. Q&A. Ask your audience a question or request to elicit responses, such as ‘“Tag a friend who’s always late,” or answer a common question that you get from customers.
      9. Tips and tricks. Share useful information and tutorials about your products.
      10. Behind the scenes. Share how your product is made or what you’re doing to grow your business to offer some transparency that your audience can relate to. Giving your audience a look into the humans behind your business can go a long way in creating a trust or building your brand as a founder.
      11. And more. Get creative and try to come up with a content mix that differentiates you from your competitors. Only through publishing content on social media regularly can you get an idea of what works best.

Aim for about five to seven content archetypes to start off with, balancing your content mix with post formats that you can quickly create with a couple that might take some time to produce, like a product demonstration video, as well as posts that aim for sales and posts that just seek to delight and grow your audience.

Based on my hypothetical business selling t-shirts to Torontonians, I might start with the following content archetypes, tying each one to a different goal:

      1. Share a link to a popular product in my store. (Sales)
      2. Create and publish an original meme about life in Toronto. (Awareness and reach)
      3. Share a post from BlogTO or another Toronto-focused publication. (Engagement)
      4. Share a high-quality photo of a popular hangout spot in Toronto or a local event. (Audience building and engagement)
      5. Ask the audience for feedback on potential t-shirt design ideas. (Engagement)
      6. Share a photo featuring a model wearing my shirt and tag them. (Create demand and attract influencers)

Try to vary your programming throughout the week. When new social media followers land on your account, their perception of your brand will be your last three to six posts. If they’re all explicitly selling your products or services, it will turn them off.

Note: Keep in mind that anything you create can potentially be promoted again and again to your audience over time, or on other channels. Don’t shy away from eventual “re-runs,” especially if a certain post has proven to drive traffic, engagement, or sales.

To get you inspired to come up with your content mix, here are some ideas you can borrow from brands that are doing well on social media.

User-generated content

user generated content for social media

Fashion Nova relies on style education via its blog and YouTube channel to market its clothing, which no doubt takes time to produce.

But on its website and in its marketing communications, it lets shoppers browse looks from its Instagram account. These photos are then shared on Fashion Nova’s own Instagram account or store using one of the available Shoppable Instagram apps.

If your products beg to be shared on social media, you can harness that and source social content that you can use for your own social media posts.

Shots of your product being used

letterfolk social commerce on Instagram

While it’s great to have several content formats to add variety to your social media marketing mix, even one proven content format, published consistently, can do wonders for growing your audience.

Letterfolk’s Instagram is a great example of how developing a theme through what you post can make social media publishing less work in the long run, without sacrificing engagement. Nearly all of its posts feature the same premise: a shot of its bestselling products being used in people’s lives.

It can succeed with this strategy because each post helps it achieve several of its goals at once, namely:

      • Create high-level engagement with relatable quotes.
      • Grow a following through an account with a clear and consistent premise.
      • Drive sales by showing off the product in action.

Think about how you can develop your content formats to chase several of your goals with a single post.


The introduction of smartphone cameras and video editing apps has made it easy to hit Record. A Biteable survey revealed that 60% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 94% of marketers who use video plan to continue in the coming years.

YouTube is the most popular social channel for videos, with 88% of marketers using it, followed by Facebook, with 76%.

social media marketing stat

Taking videos is easy and convenient. You don’t need an entire production studio to create engaging videos. Video tours, product updates, how-to guides, and general entertainment videos make great content that attracts followers and drives them to your website.

While it’s clear YouTube is the king of video content, there are other video channels to take advantage of:

      • TikTok;
      • Instagram Reels;
      • Instagram Stories;
      • IGTV;
      • Snapchat;
      • Facebook Stories.

Good video content normally falls under two categories: helpful or entertaining. Fashion designer Justine Leconte, for example, runs a YouTube channel focused on ethical fashion, lifestyle, and trends. She teaches women how to create a wardrobe for their body type, work with colors, and more.

Justine’s video content sees millions of views per video, attracting the right audience to her brand.

youtube creator example on social media

The above video from Justine has over 7.8 million views and over 3,600 comments, which shows just how engaging video content is. She also links to her Shopify store, where viewers can shop her product lines, helping prove the ROI of her video marketing efforts.


Livestreaming went from zero to hero over the past few years. From 2019 to 2020 alone, the online live streaming industry has grown by 99%, according to the latest data from StreamElements. Conviva’s latest State of the Streaming report reveals that live content also earns 27% more minutes of watch time per viewing compared to on-demand video.

Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn all have live videos on their platforms. Social media live streaming is authentic and engaging. And the best part? You don’t need any fancy video equipment to start a broadcast, just your smartphone.

Some fun Livestream ideas:

      • Organize a Q&A session where fans can send questions about your brand and have them answered.
      • Create tutorials of tools you use.
      • Share your thoughts on a relevant industry topic.
      • Show behind-the-scenes of you creating products and services.
      • Run a flash sale.
      • Host a giveaway contest or fundraiser.

Try one or two of the ideas above for your brand. Test what resonates with your audience the most, and expand on more ideas over time.

Additional tips and resources

      • Be visual. Even if you’re not a designer or video editor, you can use free tools like Canva (social graphics), Adobe Spark or Lumen5 (videos), Meme Generator, and more to produce shareable content.
      • Be purposeful. Tie each part of your content mix back to your target audience and one or more of the goals you established in the previous two stages. Knowing what to measure will help you evaluate the success of a particular idea and inform your strategy over time.
      • Curate and create. To avoid becoming overwhelmed with creating original content, try to curate and remix content as well. Be sure to tag and credit your sources.

Choosing your social media channels

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat—there’s no shortage of social media networks for you to build a presence for your brand.

But two mistakes are easy to make when you’re just starting on social media:

      1. Building your presence on more channels than you can maintain.
      2. Treating every channel the same and not playing to the strengths of each.

We’re always testing new platforms. I would say that Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have been huge drivers from the social media standpoint.

Each channel you choose is another you have to potentially manage. You need to prioritize what you’ll be focusing on in the beginning and that starts by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each channel.

For the sake of this post, we’ll cover some of the most popular social media channels. But this is by no means an exhaustive list. Look at similar brands and competitors to get a sense of where your audience lives and where you could be building your presence.


As a marketing channel, Instagram lets you focus on building a following through a variety of visual mediums.

Unlike Facebook, you can get pretty good results without necessarily paying to play, although if you have the budget available, there’s the option of pursuing Instagram advertising and influencer marketing. But also, unlike Facebook, almost half of its users are millennials and Gen Z between the ages of 18 and 34.

Instagram lets you post images and videos, which are discoverable through hashtags. But there are also Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, which let you put out photos and videos with a 24-hour lifespan. This gives you the unique option of keeping your Instagram feed consistent and clean, while using Stories to test out ideas and share behind the scenes that have a more casual and personal production quality to them.

People are prepared to spend a premium amount for a fashionable product. You need to focus on what looks visually good, because being able to sell on Instagram has been a really big game changer for us.

You can also add product tags and stickers to your business profile. These tags let users tap on a product in your post and story, get more information, then head to your site to purchase it.

instagram shop example

Want to market your business on Instagram? Read Getting Started on IG: A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Marketing. You’ll learn about setting up your profile, what types of content to post, marketing tips, and more.


Genuine content leads the way for brands on TikTok. More than other social networks, viewers prefer engaging, raw videos over highly edited content. It’s this difference that gives TikTok creators a chance to connect with their audience authentically.

If you’re targeting a younger crowd, TikTok is a useful social media channel for your brand. 62% of its audiences are between the ages of 10 and 29 years old.

TikTok is often used for building brand awareness, but it can also be a sales driver thanks to its “link in bio” feature, which allows you to showcase a range of content and products from a single link. Shopify merchant SendAFriend was able to scale to $5 million in sales in two years driven by its TikTok marketing strategy.

tiktok profile example

If you want to run TikTok campaigns for your business, read Authenticity Sells: A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing on TikTok.


Few social channels are built for businesses quite like Facebook. On top of a Facebook shop, the ability to add customer reviews, and a popular Messaging feature that can be used to provide customer service, Facebook is also one of the most widely used social media apps worldwide.

But its biggest downside is that, unless you pay to promote your posts, you won’t be able to reach many people, even if they’ve opted in by liking your page.

That said, Facebook can be an incredibly powerful way to use social media for advertising. It’s a database of information that you can use to deliver targeted ads to your ideal customers. If you amplify content that’s set up to produce engagement (likes, shares, comments), such as a viral video, you can generally lower the cost of your advertising, so keep that in mind.

You can learn more about Facebook Advertising in our guide and by checking out these 7 common mistakes to avoid when planning your campaigns.


