Social media marketing has two major components, which can work together to create maximum impact:
- Increasing the number of your connections in each platform using organic practices appropriate to it
- Using paid publicity options offered by each to get in front of new members and get them to engage with you
The focus of this post is on media that can help e-commerce businesses.
In the last post, we discussed how to create business accounts under each of these platforms. In this one, we discuss the engagement practices first and then the paid media options under each.
The engagement development practices are free and you can attend to these yourself if you have the time to spare and the inclination to do what is needed. The work involved is extensive and specialized, however, and a better strategy will be to get paid specialists to attend to the work.
Just make sure that if you engage different specialists, all of them work to project the same image, your brand image. Work first on articulating your brand image and then develop guidelines to project this image through each medium.
Engagement Practices Relevant to all Social Media Platforms
In all social media platforms, you need to “socialize” if you want to build a network of other members who pay attention to what you do. Such socializing involves:
- Posting content regularly and ensuring that the content delivers some kind of value to other members – information, helpful tips, entertainment or something else of value
- Engaging with the content of other members by reacting to the content in a meaningful way such as liking, commenting and sharing
- Responding to any reactions you receive for your own content or about you or your products. Negative comments need special care. As a business, you cannot get into arguments with your customers. Find ways to steer the conversation in a positive direction
Another common practice is the use of images and videos. Some of the media focus primarily on these formats. But even in the case of text-heavy media, images and videos can add value. High-quality photos and moving videos are great at getting attention to your text content.
Yet another practice involves making the most of user-generated content (UGC).
Users of social media often comment on others – brands, products, and people. If the comment is about your brand or product, or about you, try to make the most of it. Share the positive content at venues under your control. Respond to any negative content in a dignified way to show that you are seriously doing what you should.
In addition to the common practices mentioned in the last section, the following practices can help you increase engagement with your FB followers:
- Exclusive Content: If your Facebook followers get to know first about any special offers and new products, they are more likely to view your content regularly
- “Native” Videos: Native means that you post the video to Facebook instead of simply providing a link to a video you have posted elsewhere. On Facebook, native videos start playing automatically thus catching the attention of followers as they browse through their feeds
- Keyword Optimization and Tagging: Use relevant keywords in title and description and tag your content. These can then become visible even to non-followers
- Live Videos: Videos being recorded live get to the top of your follower’s feeds, and once the broadcast is over, the video appears on your FB page and can be promoted in standard ways
- Messenger Chatbot: Add a Facebook Messenger chatbot to your page. Chatbots can deliver value to your audience in different ways. ClearVoice shows how to build a chatbot without any coding knowledge.
Paid Facebook Ads
Facebook offers varied types of ads including image, video, carousel, slideshow, collection, instant experience, lead, dynamic, messenger, stories, and playable ads. You have to create a business page at FB to start advertising. Once you have a business page, just go to Ads Manager or Business Manager to create your campaigns.
You will be taken through a step by step process that includes setting your business objectives, selecting your audience and placing your bids and budgets among other routines. See this Hootsuite blog post for details.
The common best practices mentioned earlier apply to Twitter also. Let us now look at Twitter-specific best practices:
- What to Tweet: Tweets are short conversational pieces that do not allow detailed discussion of a topic. So how do you converse meaningfully? Some good ideas:
- Link to your detailed discussions at blog posts and other places
- Link to other discussions of value to your prospects and customers
- Short tips and helpful messages, preferably related to your business
- Answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Conduct short polls to learn more about your customers
- Run contests to engage your prospects
- Link to any positive press coverage you get
- Announce any special offers or sales by your business
- Respond to any complaints from customers or other negative comments
- Provide behind-the-scenes views of your business
- Use relevant hashtags: This could get your tweets in front of non-followers
- Get Visible to Influencers: Influencers are members who have a large following and whose views influence others. Identify influencers relevant to your business and begin interacting with them through meaningful comments on their tweets and appropriate retweets. Once you are on their radar, you might be able to seek their help to put in some good words for you
Twitter Ad Campaigns
Twitter campaigns can take the forms of:
- Promoting individual tweets, which can get you in front of members who are not your followers. You start this by clicking the activity icon in the tweet you want to promote and clicking “Promote this Tweet”
- Running ad campaigns to achieve different business objectives such as app installs and website conversions
- If you are in USA, UK or Japan, opting for the Promote Mode to get your tweets promoted automatically
Instagram is a platform for sharing photos. If you plan to use it for business, think about the types of photos that could help achieve your business goals. Create a library of photos and a calendar to post these; add more photos as ideas come to you.
