3P Logistics have recently hosted an event for online sellers and we asked the attendees what their biggest barrier is when running their online businesses. One of the most popular answers was ‘marketing’. Today we would look into social media for marketing as it can be one of the most effective ways to market an online businesses, and it is almost free (perfect for start-ups!)
Why should you use social media?
1. They have proven track record of generating billions of dollars worldwide in ad revenue and sales – a powerful tool.
2. It allows you to engage with potential customers, which cannot be achieved through traditional media such as TV ads, print ads, etc.
3. It has people – a lot of people, and a lot of views. Social media sites receive trillions of views each month. And with their powerful search engines you can find target customers easily.
4. It can go viral. People share materials on their social profiles with their network, and this can build your ‘word of mouth’.
How should you use social media?
1. Research & plan
Nothing works without a proper plan, and before planning you first need to do your research.
You need to figure out what you want to achieve with social media to begin with. Is it to boost sales? Is it to generate brand awareness, or is it for customer services? For this article I would focus on generating sales since it would usually be the most desired outcome. The next thing to do is to figure out your price brackets – understand that the lower your price brackets, the more audience/customers you are likely to attract. With social media, start with offering products in the lower price brackets to gain awareness first, then try to drag customers up to the higher price brackets. It is all about trial and error. Doing A/B testing on your social media campaigns will certainly help.
2. Set up a killer profile
The key here is to stand out. This does not mean to go all extreme, but at least put some personality into your cover photos, profile picture and your bio. Think about what you sell – what type of people would buy your products and what images would appeal to them? For example, if you sell baby products then you can try to be cheerful, cute and sweet, and show that you understand mothers and babies.
As a side note, don’t forget to link your social media profile to your website and vice versa. At the end of the day, your aim is to drive traffic to your website so people could buy something from you.
3. No more sales pitches, say something interesting
I have unfollowed some online retailers because my whole news feed is filled with their sales messages – boring, repeating sales messages. Ensure you make your sales messages interesting and please, do not make it too frequent. Shouting out every 2 minutes is not going to help.
Occasionally, you should actually talk about your knowledge on the type of products that you are selling. Using the previous example, if you sell baby products then talk about baby care – this would appeal to mothers, who are your target market. You want their attention, and it is even better if they start seeing you as the industry expert and begin asking you questions. This way you can start engaging with them.
With social media you have no reason to be shy – the worst thing that could happen is that they ignore you. You are not likely to see them again and I am sure they won’t point and laugh at you on the street. So, be brave and try to initiate a conversation, or respond and reply to other people. You are doing all of these things to build trust and relationships and this is how you generate long term customers. Try to use their name and be genuine when talking to people. Spend a little bit of time reading their profile, it helps the conversation flow. Remember – do not start selling anything before you have established a connection with your potential customers since it can put people off.
These are a good way to attract and capture potential customers since people would repost/share these on their own profile and this can build word of mouth. Offers are best for conversions – make sure you have a deadline for your offer so people would feel a ‘sense of urgency’.
6. Social communities
This is great for targeting and engaging. Start by following users that have similar target audiences as you. Look at what they are doing and who is following them, then try to involve them in the conversations, as mentioned in step 4.
I have covered only a few points here and of course there are many others – If you have any points to add then comment below!
And most importantly, remember to track and measure – your work means nothing if you cannot measure the outcome properly.