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Which social media platform is right for your business?

Social media is an integral part of every businesses marketing strategy if they want to remain competitive. However, it’s a common misconception that you need be present on all social media platforms in order for your ecommerce business to be successful. With the vast number of channels available to us now, it would be pretty much impossible to devote the necessary time into maintaining an active presence on all of them. This is why you need to figure out which social media platform is going to give you the best return on investment for your small business.

Now, this is going to require some upfront research and analysis, but doing this research before jumping in is going to save you so much time and unnecessary work in the long-run.

CONSIDER YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Each social media platform has its own unique audience and core demographic. Users on Facebook will behave differently to users on Instagram, and so on. This is why you need to know your target audience inside out, and figure out what makes them tick. Take the time to understand who it is your business is targeting, and which social media platform they’re likely to use the most. It’s pointless spending hours and hours curating a beautiful Instagram feed when your target customers are only active on Facebook. We will go into this in more detail later on in the article.

WHAT ARE YOU SELLING?

Not only does it matter who your audience is, it’s also crucial to consider the products you’re selling. If you sell visually appealing products such as apparel or homeware, then a visual-based platform is going to benefit you greatly. If you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum selling building supplies and hardware, informative Facebook videos will be more valuable than pretty pictures.

Photo: Mosey Home

WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES?

What is it that you want to achieve from your social media marketing? If you’re reading this article, the likelihood is that you want to get more sales for your online shop. However, to achieve this, you need to set smaller objectives that will help you to reach your end goal. For example:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic
  • Build customer relationships
  • Increase engagement

Defining a clear objective from the outset will give you a logical direction for your content, and will help you to communicate your marketing message. Understanding what you want to get out of your social media strategy will help you to prepare, and you’ll also be able to see whether you have been successful in your efforts further down the line.

Once you’ve completed these steps, the next thing to do is decide which social media platforms are going to be best for you. As discussed earlier, there are numerous platforms to choose from – some being more niche than others. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are amongst the most popular social media platforms for ecommerce as they have the largest potential reach. So, which is the best for your business?

FACEBOOK

Facebook is the most widely used social network. Almost every business imaginable has a Facebook page, and we’ll tell you why. With over 2.2 billion active monthly users between the ages of 18-54, it has the largest potential reach and the broadest age demographic. Due to this vast number, it’s highly likely that your target customer will hang around on there. While the audience is broad, Facebook is typically more popular with users over the age of 24. Therefore, if you have a young target audience, it may be worthwhile maintaining a presence, but focusing more of your efforts into other channels.

Facebook is typically one of the first places people will go to find information about a company, so if you don’t exist on there, you’re minimising your chances of people finding you. Find out how to create a Facebook business page here.

When using Facebook it’s important that you keep your tone professional and post out fresh varied content. Interesting video content performs particularly well on this platform, especially Facebook Live videos, which are broadcast live from your smartphone. Facebook is more forgiving than other platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, meaning the video quality can be more amateur. Along with videos, there are plenty of other uses of Facebook for ecommerce.

USES OF FACEBOOK

SHARE PRODUCT LAUNCHES

CREATE A FACEBOOK SHOP

HOST FACEBOOK COMPETITIONS

SHARE VIDEO CONTENT

SHARE HELPFUL HOW-TO’S AND GUIDES

SHARE PROMOTIONS

CREATE STORE EVENTS

PAID ADVERTISEMENTS

One of the reasons Facebook is such a huge traffic driver is because of the scope for paid advertisements. While Facebook is great for organic reach, you will forever be at the mercy of the platform’s changing algorithms, meaning you’re not guaranteed to get the reach you want. If you have a budget that you can allocate to Facebook ads, then the return will be worth your investment. If you choose to go down the route of paid advertisements, there are a number of different options out there which you can consider further down the line.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is the second most widely-used social media platform with over 800 million monthly active users. Instagram has a much younger demographic than Facebook, with the majority of users being between the age of 18-29. 38% of users are female, while 26% are male. With this being said, Instagram is the perfect place to tap into the younger female market. It’s one of the most visually appealing social media platforms available, with each profile consisting entirely of images and videos – presented in a visual grid.

One key thing to remember with Instagram is that users either want to see pretty pictures or they want to see visual storytelling that ties into your brand’s values. Sell the experience and lifestyle that comes with buying into your brand and purchasing your products. With this being said, if you’re selling something like industrial cleaning products, then this platform probably isn’t for you. But if you sell visually appealing products that can be worn by models, or set up in context, then you will find great success in this platform.

USES OF INSTAGRAM

BUILD YOUR BRAND WITH EYE-CATCHING VISUALS

TELL HUMAN STORIES

USE INSTAGRAM SHOPPING TO SELL DIRECTLY ON THE PLATFORM

CONNECT WITH FOLLOWERS BY SHARING USER-GENERATED CONTENT

SHARE HIGH-QUALITY VIDEOS

View video

MAKE USE OF INSTAGRAM STORIES

INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS

Hashtags are a powerful way of getting your posts seen by the right people. A post with a single hashtag receives over 12% more engagement than a post with none. They can help you to reach new users, gain new followers and engage with the right people who take an active interest.

