Social Media Marketing for Beginners
You may have the next best idea for an ecommerce store. But the real challenge is going to be building a loyal customer base who actually want to buy your product or service. There are many ways you can approach digital marketing, including email campaigns, pay-per-click and SEO optimisation. We’re going to discuss one of the most integral marketing elements for your ecommerce store – social media marketing. If you’re starting from scratch, this will hopefully help you learn more about how you can start implementing your own social media campaigns to boost your brand.
Why is social media marketing popular?
You might be starting out with limited knowledge about social media and may be wondering just what makes it such a popular marketing strategy and why it is so widely touted as being necessary for digital marketing. With a reported user base of around 3 billion, it’s no wonder that social media is a topic of interest for marketers.
One of the main reasons for the success of social media marketing is its inherent accessibility. Social media platforms are free to sign up with, and users are encouraged to interact with each other, as well as brands and like-minded people who actively use the same platform. The only thing you need to sign up with is an internet connection and a working email address. This means that you have the potential to reach millions (or even billions) of active users on social media alone, without considering your web traffic from other sources.
Secondly, it’s relatively cheaper than traditional media – paying for a sponsored or boosted social media post is cost effective when compared to large-scale television or print ads.
This combined with an enormous prospective market is reason enough to start getting involved with social media marketing. The average social media user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media per day – this is a crucial period of time that you’ll want to be tapping into in order to gain recognition for your product.
You should also consider using social media marketing because it can help you build a community around your product, improve your brand awareness and visibility, promote events related to your business or industry, announce updates and new launches to your audience, driving leads which could lead to conversions and establishing your brand as a leader in your field through highlighting your value to your audience.
Platforms to consider
You might be confused as to which platforms you should use, and which content works best on specific platforms. We’ve helped to describe a couple of the most popular social media platforms to alleviate this confusion.
Facebook ‘s users are mostly between ages 18-44 and the main benefit for customers is accessing your ecommerce store’s information – such as opening hours and physical location (if applicable), other customer reviews, and fresh content such as new posts, videos and promotions. Facebook includes a great built-in call-to-action or CTA, which can help you convert customers through your business profile. One of the problems with Facebook is that their algorithm that sorts content is constantly changing, and could result in less people seeing your posts. One way to combat this is to produce high-quality native content, including videos and images, to promote a discussion on your page. Facebook contains a highly-rated ad system and ad manager, so you might want to play around with that and test out a small campaign to see if it’s a platform that you want to invest a lot of resources in.
Next, Twitter is the platform you want to use to start a conversation. You’ll probably not see many results if you start to use twitter as a dumping ground for random blog links. You’ll need to actively engage with your users, and start an engaging discussion – and maybe you can drop in your links later. The active voice might not fit your brand voice and style of marketing, so you might want to be cautious and test the waters with a tweet or two. However, if you can craft a viral tweet, you’ll be sure to see a lot more traffic than usual, so Twitter can definitely be effective with the right voice.
Instagram has been one of the most popular platforms for quite some time with over 1 billion monthly users, and is mostly a visual platform that favours images and videos. You can certainly gain a diverse and loyal fanbase from Instagram, as it has a high average engagement rate when compared to other platforms. It’s important to note that the algorithm used on Instagram is interest-based and does not follow chronological order, so your users should really have their tastes align with your product or field in order to be successful. Our advice for using instagram is to use every available feature to your advantage, including stories, polls, IG TV, highlights and newsfeed posts. Don’t forget to hashtag your posts to reach a wider audience. If your customers post about your product, you can easily share this with your audience, so always keep a lookout for great user-generated content that could generate engagement with your brand.
Moreover, LinkedIn is the quintessential business platform within the world of social media. This is one of the most important platforms for B2B companies, and it’s a good idea to create a LinkedIn profile for yourself, your employees and your business. If you’re looking to hire, LinkedIn is a great resource that can help you post job ads. Additionally, there’s a lot of professional discussion and industry-specific engagement happening on LinkedIn, as its the platform of choice for professionals to share news from their fields. You should use LinkedIn as a resource for posting content that satisfies both potential customer and professional peers – typically, thought-provoking and discursive content has performed well.
Next on our list, YouTube is the biggest video-sharing social media platform around. If used well, it can prove to be extremely successful. It’s currently gaining popularity in South Africa, with 84% of South African internet users choosing to visit the platform regularly.
Writing effective keywords is the trick to doing well on YouTube – they should be in your video title, description and tags. YouTube can be a great way to distribute education content, including tutorials, Q&A sessions and industry events. Think of YouTube as a platform for both content and social media marketing – and remember to always link your website in your videos.
Another visual platform is Pinterest – which focuses on users saving content made by others. It’s kind of like a wish list and mood board rolled into one, which could be great for specific industries. It won’t be right for every type of business, but it can certainly help others – particularly. You should consider using Pinterest if your business is those involved with DIY instructions, arts and crafts for people of all ages and popular cooking and baking recipes – of course, you should always do a simple search to see what kind of content is available on these platforms that matches your field. Like Youtube, it relies on well-placed keywords to do well – and your keywords should be found in your profile description, and title and description of your boards. For future reference, 87% of users purchased a product based on Pinterest, 93% of users used the site to plan future purchases and 83% of users prefer to follow brands instead of celebrities.
Tips for social media marketing
- Measure your results with metrics – this is the best way to determine which strategies are working for you and where you have room for improvement. Things to look at include engagement and reach, comments, clicks, downloads (if applicable) and leads.
- Plan a consistent content schedule so that you nurture your following. You might use Google Calendar to get started and opt for a dedicated CRM later on. Remember that you can curate and showcase other creators’ content from time to time, as long as you give credit where it’s due.
- Select the correct platforms for your brand and industry. Think about who your target audience is and do as much research as possible regarding the platforms that this audience uses most frequently. Where are your competitors active?
- Ask your customers for feedback to look into social media channels that you should be using.
- Identify your business goals and think about how social media can be used to reach specific targets. Maybe your goal is to increase brand awareness, so you’ll measure this based on the amount of followers gained per month,as one example.
For further understanding, check out Hubspot’s resources, which are aimed at helping beginners learn more about social media marketing.
We know that social media marketing is here to stay. But don’t worry – you can learn about specific social media platforms and how to use them to boost your following. Social media marketing is popular because it’s extremely accessible, relatively cheap and also a simple way to start engaging with your audience. You’ll need to recognise which platforms might be good for you, and then the next step is to create and curate appropriate content for your platform. Some platforms, such as Youtube and Pinterest, rely on great tagging, so you might want to learn how to do this if you’re looking into these platforms. Need some help using your channels? Consider ShoppingFeeder, an all-in-one multichannel marketing solution for ecommerce stores.