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.

Source:  https://meetedgar.com/blog/7-of-the-best-e-commerce-social-media-campaigns-weve-ever-seen-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/ ~ By:

How to Sell a Product Online

Make a plan for what you’ll sell online, who you’ll sell it to, and how—using these 10 steps.

The world of e-commerce holds great promise for small businesses. In the U.S. in 2020 alone, online sales increased 44% and represented 21.3% of total retail sales for the year. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic had something to do with the jump, but these numbers had already been steadily on the rise. If you have a brick-and-mortar business that you envision bringing online or if you’re thinking of launching a product for the first time, this could be your moment.

Selling products online may seem like a straightforward proposition—and it can be, once you’re up and running. But you’ll have to do some research first: You need to find products you want to sell, figure out who your potential buyers are, and determine how you’ll deliver those products seamlessly into your customers’ hands. This preparation will provide the foundation for a winning e-commerce strategy. After all, when you think about how to start a business online, knowing how to sell your product is essential.

Here’s your 10-step guide for how to sell a product online.

Finding Your Products Illustration

1. Find your products

There are 3 ways most online sellers source products: do it yourself (DIY), wholesale, and drop-shipping. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. Whatever method you choose, when you think about how to sell a product online, look for products that you feel passionate about and that meet a need in the marketplace.

DIY product

These are products you make yourself, whether it’s a small-batch baking hobby you’re turning into a business or a 3D print factory in your garage. DIY items are usually the most expensive products to produce, but they can also be the most gratifying if you have a creative urge.

In many cases, you can charge a premium for handcrafted or highly specialized items, just be sure to factor in the time it takes to make the product. Be prepared to reassess your process and strategy if you can’t charge enough to make the business sustainable.

Wholesale products

The traditional retail model is to buy items in large lots from a manufacturer or wholesaler and sell them individually. You can find wholesale items on sites like Alibaba and Etsy Wholesale. You can also find suppliers by searching for wholesale lots on eBay.

Be sure to check your source carefully. Read reviews, look at Better Business Bureau (BBB) listings, and ask lots of questions before you place your first order. You want to make sure that the products you purchase are of high quality and match the specifications in person that they claim online.

Dropshipped products

In the dropshipping model, you market the products and take orders, but your supplier handles fulfillment. The convenience is offset by a lower profit margin and tough competition—there are many other online shops offering the same merchandise. Popular drop-shipping suppliers include OberloAliExpressWholesale2BInventory Source, and Megagoods.

The best way to compete in the dropshipping market is to select a cohesive catalog of items and market them to a niche audience.

Identify Your Niche Market Illustration

2. Identify your niche market

The market is massive for an online seller, but it’s also competitive. The best way to stand out is to find a niche.

Narrow it down

For instance, if you wanted to sell yoga mats, you’d be up against brands that are already well established in the market. But if you decided to sell yoga mats designed for travel, with hand-painted designs that might increase the cost, you could target a more specific audience—like globetrotting women between the ages of 40 and 55.

Think about your own niche

One way to begin with niche marketing is by thinking about areas where you already have a presence—and perhaps a passion. Maybe your niche market is one that you’re already involved in. Are you a member of any social media groups, message boards, or other online gathering places? Is there a niche where people know you or do you have a lot of contacts? If so, that offers a meaningful place to start.

Make sure it’s viable

Whether or not you have a personal relationship with the niche you’re considering, being informed about your market is key. To get to know your niche:

  • Use Google Trends to see what’s popular.
  • Join social media groups and online communities related to your market to see what people are talking about.
  • Monitor what’s hot on sites like Trend Hunter and Trendwatching.
  • Check out your competition and see if you can fill a gap.
  • Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool to see how big the market is for your niche.
Conduct market research illustration

3. Conduct market research

Once you know who you want to sell to, it’s time to figure out if those people will buy what you plan to offer—and if so, how much they’re willing to pay. This means you must assess the value you can offer in your market. Questions to research about how to sell a product online include:

  • Is the market for your products growing or shrinking?
  • How satisfied are people with the existing products in your market?
  • What needs aren’t being met?
  • What features do people value?
  • What is the average price point of your competitors’ products?
  • What are your potential customer’s pain points

Study your competitors

You need to determine if there will be a sustainable demand for your product at the price you’ll ask. Start by looking at your competition. Are your competitors doing well and expanding, or do you see companies going out of business? What are your most successful competitors doing right? What’s missing from the online sales marketplace?

Ask your audience

Conduct surveys—formally and informally—to see how people react to your product idea.

As you begin to flesh out your idea, post about it in a social media group and ask for input. You can also find people in your niche to interview in person and ask them about their needs, the products they love, and their reactions to your product ideas.

