Ultimate Paid Social Media Marketing Strategy For E-commerce Brands
If you’re running an E-commerce business and you follow a direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy as a brand, then your focus is selling your products to as many customers as you can, preferably, of products with the highest margins, so you run as profitably as possible to grow your brand and scale your business.
As you probably already know, (which is why you’re here reading this), Social Media Advertising plays a key role in both your short-term and longer-term success, as it helps you reach your potential customers directly where they like to spend their recreational time and you can showcase your products before them at leisure, when they are likely in a receptive frame of mind!
We talk a lot about the value of social media in terms of e-commerce, as this is now a route to market businesses simply cannot afford to ignore, procrastinate over or diminish in significance. Social media advertising is such a huge growth area for so many businesses nowadays, we’ve put together some of the most important elements of your Social Media Marketing Strategy to focus on and help you achieve your business aims in a systematised way.
1. Decide on Your Social Media Marketing Goal
You’re probably thinking, duh! Sales, Sales, and more Sales, of course! Seriously though, this is not always the case, at least in the immediate time frame. Although sales might be your ultimate goal, different campaigns promote different sales funnel level-oriented goals and strategies, which are run in parallel and of course, ultimately ideally lead to increased sales and revenue.
For example, your marketing campaign could be focused on growing your following, or fan base, as these people can become your brand ambassadors who generate warm leads for you. Strategies can encourage more social engagement with your target audience, to warm potential leads to you. Other campaigns could be focused on building awareness and introducing your brand and products to fresh markets. Such campaigns will run consecutively, alongside your separate, sales-focused campaign.
The reason that social media goal setting is top of our list is that each type of campaign needs content and creatives that match the nature of your campaign. For instance, a product testimonial could be perfect content for pushing someone already interested in your product to make a purchase, but it wouldn’t be a great content for someone who has never heard of your brand, let alone your products!
So your take-away here is to start with your goal in mind, then build those stepping stones from where your customer base are to where you want to lead them.
2. Select the Right Social Media Platform
This is one of your toughest decisions, given that it can be difficult to get to grips with the demographics of the particular audiences of the variety of social networks out there; add to this that their profiles continue to evolve and it can be a real dilemma.
Many of the smaller brands often worry that they don’t have the required resources, or the marketing budget to be actively advertising across all Social Media Platforms. The reality is, however, that you don’t need to be everywhere, indeed this is definitely not recommended if you’re just starting out, or you can exhaust your staff trying to be all things to all audiences. Instead, it’s best to do some research and find the right platform based on your niche, vertical, product types, target demographics, and of course the nature of each platform as well. Don’t set out with mastering social media as your immediate goal; success takes building bridges to your audiences. Relationship-building takes time.
Let’s take some examples of social media platforms…
OK! Undeniably Facebook is the biggest social media platform for advertisers. We have noted already that some social network user numbers are still below that impressive 1 billion, but Facebook passed that milestone ten years ago. We could go on, but if numbers are your thing, or you still need to convince the boss, go here.
For e-commerce brands, if you are not leveraging the huge audiences and sophisticated facebook ad set up and performance analytics tools, just remember, that regardless of the massive customer base you could be missing out on, a key consideration here is that your competitors are already in the game.
Seriously, though, do not be put off thinking that either this market is saturated, or that it is too overwhelming, like we tell all our clients, none of this stuff is rocket-science, it’s just a learning curve.
Facebook pages cover just about any product you care to think about, albeit there will be some constraints in terms of adult content, or selling controversial products, which you will need to check out FB.
To get you started, in terms of set up and prioritising metrics for scheduled monitoring, hop over to our how to low down on Facebook must-monitor-metrics here.
Instagram is increasingly viewed as a key competitor to Facebook and while it is part of the Meta family and is a fast-growing network, it isn’t a threat to it’s elder sibling yet! Nevertheless, its immediacy and simple format of pictures and videos makes it a great platform for people on the go, just wanting to be entertained or to be informed about a subject in bite-sized chunks.
In terms of sectors, well, once again, there is a diversity of businesses there, but the creative types are really rocking it here. Right now, it is the number one place for fashion and beauty, according to their analysis.
