If you have been dabbling in online marketing for the past few years, you certainly know the power of social commerce and social media ecommerce and how activities related to anything social drive more traffic for business. However, these days the role of social media is about to change big time as social platform giants such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google will be launching options for users to be able to purchase on their website. When will this happen? According to the latest news, in about a year from now you may be selling your products or services directly on Facebook rather than going to Amazon or Ebay.
So what does that mean for the ecommerce marketplace? Basically, the game changes big time. If social media has been a critical factor in gaining customers as well as making them stick around and shop with your brand on a regular basis, now the role of social media shifts to a whole new level. In fact, it shifts so much that it is already time to start planning how to attract even a larger audience on social media and build their trust in expectation possibly having the option to sell directly on these websites.
Leveraging your social commerce and social media ecommerce
We may not have Facebook shops yet, but we do have social commerce campaigns. Just to make sure we’re on the same page with you, we perceive social commerce as those activities on social media that support and drive ecommerce transactions. Basically, social commerce is getting your social media audience to trust your brand and buy your products from your website.
If you already do social commerce you surely know that it’s more complex than it sounds. Building a targeted (relevant to your brand) audience on social media may be easy at first sight, especially if you invest in social media advertising. However, making sure the audience sticks around, follows you, and loves your product and services so much that you get these people to go to your website and buy from you, that’s a whole another story. A story you should be seriously getting involved with ASAP as social media is truly the gold mine for ecommerce and will be even more so once customers are enabled to shop on your FB or Google page.
How to own social commerce while awaiting social media ecommerce
So, in a matter of months the big giants we named at the beginning of this article will be recommending products, processing orders and payments on your behalf. Not to miss out on the upcoming action and start making fertile ground to get in the game from day one, we advise you to put a social commerce plan into action now. When we say a social media ecommerce plan, we don’t mean posting a picture of your product or post about your services every now and then. We mean a serious investment of time, creativity and effort to engage with social media and attract potential customers while also working on making them like your brand and what it stands for.
Find your potential customers
First thing first, find out where your potential customers hide. It’s pointless to invest time and effort into a social platform if potential customers of your products do not use that particular platform. The best way to find out what social media your audience mostly uses is by launching a quick survey either on your website or via newsletters. Also, you may embed a survey link in the automated thank you email that usually goes out each time a customer shops on a ecommerce site. A great software to create surveys is Survey Gizmo; if you go for it, you will be able to create a survey in less than 5 minutes with the option to either embed the survey on your website, in your newsletter, in your emails or share the link via any other channel of communication.
If you are wondering which social platform has proven to be the most successful one in terms of social commerce, there isn’t one. Consumer audiences use different social media websites for different purposes. It’s pretty pointless launching a Facebook campaign to attract customers if all of your potential customers are on Twitter. That is why it’s key that you do your research properly and target the right social media for your business.
Target your audience with relevant content
Once you identify the social media platform your potential customers use, target them with relevant content. Find and join groups that discuss similar products or services as the ones you sell and note down what people mostly ask about discuss (Facebook). Give out answers, post answers and similar discussions on your page. Find relevant hashtags and when you post, always make sure to use the right hashtag as people search for content they are interested in with hashtags (Facebook/Twitter). Join circles (Google). Find user boards that feature similar products and services as yours and follow/like/repost (Pinterest).
Be active. Use multimedia content (video/images). Try to connect to your audience on a personal level too by featuring every day stories or your own struggles and happy events. Showing the people behind a brand is a great way to build trust with customers and let them know who they will buy from.
Follow social media technology news
Now that you know about the changes that will hit some social media sites, make sure not to miss the latest updates. There are tons of great websites with great social media tips, news, and guides for you to learn from. Forbes, Digital Trends, Mashable, Digital Marketing News are some of the most known out there.
In the mean time here are a few already known insights that may help you in preparing your social media activities while awaiting the big changes ahead of us.
If you’re already on Twitter, you got used to shrinking your posts to the famous 140 character limit. If you’re not, bear in mind that Twitter is all about the latest news, updates, and engaging on topics published under a specific hashtag.
According to marketing specialists, Twitter will be the right social media for a particular type of products that are often purchased because of the recommendations made by social media peers. This category of products includes books, music and movies. Also, Twitter will be a great channel to feature special offers, limited time sale items and similar clearances.
The great thing about Facebook is that you can track what users like thanks to the like and share buttons. To take advantage of Facebook’s analytics, add Purchase Behaviour to your FB audience insight tool. This option will allow you to gather valuable customer profiles and their propensity to buy certain products/services.
By analysing these metrics it will be easier for you to understand what FB users want to see featured in FB ads and would probably purchase if there was a good deal.
Google Shopping platform which is already available provides users with an easy way to browse through featured product results and compare prices. Soon, Google will be adding a Buy Now button in regular search results making it very easy for users to spot great deals and products in their regular daily searches.
If you want to get into the action right away and join Google Shopping, visit Google Merchant Center. Once products are submitted (only physical goods are currently accepted), Google Ads will feature submitted products when a user searches for the matching product category.
Market research already highlighted Pinterest’s potential in terms of ecommerce. Most Pinterest users pin (like) and share products they plan to buy on ecommerce websites. Once the network integrates the Buy Now button, users will be facilitated in their product shopping experience.
This is why it would be very wise to plan and start implementing a Pinterest product campaign featuring good quality, flashy, product images as well as other images representing the lifestyle your brand envisions. This will help you to build a solid following of fans and potential customers that may well become direct customers once the platform introduces a direct shopping option.
What will be the costs of social media ecommerce marketing?
Most likely, the social networks will offer a cost per click option or commission-based cost to online sellers. Today’s social media ads options and similar types of cost per click product advertising are not focused on conversion optimisation as much as getting that one click based on user behaviour research. However, with the introduction of Buy Now buttons, be sure social media giants will invest heavily in conversion optimisation making sure sellers benefit when paying for their products to be featured on the social media platform.
What else can I do now to profit the most when Buy Now hits social media?
According to professionals’ experience, those who joined Facebook ads or Google product ads as early as possible are looking to profit the most from these option. That is why you should join the game now while there is still little competition and pricing is good.
This does not mean you should invest all your current resources into social media ads. However, it is time to take small steps and budget social media campaigns for your most popular products up to date!