Ecommerce is booming faster than ever before. Small businesses naturally want to ride the wave. Shopify is one of the best ways to do that, and that’s why we’ve been talking about it so much over the last several weeks:
- How to Set Up Your Shopify Store for the First Time
- How to Optimize Your Shopify Store for Google
- How to Market Your Shopify Store for the First Time
Marketing is particularly relevant, of course, because even if you make the best Shopify store in the world, that won’t take you far unless people buy from it. You need people to see your store, become interested in the products, buy products, and then come back and buy some more!
Social media marketing is one of the most promising ways to accomplish all of these goals. Yet knowing exactly how to use social media is a big open question. There are a lot of different goals, and choosing the right goal determines what you’ll do next.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
The first thing to understand is that social media marketing comes with a variety of different benefits. Depending on what strategies you pursue, some of these benefits will be more prominent than others.
If you really want to know what people like, social media can be a great way to find out. Whether you’re using outlets like Facebook and Instagram or more niche ones like Reddit, you can find communities of like-minded people with similar purchasing habits. This will allow you to make products that are perfectly tailored for a very specific audience.
Check out the Instagram for any popular brand. Recess sparkling water is a good example. By sharing consistent content – be it writing, photos, videos, or something else – you can make a clear statement about what your company stands for. That way, people will have a better chance of remembering your company next time you try to sell something.
Additionally, you can try different brand messages and see what resonates. If you try something that’s not connecting with the audience, rest assured, they’ll let you know either by silence or straightforwardly telling you.
Engaging with audience
Another big benefit of social media is the social part. You have a chance to truly connect with your target audience! Through social media use, you can build real relationships and nurture prospects to eventually turn into clients. You can connect with current buyers and convince to shop again – lots of options!
Social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are also good for advertising. You can use advertisements to both generate leads and convince people to buy your products as well. Done properly, the return on investment can be very high.
Another popular form of marketing on social media is influencer marketing. Roughly defined, influencer marketing involves giving samples of your products to popular people and getting them to share them with their audience. This is one of the fastest growing trends in social media right now and it’s a good idea to at least look into it.
Finally, people often go to social media for fast customer service. If you can provide customer service via social media instead of just phone and email, many customers will be impressed and return for more.
Choosing Your Social Media Marketing Goals
Ultimately, the social media goals you should focus on depend on your business and your overall objectives. We recommend that you review the goals above and pick no more than three to focus on at any given time. You can always update your goals in light of new information later.
Picking Social Media Channels
There’s a lot of different social media networks out there. You can’t focus on all of them at once. So we are going to list the most popular 14 social media sites and briefly describe their uses. Pick no more than three to focus on.
- Facebook: The largest social media network in the world. Great for advertising, reaching a large audience, and collecting reviews.
- Twitter: A popular social media network based on short messages. It’s very fast-paced. It’s good for networking, reaching out to the press, and customer service.
- LinkedIn: A great network for finding B2B leads and potential employees. Otherwise, very formal and not ideal for Shopify stores.
- YouTube: Great for videos, which may include tutorials, demonstrations, and other educational or entertaining content.
- Pinterest: Ideal for sharing products, especially more artsy or crafty products.
- Instagram: Extremely popular, especially with younger buyers. Excellent for branding and advertising.
- Reddit: Great for product or content research, as well as finding extremely specific niche interest groups.
- Snapchat: Ideal for promoting time-sensitive events.
- Tumblr: Very difficult to market on, but good for reaching a younger audience.
- Nextdoor: Highly localized social media, good for serving local businesses.
- WhatsApp: An extremely popular messaging app – good for reaching out directly to customers.
- Messenger: Similar to WhatsApp, good for reaching out to directly to customers. Plays well with chatbots.
- TikTok: Good for quick tutorials, comedy, and unguarded behind-the-scenes moments.
- Quora: Great for asking and answering questions in fields where expertise is valued.
Using Social Media for Market Research
One of the most surefire ways to have a popular Shopify store couldn’t be simpler. Sell high-quality, trending products. Social media can help you figure out how to both improve the quality of your products and pick the right ones to sell in the first place.
According to CXL, social media is great for “getting immediate feedback on customers’ experiences and beliefs” and “asking consumers about potential product improvements.” Indeed, social media is one of the best places where you can get honest feedback. You can solicit honest feedback by asking open-ended questions or conducting polls.
