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Drive Conversions + Sales with Social Media E-commerce

Social Media E-commerce Success

The ways marketers use social media is continuing to evolve. What was originally designed to build communities, has transformed into a practical way to market brands, products and services. In recent years, brands have used social media to not only connect with consumers, but also for increasing sales. This shift brought the rise in social media e-commerce. Social media e-commerce is defined as the practice of using social media to market an e-commerce store. Think of social media e-commerce as the connection between social commerce and social selling — building a brand while also generating sales. Plus, new tools and platform updates make it easier than ever to connect these two concepts.

Why is Social Media E-commerce Important?

According to a Sprout Social study, 90% of consumers purchase products from brands they follow on social media. After following a brand on social media, consumers continue to engage in other ways including visiting the brand’s website or app, make a purchase or recommend the brand to family or friends. Social media e-commerce is the bridge between social media connections and online shopping. Plus, there are e-commerce options available on almost all social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

How Does Social Media E-commerce Benefit Brands?

Social media is known for helping brands increase awareness online to develop a loyal following. Social media e-commerce makes it easier for the right consumers to discover your brand. Brands can attract relevant followers who make a purchase and become advocates for their products or services. Most of all, social media e-commerce is convenient for users because they do not have to leave the platform in order to shop or make a purchase.

5 Tips for Social Media E-commerce Success

  1. Determine Your Audience — Identifying your target audience helps you be more strategic in how you deliver content on social media. Determine specific details. Aside from age, gender and location, you should also consider; what are their interests? What do they do for fun? Do they have any hobbies? What is their occupation? What social media platform do they spend the most time on? Answering all of these questions will ensure your content resonates with your target audience which could incite an action from them.
  2. Casual Conversation > Selling Products — Remember social media is made for creating connections and forming communities. Social media e-commerce is about selling a product; however, it is important to make sure your content generates meaningful conversations rather than hard selling your products. Try focusing on the solution your product offers consumers, rather than the product itself.
  3. Partner Paid and Organic — Like all social strategies, it is recommended to partner paid and organic efforts in your social media e-commerce strategy. Paid social media efforts help you quickly reach a larger audience, including potential new customers. You also have the ability to target your ideal audience based on demographics, interests, location and more. You will know you’re spending your ad budget reaching users who are more likely to convert into customers. Continuing organic efforts alongside paid campaigns demonstrates transparency while creating meaningful relationships and building trust with your audience members.
  4. Prioritize Customer Service — One of the many benefits of social media e-commerce is its easier to prioritize customer service. There are many options within each platform to engage with consumers. Consumers look for brands who are transparent on social media, so be sure to engage regularly with both positive and negative comments or messages. Resolving the negative comments can have just as much impact on a consumer’s purchasing decision as a positive review.
  5. Collaboration — Today, the number of followers on your page is not the only metric for success. Instead, look at how many of your followers are active purchasers. These followers are essential because you can collaborate with them to become advocates for your brand. By forming those strong relationships, you can gain reviews, testimonials or user-generated content to share on your page. Social advocates become micro influencers for your brand and can even help host giveaways and contests to further your reach.

5 KPIs to Track

As always, it’s important to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress. While there are many KPIs to consider, here are five you should start with when beginning your social media e-commerce journey.

  1. Conversion Rates — Your conversion rate is the rate in which your consumers are converting, or purchasing, on your e-commerce site. Calculate by dividing the total number of visitors by the total number of conversions. To start, set a benchmark for the conversion rate you would like to see. You can review industry standards and how your pages perform to determine your benchmark.
  2. Product Button Clicks — Tracking the number of people clicking on your products will help determine how many people are interested in learning more about your products. Even if they decide to not make a purchase, they may consider again in the future.
  3. Traffic — You can also track how much of your website traffic is generated from social media. This metric is important because it shows how often someone sees your content on social and is interested enough to leave the platform to visit your website to learn more about both your brand and your products.
  4. Reviews — In today’s online space, people trust people more than brands, which is why customer reviews and testimonials are so important. Set a goal for the number of reviews you want to gain on social media. If you had 20 reviews last year, maybe you want to get 15% more this year. These reviews help your e-commerce shop increase user confidence, traffic and sales. Plus, you can repurpose reviews in your organic content.
  5. Taking Action — If you ever feel your strategy is not working, try running A/B tests. Even if you are meeting your goals, you can’t truly know what performs best if it’s never been compared to another campaign. Consider testing different CTAs, copy, images, etc. against each other to determine which performs best among your audience. This can be more difficult when it comes to organic efforts, but you can gauge engagement on posts to see if changing certain aspects of content prompt higher numbers.

Social media is continuing to make a larger impact on consumer shopping habits. Because of this, platforms continue to evolve and add new features to make it easier for e-commerce brands to market and sell products directly to users. Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to generate more brand awareness, create authentic relationships with your consumers, drive conversions and website traffic and ultimately, boost sales. It’s easy to set up a shop for your business on many social media channels so jump in and get started!

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Courtney O'Connell and Jamie Lamb

Jamie Lamb and Courtney O'Connell serve as social media coordinators at Strategic America in Greater Des Moines (DSM).