Once your idea is more developed, online surveys provide a simple, streamlined way to understand what people in your target market want and need. Plus, you can use this opportunity to collect their contact information, grow your audience, and then follow up when your product is for sale. Check out how Mailchimp’s free online survey maker stacks up against the competition.

Price it right

When looking at competitors, don’t make the mistake of assuming that a lower price is automatically better. People are willing to pay a premium price for high-quality products. On the other hand, if your target customers feel that your competitors’ products are overpriced, you could step in to offer them a more economical alternative.

Create Buyer Personas illustration

4. Create buyer personas

A buyer persona is a visualization of your target market as a specific person. Buyer personas are a way to refine your thinking about how to sell a product online and personalize your marketing.

Betsy and Lucy

Using the example of hand-painted yoga mats targeted at female travelers over 40, imagine marketing to a specific woman. But who is she?

You might imagine her as Betsy, a fitness buff with a high discretionary income who likes to take cruises to the Caribbean with her friends. Betsy would love to have a one-of-a-kind yoga mat that’s easy to transport, works well under various weather conditions, and that her friends admire at the yoga classes they take together at resorts and on cruises.

Or you might imagine her as Lucy, a frequent business traveler who often works late into the night. A hand-painted yoga mat would give her a reason to take time out for herself and enjoy a relaxing practice.

In this example, the personas are Betsy and Lucy—fictional people you keep in mind to make your marketing more relevant and human.

Target each persona differently

The images, language, and price point you would use to market to Lucy might be slightly different from the ones you would use to reach Betsy.

Betsy would probably respond well to an image of a resort yoga class, with rows of solid-color mats and one beautiful hand-painted one that stands out from the rest. Betsy would pay a premium price to have that mat. However, Lucy might respond to an image of a well-appointed hotel room with one candlelit corner, where a woman sits in meditation on a colorful mat.

Your business can have more than one buyer persona, with ads and even product lines targeted to each one. Each persona should be fleshed out with details like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Family/relationships
  • Values
  • Priorities
  • Favorite social media channels
  • Club memberships
Brand Your Business Illustration

5. Brand your business

Your brand identity is built on your logo, website, marketing materials, and other communications with customers. If you make deliberate choices, you can shape your brand identity to be unique and appealing to your customers.

The best way to begin this process is to summarize the qualities you want your brand to convey in just a few words. Is it funky, friendly, and casual? How about sturdy, high-quality, and reliable? Could it be youthful, vibrant, and fun? In the case of a business that sells hand-painted travel yoga mats, the brand might be artistic, unique, and uplifting.

Brand persona

One way to distill your brand identity is to give it a persona, too. Imagine your brand as a cartoon character: What does it look like? How old is it? Does it have a gender? How does it sound? How does it dress? What kind of things does it do? Is it a surfer, a college professor, a bookworm, a hippie, an artist, a nature lover?

Your brand identity will be expressed in the way you use language, your logo, the images you choose, and the colors you select. If you make those choices without a plan, your brand will be hard for customers to discern. Here’s what to focus on for a strong brand identity.

Visual identity

Every brand has a recognizable, consistent look that’s tied together with color, a logo, and your product imagery.

Choose a color palette with one main color and 2 or 3 secondary colors that express your brand identity—for example, red is often perceived as bold, dark blue as luxurious, and green as organic. Keep in mind that color associations are often culturally specific, and what appeals to customers in one part of the world may not communicate the same things in another.

Your logo should be simple and expressive. Complicated designs don’t work well when printed in small spaces or if reproduced in black and white. Since your logo will be on everything you create, it should be carefully built to convey your brand’s identity. You can create one yourself using a free online logo creator such as Canva (most will charge you to download your design) or hire a graphic designer.

The images you choose for your website, advertising, and social media should be consistent and express your brand’s image clearly.

For example, the yoga mat brand would market to its 2 personas with imagery in a specific context for each—either a resort class or a hotel room—with a spotlight on the product. That’s a consistent type of image that could quickly become associated with the brand and convey the brand’s identity.

Brand voice

Your words should be carefully chosen to protect your brand’s identity—this is your brand voice.

Keep in mind your buyer personas and your brand persona when writing copy. Who are you talking to, and how are you talking to them? Are you a fun friend, a knowledgeable expert, or a calming confidant? This will help you hone your brand voice and keep it consistent across channels—email, product copy, social media, and advertising. Here are areas in which you can be deliberately expressive:

  • Headlines
  • Ad copy
  • Website copy
  • Product names
  • Email automation
  • Social media posts
  • Phone greetings

To help stay on track, you might make a list of certain words you’d like to incorporate into your copy often—for the yoga mat sales, these might include “artistic,” “elegant,” and “unique.”