YouTube is another popular way to reach your audience as an online business. It’s the second most-visited website in the world and has a global viewer base, with 42.9% of web users accessing YouTube each month.

You may think that YouTube is only for big brands getting millions of video viewers. However, the number of small businesses advertising on YouTube doubled over the past two years.

You can produce many different types of videos for YouTube, including:

      • Customer testimonials;
      • Product demos;
      • Explainers and tutorials;
      • Reviews and case studies;
      • Vlogs;
      • Education videos.

Whether you’re a creator or an eCommerce brand, you can create video content for YouTube that attracts potential customers. It’s a tactic that the Jeremy Fragrance channel uses to gain visibility for its online store, Fragrance. One.

The channel creates a mix of reviews, tutorials, and curated lists around the topic of fragrances. His videos see millions of views each month. Each video links directly to the Fragrance.One store so people can purchase products directly from YouTube.

youtube channel example

Creating a YouTube account is free. Yet the big investment will come from producing high-quality videos to outpace your competition. Get set up on YouTube today by reading Your Starter Guide to YouTube Marketing: Tips, Strategies, and Tools.


Twitter’s greatest strength is that it lets you listen to and engage with other voices in the world. That said, it might not be as strong as a sales channel for many brands but can be used to showcase your brand’s personality (see the Wendy’s or Moon Pie accounts for examples).

wendy's social media marketing example

What you can use Twitter marketing for instead if you choose to, is networking with other brands and journalists, and connecting with potential and existing customers on a smaller scale. Many Twitter users also rely on the platform for news, if that’s a part of your content mix.


While Pinterest isn’t exactly a “social media site,” it often finds itself in a company’s social media marketing mix, especially among eCommerce brands. That’s because users come to Pinterest with more intent to buy something than they do when visiting any other social platform.

Unlike the channels above, Pinterest has a clearly defined user base consisting mostly (71%) of women with disposable income. So it’s not for everyone. But if you’re in the apparel, home decor, or food industry, you’d be missing out on an opportunity to get traffic and sales through both organic and paid Pinterest marketing tactics.


LinkedIn’s greatest strength is its position as a social network for professionals. If your target audience can be identified by a particular profession or some businesses need your products or service, then it might be worth building your presence here.

LinkedIn is also a great platform for networking, hiring talent, and pursuing business development opportunities by reaching out to brands or people of interest you would like to partner with. LinkedIn continues to invest in helping users distribute their content through the likes LinkedIn newsletter as well.

At the very least, it’s worth having your own personal LinkedIn profile set up for networking and a company page so others can learn more about your business and its employees.

Plan your social media content

With an understanding of your goals, your target audience, and how you’ll be using different channels, it’s time to create the framework you need to manage and schedule your social media calendar.

There are a wide variety of social media management tools you can use for this purpose, but I recommend using Trello for planning content, and LaterHootsuite, or Buffer for scheduling, because they all have free plans to get you started.

Collecting ideas and planning content

Ideas often seem to strike at random. So you need a place to collect and develop them as inspiration comes. Trello has worked wonders for me because I can not only save ideas to a Trello board, but attach links, files, and notes to each idea as it comes to life. It gives you the flexibility to be as meticulous or as barebones as you want with your planning.

The content archetypes you developed earlier are good to fall back on as you plan out what you’ll be posting, but you can also stray from them with new ideas and experiments. There are always going to be aspects of your social media marketing that are reactive, organic, and experimental.

Regardless, you want to create a process that lets you keep a backlog of ideas and develop them until they’re ready to schedule.

I’ve mocked up a template in Trello that you can copy and adapt to suit your purposes.

social media calendar example

If you’re planning to post quality content to multiple channels, make sure the content and copy are optimized for that channel. You can attach channel-specific variations to each card for easy access when you start to the schedule.

Scheduling content: when, where, and how often

With posts in the pipeline of your social media content calendar, it’s time to schedule them. Once you’ve prepared the copy, images, and whatever else you need for your posts (don’t forget to get team approval!), you can start adding them to a queue using the scheduling tool mentioned above.

But how often should you be posting on each of your chosen channels?

While some answers can be prescriptive, the real answer is to start slow and then ramp up to a higher frequency as you develop your routine and figure out what works.

You don’t want to spread yourself too thin or spam your audience’s feeds. It’s fine if you only have time to post once every few days in the beginning. You can build up to one post a day and then test to see if a higher frequency nets you better results on specific platforms.

