The E-Commerce Column

Integrating Social Media with Your Products is Important

Lady shopping online

It wasn’t that long ago that social media wasn’t given any respect for adding value to businesses, much less those who run online stores.  The conversations such as, “If I want to know what you had for lunch, then I’ll use Twitter,” are pretty much a relic of the past.  Companies like Domino’s Pizza, Nivea, and Dollar Shave Club have seen amazing success by leveraging social media to present their strengths to new potential customers.  There are so many success stories around using social media that it feels a bit redundant writing this article, but it’s amazing to see how many companies aren’t doing it still.

There’s no shortage of stats about 80 percent or more of companies “using” social media.  Depending on the source, it sounds impressive, but in reality, these numbers certainly appear to be skewed.  Just having the accounts created doesn’t mean you’re using it, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re using it to grow your business.

We get it though.  We’ve been through many of these conversations.  I’m pretty sure we’ve heard every single excuse there is at this point.

“We don’t have time.”

“It costs too much to keep up with it.”

“What if [insert fear here] happens?”

“I just don’t know how to do it correctly.”

Interestingly enough, we don’t really hear people say it’s a waste of time anymore, which goes to show that people in general pretty much agree that social media isn’t a waste of time for business now.  So the final step at this point is to just make it happen for your company, if you haven’t already.  Here are some easy-to-implement tips to use social media to your advantage as it relates to your store.

There are two very big key wins for your company as it relates to social media… You get to market to new prospective customers that would otherwise be too expensive to find, and you get to build repeat customers and customer advocates with very low cost. Both of these things really help to grow your online business not only tomorrow, but next year and the year after.

Don’t forget the real reason to do this though.  When you pay attention to how your products and brand look and are spoken about online, you’re effectively showing your customers that you care.  This builds trust in general.

Update Your Product/Category Metadata

Every product and category in your store should have a way to update its metadata.  That’s a fancy word to describe the background information that helps search engines and social media channels both know about and properly display your products.  Your product details should allow for you to change things like the title, description, keywords and so on.  Most notably, these values are used on your own site.  However, you should either have additional fields that are used specifically for search engines and social media channels, or the existing fields should be re-purposed for this.  Regardless, the update metadata helps your products show as desired when someone posts a link from your site in places like Facebook and Pinterest.  If you don’t do this, test it, and make it look how you want, it will show to your customer base. 

Add Sharing Features

We can’t say this enough… Every single page on your site should be able to easily be shared.  Ideally, it would be nice to do so with a single click.  Regardless, if you want your visitors and customers to do some of the marketing for you, it’s imperative that you make this an easy thing to do.  Your online store most likely already has some of this integrated on the product pages (we hope), but you can easily add this to your entire site using a service like Add This or Share This.  (By the way, the sharing will work like a charm now, because you updated your product metadata.)

Push Product Updates and Promotions

It’s fairly likely that you’re updating your products and other information in your store on a regular basis.  It’s an excellent idea to let your customers know when you do.  If they’re following you on a specific social channel, this update may have just become an exclusive deal for them.  This kind of exclusivity is what makes customers feel special, and it’s what makes them want to recruit their friends and family to be part of the special group as well.  Admit it, when you’ve found an amazing deal or really cool update, you told everyone you thought might care about and benefit from it.  Your customers are a lot more like you than you think.

Have Campaigns

A well-thought-out marketing campaign using your social media channels can be just the thing you need to raise your sales to the next level.  A campaign has a purpose, target, and can be used to funnel leads into your online store regularly.  Campaigns have all kinds of ways you can create and implement them.  The key here is to create intent and a theme to engage your customers to come back to your store.  Give them a reason to spend more money.  If you don’t have the time or expertise to do this yourself, you should consider hiring someone, a firm, or even bringing on an intern to manage this for you.  We’d highly suggest using a firm.  This would allow you to build off of their years of knowledge gained from many other clients like you.  Also, it would generally cost you a fraction of what even an intern might cost you.

An example of great campaigns include people posting pictures of themselves with or using your product, along with a hashtag.  You could even make it a contest, such as every week the photo with the most likes gets a special coupon code.  The possibilities are endless.

Measure, Learn, Repeat

No matter how you approach your social media strategy, the best part of it is that it’s measurable in ways that traditional media never ways.  For example, you can’t really measure how many people read your add in a magazine or newspaper.  It’s simply impossible.  For the most part, you can measure nearly everything about your social media strategy.  You can figure out how many times something was seen, interacted with, and in most cases, you can even determine which actions led to sales.  This information is all critical.  You can measure each of your social media channels to determine which are good investments and at what times of the day and week.  You can literally put your marketing campaign out there, and tweak it here and there, and see instant results – over and over.

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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