Build E-commerce Website Illustration

6. Build your e-commerce website

Building an online store has never been easier. And when you build your website in Mailchimp, it can also be free.

Start by creating a website that incorporates the elements of your brand identity. Using Mailchimp’s content studio, you can upload your logo, photos, colors, and other files to incorporate into your website and then use them across marketing channels to stay on brand.

Make sure your website design makes it easy for shoppers to find your products. Upload images, write specifications and include details about shipping so that your customers understand exactly what they’re buying (and why they should). Simply add a Stripe buy button to your fresh new website, and you’re ready to start selling.

Sell via landing pages

If you’re not ready to build a full website, Mailchimp shoppable landing pages offer another speedy way to get your products for sale online. These are a particularly good solution when you want to focus on a single item, test an idea, launch a new product, or run a promotion. Best of all? They’re also free. You can even set up Facebook ads to drive traffic to your landing page from right inside your Mailchimp account.

Set up Process for payments illustration

7. Set up processes for payment, shipping, and staying in touch

Before you start selling online, you’ll need to have systems in place for collecting payment and shipping things out.

With a website built in Mailchimp, you’ll connect a Stripe account to start selling. If you build a landing page instead, you can connect to Stripe or to Square. Either way, be sure you understand their fees and take them into account when you price your products.

If you’ll be handling shipping yourself, you’ll need accurate numbers to set up your shipping options on the site. If your company is US-based, compare pricing and services from the USPS, UPS, and FedEx—or look at other options in the country where you’re headquartered.

Customers love free shipping, but if you plan to offer that, those costs should be built into your product pricing. Also, don’t forget to add in the cost of boxes and packaging materials when you set up your pricing and shipping rate structure.

When someone makes a purchase, be sure that their information is stored using customer relationship management (CRM) software. That way, you can send order notifications, follow up after their purchase, and keep in touch to build customer loyalty.

create product content illustration

8. Create high-quality product content

Ideally, your site would be assembled by experienced copywriters, photographers, and marketing professionals. Realistically, that’s not how most small businesses operate.

If you’re doing it all yourself, here are some tips.

Images

Your images should accomplish 2 things: Make the product look desirable and align with your brand image.

If your product supplier provides you with professional product photos, check to see what rules you need to comply with when you use them. If you’re allowed to alter them, consider cropping them and adding your own logo to make them unique to your site.

If you’ll be taking your own photos, you don’t need the best, most expensive equipment. Many of today’s smartphones take amazing photos. Keep these things in mind to get good shots:

  • Set up bright lighting. Use shop lights, take the shades off lamps and move them close, or use natural light. If you’ll be photographing a lot of smaller items, invest in an inexpensive lightbox.
  • Lean in. You’ll get much better results if you move closer to the product.
  • Get level. Instead of photographing your product from above, get down to eye level with it and snap some close-up shots.
  • Highlight details. You don’t have to frame the entire product in every photo. Take shots of specific details that show why your viewer should want this product.
  • Take tons of photos. Even pros take hundreds of shots to get one great photo. Try a variety of cameras and phones if you can, and shoot from different angles and in different lighting.

For each product, choose one signature image plus several detailed images. It’s good for search engine optimization (SEO) to give your image file names that include your target keywords when you upload them or add alternative (alt) text.

Description

Your product descriptions should be thorough, but easy for a busy person to take in at a glance.

  • Don’t waste headline space. Use descriptive product names that tell people (and search engines) exactly what the item is—like “Hand-Painted Lotus Travel Yoga Mat” instead of just “Lotus Mat.”
  • Start with an overview. At the top of the page, tell people in a sentence or 2 why they should care about this product and how it meets their needs.
  • Be brief. When busy people see a wall of text, they often click away. Limit yourself to a couple of short paragraphs.
  • Use topic headings. Headings can break up the page and make it scannable. Some people will only skim the headings and not read the text below, so choose compelling, descriptive words for your headings, and include keywords when possible.
  • Make the details digestible. Use bulleted lists to keep your page attractive and readable.
  • Solicit reviews. Always encourage your customers to leave reviews. Consider offering free products in exchange for honest reviews to a limited group of people to get your first reviews on the page.
Promote Your Products Illustration

9. Promote your products

When your website or landing pages are built and you’re ready to sell, there are many ways to get your product in front of potential customers:

  • Social media: Use hashtags and paid ads to expand your reach.
  • Influencer marketing: Send free samples to “celebrities” in your niche.
  • Facebook groups: Connect with your target market on this platform.
  • Google advertising: Put your products in front of people all over the web.
  • Content marketing: Publish blog posts to bring organic traffic to your site.
  • Word of mouth: Encourage your customers to spread the word.
  • YouTube videos: Start a channel to showcase your products.

