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One challenge every ecommerce store owner faces is how to how to stand out from the thousands of other ecommerce sites available on the Internet and increase sales.
One of the most effective methods of achieving this, which has emerged over the past few years, is social media marketing. Brands today are able to leverage both unpaid (organic) and paid social media marketing tactics on various channels in order to generate awareness and boost sales.
According to a Smart Insights survey, more than half of companies that use social media marketing find that it increases revenue and sales.
Having A Social Media Strategy Is The First Step
Before you embrace social media for your Shopify store, it’s critical that you develop a big picture view of what results in you want from your social media efforts and how you can best achieve them.
There are five key elements to a comprehensive social media strategy:
- Setting goals
- Target audiences
- Content mix
- Choosing channels
- Execution process
Let’s explore each briefly below:
1. Setting Goals
Your social media strategy should always have the primary goals of your Shopify store at its core:
- Driving traffic and sales
- Building brand awareness
- Engaging your audience
- Providing customer support
- Gathering client feedback
However, you can’t achieve any of these goals without knowing what signals to pay attention to.
They need to be distilled down into measurable objectives that can clearly indicate success or failure, such as:
- Amount of traffic generated from social media
- Number of followers on various channels
- The number of impressions/reach, likes, shares, mentions, etc.
- The ratio of website visitors to sales conversions
- How quickly you answer customer questions and complaints
2. Target Audiences
Who is your ideal customer? You should spend some time researching your target audience, looking for demographic and psychographic data that can help you form a mental image of what kind of person is likely to buy from your Shopify store.
You should put it all together to create a buyer persona. Some key data points to consider include:
- Income level
- Relationship status
- Favorite sites/apps
- Why they want to buy your product
- Concerns stopping them from buying
You need not be 100 percent accurate with this persona. In fact, you should keep it as broad as you can.
The point of this whole exercise is to flesh out your best guess at the kind of person you can easily turn into a customer and then start evolving from there as you execute your strategy and get real feedback.
This exercise also helps you figure out the ideal brand voice your store needs to use to appeal to them.
3. Content Mix
Here, you define the content formats and post types you plan to use.
This makes it easier for you to generate new content to share and gives your audience both variety and consistency at the same time.
The content mix you develop can incorporate the following types:
- News (industry developments or trending news)
- Motivation (inspirational quotes, stories, and photos)
- Education (such as research stats, quick tutorials, how-to guides)
- Promotion (such as high-quality product shots, demo videos, testimonials)
- Customer-generated content (giveaway contests, Q&A sessions, fun quizzes/polls)
You should aim to start with at least three content formats/types, with a careful balance between those that are easy to produce and those that take some time.
Also, make sure you never post too many promotion posts in a row so that your brand doesn’t come off as “too salesy” to new followers.
4. Choosing Channels
There’s no shortage of social media channels to choose from when it comes to building a brand presence for your Shopify e-commerce store.
There are literally dozens of social media platforms available today. However, being this spoilt for choice presents two potential pitfalls:
- Building your brand presence on more social media channels than you can keep up with
- Having the same approach for every channel instead of understanding the strengths of each
Here are quick social media marketing tips for each of the channels that are popular for ecommerce:
Facebook is great for delivering targeted ads to your ideal customers and the Messaging feature can be used to provide customer support. You should create a Facebook Shop to sell directly on there. Instagram is great for ecommerce because it’s very visual.
It’s also great for influencer marketing, especially with Live and Stories. You should put virtual product “tags” on your product photos.
Twitter is great for showcasing your brand’s personality (especially if it’s quirky/funny), engaging your audience, and setting your brand up as a thought leader.
You can also network with other brands. Pinterest users come with more intent to actually buy something than those on any other social channel so it’s perfect for ecommerce especially if your Shopify store sells fashion, handcrafts, or home decor.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world so it’s great for SEO. After researching, you should include your target keywords in the titles, thumbnails, description, and tags of all your videos.
5. Execution Process
Once you have set your goals, identifying your target audience, figuring out your content mix, and zeroed in on which channels to use, the next step is to create a framework for managing your social media calendar. This is where tools such as Trello, Later, CoSchedule and Buffer come in handy.
For example, you can use a Trello board to prepare the copy, images, and whatever else you need for your content, and then once everything is ready, you can use Buffer for easy, automatic scheduling.
You should also pay attention to how often you post on each of your chosen channels.
You have to strike a delicate balance between spreading yourself too thin and spamming your audience’s feeds. The key is to start slow and then post more as you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Another key consideration to keep in mind is when to post.
Experiment with different times and discover what your target audience responds to best. A solid place to start is the common times when people check their social media feeds: in the morning, at lunchtime while commuting, and before bed.
It’s also very helpful to create templates wherever possible so that it’s easier for you to generate new content on an ongoing basis, especially if you have developed some kind of compelling content series.
Also make sure to always optimize copy, images, or videos for the particular channel you’re posting to.
Keep Your Ear To The Ground: Embrace Social Listening
Social listening can be defined as the act of monitoring social media conversations with the aim of discovering new opportunities and/or threats for your business to leverage and/or deal with quickly.
With social listening, your business can identify key moments for your brand to jump in and engage with prospects and existing customers.
By tracking keywords that are relevant to your brand, you can reach out to potential customers in their moments of highest intent and turn them into paying customers. Social listening also helps you unearth and address indirect complaints (when customers express their frustration about your Shopify store without tagging your brand).
Without social listening, such indirect complaints can go unchecked, quickly spiral out of control, and deal with your brand's irreparable damage.
Some key social listening tools to help you track and leverage social media conversations effectively include Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, Mention, Brandwatch, Conversocial, Sprinklr, and Keyhole. All in all, ecommerce success doesn’t happen by accident when it comes to social media marketing, no matter what you’re selling.
You have to start and keep experimenting with the above social media marketing tips until you find out what social media strategy works best for your particular Shopify store.
Written by Ricky Hayes
Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.
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