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When was the last time someone asked for your social media handle?
With all the unchecked boxes on your to-do list, maintaining the social accounts for your business may feel burdensome-even frivolous. But the power of social media offers an undeniable opportunity to reach billions, and gain new leads, across the globe.
As of 2017, 81 percent of the U.S. population had a social networking profile. –Statista
Ecommerce businesses savvy enough to utilize social media well stand to attract customers, build loyalty, and increase conversion and sales. Find out how harnessing social media can boost business-and just how to start reaping these benefits, yourself.
The Benefits of Social Media for Business
Increase brand awareness
Market and consumer data expert Statista estimates that there will be 3.02 billion monthly active users on social media by 2021. That’s a third of the entire global population!
No longer does the famed adage from Field of Dreams ring true. With so much abuzz online, building a website does not ensure they, your customers, will come.
On the other hand, billions of people log on each day to tweet, post, share, and interact with the rest of the world through their social accounts. This equates to infinite opportunities for your business to reach their eyes and get your name out among new crowds.
Improve customer retention
69% of marketers say social media marketing has helped turn casual customers into loyal fans. -Statista January 2017 report
Unlike traditional advertisements, social media allows for two-way conversation between a brand and its fans. The result? A win for both parties.
The company gains valuable insight into their customers’ greatest desires and needs while the latter get to feel heard. And, in a highly public age where even the most established companies struggle with negative press, listening to customers with respect is a rare and standout feat.
Boost brand loyalty
Another way to treat your customers with respect? Cutting through the clutter with posts they’ll actually want to read.
Nearly 60% of marketers in the aforementioned survey said social media helped boost their company as a thought leader. Providing thoughtful content adds value to your customers’ days-and earns loyalty and trust in your brand.
Bonus: 80% of people trust the opinions of people they know, online and off. Capture one follower, and you stand to reach their entire network, too.
Showcase products in use
Despite the rapid growth of ecommerce, an adamant few still prefer hands-on shopping. But the technology of today is so advanced, it promises the prospect of an in-depth look at your products.
Several brands today partner with social media influencers to showcase their products in context. With social media users suffering from ad fatigue, showing your product in an everyday light stands to gain more trust for your brand. And even if you don’t have the marketing budget to nab a YouTube celebrity, enhanced video tech is so readily available, you can capture a tutorial or unboxing of your product with even a low budget.
Gain comprehensive insights
What do Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have in common? They, along with several other social platforms, come with tools to track and report analytics. From demographic data to your most popular posts, consider these analytics as a door into the lives of your customers.
By paying attention to the numbers, you can optimize content for even greater ROI (return on investment). You can even serve up more targeted ads using the data you’ve collected, increasing your relevancy-and conversion.
Increase traffic and conversions to your site
The results are in. In 2015, a report found that social media is the #1 driver of all website referral traffic.
Just look at Pinterest: a pioneer of social image sharing. In a time when text-based platforms Facebook and Twitter dominated the social sphere, Pinterest made waves by serving up large, eye-catching photography: a move which benefited the platform, as well as ecommerce businesses. Today, Pinterest content has helped move 87% of pinners to buy, followed by 55% shopping on site (SmallBiz Trends).
Social media has the power to guide people through the shopping journey: from that first moment of inspiration to the final purchase on your ecommerce site.
Tips to Harness Social Media for Business
Now that you’re on board with the benefits of social media, how can you use it to benefit your brand?
1) Invest in high-quality imagery
The average Internet user now has an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish (that’s 8 seconds if you were wondering).
Standout imagery has the power to stop the “thumb scroll” long enough to introduce your business to a lead. Invest in high-quality images of your products. Better yet, reach out to superfans to share their photos of your products to earn your trust and gain good content.
2) Use hashtags strategically
One mistake businesses make? Using hashtags solely focused on their company name.
A hashtag is a short link preceded by the pound sign (#) which aggregates all posts using that term. Rabid social media users and influencers alike tend to sign off their posts with a string of strategic hashtags to find and be found by others with similar interests.
Think about the language your followers may use in relation to your brand. If you sell coffee and have yet to gain household recognition, potential followers are more likely to find you from a popular term like “#coffeelovers” over your company name. Platforms like Instagram even show how many posts are aggregated under each hashtag along with similar terms so you can really boost your posts with the right tags.
3) Create a landing page from your Instagram account
Unlike Pinterest and other leading platforms, image-based platform Instagram only allows one clickable link on your entire account. What’s worse? That link isn’t trackable and shows only in Google Analytics as “direct” traffic.
Creating a hidden landing page will help you capture the data you desire. Visit this link for a step-by-step tutorial.
4) Run promotions whenever possible
Truth be told, not all social media interactions between a brand and its fans are based on goodwill alone.
56% of users surveyed said they originally followed brands for promotions or coupons (MarketingSherpa).
Promotions are a gateway to capture new followers, and therefore new leads. Tying a promotion to a popular holiday also allows you to stay relevant in an oversaturated marketplace.
Social Media for Business: A Final Word
Social media has the power to guide your customers through the shopping journey: from that first moment of inspiration until they click the “purchase” button on your site. In a time where ecommerce businesses struggle to stand out online, social media can be the tool that sets your business apart-and sets you up for increased sales, repeat purchases, and long-term loyalty.
About The Author
Cheryl Elizaga is a Brand Strategist and Copywriter with nearly a decade of experience catalyzing meaningful, measurable action for Fortune 100 companies and industry pioneers alike. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Cheryl helps ecommerce companies own their brand and harness the tools and technology of the leading Miva platform to drive growth.