With European online retail sales expected to soar to €233.9 billion in 2018 and the process of setting up an online shop made easy – there’s n ever been a better time to sell things online.
However, the ease of setting up an online shop means just about anybody can do it, and that makes your marketing and branding essential for setting your business apart from the herd.
While you most likely won’t have millions to invest in advertising campaigns – social media has made it possible for businesses to reach thousands of people organically. People, who according to a poll of 170 000 internet users by GlobalWebIndex, spend 28% (average 1.72 hours a day) of their time online on social networks. Making social media a channel you can’t afford to miss when it comes to marketing your e-commerce website.
Which begs the question, which social networks should you be on? And what should you be posting to engage your target audience – and drive sales to your e-commerce website?
In this post we’ll take a look at the main social networks you should be active and give you a list of things you can do.
With 1.39 billion monthly active users, Facebook is arguably the largest social network on this list. And with that sort of user base, anybody who uses the internet is most likely on Facebook.
But while you have the chance to get your message in front of a large audience, you’re fighting for attention in people’s crowded newsfeed.
To help your business stay top of mind here’s what you should be posting on Facebook:
- Keep your posts under 80 characters
- Post maximum 1–4 times a week to not clutter people’s newsfeed
- Use your cover photo to promote your products
- Share links to your product pages
- Ask questions in your posts to increase engagement
- Sell directly on Facebook by setting up a Facebook Store
- Host a contest
Twitter is essentially a real-time news feed and microblogging platform where you’re limited to just 140 characters. As of April 2015, Twitter has user base of over 500 million, of which 302 million are monthly active users. Twitter has also acquired video-producing startups like Vine and Periscope to transform itself into a more visual platform.
Due to it’s real-time nature, Twitter is often faster at sharing breaking news than traditional news networks are. What this means for your business is that you can have real-time conversations with your followers and monitor industry trends as they happen. But your posting activity will need to be more frequent because the half-life of a tweet is just 24 minutes!
To breathe more life into your Twitter activity, here are a few things to try out:
- Tweet about special deals and campaigns
- Add images to your tweets and link to your product pages
- Use Vine to create short (6 seconds) videos about your brand
- Use Twitter for customer support
- Ask for feedback and opinions on new products and industry news
- Tweet pictures of your product
- Ask your followers to share images how they’re using your product
Pinterest is similar to a social bookmarking site and gets its name from how their platform resembles a pin corkboard, where you pin photos and reminders to it– but instead you pin images from your favourite websites onto boards which have different topics.
Additionally, the referral traffic from Pinterest is the second highest after Facebook – making it the ideal platform for promoting your products and driving sales for your business.
Here are a fews to help you get started with Pinterest:
- Add the Pin It button to your e-commerce website
- Pin your own products
- Use Rich Pins to add extra information right inside your pins
- Run a contest
- Create boards around the lifestyle your brand promotes
Launched in 2010 and bought by Facebook two years later, the photo-sharing social network boasts 300 million monthly active users. Users can take photos, upload them, add filters and share them on several other platforms (e.g. Facebook, Flickr and Tumblr).
If you’re targeting a young audience, Instagram is the place to be with usage at 41% among people aged 16–24 and 35% among 24–34 year olds.
Interestingly, brand engagement is the highest on Instagram at 4.21%, which is 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.
Here are a few ideas of what you can do on Instagram:
- Post images and videos of your product
- Add your location to increase engagement by 78%
- Add text to your images to highlight special deal
- Add hashtags to expand your reach
- Add CTAs to your caption and link to your store
A microblogging platform which at times feels like a combination of Twitter and WordPress. Tumblr’s interface makes it incredibly easy to setup a blog and publish different forms of content. The platform also allows you to follow other blogs and to share (or “reblog”) content from Tumblr.
Founded in 2007 by David Karp, Tumblr hosts 241 million blogs where 113.5 billion posts have been published. During Q3 and Q4 2014, Tumblr’s userbase grew by 120% making it the fastest growing social platform. Just like Instagram, Tumblr is popular among a younger demographic and is ideal for businesses selling to a young crowd.
Here are a couple of things you can do to market your online business on Tumblr:
- Reshare posts from Instagram, Youtube and your blog;
- Or host your blog on Tumblr
- Add links back to your e-commerce website
- Host a chat session with your audience
- Publish images and videos of your products in the wild
Founded in 2005 and bought by Google in 2006, YouTube is a video sharing platform where 300h of video is uploaded every minute. The platform has over 1 billion users, and is the second largest search engine after Google.
In an infographic by MultiVisionDigital, consumers are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a product video. You can also expect to get an SEO boost as Google loves videos since its search results tend to prioritise pages with video, which means more referral traffic from the search engine giant.
Here’s a list of what you could do on Youtube:
- Shoot videos which are under 2mins long
- Showcase how your product can be used
- Embed Youtube video on your e-commerce website
- Use annotations to direct viewers to your website
- Answer frequently asked questions with video
- Film a video showing how your product is made
So how do you use social media for your online business? Let us know in the comments below.