Although it’s possible to sell directly on social media pages, it’s good practice to drive traffic to your website so you can entice customers to join your email list. That way you’ll be able to follow up and maintain a connection with them in the future.

Funneling traffic to your website also allows you to send abandoned cart emails and other targeted promotions if visitors wander away before buying anything. You can also use Google Ads to retarget visitors who left your site, reminding them of the products they showed an interest in.

Refine your approach illustration

10. Continue to refine your approach

All the details that go into how to sell a product online may seem daunting. Besides the product itself, you need a brand identity, a target customer, a web store, and solutions for processing payments and handling shipping—and all of that needs to be in place before you even begin to market your product.

But these steps are manageable if you take them one at a time. Remember that you can continually change and refine your approach as you go.

The important thing is to take your first step, and before you know it, you’ll be riding momentum toward your goals.

How to Use Social Media for Ecommerce

A social media eCommerce strategy can help you build brand awareness, communicate with customers, and generate more sales for your online store.

Social media and eCommerce are a match made in heaven.

Marketers have been using social platforms to connect with eCommerce customers for a while now. And for a good reason — more and more internet users shop online and use social media to research brands.

Take a look at these recent stats:

  • 76.8% of global internet users purchased a product online in 2020.
  • 44.8% of global internet users use social media to search for brand-related information.
  • More than half of global internet users between the ages of 16 and 24 use social media to research brands (55.9% female users and 51% male users).

Ecommerce Activity Overview

Source: Hootsuite

Most social media networks currently offer free built-in solutions for advertising, selling, and customer service — a.k.a tools that can push the needle on your sales.

In this article, we will go over all the ways you can use social media to market your eCommerce store. So, if you’re building a social media presence for your eCommerce from scratch or looking for ways to refresh your marketing strategy, you’ve found the right place!

But first, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.

What is social media eCommerce marketing?

social media eCommerce strategy is a set of social media tactics you can use to market your eCommerce business.

Depending on your business model and goals, your strategy may focus on:

  • promoting an eCommerce destination, i.e. driving traffic to a website or branded app,
  • selling products directly on social media,
  • communicating with customers, both pre-purchase and post-purchase,
  • collecting insights about your industry (your audience, competitors, benchmarks for success)

… or combine some (or all!) of the above.

Is social media eCommerce marketing the same thing as social selling or social commerce?

Not exactly. Social media eCommerce marketing is the broadest term of the three and can include elements of both social commerce and social selling.

Let’s brush up on the definitions:

  • Social commerce is the process of selling products or services directly on social media, using Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, Product Pins and other native social media shopping solutions.
  • Social selling is the process of using social media to identify, connect with and nurture sales prospects.
  • Social media eCommerce marketing can involve building brand awareness, advertising, community management, social customer service, social listening, competitive analysis, social commerce, and social selling.

Venn diagram illustrating the overlap between social media ecommerce marketing, social commerce and social selling

How to use social media for eCommerce

Here are all the different ways social media marketing can help you promote your eCommerce business and sell more products.

Building brand awareness

If you’re launching a brand new store or product, you should start building buzz around it before you are ready to go live with sales. The sad truth is that you won’t be able to make any sales if people don’t know about what you’re selling.

In 2021, social media is busy with brands. But there’s still room for newbies. A unique voice and a consistent posting strategy will help you build brand awareness and reach your target audience. For a head start, follow the tips we listed at the end of this article.

Building brand awareness is a process, and it does take some time. If you wish you could speed things up just a bit — paid social can help you do just that.

Advertising

Recent statistics show that:

  • 190 million people can be reached by Facebook advertising,
  • 140 million people can be reached by Instagram advertising,
  • 170 million people can be reached by LinkedIn advertising

… in the United States alone. (Source: Digital 2021 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social).

Instagram Audience Overview

Source: Hootsuite

Of course, not all of them are your target audience, and your budget will likely get in the way of reaching that many people.

But most social media platforms offer advanced targeting tools you can use to carve your perfect audience out of this bulk — and serve them ads that will support your goals.

Speaking of goals, make sure that you set up the right objectives for your social media ads. As an eCommerce business, you will likely want to use social media advertising to attract people to your store, or a specific product or collection.

Facebook and Instagram, for example, let brands pick one of three conversion-oriented objectives:

  • Conversions. With this goal, you can encourage your target audience to take a specific action on your website, e.g. add a product to your cart.
  • Catalog Sales. Use this objective to pull products from your catalog into ads.
  • Store Traffic. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, this ad goal is great for promoting your store to potential customers who are in the neighborhood, based on their location.

Here’s an example of an eCommerce ad with a “Shop Now” call to action on Instagram:

Conversion Ad Instagram - Click and Grow

Source: Click & Grow

If your goal is to build awareness or engage your target audience, you can pick an objective from the Awareness or Consideration categories.

