Social media is one of the best tools available to eCommerce businesses. With it you can reach thousands or even millions of people, all with just a few clicks of your mouse. However, it’s also very easy to waste too much time on social media, and to not get the full benefit from it. As an eCommerce business you want to be efficient with your social media time, and to also drive in as many sales as possible.
Luckily, this isn’t too hard to do. Below are 6 tips you can use to boost your sales in 2019, without wasting too much time. You don’t have to spend hours each day on all of your social media accounts – a few minutes a day on the tips below will be more than enough to drive visitors to your website, and in turn sell online better.
Locate Influencers Within Your Niche
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One of the first things you should do is find the influencers within your niche. Influencers are people who have a large social media following, and who therefore have influence within that niche or industry. Your should be to find these people, so that you can make yourself a part of their circle.
A lot of social media networks recommend who to connect with based on similar accounts. So, for example, let’s say you are a meal delivery software platform. You’d first start by looking for popular influencers within your niche – food bloggers, restaurant chains, etc. If you then connect with all of them, anyone else who also follows these influencers are more likely to be recommended to your account. Think of it like a party – if the biggest names in your niche were all hosting a party, you’d want to be there to network with all the other guests.
Finding these influencers can take some time, but it’s typically worth it in the long run, so make this a priority in 2019.
Engage with Influencers and Customers Alike
Of course, once you find these influencers it’s not enough to simply follow their social media accounts. The best thing you can do once you’ve found them is to try and form a connection. There are several ways you can go about this.
For starters, let’s say you recently wrote a blog post in which you mentioned one of the influencers. Now you could promote the link to the blog post on your social media accounts, and give a public “thank you” to the influencer for providing you with good information. If the influencer sees this, they may just follow you back or repost the message to their own followers.
Another thing you can do is reach out to them directly. Tell them you admire their work or products, ask them questions, or just generally say hello. You could also offer to send them a free sample of your own product, in exchange for a review. Whatever method you choose to go with, keep it friendly but professional, and if they don’t answer back, let them be.
While you’re busy interacting with influencers, don’t forget to talk to your customers. Social media is the perfect platform to answer questions, provide additional information, or to solve any problems your customers may be having. If you use social media right, you can turn potential customers into customers, and past customers into repeat customers.
Start Advertising on Social Media
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One of the great things about social media is that it is essentially free to use. You don’t have to spend any money to set up your accounts, share your content, or interact with your followers. However, if you want to make your social media use more effective, you should consider advertising.
Each social media platform comes with some amazing tools for advertisers. With these tools you can pinpoint your exact niche, and use ads to draw in more followers or website visits. You can also typically set the amount that you want to spend, so you can dip your toe in the water for just a few dollars each month. Or, if you want to go bigger, you can hire an agency to run these ads for you. For instance, a Facebook Advertising Agency knows the ins and outs of the Facebook advertising platform, and will be able to get you the most value for your money.
When it comes to social media followers, value is better than volume. Social ads allow you to more efficiently gather high-quality followers, which in turn are more likely to turn into customers, so start exploring your ad options in 2019.
Make Use of Hashtags
The next simple thing you can try going into 2019 is making use of hashtags. Hashtags were originally only used on Twitter, but have since made their way onto every other social media platform. With hashtags you can include yourself in public discussions, and get your posts noticed by more people.
As an example, let’s say you run an eCommerce business that creates baking products. On one of your social media posts, you could include the hashtag “#baking”. Now, anyone who searches for “#baking”, or clicks on this hashtag in another post, will be shown all of the posts with this hashtag, including yours.
A great goal you can make for 2019 is becoming better at identifying good hashtags and using them regularly. Before you use a hashtag, you should make sure that it’s popular, but not too popular. If there are millions of other people using this tag, chances are your post will be lost in the crowd. On the other hand, if no one else is using this tag, it’s unlikely that your post will even be seen. Take time to do some research before using hashtags and choose ones that strike a good balance.
(One small caveat to this: in some cases it’s good to use a hashtag that no one else is using. For example, if you want to start a conversation with your followers about a certain product of yours, you could turn the product name into the hashtag. That way, anyone who wants to talk about that product could use the hashtag and find others who have mentioned it. You won’t get outside followers to notice you this way, but it can be a great way to host a conversation and generate buzz.)
Hold a Contest
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Our next tip is to hold a contest. Everyone likes to win free stuff, and social media is the perfect place to offer this. As an eCommerce business, you have some products that you can likely give away. Send a message out to your followers that in order to be entered into the contest, they need to share your message with their own followers, or use a custom hashtag you set up. This serves three purposes:
First, it gets your existing followers to engage with your account. You are getting them to do something and to think about your product, rather than just scrolling past it.
Second, you are spreading brand awareness exponentially. If just ten of your followers share your message, and they each have 100 followers of their own, you’ve now spread brand awareness to over 1,000 people.
Third, it helps to build customer loyalty. People like to get free stuff, and to do business with brands that make things fun. A contest accomplishes both of these things at the same time.
When you weigh the cost of holding the contest versus the gain you can get from it, you’ll likely see it as an easy decision.
Try Out Different Social Media Networks
Finally, in 2019 make it a goal to try out some different social media platforms. You likely have one or two that serve you well at the moment, but there are plenty of them out there. For instance, if you primarily use Twitter and Facebook, consider setting up accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. The more social media networks you use, the wider audience you can reach.
Of course, not every social media network will be right for you. Maybe your target audience is teenagers, and therefore LinkedIn wouldn’t work that well. Or maybe you’re after business professionals, in which case Instagram wouldn’t be that effective. Your goal shouldn’t be to dedicate a large amount of time and resources to new social networks – just to try them out. You may end up pleasantly surprised that a social network you hadn’t considered is actually quite popular with your target audience.
Don’t Complicate Social Media
As you can see, using social media to promote your eCommerce business doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just a matter of connecting with the right people, engaging with them, and making use of the tools at your disposal. All of this can be done in a small amount of time each day, giving you more time to work on other aspects of your business. If you’re feeling stuck, consider tracking your competitors’ social media to learn what they are doing. This can be a great way to generate new strategies and keep up with the competition.
So, for 2019, make it a goal to become more efficient with your social media time by using the tips above, and before long you should notice a corresponding boost in your sales.
David is the CEO of TaskDrive, lead research and sales development as a service.