Guest Blog: How to Launch an eCommerce Brand on Social Media
Don’t leave social to chance. Got a new ecommerce venture launching in 2017? Itching to get started with some fresh social content? Here are some ideas on how to successfully launch your brand on social media. Tick of all these boxes to ensure that your social profiles create a buzz for all the right reasons.
Have a launch plan
And then... have a backup launch plan. (Launch days rarely go to plan).
The day that you finally open your store to paying customers is a BIG day. Make sure that you are ready and raring to go with loads of fresh and exciting social content.
- You need to start growing your social following before you even launch. It’s essential that you don’t open your doors to tumbleweed and crickets – start growing a social following in the weeks and months leading up to the big day. Gamify the wait with countdown timers, competitions and giveaways. Why not give away some of your first sales for free? Check out this launch timeline for more ideas.
- Get important bloggers and social media influencers to endorse you on the day to help drive opening day traffic.
- On the day, have a launch campaign that takes people through a fun journey. Share some interesting product or people stories, and don’t forget to use hashtags so people can get involved. Get people who are invested to interact with the campaign to hack the social media algorithms (the more people interact, the more people will see your posts).
- Make sure you invest in the right platforms. Think carefully about their content, audience, and reach.
Invest in your visuals
Visual content marketing is big in 2017, and social media for ecommerce is a visual playing field. Make sure that you spend enough time and money in sharing your stories with pictures, videos, GIFs, animations.
- Sharing your products? Make sure that they look the part. Use professional product photos shot in great lighting. Try to frame your products in an attractive setting that helps tell your brand story. (Let’s face it – a bland white background doesn’t really say much about who you are).
- Create fun stuff that people are going to want to share – comics, gags, clickbait stories – they can be a really powerful way to grow your social reach.
- Online video is a growing market and one that’s worth investing in. Product videos are great, but you should also factor in video testimonials and video ads as part of your marketing strategy.
Factor social into the purchase journey
Don’t just pay lip service to social – make it central to how you sell your products.
Understand how people behave and buy on social platforms and integrate these insights into how you manage your store (and customers).
- Conduct keyword research and use that data to help supercharge your social media channels and posts. Use the right phrases to trigger sales and engagement. (Sometimes being ultra-specific and going for longtail keywords pays off).
- Online reviews can be supercharged on social media – get people to share their reviews publicly, or share some of the best ones yourself. (It’s always better when other people do this for you though…)
- Make social sharing easy throughout your site, product pages, and blog, with social sharing plugins and buttons. Test them frequently – people aren’t going to share stuff if you don’t make it easy for them. (The amount of sites with broken social share links is staggering…). Do this properly and you will start to see more value from social.
Customers, both angry and happy, will reach out to you on social media. Make sure that you are prepared with adequate staffing, resources, and responses; and that your social media policy includes clauses on how to deal with customers.
- Have frank conversations and put policies in place before you launch on how to deal with a disgruntled customer. Make sure that your responses hit the right note. If they seem to be ruffling feathers – try a different tact. Keep refining your social customer experience, and empower people on the frontline to make smart customer service decisions.
- Manage expectations and be clear on when social media accounts will be manned (and by who).
You can’t run successful social media profiles without some automation – this is something you need to embrace.
- Social media software (like IFTT) and virtual assistants can help take the headache out of social. Be smart about managing your channels and try not to take on too much yourself. Clever marketing is all about clever tools.
- Automation doesn’t mean dialling down on personality and relationships – it’s about being smart with time management, and learning to scale.
- Policies and guidelines are a must if you are outsourcing!
Make sure your content is aligned with your audience – their fears, passions, and goals.
- Social media is the perfect place to ‘spy’ on your audience. You can get real-time and unfiltered data on what people are talking about. Follow popular, recurrent hashtags to see what subjects keep coming up.
- Use this data to help you create content that will engage people. Social success is all about connecting with what people care about.
- Alignment goes both way. Make sure that you define your brand’s mission statement and that you keep your social media profiles focused on your goals. Content that comes from the heart is so much more genuine.
Follow an editorial calendar
It’s important to not get lost in the sea of content – stay focused on what’s going on for you and your audience right now.
- Planning out a strategic editorial calendar is time well-spent. It will save you time (and money) and it will maximize those all-important holiday sales.
- Ramp up the social heat when you need to, and tone things down during fallow periods.
- Social media still has to have a reactive element to it – don’t make the mistake of becoming all broadcast, no play.
Use social to help you build relationships with your customers. (It’s also a great place to interact with influencers).
- In niches like beauty and fashion, social media influencers can be powerful way to drive sales. (Just make sure you pick the right ones). It can be almost too easy to start throwing loads of money at people – but you need to be 100% clear on what you’re going to achieve with influencer marketing.
- Respond to people – be polite and share other people’s content. Interact with your fans and customers as much as you can. Always give back to brand advocates (if you’re lucky enough to have them).
- Trying to reach out to people? Don’t always reach for email – social media is a great way to get people’s attention. Especially new media publishers like bloggers and vloggers can be easily found on social.
Social media is a really important part of your ecommerce business. It’s central to your branding, marketing, sales, and customer service. Don’t launch your brand on social media without proper research and planning– make sure you keep your eyes open to what’s happening around you. What social media platform is going to help you drive sales this year?