28 Things You Didn’t Know About Social Marketing for Ecommerce
When Amazon launched as a book-selling site in the late 1990s, nobody predicted it would be the event that sparked change in the way consumers shop. Since then, ecommerce has grown into a $3.4 billion industry, and it’s projected to reach $4 billion as early as next year. Social media—which has also seen an explosive growth in recent years—has grown in harmony with ecommerce.
Today, ecommerce and social media drive more than $30 billion in online sales annually, proving that there’s a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship between the two. It also presents a huge opportunity for e-tailers because social media presents a low-risk, high-reward potential.
Read on for 28 reasons why social marketing for ecommerce should be in your playbook.
1. Social Media is a Fast Way to Reach Billions of People
In this interconnected digital world, social media is like a giant messaging board where everyone can see your brand’s message. There are more than 3.1 billion social media users globally, with at least 1.47 billion users logging in daily.
2. Consumers Spend Hours on Social Media
The average web user spends about 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media each day. Multiply that by the three billion users, and you have a lot of screen time to take advantage of for social media marketing. According to SmartInsights, 28% of web users are using at least some of that time to research brands and find new products to buy.
4. Business Accounts Are Free
Social media sites are nudging their users toward opening business accounts, and there’s no wondering why. Business accounts can run paid ads, which directly benefit the networks. But the upside is that opening and managing a business account is free and comes with added perks like native analytics to track your page’s performance.
5. Social Media Profiles Are Multipurpose
Your social media profiles can do triple duty as a showroom, an advertisement and a storefront. Those are the channels to put your best foot forward and visually show off your products while providing helpful information about them at the same time. By using the ecommerce tools that are built into social networks, consumers don’t even have to leave the apps to make a purchase. Social media has enhanced the online shopping experience by streamlining it from exposure to click all the way through to purchase.
6. Social Ads Are Low-Cost, High-Impact
Excluding Reddit—which requires a minimum spend on certain campaign types—social advertising is as low-cost as you need it to be. The reduced spending risk involved is especially appealing to small businesses that don’t have massive marketing budgets.
Once you have run a few campaigns, you can easily determine the most effective ways to reach your target market and further optimize your advertising. Then, you can simply run the numbers through an ROI calculator for a fairly accurate report on your ad’s conversions.
7. You Can Automate Your Campaigns & Social Channels
If you plan to advertise your online store using social media, the ad platforms on the major sites are intuitive. They guide you through the steps of budgeting and targeting, so launching your campaign is only a few clicks away. There are even “Start” and “Stop” features so the platforms will run your ads exclusively during a predetermined period. Simply set it, forget it and come back to it later when the time comes to track progress and make tweaks.
For e-tailers who don’t yet want to take the plunge into spending money on social ads, there are still ways to automate and remain active on social. Publishing tools like Buffer let you queue posts to be sent out at the times you set. Your channels will be full of fresh content with little effort on your part.
8. Brands Can Reach Customers Through Facebook Messenger
Email still reigns supreme as the way consumers prefer to be contacted by businesses—72% of respondents gave this answer in a recent MailChimp survey. But promotional emails often go unopened and get lost among all the others. Through a relatively new feature, Facebook solved this pain point and introduced advertising with Messenger.
There are more than 1.3 billion people using Facebook’s instant messaging service, and it’s the top mobile app by number of downloads. Messenger ads are served to users and look just like messages from their friends, which increases open rates. Keep in mind, though, that the hyper-direct nature of these ads requires personalization and proven value to the recipient. Otherwise, it just looks like spam.
9. Social Media Ads Drive Sales
Social media drives 5% of ecommerce sales overall. The sites influence shopper behavior in a big way:
- 87% of customers say social media has helped them make a purchasing decision in the past.
- 25% of consumers look to social networks for advice when they go clothing shopping.
Some sites, like Pinterest, are associated with purchase planning, and marketers see a $4.30 return on every ad dollar spent on Pinterest. Other platforms have also turned into shopping hubs and see average order values upwards of $50.
10. Facebook Influences 52% of Online Purchases
In 2015, Facebook influenced 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases, up from 36 per cent in 2014, per The Drum
11. 33% of Online Purchases Start Social Media
As reported by Business Insider, just by having a social presence more shoppers will make purchases from your online store. Users who see your products in a social ad, elsewhere online or even in store want to be able to visit your social media profiles for more information and to get a feel for your brand.
Consumers also get introduced to new products on social media. 60% of users discover products on Instagram, per a Hootsuite study. Those discoveries, with some additional marketing and touchpoints, lead to purchases down the line.
12. Being Actively Social is Lucrative
The whole point of social media is to converse with consumers, rather than to talk at them. Traditional advertising is out its way out and being replaced with relationship building between brands and consumers, and the businesses that adopt that trend are seeing the results. Brands that engage with customers via social media gain 20-40% more revenue per customer as compared to companies that do not.
13. Attention-Grabbing Ads Don’t Require In-House Assets
When e-tailers think of creating a visually stunning advertisement, they may immediately jump to conclusions and stress about finding a photographer or videographer to create original content. But with the tools available online today, it has never been easier to create visuals that will pop on social media.
Free options like Canva and Pexels Video are two of our must-have social media tools for ecommerce, but there are seemingly endless options to choose from.
Visuals are a necessity for social media. Video is a surefire way to grab a consumer’s attention with product videos showing a healthy 16.85% conversion rate. Studies show that marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users, and 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos. However, even still images outperform text-only ads.
14. User-Generated Content Shows Social Proof
UGC serves two main purposes: It showcases your products “in the wild,” and it builds trust by acting as visual positive product reviews. As a bonus, sourcing user-generated content saves you the time it would take to create original content that may not perform as well.
How do we know UGC is effective? Take a look at these statistics:
- UGC posts shared to social channels see a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts.
- 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision.
- UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average.
- 48% of customers say that UGC is a great way to discover new products.
- UGC is 20% more influential than any other type of media when it comes to influencing Millennial purchases.
Tools like Stackla are built to find UGC, but social monitoring tools and hashtag research will yield equally high-quality results, too.
15. You Can Monitor Social Media for Mentions of Your Brand
Speaking of social media monitoring tools, you should be keeping an eye on the conversations happening online surrounding your industry and brand. This is an easy way to jump in on relevant threads, either to speak from your authority voice or to address a complaint. 78% of customers believe that social media is the future of customer service, so proactively monitoring brand mentions will elevate your online store’s customer service efforts.
Pro tip: You can (and should) also monitor mentions of your competitors to quickly offer your solution to their customers’ issues.
16. Contests and Giveaways Build Followings
Consumers want to engage with the brands that have something to offer them, which is a big reason why contests and giveaways consistently produce spikes in engagement and following on social media. This is a popular tactic with event pages, which commonly give away tickets, but you can customize the “prize” to your online store’s offerings. As long as it gets followers involved, there is value in the eyes of the consumer.
Don’t forget, after the contest or giveaway is over, only high-quality and valuable content will retain followers; you have to be able to keep their interest.
17. Exclusive Content Retains Followings
We wouldn’t leave you hanging without any ideas about how to keep your newly-built social media audience. One tactic is to offer exclusive content only on your social channels. This could be digital coupons, which more than two-thirds of consumers say build brand awareness and generate loyalty. You could also use Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Stories to show behind-the-scenes content.
Staying active, engaged and interesting is the key to winning over online shoppers on social channels. Social media is meant to be informal (except for LinkedIn) and low-key, so there is total creative freedom.
18. Social Media Drives Recommendations
In 2019, online shopping is centered around the consumer experience, and social media facilitates the best parts of shopping in a store. There are visual cues to how products fit into lifestyle, there is valuable information and there is an ability to quickly get answers when needed. Therefore, e-tailers who use social media to their advantage will reap the reward of recommendation. 71% of consumers who have had a good experience with a brand on social media will recommend the brand to others.
19. Influencers Live on Social Media
Influencer marketing is a popular tool for industries such as apparel, beauty and travel, but it is not limited to e-tailers with glamorous products or services. There are individuals with highly engaged followings in nearly every niche, and their followers trust them as they would a close friend.
Marketers have tapped into this opportunity and enlisted people from celebrities to micro-influencers to showcase their products to reach a new audience. 84% of marketers call it an effective strategy, and 67% find it so effective that they plan to increase their budget for it.
The common thread between most of these influencers is that they live on social media. Because ecommerce is built on convenience, it’s imperative for your online store to have social media profiles that can be tagged in posts, so consumers can easily follow the trail to your site.
20. Competition is Fierce & Cutthroat
In 2017, social networks saw $41 billion in advertising revenue – Facebook alone claimed $10.14 billion of this. It’s a pay-to-play world, but it’s not too late to join. Surprisingly, there are still 9% of businesses that aren’t using social media for marketing.
21. You’ll Significantly Out-Do Businesses not Using Social
According to BigCommerce, online stores that have a social presence get 32% more sales on average than stores that don’t. Social media is all about access to brands, and consumers who feel like they can easily connect with the businesses they follow are more likely to trust those businesses.
In a way, brands have become more like peers than large corporations, and it’s because of the engaging, two-way street that is social media. As e-tailers who use an ecommerce CRM have found, building relationships with customers and potential customers results in higher sales and improved long-term retention and loyalty.
22. Buzz-Worthy Brands Got their Start on Social Media
A few years ago, we were in the middle of the “Age of Disruption,” and there were startups emerging left and right to significantly change their respective industries. Now, some are established brands that withstood the test of time. Something they have in common is their use of social media as their primary advertising channel.
Glossier is a notable example, as are Warby Parker and Allbirds. In the digital age, social media sharing is the new word-of-mouth, and these businesses got the word out using their social channels.
23. Pixels Retarget for You
In today’s option-overloaded market, online shoppers are savvier than ever. They check for promo codes and price compare before even thinking of buying a product. That’s why it takes anywhere from six to eight touch-points to create a legitimate sales lead. But without social media, e-tailers have to create those touch-points organically.
Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest all have pixels that retarget web users who have already taken interest in your site or products. Simply insert the pixel code into your site and watch as the pixels do the work for you.
24. There Are Built-In Reviews on Facebook
Similar to UGC, showing reviews on social media builds consumer trust. 92% of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from individuals they don’t personally know over brand recommendations. That’s why Facebook users often check the Recommendations section of a brand’s page for reviews before making a purchase.
Recent reports have found that a whopping 92% of prospective shoppers take the time to read a product review before making a buying decision. Having the information readily available on your social media channels makes consumers’ search hassle-free.
25. “Share to Social” Capabilities Increase Reach
The easiest way to reach new potential customers is to let your current customers and followers do the work for you. It’s free, too. By consistently posting educational and/or entertaining content on your social channels, you are simultaneously encouraging consumers to share your content and give it new reach. Another option is to add “Share to Social” buttons to your product pages, so visitors can easily show family and friends their purchases or additions to their Wish Lists.
26. Live Video is Available on Social Media
Video has taken social media by storm, and live video is even more impactful. 80% of people prefer watching a live video rather than reading a blog post, and 82% of people would choose live video over any other type of social post.
By using live video via social media, you can instantly reach billions of people in nearly every age category who are eager to tune-in. As a bonus, users who follow your social channels are alerted when you start a live broadcast, further increasing incentive to join in.
27. Consumers Are Most Likely to Follow Your Brand via Social
According to MarketingSherpa, online adults aged 18-34 are most likely (95%) to follow a brand via social networking. Even though you might regularly post to your company’s blog or send weekly emails, social media is where consumers expect to keep up with your online store.
28. Social Media Updates Are Expected from Ecommerce Sites
A survey conducted by BigCommerce reveals that the average e-commerce site is publishing 4.55 posts a week on their Facebook page. The survey also found that the average ecommerce site’s Facebook community is growing by 8% each month, and of the ecommerce sites that have a Facebook account, 60% are also using Twitter.
Social Media Marketing Pays Dividends
Social media’s marketing power can’t be ignored, especially by online retailers. Ecommerce and social media go hand-in-hand, and social media influences and enhances the shopper experience. In a time of consumer-first focus, the shopper experience is your most priceless asset.
Looking for tools to up your social media game? Don’t miss our guide: 5 Ecommerce Social Media Tools That Give You the Upper Hand
Need even more tips? We’ve got you covered with this infographic about social media shopping statistics.