The internet has turned people into savvy online shoppers, and a vast majority of consumers are researching a brand's online presence before hitting the buy button. Brands are utilizing social media to define their brand persona and build a strong customer base. So how do you connect with your customers and build a loyal customer base? In this post, we'll walk through ways to build a powerful social media strategy for your ecommerce store.
tl;dr Here's a handy infographic with the 5 strategies. Read the full post for actionable insights.
Here are some examples and trends of successful brand management through social media:
1. Communicate Your Unique Selling Proposition Through Content
Make use of the various channels of social media to define and communicate your vision. It is important to be authentic with a clear purpose when creating your niche. Try to focus on promoting an idea, lifestyle, or purpose, rather than your product.
Marine Layer is a great example of a brand that highlights their story and unique selling proposition through social media. What makes your ecommerce store unique?
Marine Layer makes their products in California and is one of the few companies in the Bay Area that makes all their garments in small batches to explore limited runs of novel concepts. Every purchase you make is a unique one.
Rather than producing their products overseas, Marine Layer keeps every step of their production process in California. This helps minimize their environmental footprint and support three American factories that have been in business for over 25 years.
If you're producing novelty and limited shirts, much like Marine Layer is, consider tying in a story and creating content that embodies your brand.
Try highlighting these points to leverage the niche products you're selling:
The products are limited runs, and aren't mass produced
Be sure your social media content reflects your niche lifestyle
Post visually appealing photos so the post is worth sharing. Each click on the “share” button leads to more brand exposure
2. Promote Your Products In Lifestyle Posts
Once you’ve defined your unique selling proposition, you can start subtly promoting your products. Nordstrom posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are entirely product focused, but it blends in to appeal to their target audience. Nordstrom does a great job of integrating the Nordstrom theme to its products without being too “salesy.”
Image from https://instagram.com/nordstrom/
Nordstrom works relentlessly to give their customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. Their marketing efforts, online and offline, consistently convey exceptional service, selection, quality, and value.
You can always post ads and direct links to your ecommerce outlet, but make sure consumers are getting the brand message at the same time. Too much product pushing and not enough engagement is a bad sign. In the long run, selling your idea will be more profitable than selling your product.
If your brand offers quirky or high-quality products, why not position your social media efforts around that?
3. Connect With Your Customers To Personalize The Brand Experience
A brand is more than a logo — it is the entire customer experience and how the consumer perceives the company. Integrating consumers and building a relationship through social media is an easy way to improve your brand.
Building trust and brand loyalty can take a lot of time, effort, and investment. However, losing customers is as easy as failing to respond to one post on Facebook or Twitter. As companies start to realize this, they are placing more importance on listening and monitoring what customers are saying through social media.
Brands like Starbucks use Twitter to reach out to customers talking about in-store or product experiences in place of promoting their product.
Your level of brand transparency on social media will influence the customer experience and determine your brand image.
How often do you engage with your customers on social media? Take advantage of your customer activity and use it as an opportunity to illustrate the engagement that your consumers want to see.
4. Build a Branded Community
Branded communities, managed communities of brand followers and customers that share common interests, hold huge potential for your ecommerce business. Building a community where your customers can connect and interact with each other fosters engagement and loyalty.
The Starbucks community on My Starbucks Idea allows people to work closely with the brand by providing feedback and submitting product proposals. This shows the consumers that Starbucks listens and cares for the opinions of its customers. Nordstrom uses Reddit to engage in open forums, which contributes to authenticity and social value. If you want to form a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your consumers, you should consider developing your own branded community.
Image source from http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/
Your branded community doesn't have to be an elaborate forum like Starbucks', but you should provide a channel for customers to voice their opinions and start discussions.
A few alternatives to website forums:
- Twitter chats
- Instagram hashtags
- Facebook groups
- LinkedIn groups
5. Schedule Your Social Media Posts
Having a set schedule for your posts helps keep your community interested and prevents your content from being perceived as spam. Your visitors and followers prefer using different channels of social media during specific hours. At first, it might be difficult to identify the optimal time to post, so experiment with certain times, keep track of each post’s response, and determine which time period generates the most engagement.
Check out the infographic below by Quick Sprout for the best times to post on social media:
Remember that it’s more about the quality, not quantity of posts. Focus on posting high-quality content at a pre-determined rate, rather than posting mediocre content frequently. This will most likely increase the number of visits on your social media and increase the number of your customers.