But just picking the right objective doesn’t quite set you up for success. You also need to choose the right ad format for your campaign. On Facebook and Instagram, the main format categories are:

  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Collection ads

Collection ads are designed specifically for eCommerce. They use a mix of creative copy and items from your product catalog to grab your audience’s attention and seamlessly guide them to checkout.

While Facebook’s advertising toolkit is perhaps the most robust, other social media platforms do offer similar solutions. So, if you use Twitter or LinkedIn to reach your customers on social media, fear not. You can learn more about ad objectives and formats across different platforms in our guide to social media advertising.

Selling products directly on social media

This is where social media e-commerce marketing overlaps with social commerce, a.k.a. selling your products directly from your social media accounts or “shops.”

Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer native shopping solutions for business accounts. Snapchat has partnered with Shopify to work out a social commerce tool of their own, but at this time, the feature is only available to a few handpicked accounts. Keep an eye out for updates if Snaps are your social media format of choice.

Using social commerce solutions has many benefits:

  • It’s completely free to set up.
  • It creates a memorable, interactive, social shopping experience for customers.
  • It streamlines the sales process. Users can shop directly from their feeds, without clicking through to an external website. Shortening the distance between discovery and checkout can improve your conversion rates.
  • It’s what social media users want! 70% of shopping enthusiasts use Instagram to discover brands and products. Why not help them discover your products?

Here’s what a product page in a Facebook Shop looks like.

Facebook Shop - Lisa Says Gah

Source: LISA SAYS GAH

Note how in this example, you have to click through to the brand’s website to complete the purchase. The on-platform checkout feature is currently only available in the United States.

If you’d like to give social commerce a try, check out these guides to setting up:

And also! Watch our video on how to sell more products on Instagram by tagging your products in shoppable posts, Stories, and Reels:

Customer service

Your main social media goal may be reaching new customers — and that’s reasonable. But don’t forget about your existing customers.

Even if you have a dedicated support team who communicates with customers over the phone or through email, your social media will occasionally become an ad hoc customer service channel. Your customers may come to your profiles to find information, ask questions or give you feedback. And when they do, you should be prepared to handle the incoming comments and DMs.

How you answer inquiries on social media is representative of your brand as the content you post. Opinions from happy customers serve as social proof for customers who are still in the consideration stage of their customer journey. By engaging with comments, you can show your audience that you value your customers and appreciate their feedback.

And what if the feedback you receive is negative? Treat negative comments as an opportunity to provide solutions and, again, showcase how seriously you take your customers’ opinions.

In the example below, Bailey Nelson did just that — they apologized for the problem the customer raised and provided them with a way to contact customer service to resolve the issue.

What is E-Commerce?

Want to start selling online? Here are the basics about e-commerce that you need to know.

Are you thinking about starting a business where you sell your products online? If so, then you’ll be joining the millions of entrepreneurs who have carved out a niche in the world of e-commerce.

What is e-commerce?

At its core, e-commerce refers to the purchase and sale of goods and/or services via electronic channels such as the internet. E-commerce was first introduced in the 1960s via an electronic data interchange (EDI) on value-added networks (VANs). The medium grew with the increased availability of internet access and the advent of popular online sellers in the 1990s and early 2000s. Amazon began operating as a book-shipping business in Jeff Bezos’ garage in 1995. eBay, which enables consumers to sell to each other online, introduced online auctions in 1995 and exploded with the 1997 Beanie Babies frenzy.

Like any digital technology or consumer-based purchasing market, e-commerce has evolved over the years. As mobile devices became more popular, mobile commerce has become its own market. With the rise of such sites as Facebook and Pinterest, social media has become an important driver of e-commerce. As of 2014, Facebook drove 85 percent of social media-originating sales on e-commerce platform Shopify, per Paymill.

The changing market represents a vast opportunity for businesses to improve their relevance and expand their market in the online world. Researchers predict e-commerce will be 17 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2022, according to Digital Commerce 360. The U.S. will spend about $460 billion online in 2017. These figures will continue to climb as mobile and internet use expands both in the U.S. and in developing markets around the world.

Categories of e-commerce

As with traditional commerce, there are four principal categories of e-commerce: B2B, B2C, C2B, and C2C.

  • B2B (business to business) – This involves companies doing business with each other. One example is manufacturers selling to distributors and wholesalers selling to retailers.
  • B2C (business to consumer) – B2C consists of businesses selling to the public through shopping cart software, without needing any human interaction. This is what most people think of when they hear “e-commerce.” An example of this is Amazon.
  • C2B (consumer to business) – In C2B e-commerce, consumers post a project with a set budget online, and companies bid on the project. The consumer reviews the bids and selects the company. Elance is an example of this.
  • C2C (consumer to consumer) – This takes place within online classified ads, forums, or marketplaces where individuals can buy and sell their goods. Examples of this are Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy.