TWITTER

Twitter is a fantastic platform for conversation. The less formal tone and the ability to ask questions and respond to tweets in real-time make it the perfect place to network with potential prospects or loyal customers. There are currently over 330 million active monthly Twitter users, with the majority of the audience falling within the younger demographic of 18-29. If your target market is slightly older though then fear not, as there are plenty of active Twitter users over the age of 29.

Twitter gives you the opportunity to really display your brand’s personality, and show off your customer service skills. If you can show how responsive and caring you are when answering your customers questions then you’re going to improve people’s’ perceptions of you. Brands who open the door to conversation receive far more engagement than those who just broadcast information. Tweet questions, send replies, give your own insights and spark up discussions and most of all, get to know your audience.

USES OF TWITTER

CONVERSATIONS AND INTERACTIONS

NETWORKING

CREATE POLLS

STRENGTHEN YOUR BRAND’S IMAGE AND REPUTATION

SHARE BLOG POSTS AND USEFUL INFORMATION

TWITTER HASHTAGS

Twitter hashtags allow you to make conversation with users who you don’t share connections with. Frequently used hashtags can become trending topics on Twitter, so it’s good to join in on the conversation if that particular topic is relevant to your business in order to gain exposure. You can create your own hashtags, or you can jump on some of the more specific ones within your niche to get your brand out there.

USEFUL TOOLS

There are a lot of useful tools out there that work seamlessly with Twitter, but if you’re just getting started with the social media platform then it’s worth taking a look at the following.

TWEETDECK

Tweetdeck is an extremely useful tool for monitoring your brand’s mentions. You can create searches for keywords, monitor hashtags, view your inbox and see what your competitors are getting up to all in one easy to use dashboard.

BUFFER

You can automate your tweets by using an online tool called Buffer. With Buffer, you’re able to create a posting schedule so that your content is consistent, evenly spaced out, and taken care of for you ahead of time. By scheduling your tweets in advance, you can free up more time for the other aspects of your business, and you can avoid flooding your followers with all of the quality tweets much at once. You can allocate a few hours at the beginning of each week to create tweets and work on your scheduling, and then sit back and let Buffer do the rest of the work for you.

PINTEREST

Pinterest differs slightly from other platforms as it is essentially a virtual pinboard where users can bookmark their ideas. The whole concept behind Pinterest is that it gives users the inspiration to get creative, try something new and curate ideas together. The age range for Pinterest is broad, with users ranging between 18-49, however, the majority of active pinners tend to be below the age of 40. Now, As the platform is entirely visual, it tends to be predominantly used by women. In fact, 70% of Pinterest users are female. Therefore, if you sell products that target women, and you can take beautiful photographs of them, you’re onto a winner with this platform.

Each pin links off to an external source, which means that you can direct traffic from Pinterest to your website, either directly or through your company blog if you have one. For example, if you sell food products such as sauces, you may post a beautiful photograph of a meal that could be made using said sauces, and then link off to the recipe on your blog. If the user likes the look of your recipe, they may then click through to your website to purchase your sauce.

Not only is Pinterest ideal for sharing recipes, it’s also fantastic for the beauty, fashion and homeware industries. Basically, pretty much anything that is aesthetically pleasing will be well received on this platform. Below, we will go into the types of content that you can share on this platform.

USES OF PINTEREST

TUTORIALS

TIPS AND TRICKS

QUOTES

INFOGRAPHICS

RECIPES

INSPIRATION AND IDEAS

Pinterest works great for marketing because more often than not, users who save pins to their own inspiration boards have the intent to purchase these products at a later date. Unlike Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, pins have a longer life-span and don’t get lost behind the clutter of new posts. All you need to tackle Pinterest is a decent camera that can take crisp photographs (a high-quality phone camera would meet these needs), and relevant, quality content.Find out more about how to use Pinterest here.

SO, WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM SHOULD I USE?

As discussed earlier, every ecommerce business is different, and there’s no set rule that says which social media platform you should use. With this in mind, you have the freedom to try out and test whichever platform you think could work for you business. However, if you have limited time and want to be more strategic with it, then we hope this article has given you a clearer starting point for your social media marketing. It’s better to concentrate on posting out regular content on 2 or 3 social channels, rather than posting the odd bit here or there on 4 channels. Don’t forget, if your followers are engaging with you on your social media account, then you’re doing something right.

It’s certainly worth investing some time in your social media marketing, whether that’s an hour a day, or a few hours at the start of the week. You’re not going to gain hundreds of followers over night. However, with the right content and  with  meaningful interactions, you will gradually build an audience of followers who are actually engaged with your brand and what you do.

What are you waiting for?

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