How to Amplify E-Commerce Traffic and Sales Using Social Media
It’s that one thing that draws the line between growth and failure for your business.
Boo, also dubbed as the “World’s Cutest Dog”, has over 16 million Facebook followers.
You’re an e-commerce business that actually offers quality products and services. How many social media followers do you have?
Well, if a dog can get this much following on social media, so can you.
You see, there is no such thing as “It’s not for us,” when it comes to social media. As long as your target audience stays on social media, it will always be one of the best ways for you to raise brand awareness and pull up your numbers – you just might not have found the secret ingredient yet.
This ultimate guide is for you if you feel like you’ve exhausted all efforts into growing your business through social media, but have not reached the numbers you’re aiming for.
This is for you if you haven’t fully jumped into social media marketing just yet but would like to see what it can do for your business.
This is also for you even if your business is already doing well, but still has endless opportunities for growth.
Why social media is a critical e-commerce tool
Let’s start by looking at how huge of an impact social media can have on your e-commerce business.
Honestly, more users are on the prowl for video and live streaming content. This means that their attention isn’t just on Facebook anymore. They use search engines to search for relevant content.
Search traffic was given considerable attention recently, but that doesn’t mean social sharing does not have any place in your strategy, and here’s why.
Remember that live streaming and video content on their own are less likely to lead users to other pages. Sharing your content on social sites, however, would lead people back to your own pages.
Also, social sharing may have taken a slight dip, but the numbers do not lie – social media activity still grows year after year.
In fact, Social Media Today predicts that by the year 2020, 90% of businesses will be using social media for their business.
Will you risk being part of that 10% missing out on the opportunities?
Think about it:
- Consumer spending is higher by 20%-40% for brands who highly engage with followers on social media.
- There were 2.46B users on social media last year. This year, this is expected to balloon to 2.62B. In 3 years, 3B people will be on social media.
Yes, that’s an open market with 3 billion people.
It’s not even about age anymore! Every age group is represented on social media.
The number of time people spend on it should also be a deciding factor for you. A third of each online user’s time goes into browsing through their social media accounts. That’s around 2 hours and 15 minutes in a single day!
For an e-commerce site like yours, you’ll probably think, “Why get them through social media when I can try and make them directly land on my page?” Well, the numbers say it all – people are spending over twice as much time on social media compared to other pages.
Any other excuses you can think of?
How to drive traffic from social media
Now, let’s start working on the nitty-gritty of it all.
As an e-commerce business, you can use social media in two ways – to drive more traffic to your own site or to pull in sales.
For now, let’s focus on driving more traffic to your business.
There are three things that make social media work:
These three are the key ingredients that will pull traffic into your e-commerce pages.
Here’s another important statistic for you. Customers who enjoyed their interaction with brands on social media are 3 times more likely to recommend these brands to their entire network.
Yup, you guessed it right.
They’re going to send recommendations using the same medium they interacted with your brand – through social media.
A single recommendation from a single user automatically reaches a number of people in one go. Trust word of mouth the traditional way, and you only reach one person at a time.
This is where the next challenge comes in.
How will your brand create positive interactions using social media?
Ask yourself – do my posts resonate with my target market?
Did you know that 88% of your customers will be less likely to buy from you if they see that you are unresponsive on social media? This is especially true if their complaints are left unanswered or unacknowledged.
Some businesses see complaints as their own worst nightmare. But strategize well, and you can turn these complaints into victories. Those are the customers who can remain even more loyal to you especially when they see how much effort you put into satisfying them after a bad experience.
Even the simple act of chatting with your audience online makes a huge difference. Kissmetrics reveals that 77% of consumers generally have a better perception of businesses they chat with online.
Timely and engaging social media content will make a world of a difference for your brand as well. Images, links and written content prove to be the most popular forms.
Video content may be 4th on this list, but be ready to be competitive in this area as well. 85% of all companies actually plan on boosting their video content efforts this year. And if you want to stay in the game, you’re gonna have to do the same thing.