Getting started

If you have a simple product to sell and a desire to expand your sales online, there are a few tools you can use to get started.

Websites such as Squarespace and WordPress offer mobile-friendly, ready-to-go e-commerce templates that help you get a store up and running quickly. As a shop owner, you will need a way to collect credit card payments from consumers online. PayPal, Square, and Google Wallet are all popular ways of accepting and managing online payments. You can also sell your merchandise through online giants like Amazon.

If you are selling physical goods, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to ship them. PayPal and other processors have worked with shipping merchants, including USPS and UPS, to offer one-stop postage processing. You will also need to research your state laws to determine if you are required to obtain a permit for selling online, or if you need to collect sales tax for your state or municipality.

Dropshipping is a way to outsource your inventory and shipping. Dropship services store and ship the products you sell as a merchant, many times for wholesale prices. These companies act on your behalf, using your branding and packaging. The best of these services have integrations with Amazon, Shopify, and other e-commerce platforms.

As your company grows, you may want to consider more advanced ways to process payments, such as using a merchant account and a service such as Authorize.Net. Services that integrate more fully with your bank frequently offer discounted transaction costs compared to processors such as PayPal.

E-commerce strategy

As in any new venture, the first step in succeeding in e-commerce is to set goals. Do you plan to increase revenue from existing customers? Gain new customers? Increase the average order value? Sell through new channels? Lower prices? Once you have figured out your goals, it’s time to set a plan.

SWOT analysis can help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your company’s current environment. What does the market look like? Where does your business excel, and where does it falter? Review your entire business, not just segments of it. Evaluate external opportunities, because this is often the primary place to invest time and money. Be honest with yourself when analyzing weaknesses and threats, or else the analysis will not be helpful.

After the SWOT analysis is done, see how it fits into your overall vision. Where do you see your business in five years? In 10 years? This will help you set business objectives for the current year, for sales, profits, customers, traffic, new systems, and new staff. After the objectives are set, you can set a strategy into place yourself or hire an e-commerce consultant to help you.

Other methods to help you determine how to best grow your company into a new segment include PEST (political, economic, social, and technological), MOST (mission, objective, strategies, and tactics), and Porter’s Five Forces analyses.

E-commerce law

In addition to a strong business strategy, it’s important to have a basic understanding of e-commerce law. Online sellers, particularly those selling internationally or across state lines, face different legal and financial considerations, especially regarding privacy, security, copyright and taxation.

The Federal Trade Commission regulates most e-commerce activities, including the use of commercial emails, online advertising, and consumer privacy. Businesses collect and retain sensitive personal information about their customers, and your company is subject to federal and state privacy laws, depending on the type of data you collect. Even though the best processing companies all have high standards when it comes to data protection, you’ll still want to make sure all the information you’re storing on customers is secure and legal.

There are also online advertising laws that protect consumer privacy and ensure truthful marketing practices online. As an e-commerce business, online advertising is a major part of your strategy. Over the past decade, federal and state governments have passed new online advertising laws. As you expand into online marketing, it is important to be familiar with these. The CAN-SPAM Act, for instance, sets the rules for advertising through email, the most important rule being that consumers must be able to opt-out of messages from businesses.

In addition to protecting consumers from data leaks and misleading online advertising, digital works are protected on the internet via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. There are several provisions that e-commerce businesses need to be aware of, including copyright infringement liability and a service provider’s responsibilities.

Source:  businessnewsdaily.com ~ By: Andreas Rivera ~ Image: Canva Pro

 

How to Succeed at Network Marketing Without Annoying Anyone

Network MarketingMulti-Level-Marketing, MLM, are all terms for a common business structure in which companies utilize a sales force made up of “Independent Distributors” to market their products. It’s a business structure that has been around for a long time and the appeal of it comes from a distributor getting residual income, having their own business, and being their own boss. In short, it’s the American dream.

Unfortunately, for most distributors, it will remain just that, a dream. In this article, we’re going to discuss the most common reasons people fail at MLM and give you suggestions on how to succeed at network marketing.

Network marketing has a bad reputation and is often referred to as a pyramid scheme. The reason for this is twofold. First, there have been some companies out there promoting real pyramid schemes disguised as multi-level-marketing companies. The other reason is the average person doesn’t really know what a pyramid scheme is.

So, just to be clear the difference between a legitimate network marketing company and a pyramid scheme is how they earn their money. Network marketing companies derive a majority of their revenue through the sale of a product or service. An (illegal) pyramid scheme gets most of its income through the fees charged to its distributors. Now, does that mean that if a company charges a fee to become a distributor is a pyramid scheme?

