6 Ways Ecommerce Sites Can See the Value of a “Like

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr…even Justin Timberlake is bringin’ Myspace back. Social media marketing has become a force to be reckoned within the digital age and websites like these have become much more than a place to post a status or reaffirm friendships with “likes.

However, if you are an ecommerce site, how can you use social media to leverage your website and ensure that Facebook Fans translate into a positive ROI? Here are some simple ways to turn your ecommerce site into a social brand and use social media to create marketing success.

First, let’s look at why social media is a smart option for your ecommerce site. Some of you may be wondering what the value of a “retweet” is or how Facebook fans translate into sales. Quite simply, inbound marketing tactics such as social media management are extremely valuable because they bring people to your content by their choosing.

When someone “likes” your company page or follows your brand on Twitter, they are choosing to see your company updates. With an excess of ads on the television, radio, sidewalk, websites, sides of building, or along the highway, and with viewers usually choosing to change the channel or ignore this information, having consumers decide to follow your content is extremely positive. This is the customer saying they find value in the information you are distributing, and they want to keep receiving it. Your company should take this positive reinforcement seriously and be thoughtful about the content you are creating and the value your customer might find in it.

In addition to creating brand loyalty and connecting with customers, social media can help a company improve their SEO and compete with “monster brands.” When you’re in the women’s shoe industry, it may seem daunting to go up against ecommerce sites like Zappos, Piperlime, or Amazon. Searching for “women’s shoes” on Google is going to bring up these monster brands at the forefront and smaller ecommerce sites can get buried in search results. However, this is where social media can really give your company a boost and make your company stand out in a sea of results.

Developing a social media presence can help brands to stand out by ranking for specific, niche keywords. A search for “shoes” is vague and can be an expensive and difficult keyword for a company to rank for. However, if anyone else uses Google like me, and is more likely to search in complete sentences or with specific keywords, then the relevance of your company content can increase and help your brand rank higher. If instead of “high heels,” I search for “the shoes Charlotte wore in the post-it episode” or “comfortable dancing shoes,” then I will get a very different set of search results.

Take advantage of this by optimizing your social media content for your specific customer base with specific keywords. If your ecommerce site sells women’s shoes and has posted about the shoes from Sex and the City or tweeted a meme about the importance of comfortable shoes when dancing, then your pages are more likely to rank in my search and I, as a consumer, am more likely to click on the link and connect with your brand.

Social media is the perfect place to get specific and really engage with your fan base. Remember that the emphasis should be on the “social” aspect of social media – you are there to connect with your core audience by focusing on your customer’s needs, interest, and behavior. Create interesting and relevant content that will increase traffic, then make it easy for the customer to transition from social sites to your homepage.

Sounds good, right? So now the fun part – how to make social media work for you and create content that can really connect you with your fans and result in a larger fan base and increased ROI. Here are six steps to take when developing a social media strategy:

1. Decide what social media platform is right for you. I firmly believe that social media can work for anyone; however, brands must be smart about which outlets they choose. Facebook and Twitter are obvious choices for some sites, while others may have more success using online forums, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, or Pinterest. Be creative – try different approaches and look to niche social sites and groups until you find the option that works for your company.

2. Create a brand identity and stick with it. Make sure that you take advantage of the custom options available on social media sites. A background image on Twitter, a cover photo on Facebook, an “about me” on YouTube, all these sections should be branded with your company logo, colors, and keywords. Similarly, make sure that your company voice is consistent and your content aims to connect with your fan base. Your social media presence should be dependable and fans should feel like they know the personality of the brand.

3. Create shareable content. Plan your Facebook or blog posts, your Tweets, or your Pinterest boards in advance, to make sure that your content is relevant and well thought out. Infographics, blog posts, photos, videos, or How-To’s are great ways to create interesting content that people want to share and make viral. As an ecommerce site, you can also promote exclusive deals through various social media platforms that fans are more likely to share with friends.

4. Engage with users. The world of social media has a little give-and-take. Remember that social media sites are two-way engagement tools and reply to comments, thank people for retweets, or let someone know when you appreciate their content. This is the fun part of social media—relationship building and finding other people or companies that you connect with. Be personable yet professional, and develop a brand that consumers can relate to.

5. Define measurable goals and key performance factors. Now that you have a strong social media presence and awesome content, you want to make sure that your efforts are paying off for your company. Use analytics or tracking tools and monitor sales against social performance over time to identify strengths and weaknesses in turning traffic into sales.

6. Make social media a priority. Finally, don’t let regular posting or updates be put on the back burner. The image and reputation of the company is in your hands with social media, so make sure that you dedicate the time to doing it right!

Still don’t think that social media is for you? A recent poll found that 60% of Americans would like to see brands use social media for customer support, while 59% said that a company’s social media is more likely to make them see the company as more accessible and responsive. Social media truly can work for everyone and for ecommerce sites where the shopping experience takes place online, creating a trusted and open environment for consumers is one of the smartest things a company can do.

Help your ecommerce site stand out and have your company be seen as a credible source in the industry, all by utilizing social media. Looking for more information or help with implementing a social media strategy? Inno Garage is a full-service digital marketing agency that can provide creative social media marketing tactics and Search Engine Optimization, with measurement and tracking services that guarantee results.