Brands are finding some fantastic collaborative partners to work with too, to find new audiences and rebrand as cool and creative; there are plenty of crafty-types, innovators and influencers who are growing huge arty-type follower numbers, because of their originality. Bigger brands can leverage their own resources alongside those vanguard content providers to provide cutting-edge products and create an edgier feel to tired branding.
If teaming up with an unknown quantity is a new idea to you, there are plenty of other factoids to convince you of Instagram attractions that offer food for thought, or foody e-commerce business ad campaigns, even!
OK we wedged that in a bit there, but seriously, if your products have scope for branching out into potentially new product lines, or you think a fresh perspective could be brought to your household brand names, then edge Instagram into your schedule and check out what younger audiences are finding so enticing here.
TikTok may well be a relative newcomer, but this is a powerful tool to use. Particularly for video shorts that funk up your image or bring on the fun where messaging need not always take itself too seriously. TikTok is still a fairly young hipster demographic, but it’s also gaining a reputation for social and political edginess, with campaigns galvanising activists to make this world a better place.
Video shorts are easily digestible while on the move – which most of us are these days, even those working from home! TikTok is the most searched term now on YouTube and you know how huge that video platform is!
The sheer exuberance of TikTok is addictive! With fun, dance, music as the key content for many of the video shorts, there is plenty for your marketing teams to have fun with, coming up with new ideas, concepts and campaigns.
3. Get Your Creatives Right
We mentioned earlier about how important it is to align your content with your ultimate marketing objective, but it’s just as important to make sure planned outcomes are a good match for your chosen social media platform. Not only do different social media platforms have their own media and content spec’s requirements, (e.g. Ratio, Size, Video Length etc.), but you really need to ask what type of content works on that platform too. For example, a more television style commercial may still work on YouTube as a part of brand awareness campaigning, but it might have little or no effect if you were to advertise the same content on TikTok, which is more targeted at the younger audiences..
If you’re short of ideas, you should check out Facebook Ad Library for inspiration, it helps you see what your competitors are doing. There is a key thing to learn here, that being you can always follow the paths others have beaten before you; follow their trails when setting up. Obviously, we are not suggesting outright copying here, because every brand is different, but video on Facebook is as hugely popular as elsewhere and because Facebook has been ahead of the social media advertising game for so long, check out what is happening in your niche with statistical footprints of your competitors laid out for you. Why reinvent the wheel?
4. Build Brand Awareness
Just like any other business, people will not buy from you, unless they know about you and your brands. Building brand awareness is the core of every successful business, as this will help you build familiarity and spread your popularity; the more people hear and see of you, the more they’re going to trust you.
Remember, on day one of launching your online business, you have no brand equity, no credibility or trust; no one has ever heard of you! Ask yourself why should total strangers trust you and buy your product? Running brand awareness ads amongst your target audience and demographics will help you to get known and generate interest in you. This is your first step in any marketing campaign, with a view to gaining market share as you build.
Apparently, as many as 69% of marketers use social media for brand awareness campaigns, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub Benchmark Report, Over half of them are using it for increasing website traffic, (52%). Social media marketing is the game-changer for new advertisers, or for established brands seeking new audiences or promoting new product lines.
5. Reverse The Funnel By Focusing On Sales
We mentioned this when we spoke about Facebook Advertising funnels. If you are after sales, running awareness, engagement, or traffic campaigns will not bring in many direct sales. If you are after sales on any of the social media platforms, you must have at least one marketing campaign focused solely on purchase and sales, so that your campaign can optimise for your requested goal. A big mistake is to optimise your campaigns for clicks or Add to Carts; you’ll see many of those at a great price, but, unfortunately, they rarely translate into substantial sales if any.
6. Don’t Go after The Entire 8 Billion Population
Although advertising to your broader demographics within your geographical service reach is a must, It’s definitely not a priority for most brands specially if you’re just getting started. Instead, focus on your target demographics, ask yourself; “Who needs my product and will most likely buy it?” Will most of your customers be men or women? What age group? What kind of people are they and what their interests are like?