It’s also understandable if you’re aiming for organic content. After all, we all know how traumatized audiences are with the pop-up ads prevalent in the early days of the internet.
But online advertising has changed so much in the past couple of decades. Now, instead of being too intrusive, ads are patterned to match audience interest and routines. In fact, 94% of businesses using social media actually pay for ads and sponsored posts on Facebook. Furthermore, 67% of companies see that increasing their social media ads this year will benefit them greatly.
Those numbers should tell you two things.
Advertising on social media works.
And for you to join the leaders, you’re going to have to pay.
Notice how those who admit that social media works well for them have also paid for ads.
So now, some self-assessment may be required.
Is my business benefitting from social media?
If not, have I actually tried paid ads?
If you have already tried paid ads, then good for you! You’ve already crossed the line between your comfort zone and your courage zone (which, might I add, would be the best path to success).
Now, it’s time to look at other ways to drive more traffic to your e-commerce site using social media.
Take a look at these graphs:
Based on these numbers from Kissmetrics, it shows that people prefer long-form written content with word counts averaging around 2000 to 2500 words.
As for video content, anything between 4 minutes and 4 minutes, 20 seconds is optimal and would most likely be shared by users.
You already know that videos are powerful content tools. On YouTube, people actually consume 1 billion hours of content every single day.
Now, imagine the kind of impact that live videos have.
Regular video content is planned. Recorded. Scripted.
But with live content, audiences are given the idea that things are being done spontaneously. There’s something exciting about knowing that whatever you’re seeing is actually happening, real time!
In the US alone, 36% of netizens watch live content. 22% of them also create live content themselves.
The good news is, most of the major social media platforms have live streaming capabilities. This makes it even easier for your brand to create that enhanced video experience for your audiences.
Of course, you also have to keep the following tips in mind to make sure you get the results you want:
- Promote your livestream. Make sure followers are informed before it actually happens.
- Maintain authenticity.
- Keep it informative.
82% of online users would rather watch live videos instead of other content forms. Take advantage of that statistic.
Saying that instant messaging is popular would be an understatement.
1.3 billion WhatsApp users.
1.2 billion on Messenger.
963 million on WeChat.
Obviously, people have transitioned from old-school text messaging to modern instant messaging.
Even when compared to email and online chat channels, 54.5% of social media users in the US still admit that instant messaging is now their go-to.
And it‘s not just for personal messaging! 89% of consumers prefer using these platforms when engaging with their favorite brands as well.
What’s great about instant messaging is the fact that it can be used for so many things. From sending out event or product announcements to sharing new content on your blog, you can create a personalized experience for each of your followers.
Even better, chatbots can be used to automate the entire experience. Just a tip here, though – don’t over-automate! People love the feeling of being attended to in an efficient manner, but they do not like the feeling of talking to robots instead of real humans.
Over 250 million daily active users – that’s how HUGE Instagram Stories has become. In fact, Snapchat, one of Instagram’s biggest competitors, only has around 161 million users. That’s a huge margin!
Of course, a lot of businesses have caught on and have started making Instagram Stories a regular part of their social media strategy.
Out of all the businesses on Instagram, 50% of them post stories at least once a month. And out of those stories, 20% would result to a direct message.
In social media talk, that’s a great engagement rate!
Its success could probably be credited to the fact that each Story disappears after 24 hours. The knowledge that it is not something they could go back to later on sends a sense of urgency to users to take action right away.
So we’ve covered the hot points for e-commerce businesses who want to drive more traffic into their sites. This time, we’ll move onto what drives e-commerce businesses to survive and thrive – sales.
How to sell using social media
Where most businesses would only look at social media as a tool to increase brand awareness, social reach, and consumer engagement, others would also see it as a selling opportunity.
Are you part of the former, or the latter?
If you also see the huge opportunity for revenue, then kudos to you! It’s a bold move, but a move that has reaped so many rewards for those who have already jumped in.
Before we move onto the selling part, he’s one thing to remember – selling is only phase two of the entire process. In the last section, we discussed ways to drive traffic, and with it, gain better engagement and reach as well. Maximize those steps to make sure your target audience is ready to buy.
