As the owner of an ecommerce business, you’ve probably tried or considered using social media as a marketing tool. With 45 million active social media users in the UK alone, you’d be right to.

Companies use social media as an easily accessible way to increase brand awareness and build relationships with their customers. Engaging and interacting with people to foster a sense of community can be a powerful marketing strategy.

Consumers have come to expect to see their favourite brands on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and a staggering 90% of online shoppers have contacted a company through social media.

This isn’t set to slow down any time soon, as social media use is growing year on year. In fact, trends show that people spend more time on social media than any other online activity.

Which Platforms Should You be on?

The short answer to this question is: whichever platforms your customers are using. This will be determined by your target audience and what you’re selling.

A strong presence on Facebook is usually advantageous, especially if your ecommerce site is powered by Shopify. Nearly two-thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores come from Facebook, with a conversion rate of 1.85% – the highest of all social media ecommerce traffic.

Pinterest is the next biggest source of social media visitors to Shopify, with Twitter and YouTube following closely behind.

To find your target audience, employ social listening strategies of monitoring each platform for mentions of your brand name or keywords. Check out which platforms your competitors are choosing and analyse how much engagement and interest they are getting. Test which channels seem to work for you and focus on the ones that generate a good response.

What Should You Post?

The number one rule for posting on social media is that your content must be relevant to your audience. Now might be a good time to revisit your ideal customer profile to make sure you understand what your customers are interested in. You want to lead conversation, inspire and engage your followers and, ultimately, build a loyal community.

Keep your message on brand but don’t be afraid of having a little fun and joining in on conversations with your audience. As well as bringing a personal touch to your company, you’ll also be encouraging brand loyalty. Customers spend 20-40% more with companies they’ve communicated with on social media and are three times more likely to recommend that company to friends and family.

The type of posts you publish can make a difference to how many people view them, as the various social media platforms each have their own preferred formats. The popularity of video has exploded over recent years and social media video content is shared up to 1200% more than images and text combined. Professionally shot videos of products or brand visuals make great content, but people also love to see spontaneous recordings such as what happens behind the scenes in your business or who’s in your team. Introducing a human element is very appealing to audiences who don’t want to feel like they’re dealing with a faceless brand.

For other content ideas, think about sharing any upcoming events and how your company is preparing for them. Fundraisers or charity events generate a lot of content opportunities, as do company milestones such as a significant anniversary or change of premises. Customers always like to see product ranges and suggestions or examples of how products can be used. Clever use of social media can generate great excitement around new product lines, as demonstrated perfectly by Apple every time they release a new iPhone!

User-generated content brings together an online audience – think about asking customers to post photographs of them wearing or using your product – reminding them to include your company hashtag with every post. Competitions can also make for compelling content but be sure to comply with competition rules for each platform to avoid being penalised.

Top Tips

  • Make sure you use your brand hashtag in all posts and encourage your audience to use it too.
  • After some initial testing, focus on the channels that perform best for your business.
  • Don’t just broadcast to your audience. Keep content interesting and varied and encourage customer interactions.
  • Utilise paid options to grow your audience and reach your target market directly.

Paid vs Organic Posting

Social media algorithms mean that you need to constantly work hard to get your posts in front of people.

By building popular online spaces that attract millions of people, the big social media platforms can ‘sell’ access to this captive audience. The more a company pays, the more people will see their content.

For this reason, paid posts will always achieve a further reach and better results than organic posts. With 94% of companies having already used paid social media advertising, you need to consider joining them to be able to compete for online space.

Using paid social media can be an extremely effective marketing method. Costs are comparably lower than other traditional methods of paid advertising and the ability to target your desired audience is greater. Through paid social advertising, a brand can really drill down into its target demographic to select who their ad is shown to, specifying geographical location, age, sex, personal interests and much more.

Before starting your paid social media campaign, set targets and decide how you’re going to measure outcomes. As with all marketing strategies, continue to test and analyse your social media efforts, refining them as necessary to make sure you are achieving the desired results.

If you’d like to know more about how social media can help you grow your ecommerce business, get in touch.