Almost all social media platforms offer you detailed targeting as a part of their advertising services. You can then leverage that by targeting your audience based on their location, gender, age, interests & habits, education backgrounds, and even their earning levels in some countries.
After some testing and once you’ve found your most profitable audiences, you can start targeting wider geographical reach and demographic groups.
7. Create Your Social Media Shop Fronts
Shortly after Meta started offering Facebook and Instagram Shop, TikTok and Pinterest followed suit, adding their own in-platform shopping functionalities. These allow e-commerce businesses to upload your product catalogue and showcase your products on each platform, leveraging your own database inventory.
Essentially, you should consider these more recent digital outlets as your social media storefronts, where your potential customers can view, browse and even buy your products, without leaving their favourite social media app, or where they can be quickly and conveniently finishing off their purchase, by checking out directly on your website, with fewer clicks.
Back in 2019, Instagram alone had reported over 130 million accounts tapping on shopping posts! Shopping capabilities on social media platforms work like a charm, as they allow users to discover new products and find and access to them easier by simply clicking on the tagged products, then moving straight to purchasing, then just as easily returning to a satisfying funny cat video for extra feel-good experience seconds later!
8. Re-engage, Retarget, Remarket
Remarketing is every marketer’s favourite technique. Social Media platforms allow you to build your audiences based on a variety of conditions and advertise to the users in those audiences directly. We call it ‘remarketing’, because you can only make such lists of audiences if the user has interacted with your business and shown interest in one form or another already. Some of the conditions you can use to re-engage and remarket to those audiences are:
- User has visited or interacted with your Social Media Profile
- User has visited your website
- User watched one of your video adverts
- User added a product to their cart
- User abandoned checkout process and left the purchase incomplete
- User is an existing customer and has purchased from your in the past
This is of course not a conclusive list. You can mix and match many factors and come up with an endless number of unique combination lists, based on your strategy specifically. However, this should give you an idea how powerful retargeting could be for your business, as it allows you to directly engage with your warmer audiences, across your marketing funnels and even cross-sell to them across all social media platforms.
9. Responds to Comments, Questions, Queries
Many advertisers spend so much money in marketing their products but do not allocate enough resources to communicating with the potential customers. Once you start advertising on social media platforms, customers reach out to you in many forms to learn about you, your products and services. They ask questions to clear up doubts and think their decision through. Usually, these prospects are the most valuable as they are only one click away from making their purchase and are waiting for you to help them get there by simply getting back to them to confirm their thinking or help them overcome some mental obstacle. Hence, if you are advertising on social media, don’t expect your customer to find their way to a checkout without your assistance. It’s a two-way marketing channel.
Staying engaged with your customers and keeping track of these queries will also help you optimise your landing pages by providing missing information on those pages, crowd-sourced from your social media interactions, so that eventually most users can find everything they need, because other buyers helped fill in the knowledge gaps.
10. Prioritise Customer Experience
Here at AdsRunner we are a huge fan of customer experience and encourage our clients to pay close attention to this part of their business. Of course, it’s not a direct Social Media advertising strategy, but the truth is that you can generate so much more value from a happy customer in the long run, when their existing experience of you is good.
Keeping existing customers and warm leads happier is much more effective and cheaper than focusing all your means on acquiring new customers, who may yet run out the door after some distraction, or better offer, out there in their world. By offering your customers a first-class experience and attending to their needs, you will have them turn to you for all their future needs and make further purchases in the future when your new products drop without hesitation. These are your higher value customers and need taking care of, so that they remain loyal. Customer experience is a complex array of considerations and variables, which require you to analyse every step of their possible journey to you and your checkout.
Not only is it that keeping warm leads happy is more cost-effective, remember, social media is about sharing the good and bad news. Get customer experience right at all your digital touch points and you will have customers who are advocates of your brand and generate word of mouth recommendations and sales. The best marketing of all…
This concludes our top 10 social media marketing strategies for ecommerce brands. If you wish to have a closer look at your social media marketing strategy, drop us a line and let us help you scale your brand in ways that make sense to your audiences and your organisation’s decision makers….