Engagement remains to be the key.
You’ve effectively engaged. You’re getting the traffic. Now, it’s time to sell.
Here are effective channels to use.
Again, social media advertising is not the old intrusive process consumers shrink away from.
Social media platforms have made it their ultimate goal to make the entire social experience as seamless and as personalized as possible.
But that does not mean this is a sole win for the consumer. If anything, it makes it even easier for e-commerce businesses like yours to convert leads into actual sales.
Yes, you would have to pay to sell your products and services through paid ads.
But Facebook algorithm also ensures that your ads are shown ONLY to the people who belong to your target audience. These are people who will most likely pay for products like yours. This makes the “convincing stage” easier.
Of course, you still have to make sure that your content is worth it.
Don’t waste your investment on mediocre content. High-quality content will capture your audience’s trust and pull up the chances of people clicking on the ad.
If you haven’t set up your Facebook Ads yet, here’s a great guide.
If you’d rather advertise on Twitter, this guide can help.
The term itself describes what it does.
It’s marketing to the same person again and again.
“Isn’t that a bit like stalking?”
Ever notice how, after checking out a pair of shoes on Amazon and logging out without buying it, you would start seeing ads about that specific pair here and there?
The ads you see as you scroll through your newsfeed would also start featuring shoes similar to it, or maybe, other products or the same brand.
It’s not creepy at all. In fact, it actually pulls up conversion rates.
You see, sometimes, customers leave your product page because they need to be somewhere else at that moment.
Sometimes, they also want to do more research before diving in.
Through remarketing, you remind them of their initial intent to buy, something they could have forgotten simply because life happened.
Think about it. Pulling customers back in is 3 times more likely to click on your ad than those who never took interest in your products before. They are also 4 times more likely to convert compared to brand new customers.
One thing that could push a consumer away (especially consumers on the go) would be the process of having to leave the page they are currently on just to make a purchase.
The good news is, there are apps that allow your customers to make a purchase ON the social platform they are on.
Ecwid is one of the more popular apps used by e-commerce businesses on social media.
To make it even more convenient for your consumers, they even have the option to save their credit card info so that future purchases can be easier. This is such a tempting treat that potential customers (especially the impulsive buyers) find hard to resist.
According to Shopify, these products make a killing when sold on social platforms:
Beauty videos are among the most popular content on YouTube. It should surprise you, however, that 86% of these videos aren’t made by beauty companies. They’re made by influencers.
Such is the power of online influencers.
Influencers can bring in up to $7.65 in returns for every $1 you spend. And that’s not even surprising, considering that teenagers on YouTube trust influencers more than they do traditional celebrities.
But don’t think for one second that influencer marketing is only about videos.
49% of Twitter users admit that they trust recommendations coming from influencers. And in general, consumers trust the recommendations of people they don’t know personally (which includes influencers) than they would trust recommendations from brands.
Who likes being put in the spotlight every now and then?
Curating user-generated content is as easy as asking your followers to tag you in their posts and featuring those posts on your own profile. After all, social media should never just be about your own brand. It’s about your audience as well.
On Facebook, there may still be a percentage of users who are suspicious of brands.
But it’s a different story on Instagram.
In fact, up to 68% of Instagram users openly engage with brands on the image-centric platform.
Just imagine. In terms of engagement alone, Instagram’s numbers are higher by 8% compared to other social media platforms.
Here’s another thing that makes Instagram amazing. Did you know that Instagram followers are more likely to see unpaid posts? This makes it a cheaper option for you, when used well.
To make things even better, Instagram followers have an average order value of $65 compared to Facebook’s $55. That means higher potential revenue!
Take a peek at how Lilly Pulitzer manages to ace Instagram marketing by leading them straight to their e-commerce page.
Pinterest is also on top of the e-commerce list because of their Buyable Pins.
Neil Patel, digital marketing guru, actually admits to having used the platform to bring in 328% more sales for his e-commerce client!