Fine-tune your Instagram bio so that its content is aligned to your business objectives. On Instagram, people get to connect with you through your bio (and not from individual posts).
Increase engagement with your content through:
- High-quality photos without exception. Absolutely no pixelation or blurriness.
- Experiment with different effects using filters and dimensions and monitor which ones click with your audience
- Tag people and organizations included in a photo
- Include a Call to Action at the end of your posts pointing to the link in the bio or a simple “Follow Us”
- Link to your Instagram account from other web properties under your control
- Post your Instagram content on other social media, wherever appropriate with a link to the Instagram post
- Use relevant hashtags to reach non-followers, and look out for more hashtags that are relevant
Avoid certain things:
- No links in photo captions; links will not work
- Not too much text; users expect a visual experience at Instagram
- No logos or watermarks in your photos; these detract from the visual experience
Instagram is owned by Facebook, and you can run Instagram campaigns from your Instagram or Facebook account.
- You can promote posts and stories from your Instagram account
- The ads you create from your Facebook page can appear on Instagram
- Facebook Ads Manager allows you to create FB and Instagram ads
You can run ads of different types on Instagram – stories, photos, video, carousel, collections, and in-explore. Go to the Instagram Business page for specifics, and this Wordstream resource for creating effective campaigns.
Unlike Instagram, Pinterest is designed for business. It brings together people and the products they love.
For example, you can click straight from a pin showing a product to the page where that product is available.
Pinterest pages consist of pins grouped under boards (representing themes).
Pins can be anything that you think will interest people. Let us look at some Pinterest features to increase your visibility:
- Pin and Re-pin Frequently: Find trendy topics and create many pins every day. Pinterest publishes lists of trendy topics every year
- Set up Rich Pins: Apply for Rich Pins
- Rich pins can be for Apps, Products, Articles or Recipes
- App pins have a download link to download the app
- Product pins display prices and links to the page where you can buy
- Article pins include the headline of the article, author and a description
- Recipe pins list ingredients, cooking processes and serving sizes
- Upload Your Product Catalog: All your products will then appear as dynamic Product Pins
- Use Recommended Aspect Ratios for Your Images: Considering that Pinterest viewing happens overwhelmingly on mobile, they recommend width to height ratios of either 2:3 or 1:3.5 for the images you design for Pinterest
- Use Effective Product Descriptions: Short but clear text descriptions, never omit price information, including keywords, hashtags and brand names
- Group Pins into Optimized Boards: Where you have a number of pins under a similar theme say, shirts, group them into boards. Each board should have an appropriate cover photo; a title and description rich in relevant keywords; and a Call to Action link to explore other boards
- Increase Engagement: Engagement practices include:
- Follow others with similar interests
- Comment on the pins of others
- Start a group board with collaborators
- Create an influencer campaign using a good influencer marketing platform
Learn more about Pinterest marketing at VirtualSocialMedia.
The majority of the Snapchat audience is young, aged 13 to 24. If you have anything to offer to this group, Snapchat can turn out to be a good marketing channel. Use creative and fun snaps to sell to them.
Snapchat best practices:
- Create a snapcode that users can simply scan with their phones to add themselves as your followers. Promote that code on other social media
- Use storytelling photos and short videos to give your audience a behind-the-scenes view of your business
- Give them an advance and exclusive preview of new products that you will be launching soon
- In addition to a preview, offer your followers discounts and coupons. Because snaps disappear in 24 hours, these will have a built-in extra urgency
- Advertise on Snapchat by visiting their advertising page. You will be guided step by step
- Hand over management of your Snapchat account to a young (but responsible) person with a substantial Snapchat following for a limited time
Social Media Marketing Summary
There are a number of different social media platforms, each with its own unique features and flavor that attract a different audience. By using the best practices of engagement and also tapping the ad options offered by each, you can reach a varied audience. Just make sure that the audience you reach is the right audience for what you sell.