It goes one step further, too. You don’t even have to say anything to learn about customers’ desires. Social listening is a technique that involves reading public conversations that contain certain words or cover certain subjects. For example, you can monitor the word “pizza” in your geographic location to see which pizza restaurants are most well-liked (or hated).
Using Social Media for Branding
Branding is complicated! Getting it right, though, is really important. Branding, after all, affects how your business is seen. Good branding provides consistency and clarity, which makes people trust you.
In order to craft a good brand identity, you need to figure out what your business does and what your customers need. You can then pick a name, logo, colors, typography, and brand “voice” that reinforce the messages which you want to send to potential customers.
With all this in mind, social media can help you with good branding. First, social media helps with branding because you have an instant feedback loop. You’ll know what works and what doesn’t pretty quickly. Using data that you collect quickly, you can zero in on a brand message that works.
Once you figure out how to brand your business – something that can only come from thought and experimentation – social media channels allow you to consistently tell the story you want to tell in a very public way.
This might sound like it’s unrelated to your Shopify store. However, that’s not quite the right way to look at it. Good branding on social media actually allows you to extend your Shopify store from a website you own to the online equivalent of a town square.
Using Social Media for Engagement
One of the best ways of social media is actually so simple that it hardly needs explanation. Be social!
Networking is important in any industry, no matter how exactly you go about it. Social media allows you to network not only with customers, but also with industry peers and potential partners. You have the ability to build real relationships with people.
Not every brand can come across as authentic when it comes to simply talking to people online. For the ones that can, though, simply following a few people per day who are in your niche and starting up conversation can really go a long way toward establishing a good reputation and making sales.
Using Social Media for Advertising
Talking about how to run advertisements on social media should really be a post of its own. In fact, here are some popular guides by others that you can reference:
- Facebook Ads Manager Guide (How-To Set Up Your Facebook Ad Campaigns)
- How to Advertise on Instagram: A 5-Step Guide to Using Instagram Ads
- The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Ads
Suffice to say, social media advertising is extremely effective at reaching highly specific interest groups. That means if you sell pet beds for small dogs on your Shopify store, you can target people who have small pets on Facebook.
You can spend as little as a dollar and theoretically as much as you want. It scales nicely for different budgets, making social media advertising very versatile.
Using Social Media for Influencer Marketing
The concept behind influencer marketing is pretty straightforward. Influencers are popular people on social media. By sending them your products, they can help you increase brand awareness, make interesting content, attract an audience, and drive sales.
In some niches, influencer marketing works really well. From personal experience, I’ve seen it work well for authors (bookstagram) and board game developers (reviewers). Every industry is a little different though.
If you want to dip your toe into influencer waters, look for people with a modest amount of fame in your niche. People with, say, 10,000 followers on Instagram are relatively easy to get ahold of and still have a meaningfully large audience. Once you perfect your process, you can work your way up to bigger names.
Do this well and you can promote your Shopify store with relative ease. You’d be surprised what smart branding, well placed ads, and influencer marketing can do together.
Using Social Media for Customer Service
It’s not uncommon for customers to expect brands to respond to customer service inquiries on social media. In fact, 47% of US consumers have a more favorable view of brands who respond to customer service questions on social media. This is an easy way to make customers trust you more, buy again, and tell their friends about your company.
If you want to handle customer service inquiries through social media, the simplest way is to keep an eye on your inbox and simply answer questions when they come in. If the volume of inquiries is overwhelming or you don’t want to do too much hands-on maintenance, many social media platforms, like Facebook Messenger, allow you to use chatbots. Chatbots can greatly improve your customer service quality without actually requiring personnel.
For Shopify stores, you are most likely to receive inquiries about missing or delayed items. You may also receive messages from people on the fence about making purchases. Being able to answer those questions quickly may generate (or salvage) sales!
Advanced Tools for Social Media Management
As your company spends more time with social media, you may eventually wish to automate or streamline some of the more complicated parts of social media management. That’s where social media management tools come in handy. Here are a few popular ones.
- Buffer: A simple, low-cost tool for scheduling posts on multiple social media accounts.
- Sprout Social: We’ve never used it, but have heard good things about it.
- Agorapulse: Good for managing multiple social media accounts, complete with content scheduling and inbox management. (You could theoretically use social media via Agorapulse and never actually log into social media).
Social media can be a great way to spread the word of your Shopify store. Choose your goals wisely and focus on achieving them through deliberate effort. By doing so, you can sell better targeted products, build real relationships, run effective ads, and/or easily handle customer service inquiries.
You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.
You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.
But how do you ship it?
We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.