Humans are highly visual creatures, so it’s not surprising people can stay on Pinterest for hours at a time. So why waste all those hours of browsing? Buyable Pins are not only easy to set up, it’s free to do so as well.
Tips and Tricks Social Media Experts Practice
You’ve seen how social media can drive traffic.
You’ve learned how to bring in the sales.
Now, let’s talk about making the entire process more seamless, more efficient, and more productive.
Automation is still the best way for you to respond to each and every customer the fastest possible time.
Why is speed important?
60% of users who voice out their complaints via social media expect any form of response or acknowledgment within an hour.
Fail to respond, and you lose these customers for life.
Auto-responses and chatbots, to some marketers and business owners, make the entire engagement seem robotic. But whoever said you can’t customize your response?
As long you still make the responses personal and ensure that you’ll get back to them personally within the promised timeframe, you’ll realize that automation is the best thing that’s happened to you since chocolate ice cream.
Mobile is your bestfriend.
There’s no doubt about it. Everybody stays glued to their mobile device the entire day because everything else they need is patterned for mobile.
We’ve mentioned time and again that videos are exploding all over the web.
Most of these video views are done through mobile.
It is expected that by the year 2020, 75% of the web content you’ll see will be in video form. And as expected, most of this will be viewed through mobile.
How do you create explosive mobile video content?
Facebook shares some tips:
More social interaction, less self-promotion.
It’s social media, so, obviously, you have to keep it social.
Stop filling your followers’ feeds with “Me, me, me” posts.
Start finding relevant industry news your audience would probably be interested in. Share cool and trending stuff that would pique your audience’s interest.
So what if you have to share a few cute cat memes every so often? It’s 80% knowing and showing what tickles your target market’s fancy, and just 20% promoting your product.
You might also want to consider concentrating on one or two channels. Know your audience well – they most definitely would be more active on one or two platforms, too.
Create content that will trigger conversations not only between you and your customer, but between your customer and their network as well.
Don’t forget your social sharing buttons, too!
How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform
In the previous section, we mentioned that zeroing in on one or two social media platforms would be the best way to do it, instead of throwing yourself all over every possible channel.
So how do you choose the right platform for your business?
This infographic by Leverage should be a big help:
If you’re targeting women, Pinterest is your best bet.
If your audience is mostly in the US, Twitter is a good choice.
If you want to concentrate on mobile users, Facebook is the way to go.
If you have awesome visuals, Instagram is the perfect fit.
How to Find Out If Your Social Media Strategy is Working
So you have a strategy in place. You’ve started rolling out your plans.
How do you know whether they’re working or not?
This is one area that a lot of businesses find challenging. At the end of the day, you need to measure your progress to see whether your action plan is working or not. This also gives you an opportunity to tweak your strategy as you see fit.
If you’re one of those businesses who couldn’t figure out how to measure social media success, here’s something that could put your mind at ease – you’re not the only one facing this challenge.
A CMO survey showed that for most businesses, they only see the results in qualitative terms – not quantitative.
Here are other numbers that you might find interesting:
- Only 43% of B2C marketers can confidently say that they are accurately measuring their ROI from social media. 23%, however, have no idea what numbers they’re looking at.
- 42% of businesses on social media measure ROI in terms of engagement.
- 45% of B2C marketers admit that they’re still trying to find a way to successfully measure content marketing ROI.
Problematic as it might seem, there are a few solutions to the problem:
- Use the right tools. Facebook Pixel is a great way to link your social media profile to your website. This way, you can track results across different platforms.
- Use KPIs that are measurable. Some examples are the number of retweets, the number of shares, or the number of comments you receive.
- Compare your social media efforts with web traffic and sales. This could show you evident trends, like an increase in sales when you posted long-form content, or an increase in site traffic when you posted a new promotional video.
Social media is not just a trend – it has become the norm. It’s a daily habit. It’s a lifestyle. Now imagine how it would feel to see your e-commerce business become a part of all that. Start boosting your social media efforts and see how much impact it could have in your e-commerce business.