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4 Tips for Growing Your Ecommerce Business with Social Media

Take advantage of these opportunities are key to your continued growth.

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BY Jordan Kasteler - 09 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Simply being on social media and earning lots of followers isn't enough to drive people to your ecommerce business.

According to research done by Compass, the average conversion rates from social media to purchases are quite meager. To be precise, stores that have a presence of 5,000 or more followers have the next conversion rates per platform:

  • Facebook - 9.23 percent
  • Twitter - 9.27 percent
  • Instagram - 9.32 percent

But what if you could push those numbers higher? I asked Andrew Molz that question at a meet up we recently had. Molz is an ecommerce guru who built a Shopify based website and generated $2.2 million in sales using only social media to generate traffic. He's consulted numerous startups and recently, one of his ecommerce ventures, Onyx Hearts, was acquired only 18 months after he started it.

Here are the four social media growth strategies he shared with me - they can help you to truly capitalize on social media in ways that will create genuine growth.

1. Select social media outlets where you can shine

BeardBrand is an internet based company that markets products to men who have adopted the trend of donning, thick, full beards. They've carefully crafted a powerful social media presence, and as a result more than half of their sales are due to those efforts. This is largely due to picking social media outlets where their brand could shine.

Part of this decision was driven by necessity. Molz says it simply isn't possible for a brand to make a meaningful impact on social media if its efforts are spread thin. In BeardBrand's case, that was Tumblr and YouTube. Also, some niche social media platforms where it's easier to stand out and reach a very specific audience. One example of this is Reddit where you can find communities built around very specific interests, or create a relevant subreddit of your own.

2. Use social listening to find conversations about your brand

Social listening is simply monitoring the internet, especially social media for conversations about your brand. There are tools you can purchase specifically for social listening, or you can simply implement your own social listening strategy. Many brands simply use Google alerts to stay on top of things.

"In addition to focusing on whatever is trending about your company, you can also expand your social listening strategy," Molz said. "For example, you can pay attention to your competitors, or set your sites on things that are getting social media attention in your niche."

Once you start listening, here are some things you can do:

  • Interact sincerely with potential customers by identifying and searching for relevant keywords
  • Find happy and unhappy customers to reach out to on social media
  • Provide advice and useful information without promoting your brand
  • Simply get an idea of where your audience is online
  • Identify influencers and brand ambassadors

Perhaps even more importantly, social listening gives you the opportunity to truly understand how your brand is viewed. That's an extremely important, albeit potentially painful thing to know.

3. Take advantage of your customers' enthusiasm

To explain this, Molz cites the example of Diamond Candles, an online business that sells candles. Their spin is that embedded within each candle is a ring worth ten dollars. In addition to that customers also receive a slip of paper telling them if they've won another ring worth between 100 and 5000 dollars.

This generated enthusiasm that likely saved the company, as a Diamond Candles case study showed, the company didn't have the money for advertising.

So, instead of focusing on paid advertising the company focused on user generated content. More specifically photos that customers took when their rings were revealed to them. In fact, this remains a flagship element of their social media strategy.

4. Produce content for the season

As good as retailers are at scheduling sales events and promotional content to coincide with seasons, holidays, and important events, they regularly fail to harness the potential to create and share non promotional social media content related to these events.

"Holiday and special event related posts are social media gold mines for two reasons," Molz said. "First, these posts are almost always highly visual. For example, you could include pictures of your company's holiday events, or photos from local events. Considering that 87 percent of Facebook engagement happens with posts containing a picture, that's pretty significant. Then there's the emotional factor. Holiday and event posts trigger a range of positive emotions ranging from happiness to excitement to sentimentality. Posts that evoke emotions are great for creating engagement and conversions."

Seasonal events are a great time to promote sales and other special events. They are also a great time to share relevant content and build relationships with your customers. Focus on creating and curating relevant content more than promotional content. Track local events, holidays, seasonal changes, major sports events, etc. Then target your content efforts organically rather than promotionally.

The importance of social media to ecommerce is nothing new. What is new are the new opportunities to use social media to boost your ecommerce business. Taking advantage of these opportunities are key to your continued growth.