At Digital Media Team we live and breathe social media, but that doesn’t mean your brand should too. This is a crucial point to remember and a hurdle that we see many businesses fall down at. You can’t just rely on social media to run a successful eCommerce business. Social media is hugely important, but it’s just one piece of the digital marketing puzzle.
In this article we’ll take a look at social media and the other channels you need to be focusing on to get your brand to where it needs to be. Let’s get going.
Social media isn’t just paid social
Before we move onto the other channels, here’s our number one thing to remember: social media marketing is more than building and advert and throwing some money at it. Hell, we’d be out of a job if it were. Many businesses are so tunnel-visioned with their approach to social media that they think that running a few fire campaigns will lead to an influx in sales and a huge return on investment. It’s not so simple.
A successful social media strategy includes regular, quality content going on across all channels; a full-funnel paid social strategy; timely and effective customer service via direct messages, comments and more; and social listening. If that sounds like a lot of effort, that’s ‘cause it is. Read more about why social media is more than just paid social here.
These days, customers expect information and support to be available on demand. And when it’s not? Well, you can say goodbye to that customer. With so many eCommerce retailers out there – especially in fashion – the consumer is firmly in control here. If you’re not delivering fast customer service, you’re likely to ruffle some feathers and ultimately lose out on business. A key solution here is to use Facebook Messenger chatbots.
Messenger itself can improve sales by allowing you to:
- Chat with customers
- Put an end to abandon carts
- Send personalised broadcast messages
- Drive repeat orders
- Bring back previous customers
Forecasts say that more than 85% of customer interactions will be handled without human to human contact. Stay ahead of the curve and bring in an AI-powered chatbot now and your business will benefit. Implementing a chatbot can help improve customer service whilst increasing conversions and lowering the cost of your advertising. Isn’t that a win-win situation? There are many platforms out there allowing you to build an intelligent bot without the need to code, so give it a go.
PPC is the perfect addition to social media marketing, as it helps you reach users at a different part of the marketing funnel. Whereas social media marketing helps you get in front of people while they’re absentmindedly scrolling through the feed, PPC puts you in front of those people who have searched for an item, topic or your brand itself. By positioning yourself on top of the search results, you’re putting your website in front of people who know what they want.
As soon as a user clicks onto your website from your PPC ad, they then fall into your oh-so clever marketing trap. There are a number of outcomes here. Firstly, they could make a purchase straight away. Great! Secondly, they could add to basket but get distracted, put off or simply change their mind. However, if you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel to your website, you can gather crucial data on this user, and then as soon as they return to social media (which they will), you can retarget them with social media ads. Chase them around the internet with your ads and they’re bound to complete their purchase at some point.
Despite the controversy surrounding influencer fraud, influencer marketing is as important as ever. Consumers are far more likely to trust their favourite influencers than they are a brand – these trusted figures command loyal followings and live lifestyles that the everyday person aspires to reach. Influencers produce authentic content that is true to their own personal brand, so it’s crucial to find the right influencer for your business.
It remains to be seen whether Instagram’s test of hiding likes on posts will affect how influencers operate. It’s likely to create a shift away from vanity metrics such as likes and follower counts, and more of a focus on actual sales. This may well shift the power back to the brand – or, perhaps, to Instagram themselves, as brands are further incentivised to put money behind their posts. This is backed up by Instagram’s decision to allow advertisers promote posts from influencers. It’s an interesting development to follow. However, the point still stands – influencer content is far superior to generic product or model shots, and it’s a marketing technique that you need to be using.
SEO still matters. Adding great content to your website on a regular basis helps Google point search results to these pages, edging you up the search rankings. Every time you share this content to your social media channels and link it back to your site, you’ll boost your SEO. When other sites link to your content, even better! Create content that appeals to your target audience, and share it with the people in your industry that matter.
What’s more, engaging web content gives you something different to share to your social channels, so you can offer something else to your followers rather than trying to sell, sell, sell. Think about the kind of topics that your customer avatars are interested in: if you’re selling protein shakes and supplements, engage them with recipes, diet plans and workouts. Fast fashion? Style guides, celebrity gossip and beauty tips.
Almost 30 years on from it’s rise to common usage, email is king in 2019. Email marketing is more powerful now than it’s ever been, with an influx of new technologies making email one of the most lucrative marketing channels. For ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers. Combine email marketing with personalisation, and you’ve got a very powerful tool to your disposal – a tool that’s incredibly effective for retargeting your customers.
Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social, and the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media. Let’s look at the facts – email is now an integral part of every day life, whereas people have a choice on whether or not they switch off from social media. As long as your emails are relevant, offer value and give your customers what they want, you’re likely to see great results.
With so many eCommerce brands out there, consumers naturally are often hesitant to part with their money when making a first purchase from a new company. Many savvy customers will turn to online reviews to find out whether a brand is legit before making a purchase. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your online reviews. There are tonnes of review sites out there, but the big ones to start with are Facebook reviews, Google and Trustpilot. 84% of consumers say that an online review is as trustworthy as a recommendation given in person – that’s powerful stuff!
If you’ve got great reviews – shout about them! A glowing review can be paired with a piece of user-generated content and used to make a really effective post or advert (just make sure to get the user’s permission first). It’s all about social proof – consumers are likely to seek out the quality of your service and what your product looks like in real life. If you can demonstrate this, do so. Many brands will even put their star rating on their site for additional customer reassurance.
As social media marketers we’re data-heads, and we often look to the likes of outdoor advertising and think – sure, that’s great, but how do you track the success rate? However, there’s no denying that outdoor advertising (billboards, taxi wraps etc) is effective. It’s estimated that 71% of potential customers look at messages on roadside billboards, and having your brand displayed on a huge canvas really does make you look like a big deal.
If your brand is small to medium, outdoor advertising is actually a fairly cost-effective way of bridging the gap on your big name competitors, as you’re presenting yourself as a larger-than-life player in your industry. Rebellious have done this well, purchasing billboards and taxi ranks here in their hometown of Manchester. Their colourful cabs catch the eye and puts the #RebelGal brand in the forefront of people’s minds. If you want to try outdoor advertising, remember to put your contact details on the board – your website at the very least and your social media handles for extra impact.
As you can see from the examples above, there’s a lot to consider when marketing your brand. This is just scratching the surface, too; there are way more options to pursue. However, this is a solid selection to get you started. It might sound like a lot of effort, but we can’t stress this point enough – if you want your brand to make it, you can’t simply invest money into social media advertising alone. The more traffic you get to your website the better, and the power of social can convert that traffic into paying customers.