June 30 is Social Media Day! Launched by Mashable in 2010, Social Media Day is “a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.” In honor of this momentous occasion, we’ve put together eight benefits of building a social media presence for your online store.
What can social media do for your ecommerce business?
Here are the benefits social media presents to ecommerce brands when done right.
1. Meet your customers where they are
Nearly everyone is on social media, and it’s likely that your target customers are no exception. Statista estimates that there will be around 2.77 billion global social media users in 2019, up from 2.46 billion in 2017. Your customers already use social media, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Why not connect with them where they already spend their time online?
2. Increase brand awareness
According to HubSpot, 90% of all marketers find that social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Social media is digitized word-of-mouth, and by putting out helpful, engaging content across your store’s social profiles, you can leverage the “viral” nature of social media to reach more potential customers (conversational commerce).
Social media followers, comments, likes, and shares are often considered “vanity metrics.” But when it comes to brand awareness, these numbers can help you measure how many people are aware of and engaging with your brand.
3. Build brand loyalty
It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one. Social media is a great way to connect with those current customers and make them feel heard and appreciated by your business. Keeping your social media followers updated on new product releases, discounts and promotions, and other exciting updates can help keep them engaged and improve brand loyalty.
4. Improve sales
Data from BigCommerce shows that online stores that have a social presence have 32% more sales on average than stores that don’t. Social media helps drive traffic, with 25.6% of site traffic coming from social last year. But building a social media presence helps you improve sales through more than just driving traffic. It also helps you connect with and understand your customers and their communities, giving you insights that you can act upon to positively impact your sales.
5. Cut marketing costs
Social media is nearly always less expensive than traditional media while being much more targeted. For example, a $1,000 billboard gives you no control over your demographic, while a $100 Facebook ad can essentially guarantee you reach your target audience (more on this later).
A recent cross-channel media cost comparison by LYFE Marketing found that the CPM (cost per 1,000 viewers) of social media is far cheaper than any traditional form of advertising available today. On average, social media can expose your brand to 1,000 viewers for less than $3. If you’re looking to boost awareness while cutting marketing spend, social media can help you get there.
6. Hear your customers
One easy way to know what people think about your ecommerce store is by searching your brand name on Twitter or Instagram. This can be a great way to learn what resonates with your current customers — be it good or bad. Through social listening, you can get to know your customers and give them more of the things they love about your business (and less of the things they don’t).
It’s important to realize that you can’t please everyone; however, keeping an eye on what customers are telling their networks about you can give great insights into the overall impression and customer experience offered by your company. You can also use this to shape your social commerce strategy.
Many brands also choose to use social media to provide customer support or direct customers to a more private support channel. Whether you choose to address customer concerns directly on your social channels or share a different contact method with customers, we recommend consistently monitoring and responding to social inquiries.
7. Reach the right people
If you choose to put money into your social media management and marketing, you can leverage advanced targeting tools such as Hootsuite alternatives that help you get your brand in front of the people most likely to buy from your store. Social networks like Facebook use user information and interests to serve users relevant ads.
When building your target audience, start by identifying the defining characteristics of your current customers. Here are some starter questions to think through:
- Where do they live? Urban, suburban, or rural areas?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- Which social media platforms are they on? What blogs do they read? Which influencers do they follow?
- Who else do they buy from? Which competitive or complementary products are they purchasing?
These questions can help you figure out what your customers have in common so that you can target potential customers who are similar to your current brand loyalists. When you reach the right users, social media ads can increase conversions and boost sales.
8. Leverage customer content
Positive social proof — the social phenomena in which the actions and opinions of others inform our own — gives your products and business added credibility: 55% of shoppers say that online reviews influence their buying decision, while 72% of buyers will take action only after reading a positive review.
Social media puts customer-generated content and opinions at your fingertips. Encourage your customers to share their photos and reviews of your products on social media, then share those positive testimonials and customer-generated content on your product pages (with customer permission, of course).
This list could go on and on — social media can help improve every area of your business. That isn’t to say that social media is perfect or without drawbacks, but implementing a strong social media strategy can help you connect with customers and improve your bottom line.
For more techniques to acquire and retain customers for your online store, check out our guide on How to Nail the Customer Experience.