Ultimately, you want to focus your attention on where it will have the most impact and when your audience will be scrolling through their feeds. If you need a good place to start, think about when people check their feeds: in the morning, at lunch, during their commute, and before bed. The “best posting times” for your particular audience are something you’ll only discover through trial and error. Popular posting times will also vary depending on seasons and other variables.

What’s more important is that you schedule your posts in batches, at least a week in advance. Do it in one sitting, dedicating a few hours at a time so you can focus on other things while your social media publishing runs in the background.

Automate what you can to make time for the tasks you can’t

The reality of social media marketing is there are activities that you won’t be able to simply schedule and forget if you want them to be effective. In-the-moment posts such as Instagram Stories or real-time tweets will need to happen at the moment, and you can only plan so far in advance for them.

There are also other social media activities, such as replying to your audience, community managementrunning ads, and, of course, creating content (although you can outsource any of these functions whenever you’re ready).

Social media marketing, especially early on when you’re doing it yourself, demands that you are deliberate about how you spend your time. Think about how you can be more effective with your time by republishing old posts or allocating some money to paid promotions to get a better return on the time you spent creating content.

Additional tips and resources

      • Create templates. Wherever possible, create design and copy templates based on what works to make it easier to turn around new content on an ongoing basis, especially for recurring content series. For example, you can save your most used Instagram hashtags so you always have them handy when you post, or apply the same filter to your photos to achieve a consistent look.
      • Keep an eye on the calendar. Holidays are a great opportunity to be topical and timely with what you post. Pay special attention to what’s coming up so you can brainstorm social media marketing ideas in advance. Sprout Social has a great calendar that includes hashtag holidays too, if you want something handy to reference.
      • Tailoring your post for each channel. You can share the same post or image to different social channels, but make sure to take the time to optimize copy, images, or videos for the channel you’re posting to—no Instagram posts shared directly to Twitter or tweets that automatically share to Facebook.

Track performance

As a marketer, you expect your social media efforts to grow company revenue. One way you can do that is by tracking what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise, it’s hard to know whether you’re delivering on expectations.

Monitoring your metrics lets you make small changes to your strategy, rather than huge overhauls. You can be proactive in the short term and use those learnings to inform future campaigns.

Use a social media tool like Sprout Social to measure performance across channels. You can deep dive into one channel, or quickly compare multiple channels at once. Sprout Social also gives you access to:

  • Engagement and trend reports
  • Social listening reports
  • CRM integrations to build customer profiles
social media analytics dashboard
Source: SproutSocial

With this data, you can learn what KPIs still align with your business goals and see if they need any adjustments. Analytics tools like Sprout Social also make data easy to access and share, so you can distribute to marketing teams and make smarter decisions, faster.

Improving your social media content strategy

It sounds obvious, but it needs to be said: Social media is a lot different for a business owner or marketer than for a casual user.

Your aim now is to get a positive return on the time, money, and effort you spend. That requires deliberate action.

Your social media strategy is your plan of attack. But in a space like social media that changes by the day, with newsfeed algorithm updates and audiences, always ready for something new, you need to remain flexible and remember to keep your finger on its pulse and constantly improve.

Above all else, remember three things: be authentic, find ways to provide value, and when in doubt, guess, test, measure, and learn.

Illustration by Elena Xausa

Source: ~ By: Braveen Kumar ~ Image: Canva Pro

Newsletter, 7/26/22

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Level Up Your Social Media Strategy for E-commerce: 7 of the Best Campaigns We’ve Ever Seen

Let’s face it:

Social media is a noisy marketplace.

With millions of images, articles, and videos published every day, it’s challenging for new businesses to get noticed.

And it’s only getting harder.

Today, there are currently 4.48 billion social media users around the globe. That means there’s a lot of potential to drive engagement and increase revenue.

The problem, though, is social media users don’t like being sold to. You only need to turn on the news to see the recent backlash regarding ads and sponsored posts on Facebook, among other platforms.

So, how can you design a social media strategy for e-commerce that drives more sales without being salesy?

This post will share seven social media campaign examples from brands killing it on social media, and what we can learn from them.

Example #1: ASOS – Let Your Customers Promote The Brand

ASOS is an online fashion and beauty retailer.

In its #AsSeenOnMe campaign, the brand proved that user-generated content sells.

In the campaign, ASOS asked customers to share pictures of themselves on Instagram with the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe. Pictures then went into a gallery on the ASOS website and feed.

This led to massive engagement and responses from customers.

As a result, the campaign went on for more than four years.

