Even if you are sworn to avoid being swallowed by the social media craze that consumes an inordinate amount of time and energy from a growing number of everyday people, you are a de facto participant if you run an ecommerce business. At the outset of Facebook’s transition from strictly a college kids’ platform to a worldwide social gathering place, few took it seriously enough to consider investing in marketing there. After all, it’s primarily for catching up with high school friends, developing a love life, and commiserating with fellow NFL fans when your team is on a downslide. Right?
Not anymore. Like any other viral entity, Facebook and other social media venues have fine-tuned the art of pitching to businesses. Meet Facebook Analytics, a handy tool provided by the social media platform that crunches data to specifically introduce you to interested parties by way of measuring visitor activity on your page.
The bad news first. Recently Facebook began limiting its “Audience Insight” feature with a new algorithm that restricts this data to users who have liked your page. It’s an unfortunate move in that it delineates potential followers and customers. This privacy-driven decision goes hand in hand with the company’s response to regulatory and consumer discontent. Rolling out Facebook Ads was a big step for the company, albeit to the dismay of many users hoping to escape incessant commercial advertising. But like you, they need revenues, and business owners should look seriously into the unique opportunity they present.
The ability to narrow ad targets to an appropriate audience is huge. You sell a line of hipster cosmetics for young’ns, so why waste your time placing ads on the news feeds of men in their 60s? Unless your role is to advertise jobs or housing, and you were caught up in the very recent debacle in which Facebook is facing charges by Federal authorities for suborning discrimination through demographic targeting (another story altogether), you’re free to select an audience most likely to warm to your goods.
Yet aside from advertising—or rather to supplement it—your Facebook page itself can yield important information that helps refine product offerings, gauge interest, and stay atop of a marketing plan that works.
Just when you thought social media was on the verge of being tapped out on its aptitude for ecommerce vendors, Google is out with a fabulous new feature that makes shopping fun for consumers and fruitful for those of you who hawk wares online.
The “Shoppable Ads” feature is linked to search results from Google. In a Pinterest-style formatting feature, the commerce giant is rolling out a shoppable screen that allows sellers to tag multiple products on each ad. Mousing over a product reveals its price and brand.
Not intrigued yet? You should be. Young shoppers, especially, are keen on the Pinteresting layout of Pinterest, and the ability to move quickly from a visual image to information on what the product is, where to buy it, and how much it costs.
As brick-and-mortar stores continue to collapse into bankruptcy, leaving blighted, empty buildings, there is a lesson to be learned from each.
Their customers trusted them.
Big-time retailers Kmart and Sears, now jointly owned, still has loyal fans who are eagerly following the roller coaster ride of their dismal-yet-uncertain fate.
If you are an ecommerce vendor, it’s imperative that you study and reflect on the way these conventional stores captured trust and converted it into continuing revenues. Mirroring their marketing tactics, which usually include special sales, coupons, and notable customer service policies, can set you up to become an internet fave – if you play your cards right.
In the ecommerce universe, that means generating “micro-conversions,” or turning initial signs of interest into an established consumer relationship.
Focus first on these obvious, easily implemented strategies:
Seeing a path to better revenues, and being a better business
By now every growing e-commerce entity has figured out the critical role social media plays in their business. It’s become a household pastime; a venue for people from all demographics who are connecting with the world through computers and devices.
The opportunities for marketing and branding are rich. And increasingly, the picture has become much rosier. Research conducted in 2018 showed that social media users made their most recent purchase directly through Facebook and their eBay Daily Deals. Facebook ran away with the biggest share of the pie, with Instagram coming in a close second.
Yet there is a demographic often left in the dust; one thought to be unable – disabled, as it were – to use social media.
That has changed. With technological developments in connectivity have come celebrated advances in bringing the Internet to people with varying degrees and types of disabilities. There are nearly 60 million of them in the U.S., and that number will grow as they age. They are players. They are shoppers. And they can be your best customers if given the chance.
Seeing Progress and Profits: Instagram Adds Feature to Aid the Visually ImpaireD
Accessibility. It’s not just an accommodation. It’s an underrated boon for business.
Social media app Instagram is keenly aware, and on the job. With the introduction of new features that simplify their site for visually impaired users, they join other big players in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, in expanding inclusivity.
How does this impact ecommerce merchants? The shopping public is reflective of overall demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 3 percent of all Americans aged 16 to 75 experience some level of significant visual impairment. That’s more than 7 million people.
Wouldn’t you like to make sure your goods and services are available to as many potential buyers as possible? Instagram thinks so.
Here’s how it works: Programmers employ object recognition technology to produce descriptions of images for screen readers, making it possible to actually hear lists of items contained in photos as you scroll through them. The feature operates when Feed, Explore, and Profile pages are accessed.
It’s easy to get stuck following the same tactics in social media marketing, particularly if one strategy has been lucrative or has grown your business exponentially. Amazingly, though, many social media “gurus” continue with campaigns that aren’t bringing in revenue.
While it’s important to keep up-to-date with new strategies and evolving techniques, it’s also important to ditch so-called “best practices” that aren’t delivering. Sometimes, it’s what you don’t do that contributes as much to your success as what you do do.
If you’ve been a copywriter for any length of time, you know the ongoing debate of what the ideal length of a sales letter should be. As long-time A-list copywriter Mark Ford notes, everyone purports to despise long copy, yet it has always consistently out-pulled and outsold short copy.
But what about social media posts? Is shorter copy is the ticket to higher sales?
Some say that copywriting has evolved—and social media is to thank (or blame) for it. But saying it has evolved is too broad a brush to paint this picture.
It’s more accurate to say that copywriting has expanded. Different media platforms may take center stage now, yet the same principles upon which advertising and marketing were built in the mid-20th century still apply.
So, in today’s social media-dominated world, how much is too much? Is it possible to optimize the length of a post to engage and convert readers? What’s the ideal length of a post to drive viral engagement that reaches as many people as possible?
As always, it’s up to you to find out what your unique audience wants and cares about. To know their pains and concerns so you can offer the best solution, service, or product for them.
Generally speaking, though, it depends on your forum. But to know for sure, you’re going to have to test and find out what works for you. Neither guessing nor being creative for the sake of it is going to cut it.
Quite possibly, the hashtag symbol serves as a cultural icon defining the digital generation. Virtually everyone has seen one or one thousand, but not everyone knows its origin, objective, and reach. And while the hashtag came to life at a time of a national disaster, to convey updates and messages, it’s now taken on a life of its own and has applications to the business world.
Spawned just over a decade ago on Twitter, the hashtag symbol organized content that gave readers easy access to information. Later, “#bostonstrong” became a viral inspiration to commemorate the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, and the idea spiraled from there. Seeing the vast impact and ability to drive traffic with such a minimalist effort, digital divas have turned the hashtag into a multi-faceted approach to promoting ideas, products, and events.
How does this fit into your business model? Easy. #itworks. Italian automaker Audi waged a hashtag campaign in 2011 following a tweet directed at them from a fan. They created a social media marketing campaign, “#WantAnR8,” and offered a loaner Audi car to the original tweeter. Five more fans were also given keys, and by the end of the campaign, Audi had run a wildly successful promotional gig.
We’ve all been there, right? Thinking we’ve crafted a great Facebook post only to see it linger, no comments, no reactions, no click-throughs. It’s not the best feeling, that’s for sure. And if you’re not getting results, it’s not very efficient—in terms of time or dollars.
So, what can we do to boost engagement on Facebook? Believe it or not, there are plenty of simple steps we can take to make sure our message is breaking through.
As you enter a new year of doing business online, you’re likely to be increasingly more comfortable with All Things Internet. But the learning curve is high, and it seems as if a new technology or platform develops every day. A decade ago, the term “social media” meant learning to connect with networks of cohorts and others using a computer.
That was then; this is now. In 2018, the most essential aspects of life have some involvement in social media— health, finance, news, social interacting, and the most explosive area, shopping.
It’s good news for fledgling and growing ecommerce merchants hoping to reach new clientele. But it also requires an above-average familiarity with how social media works.