Word of mouth used to be the ideal way to sell your products. People would buy something from you, and tell their friends - who would then buy something from you. You would naturally build an audience. Now, that commerce is shifting from physical shops to eCommerce stores, word of mouth has switched from actual mouths onto social media.
If you run an eCommerce business, then social media marketing is the best way to generate word of mouth and brand awareness. That being said, it also has a positive effect on the other digital marketing that you will most likely be running. Social media marketing has value in itself, but treated correctly - it can also amplify the benefits of other digital marketing.
So, how can social help something like email?
Email is the basis of a lot of business on the Internet. It’s where people receive their invoices, and the amount of email traffic still dwarfs the number of social media interactions and even online searches. Email marketing is still successful, and it can be even more successful when you add a social media component.
You can take the email list that you have built up from your existing customers, and turn it into a custom audience. That means you will be able to retarget people on social media who have already bought from you once, and are more likely to buy from you again. Not only that, but you can create a lookalike audience who will be demographically similar to people who have already bought from you.
That means social can use email to find people who are predisposed to like your products. Another benefit is that you set a campaign focus in a social media marketing campaign to drive more email subscriptions, by offering to email codes or something like an ebook. This can drive your email marketing, but also provide you with a new custom audience that you can target with a different message to people who have already made a decision with you.
Now, how can it help SEO?
Google wants to make sure that the sites it puts high up in their rank order are sites that will be of value and interest to the people who search using their engine. As such, it favours sites that also have a strong social media presence. Google can track social signals, which means that every time someone comments on or shares a piece of content you have created for social media, it has a positive impact on your SERPs.
If you are using blogs to generate backlinks to your website, you can also promote these blogs on social media to your audience. If you draw people to the content you have created, you will educate them about your business, and more people will share that content - making those backlinks more valuable.
What about social and PPC?
It may seem that PPC and Social are very different, and wouldn’t be able to have much interaction. PPC is a sponsored link that drives people to the website. People click through to a landing page, and that’s it. Unlike email, the people that click through don’t leave an address for them to be tracked later. Well, they don’t do that themselves, but using something called a Pixel, they can be tracked.
A Pixel is a small piece of html code that you put on a landing page. When people click through on a PPC link, they get tracked as soon as they hit the website. The information from the Pixel can then be used like the information in an email list to create custom and lookalike audiences. In fact, PPC clicks can be even more valuable than email lists, as you can put different Pixels on different landing pages.
That means you can set up different landing pages for PPC, SEO and even social media driven click throughs to accurately tell which type of digital media marketing is being the most successful for you. You can even track people’s progress through your website, so you can send a different message to someone who just visited the first landing page to someone who put something in their basket and then abandoned it before committing to a purchase.
Traditionally, digital marketing has been very direct with a specific purpose. Email marketing tries to get the interest of new customers with special offer emails, or updates on products they may find interesting. PPC drives people through to your website on a payment basis, and SEO increases the chances that people will find your eCommerce store through organic search.
Social media marketing also has a direct purpose. It is very good at growing an online community that will support and spread word about your product, adding value and trust to your brand through genuine recommendation. It can do a lot more than that though. Not only can you use social media marketing to set up a clear sales funnel, you can then retarget people who have fallen out of the funnel effectively.
On social media, you can put out content at different levels. People go online for one of two reasons - to be entertained or to have a problem solved. PPC and SEO are very focused on problem solving. People search for a solution to their problem, and PPC and SEO make sure your company is one of the most obvious answers to that problem. What social media does very well is to entertain and educate.
So why not use it to do something other digital marketing struggles with?
By putting out good social media posts at the top of the funnel, you can put forward your brand values, while also not pushing the hard sell - something you can’t really do in traditional digital media. This helps to move a customer from cold to sold, and is an effective way to attract and interest the clients. You can then put out educational content that informs the audience about your USP’s and comparative advantage helping them to make a decision before putting out a message designed to lock them into action.
You can also use these messages to retarget people who have gone to your website by the traditional means, but meet them at the right point in their customer journey. If people have just been checking out your website, they won’t want the hard sell - but if an entertaining image or story pops up in their social feed - then they will think that your brand is one that can be trusted as they have seen it in more than one place - and they can be further pushed down the tunnel.
People who have already interacted with your business once, are more likely to interact again
If someone has already followed your website through to the checkout scene, they no longer need a message bolstering the credibility of your brand, but a message like a special offer which is more likely to spur them into action - or remind them of the item they very nearly purchased. Social media helps to pick up all the customers that the traditional digital marketing methods drop on their own.
Social media marketing finds people where their attention already is, on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With a site like Facebook, retargeting isn’t limited to Facebook feed ads, it can also appear (via the audience network) on Instagram, websites, mobile, interstitials and even in-app adverts.
Social media marketing is not a competitor to traditional digital marketing - it is an ally. If you have a strong email list and web traffic through email, PPC and SEO - then you are in a strong position to build a social media marketing presence. If you have disappointing web traffic, then you can use social media to drive web traffic to your site. Good social media marketing can put weak email, SEO and PPC back on the right track. With great email, SEO and PPC - social media marketing can work wonders.
Author Bio: Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results. Uninspired by the never ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded - the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency.