The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Marketing for Online Retailers

In today’s digital landscape, online retailers like you have a never-before-seen opportunity to connect with your audience, showcase your products and ultimately drive sales using social media. With so many platforms and ever-evolving trends to follow, social media marketing has become a critical component of every savvy e-tailer’s digital strategy. But to navigate the landscape effectively, you have to understand the nuanced art of social media — and of each platform — regarding engagement, advertising and content creation.

Let’s dig into the dos and don’ts of social media marketing for ecommerce so you can take away actionable insights and thrive in the hyper-competitive world of online retail. Whether you’re a seasoned ecommerce professional or brand new to the business, this guide will help you boost your online presence and foster customer trust so you can create a memorable brand that supplements your amazing catalog. 

Do: Know Your Audience

When you know your audience, you can create the content that’s going to resonate with them, which then leads to more engagement and more followers down the line. Because social media is a space to build brand awareness and direct users to higher-converting channels, engagement really does matter. So, understand your target audience’s demographics, interests and behaviors to tailor your content and advertising accordingly. 

Don’t: Ignore Data Privacy 

At the start of your social media journey, it can be tempting to build a following at whatever cost. However, it’s better to play the long game and respect data privacy laws and your customers’ privacy concerns. Be transparent about your data usage and ensure you comply with relevant regulations.

Do: Create High-Quality Visuals 

Even on the smallest of cell phone screens, blurry visuals make a brand look unprofessional. There are plenty of resources where users can access crystal-clear stock images and graphics for free, and you can mix in some visuals from your own catalog to showcase products to your followers. For your product shots especially, high-quality photos and videos help shoppers get a sense of what they’re considering purchasing because they can’t see your products in real life. High-quality visuals can significantly impact your audience’s perception, meaning better imagery = better chances to make sales. 

Don’t: Over-Promote 

Avoid making every post about your products. Instead, provide value, entertainment and information to your followers. The 80/20 rule is a good guideline: 80% non-promotional content, 20% promotional.

Do: Leverage Multiple Platforms 

There’s no need to put all your eggs in one basket — or limit yourself to just one social media platform. With a multitude of options, from the widespread appeal of Facebook to the artist-friendly Behance, posting to multiple platforms will help you reach more people and then find where your target audience is spending their time.   

Don’t: Overextend Yourself

It’s better to really crush it on a few platforms than to be mediocre on many. The key is to identify the platforms that resonate with your audience and focus your efforts there. For example, if you are a DTC brand selling products for a wide audience, you probably don’t have to maintain a LinkedIn presence. But if you sell products for the business crowd, LinkedIn might be worth your time.  

Do: Use Consistent Branding

In today’s retail landscape, consumers are looking to buy from a brand, not just any store. Research shows businesses with brand-loyal customers grow revenue 2.5 times faster than their competitors, proving it’s worth elevating your online store into a personified entity — a true brand. This is somewhat simple to do on social media by maintaining a consistent brand identity, including colors, logos and messaging, across all your social media profiles.

Do: Engage with Your Audience 

Social media is supposed to be social, after all, not just a way to broadcast information to your followers. Keep it a two-way street by responding to comments, messages and mentions promptly (even the negative ones.) Engaging with your fellow social media users builds trust and loyalty, which reflects positively on your brand and inspires consideration when these users go online to shop. 

Don’t: Ignore Negative Feedback 

When you receive negative comments or reviews, don’t ignore them. Negative feedback is actually a great way to showcase authenticity: 68% of consumers want to see both negative and positive reviews to believe the latter are real. Therefore, take it in stride, address concerns professionally and seek solutions.

Don’t: Automate Everything 

While automation can be helpful, especially as a brand with a larger social presence and more interactions than your team can handle, avoid automating all your social media interactions. Personalized, authentic interactions are crucial.

Employ relevant and trending hashtags to increase the discoverability of your posts, but don’t go overboard. Using too many hashtags comes off as inauthentic and spammy. Instead of casting a too-wide net, target your existing or desired audience. The same principles apply to social media trends — you don’t need to jump on every bandwagon to get noticed, but if participating in a trend makes sense, go ahead. 

On the flip side, don’t ignore trends altogether. A well-executed post that follows a social media trend can get your brand in front of thousands of new users and give you a competitive edge.

Do: Promote User-Generated Content 

One of the best social proof strategies that converts is UGC, or user-generated content. UGC is the pinnacle of authenticity, as it usually comes from customers who aren’t professional content creators. They simply want to share their experience with your products. To collect more user-generated content, encourage your customers to share photos and videos of their purchases. Then, repost or share (once you have their consent) and watch as your customers turn into brand advocates. 

Don’t: Rush It

Building a strong social media presence takes time, especially in today’s fast-moving digital realm. Be patient and focus on consistent growth and engagement rather than quick wins. 

Remember that successful social media marketing for ecommerce involves a mix of creativity, strategy, and responsiveness. It’s an ongoing process, and adapting to changing trends and consumer behaviors is essential for long-term success.

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