Example post from ASOS campaign

As Seen On Me Instagram Page

The takeaway?

Customers like to feel both seen and heard. They want to express themselves using your products, so create opportunities to make them feel seen and heard.

User-generated content campaigns are a great idea, not only because they give customers a chance to engage with your brand, but also because the content they create can attract people from their personal network to buy from you, too.

Example #2: REI – Sell a Lifestyle

When creating the best social campaigns, it just makes sense to promote lifestyles rather than products.

Why? Because customers are swayed by experiences.

They don’t just buy a certain product to perform a certain action. Rather, they choose a brand because it helps them achieve their goals or remove a pain point. Whether it solves a problem or just makes them feel good, they want to keep reliving that experience.

Imagine you’re a luxury brand that sells expensive bags. Why would consumers buy your products when there are a lot of cheaper alternatives? Why would they need it? When would they use it? Is the bag associated with a certain type of lifestyle?

People purchase lifestyles, not products. The right approach, then, is to connect your products with your customers’ personal identities. Rather than selling a product based on its color and physical attributes, focus on the lifestyle or identity that a customer can obtain.

One example of a brand that successfully sells a lifestyle is REI, a retailer that supplies outdoor recreational gear.

During Black Friday, REI did the opposite of most brands: they closed down and encouraged customers to go outside instead of shop.

Post from REI Opt Outside Campaign

The campaign went viral, and grew in scope from there.

The brand created a search engine on the REI website where users could search for other people’s #OptOutside experiences.

They tapped into a like-minded community of people who wanted to #OptOutside on Black Friday, and other brands jumped on board:

Examples of other brands participating in Opt Outside campaign

What can we learn from REI’s success?

Do something unexpected.

If it’s Black Friday, you can’t easily catch people’s attention with a simple “buy now” message. Think of a creative way you can tap into a community of individuals. You have to know your ideal audience and sell an experience – not just your product.

Example #3: TOMS – Pull on Customers’ Heartstrings

Campaigns with emotional storytelling drive sales and attention to your brand. In fact, a study showed that emotion-based campaigns, like ones that tug at people’s heartstrings, are 31 percent more effective than any other type of marketing.

This is because humans are naturally emotional. They get swayed by emotions when making purchases, interacting with people, and many other scenarios.

As a result, when you’re brainstorming your next e-commerce campaigns, think about the emotional response of your customers. You don’t need to make them cry, but you should make them feel something to stand out from thousands of brands online.

This campaign from TOMS shoes is a good example of emotional storytelling done right. Wanting to give back to the global community, TOMS realized that millennials are socially conscious buyers. They don’t want to buy from just anyone, but they love brands that are doing good for the community or the world.

Inspired by this insight and their own altruistic goals, TOMS created a “one for one” business model. When customers bought a pair of shoes from the company, the brand automatically donated a pair to people who need them. This initiative was dubbed the One for One campaign.

The company has gone even further with its #withoutshoes campaign – for each user who posted a photo of their shoeless feet on social media with the hashtag, TOMS would donate a pair of shoes, up to a total of 100,000.

TOMS without shoes social campaign post

The campaign generated huge exposure and awareness to the plight of the less privileged from around the world. Even influencers like Hal Rubenstein and Patti Stanger joined in:

Patti Stanger without shoes

These campaigns from TOMS reveal an important lesson:

Making customers view your brand positively is important.

Through emotional campaigns, you can influence audiences to have a positive perception of your brand and the products you sell.

Example #4: Glossier – Get Stuck in Their Mind

If you want customers to buy your products, then you need to get them to remember your campaigns first.

But this is harder now than ever.

There’s a lot of controversy about attention span and how long you can get people to pay attention to your content. It’s often said that people may have an attention span of only about eight seconds but you’re in luck, because people have different types of attention to give.

So how can you keep customers thinking about you?

Glossier is a cosmetic retailer that uses a distinctive shade of pink as a cornerstone of its branding.

Pink has become so synonymous with Glossier’s brand that fans use the #glossierpink hashtag when they see the color in virtually any everyday item, regardless of whether Glossier made it.

Here’s what you find with the #glossierpink hashtag:

Glossier Pink examples

Glossier also shares posts showing that they understand the priorities and self-awareness of their fans, which transcends those fans’ differences as individuals.

Will customers get dewy skin if they use the product regularly? Will they get healthy, younger looking skin? Will it make their skin color lighter or tanner? Will it get rid of acne?

