6 social media marketing tips for e-Commerce

Learn, Listen, Engage, Share, Build, Grow

As I shared in a previous Examiner article, Companies use social media to boost e-Commerce sales, online retailers, computer companies, and other more traditional “brick & mortar” type companies are leveraging social media to boost e-Commerce sales.  In addition to traditional marketing means, many companies are considering some form of social media to build their online brand presence and enhance their overall marketing strategy.

Based on recent research and the findings of other authors, a list of tips was compiled to benefit not only those new to social media marketing, but also those who want to expand their social media presence to take their e-Commerce marketing strategy to the next level.

1)  Learn - about social media, how to leverage it for information gathering, branding, and marketing.

  • Check the calendars of local network meetings, Meetup groups, and business events; attend the ones that offer social media programs to learn and become more social media savvy.
  • Find and follow the blogs, articles, and recommendations, of industry leaders, or a “champion” (an advocate who understands the benefits of social media).
  • Hire a social media strategist / consultant for some “hands on” training for your company to leverage the latest social media trends, tools, and how to use them.
  • Learn how social media marketing campaigns can stimulate business growth.

2)  Listen- to what others are saying about your company / product / industry.

  • “Fish where the fish are.”  There are a great number of social networking sites that a company can leverage to its advantage to see where their customers are “active”, and expressing a desire or need for services, products, or information.
  • Leverage popular social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube to see how your brand is being discussed, what is being said about your competitors, or by them.
  • Use a Google Alert or other free tools like Social Mention or Trackur to monitor mentions of a company name, specific industry or keyword.

3)  Engage- your connections and customers frequently, recommend them, follow their conversations, offer your help and services, be a “problem solver” for them.

  • Leverage social media sites to “connect”, “follow” or “friend” new contacts to expand your network and reach potential customers.
  • Use Twitter sites such as Twellow to research companies or individuals of interest, “follow” them and monitor relevant conversations to see what is being discussed about your industry.
  • Use Facebook and LinkedIn search to locate companies, people of interest, and events to find new ways to engage and interact.

4)  Share- something of value to your social community – discounts, giveaways, downloads, memberships, e-books, or other “free” offerings.

  • You have to give in order to get.
  • Build your brand as someone who shares valuable content.
  • Look for opportunities to share articles, sites, links, and breaking news.
  • Support industry leaders by recommending their work, and sharing links to their websites.

Best practice tip: don’t just connect with someone in order to sell them something.

5)  Build – relationships and maintain them with frequent follow ups, updates, and phone calls.

  • Leverage social media as a catalyst to build “online” connections to get “offline” meetings.
  • Use timely communications to strengthen relationships for existing and potential customers.
  • Schedule face to face interaction whenever possible to strengthen relationships.

6)  Grow- a strong, dynamic social media presence to expand your business network, and cast a wide net to reach more potential followers / customers.

  • Grow your network and build your brand by creating conversations that span several social media sites.
  • Target the right audience with something of value to increase engagement, business interactions, and more opportunities for e-Commerce sales.

A recent post by Michelle Bowles, offered great tips for those venturing into e-Commerce marketing:

Monitor What Your Competitors Are Doing.  Whether your ecommerce business is new to social media marketing, or just need to take your efforts up a notch, competitive intelligence can be very useful.

Spend some time by conducting a competitive audit of your top five competitors on the social web. Include:
•    The social sites in which they are active
•    The type of content they publish on the social web
•    The number of followers/fans/views they have on each site
•    How they promote specific products, programs or events via social media

Don’t Just Push Products and Promotions.
The primary goal of your ecommerce site may be to sell products, but your social media marketing strategy should encompass a wider range of tactics than simply promoting offerings.

Incorporate some of these ideas into your ecommerce social media marketing strategy:
•    Share messages or news stories from external sources
•    Create a blog on your website and feed blog content to your social accounts
•    Ask questions, participate in discussions or poll your customers via social media
•    Post pictures from company events or videos from your CEO’s speaking engagements

– From 5 Social Media Tips for Ecommerce Marketing, Michelle Bowles on Mar 12th, 2010

Many existing e-Commerce sites are now making it easier for customers to purchase their products via social networking channels.  The challenge for many becomes how to leverage the benefits of social media marketing, and how to best integrate social media into their overall marketing strategy.

The marketing tips are just a starting point for creating an e-Commerce social media marketing strategy for a business.  As social media sites evolve and new tools, features and functions are made available, the new challenge becomes how to keep up with all this, and know what, if any, changes need to be made to the social marketing strategy.

Are you using social media to complement your marketing plan?  Do you need a social media champion to take a closer look at your online brand presence and help take your e-Commerce marketing strategy to the next level?

To view this Examiner article and other articles that may be of interest, click here.