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How to use social media in your multi-channel ecommerce strategy

21 January 2020

By Drew Smith

Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Upp and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.

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social media ecommerce

There is no denying the fact that social media is booming. According to Emarsys, there are 3.2 billion social media users, which equates to approximately 42 per cent of the population.

However, the way in which we are using social media is constantly changing. It is playing an increasingly important role in ecommerce today. This does not only relate to brand and product marketing but also direct shopping via the likes of Facebook and Instagram. 

The stats speak for themselves. In the past 12 months, social media shopping engagement is up by 38%. According to a survey by Bazaarvoice which interviewed 500 retailers and brands, as well as 2,000 consumers across the UK, Germany, France, and the US, one-third of consumers stated that the ability to find and purchase products is of huge importance when it comes to their social networking experience. 

With that in mind, it is important to integrate social media effectively into your multi-channel ecommerce strategy. Read on to discover some key pieces of advice when it comes to social media ecommerce. 

 

Use social media to create a brand image

Before you can begin thinking about incorporating direct shopping into your social media platforms, you need to focus on creating a brand image. If your brand is confused or non-existent, how do you expect people to want to purchase from your social media sites? 

There are a number of important pieces of advice to follow when it comes to building a strong brand via social media. This includes the following:

  • Be on the right social media platforms — The first step is to make sure you are present on the right social media platforms to begin with. Did you know that there are currently over 100 social media platforms? You can’t advertise on all of them! The best thing to do is to choose a couple of platforms and focus all of your efforts into those. It’s better to perfect your craft than to try and be a jack-of-all-trades. If you build a presence on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+, yet you don’t have the time to manage all of these accounts effectively, you’re going to have an ineffective presence across the board. Instead, you need to conduct research to determine where your target consumer base is. Where you focus your efforts will be highly dependent on your product and customer base. Make sure you understand your market and focus your efforts on the correct socials. For example, a fashion brand targeting generation Z might find much higher engagement on Instagram, whereas a B2B software company might find it more effective to target efforts on LinkedIn. Think about your audience and strategise accordingly. 
  • Be consistent across all of your social media platforms — Consistency is key. If your voice and presence on Facebook is completely contrasting to how you approach your Instagram and Twitter accounts, you are only going to leave people feeling confused. This will dilute your brand identity. 
  • Get the visuals right — Visuals also play a critical role when it comes to social media branding. This again goes back to consistency. If your social media pages look like they belong to different brands, this is going to create a disconnect. When someone looks at your pages, your brand’s visuals should be recognisable.
  • Develop your voice — The voice and personality of your brand must be reflected in your social media posts. To determine what your voice should be, there are numerous elements to consider, including your company culture, your audience and authenticity. You’re not going to be able to keep up your social media posts if they’re not authentic to your brand! 

 

Make social posts and grow an organic audience

Building a social audience gives you advertising you don’t have to pay for. However, you are only going to achieve this if you post in the correct manner: in a way that engages with people and is authentic. You can’t fake it to the top by purchasing social media followers or automating 100 per cent of your posts. You must add a personal touch.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to using social media for their ecommerce brand is simply posting an endless stream of promotional products. You’re simply going to come across as a spam account. Instead, you need to engage with people and post about topics relating to your brand. This will help you to build a loyal following.

If you receive negative feedback, you can also use this as an opportunity. Engage with this person and figure out how you can do better. Make an effort to show your brand as one that always strives to achieve more and deliver to its customers. Not only can this grow your organic audience, but it can create some loyal followers too.

Another way to boost your brand with a clever yet organic post is to run a competition. These sorts of posts are effective across all platforms. It will generally involve people re-posting, re-tweeting, or sharing your original post in order to enter the competition. You can ask them to comment on the post and use a particular hashtag too. The winner will then get a prize of your choosing, for example, it could be one of your products or a voucher for your online store. This is a great way to generate free advertising because anyone who enters is going to be showing off your brand to all of their followers too. It will give your search engine ranking a good boost as well. 

 

Sell your products directly on social media

As mentioned in the introduction, you now have the option of selling products directly via social media too. In-app purchasing via Facebook store and Instagram shopping are prime examples of this. They work well because they are likely to result in impulse purchases. Plus, you’re likely to have more authentic engagement and traffic via social media, and so this means your conversion rates will be higher.

 

fashion retailers success guide

 

You may have noticed the ‘Product Tag’ feature on Instagram. This is something that clothing brands, especially, are making the most of. When a celebrity wears an outfit that they are endorsing for a brand, they will tag the clothing so that people can go directly to the site and purchase these items. Of course, you can do this for any sort of product, not just clothing. To do this, you’ll need to have been approved for Shopping, which you can do via Instagram settings. Once you’ve done this, you can add product tags by doing the following…

  1. Select a video or photo and add filters, effects, and a caption.
  2. Tap the products in the photo you wish to tag. If it is a video, there will be a tray whereby you can select up to five products you want to tag.
  3. Enter the names of the products you wish to tag. As they appear in the search box, select them.
  4. Hit done.
  5. And share!

You can preview these posts before sending too. This is just one of the many innovative features out there today that shows just how useful social media can be in terms of your multi-channel ecommerce strategy.

 

Manage your use of other platforms efficiently to give social media the investment it deserves

Your social media strategy, if carried out effectively, can boost your overall ecommerce strategy. Ecommerce platforms can help ensure your overarching strategy is optimised by automating technical aspects of the product listing creation process. This will free up time for your ecommerce team to focus on other aspects of the campaign, such as investing time in building up a social media presence. 

The only way you are going to be able to master the art of using social media to boost your ecommerce efforts is if you have an efficient method for measuring your current performance. You need to make the most of valuable insights so you can determine what parts of your social marketing efforts are working and where improvements can be made. Ecommerce platforms such as Upp can help you pull this data from multiple channels, allowing you to more easily find actionable takeaways to improve your strategy. 

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding just how important social media is to your multi-channel ecommerce strategy. If you follow the steps that have been presented above, you can make sure you incorporate social media effectively into your plans.

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