No, and we can think about it this way. Legitimate MLM companies use a micro franchising model in order to sell their products. And like any franchise, (McDonalds) they charge a franchising fee. Then you as the new franchisee make money by selling the company’s products, be they hamburgers, makeup or supplements.

But, unlike the McDonald’s franchise, a network marketing company allows you to find other individuals who want to sell the products and when they become a distributor (franchisee), the company rewards you by paying you a commission on their sales too.

It’s this model that benefits the company through low-cost marketing and growth, and it rewards independent distributors for their efforts in expanding the business.

So, what does a pyramid scheme look like? Well, there are variations, but the classic pyramid scheme runs like this.

  • A person recruits ten people who pay $100
  • They then instruct those ten people to recruit 10 more people to pay $100
  • The initial 10 people have just made $900 on their $100 “investment”
  • But now there are a hundred people who each have to recruit 10 others in order for them to get paid

This process repeats itself over and over until it eventually collapses under its own weight.

But, enough about pyramid schemes, let’s talk about legitimate network marketing companies and how to succeed at network marketing.

Network Marketing, Pros, and Cons

As we stated earlier, network marketing is really just a way for a company to market its products. By using independent distributors, a company’s marketing and advertising costs go way down. It also provides a way for the average person to own their own business either full or part-time. But with that said, there are both pros and cons to network marketing.

Pros:

  • Low initial investment – Most network marketing companies only cost a few hundred dollars to join. Compare that to a Domino’s pizza franchise ($25,000) Mcdonald’s ($45,000) or Burger King ($50,000), making them one of the cheapest ways to start a business.
  • Financial independence – Many people invest in becoming distributors for multi-level marketing companies because it offers them a chance to earn extra income. Whether full-time or part-time because it provides an extra income.
  • Flexibility – Network marketing allows stay-at-home moms and dads to generate an income without putting the kids in daycare. It’s also a business that can be done in your spare time, it’s not a regular 9-5 gig.
  • You can leverage your income – By recruiting others into your “downline” you’ll be paid a commission on all of their sales as well as your own.
  • It can provide “residual” income – Residual income is just income that reoccurs over and over again. By building your business and downline sufficiently, you can develop a significant amount of residual income.
  • Growth opportunities – It’s not always clear how to grow in your career at a “regular” company. In fact, for some jobs, there is no way to advance your career at all. With network marketing companies you’ll have a very clear idea on what it will take to advance up the ranks.
  • There is no cap on your income – Unlike a job, there is no upper limit to the amount of money you can make.
  • The internet has changed everything – The internet and social media have made MLM marketing much easier.

Cons:

  • Competition – Because most MLM companies only cost a few hundred dollars to join, they can be a lot of independent distributors located in any one area. This can impact sales and profitability as they are all selling the same products.
  •  It’s not a good fit for everyone – Because the barrier to entry is so low, basically anyone who pays the fee becomes a distributor. Even people who don’t have the time, temperament, or personality for network marketing can become distributors.
  • Motivation – Being a distributor is a business there is no boss telling you what to do and when to do it. You need to be a self-starter.
  • It takes time – As stated earlier, multi-level marketing is a business. And it’s also one that you are starting from scratch. Don’t expect to make a lot of money right away. It is normal for the average distributor to go two years without making any significant money.
  • There is a lot of rejection involved – Many people will tell you “no” when you first start network marketing. That negative response is going to continue on and on… and on. The average person who is first getting started with this challenge may have a conversion rate of 1%. That means out of 100 people who are approached for a sale, 99 of them are going to turn the opportunity down. For those who get discouraged by such negativity, the rejection can cause a good network marketing opportunity to go away.
  • High turnover rate – A lot of network marketers simply quit. They might move to a different company or product, or they might just stop with MLM businesses completely. That’s a problem for you because the most profitable way to operate an MLM is through recruiting other people into your downline. If those people quit, then you won’t be getting residual income from commissions on their sales.
  • Constant recruiting – As a result of the high turnover rate, you’ll find yourself back out into the field spending more time recruiting people. This can also interfere with friendships and family relations if you are looking to those groups for your recruits.

Steps to Success

Despite what your company tells you, building a list of people in your warm market isn’t the best way to start out. When you look at the top performers, they have very few people that were on their original list in the business. Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to let your friends and family know what you’re doing, but most of your warm market will only join after they see you succeed. So, the bottom line is to go ahead and let your warm market know what you’re doing, but if they say no, let it go.