Whatever their needs, Glossier shares content in which the people in their audience can see themselves:

Glossier Meme

The takeaway?

Don’t limit your brand and its product to one thing.

Instead, diversify your branding. Boast about the results that come from using your product. Or associate your brand with a color, aesthetic object, location, etc.

That way, customers can easily recall your brand – no matter the reason.
Example #5: Chubbies Shorts – Entertain Your Audience

Customers detest pushy marketers and boring ads or messages.

So how do you catch their attention and transform them into brand advocates?

Create content that informs, delights, or entertains customers. Your initial goal is to build relationships with first-time customers – not to go for a hard sell right away.

Building relationships is important because you don’t want them to buy just once. Instead, you want to keep customers coming back to buy your product or service again.

You have to be your customer’s friend.

But how can you do this?

Chubbies is an e-commerce store focused on men’s shorts.

They understand that no one likes brands with obvious sales pitches, so they took an alternative route to become a brand people would want to hang out with.

Chubbies writes copy laced with witty humor and a casual tone, and offers customer service that surprises people and drives engagement.

In one campaign, the brand sent packets of Big League Chew gum to customers as a surprise. The response? Customers shared photos of the gum to Chubbies and their friends:

Chubbies Big League Chew Tweet

The brand also runs a weekly comedy sketch on Snapchat, which attracts hundreds of regular viewers:

Chubbies Show

What can we learn from their successful social media campaign examples?

Don’t be eager to sell. Instead, focus on building long-term relationships with your customers.

In addition, develop a personality that your target audience is fond of.

Are you selling to millennials, Generation Z, or baby boomers? Think about the psychographics of your audience. What characteristics resonate with them? Should you be cool, casual, or classy?

Think about the personality that would resonate with your customers, and consider adopting it.

Example #6: Dollar Shave Club – Entice Followers with Engaging Content

There are different kinds of content, but all great content has one thing in common: it needs engagement.

You want customers to react to the infographic, blog post, or video that you created. You want them to click the “like” button or react with an emoji. And you want them to subscribe to your content or visit your website.

But how do you create engaging content?

Dollar Shave Club is a razor subscription service that knows how to market their product, and one of their strategies is to attract customers by using educational content.

They keep followers coming back for more using fun, playful, and visual content. For example, they use infographics to share interesting facts, and they create tutorials that show customers how to use shaving products depending on their skin and hair type.

Dollar Shave Club Infographic

They also create polls around their branded hashtag #DSCdebates. The branded hashtag is a great strategy, not only because it lets people know that it’s theirs, but also because it draws in a huge response as their focus shifts to age-old questions.

Dollar Shave Club Poll

Dollar Shave Club’s success reveals an important lesson:

Content marketing is just as powerful for e-commerce as it is for B2B. Educational content and curiosity can entice followers to come back for more. After all, people love to learn interesting and unusual facts.

Example #7: Everlane – The Backstage Pass

What happens behind the scenes shouldn’t always stay behind the scenes.

This is because showing off your team or how you create a product is great marketing material too.

Remember the last time you watched an interview with your favorite celebrity or artist? Do you like learning the juicy details about how they created their art? Do you want to see videos of their rehearsals? Would you like to get a backstage pass to their film or concert?

Understanding the hard work and effort behind a product or service can make customers value it even more.

Imagine you own a fancy restaurant. By showing customers the meticulous process of creating a dish, they may appreciate it even more.

Everlane is an example of an online retail store that emphasizes transparency in its production and sales process.

They use social media to strengthen relationships and humanize their brand. Their posts feature in-house employees and behind-the-scenes photos of product development.

This ties in with their brand’s ethical approach.

Everlane boasts that it finds the best factories around the world to create their products. This way, customers can rest assured that people who created the products they love get fair wages, work reasonable hours, and have a good environment.

The brand also sends selfies back to customers who interact with them on Snapchat:

Everlane Transparency Tuesday

Transparency can make your brand a lot more relatable.

How much does it take to create product X? How do you ensure that the product is safe? Who are the people who help create the product or service?

Let customers know what happens behind the scenes.

Ready to create YOUR social media strategy for e-commerce?

Now that you have an idea of what netizens want, it’s time to brainstorm your next campaign.

You can sell to your audience on social media by introducing user-generated campaigns, selling a lifestyle, and branding through emotional connection, education, and humor.

Remember to engage social users in a natural way. Don’t make them feel as if they are being sold to.

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