  1. Target your market – Some companies call this “pre-qualifying” a prospect. You must understand who the person is that would be interested in your product or opportunity. What are your customers’ wants and desires? Only then can you tailor your marketing efforts to that portion of the population that is most likely to buy.
  2. Focus on gaining customer-first – People are naturally skeptical of “money-making” opportunities, so don’t focus all your energy in recruiting your downline. Instead, focus most of your efforts on recruiting customers. Once someone is a customer, they are going to be much more receptive to joining your downline.
  3. Don’t convince anyone to join your downline – This is why we concentrate on generating customers first. You will have already narrowed down your target market to people who have used and know the benefits of the products. Then you can offer them the opportunity. But, never convince, cajole or hound people to join your business, they won’t do well anyway.
  4. Be genuine and ethical – This is where network marketers can give the entire industry a bad name. Don’t come off as the clichéd “used car salesman” anxious to close the sale. This is a “people” business, your prospects are going into business with YOU, not your company. By the same token, be careful when marketing your products or services. Over-hyping or exaggerating the benefits of your products or services is a sure way to set people up for failure.
  5. Separate yourself from all the other distributors – This is one of the inherent issues with network marketing. You are just one of the thousands of distributors offering the exact same products at the exact same prices. You need to set yourself apart from everyone else and give the potential customer a reason to buy from you. Check out the resource section below for some great suggestions on how to do that.
  6. Have a system – If you really want to succeed at network marketing, then having a system in place is critical. Marketing to customers and prospecting for recruits takes a lot of time and effort. By putting a system in place you can; target your marketing efforts to those looking for your products, set yourself apart from other distributors, add value to the consumer giving them a reason to buy from you and finally to automatically follow up with the customer to build a relationship and for re-orders.

Internet Marketing

It happens to every network marketer, you run through your warm market and then hit the internet. But how do you use the internet?

Here’s how it goes for most people. They get on all of their social media accounts and post a link to their generic company website. Some people even join groups whose members would have an interest in the products. For example, if you’re selling weight loss supplements, there are a ton of groups out there talking about weight loss. And while there’s nothing wrong with doing either of these things, I have never seen them generate any substantial business for network markers. So, what should you do? CONTENT MARKETING. 

Virtually no one clicks on a random link to a website that’s trying to sell them something. If they want to buy your product, they will do a Google search and find it themselves. But, that’s a problem. You see, most company websites are identical. Google doesn’t like that because all the content is the same. So, Google will only index one site, ignoring all the rest. Using content marketing will not only help in getting you ranked in Google, but it will also help to set you apart from the thousands of other distributors out there.

  1. Start by making a simple website of your own. There are a lot of companies that have a very simple drag and drop systems for building websites, including, [WordPress], Wix, and Weebly. Be careful, don’t make your website another advertisement for your MLM. It needs to be an informational site that provides valuable information to the people who visit. Once they are there, you can have a products page.
  2. Start creating valuable content with a blog. Again, this is not to be content-focused on your products or company, instead focus on creating content that would be helpful to readers. For example, “Tips on Starting an Exercise Routine for the Procrastinator” or “10 Tasty Snacks that Won’t Ruin Your Diet”.
  3. Post all of this valuable content to your social media accounts and in the various weight loss groups, you joined. Always have a “For More Information” link that goes to your website. This increases your profile and credibility within the community. People will only buy from those they trust, and you are building trust.
  4. Once someone visits your site you want to be able to collect their information so that you can continue to communicate with them. The easiest way to do this is by using a lead capture system or landing page.
  5. Generate additional streams of income by incorporating affiliate marketing into your website. Not everyone who visits your website will be interested in your products or opportunity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t profit from them. Affiliate marketing is a great add-on to any network marketing business. It allows you to sell other people’s products and services without having to stock, ship or service them.

Conclusion

Network marketing can be a fun and profitable business for the average person looking to earn some money. With a low initial cost, network marketing puts business ownership within the reach of almost everyone. The downsides are that you will run through your warm market fairly quickly and that the products you sell are exactly the same as every other distributor. However, you can overcome this by setting yourself apart from other distributors, providing more value to the consumer, and developing relationships within the online communities you associate with. Remember, if you can help people out with valuable information, they are more likely to trust you and become customers. And satisfied customers are more likely to become partners, so concentrate first on getting and maintaining customers and your downline will follow.

Resources

You can get a copy of our latest book “The Complete Internet Marketing Strategy” for free by clicking on the link below. After you get the book, take a look at our videos explaining the automated supplement marketing system. It was designed for Herbalife distributors, but can be modified for use in ANY network marketing business. It is designed to target consumers that are already searching for the products you have. Then offering the customer more value than other distributors makes you stand out and gives them a reason to buy from you. Finally, it automatically follows up with them for re-orders, offers on other products, and downline recruitment.

Source: onlinebizfacts.com ~ By David Carpenter ~ Image: Canva Pro

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