We asked experts from different regions of the digital marketing and eCommerce world this question:
“What can an eCommerce store do to leverage social media to generate traffic and create new or recurring sales?
The response we received was amazing. 43 experts gave us 75 different tips on leveraging social media to sell more, and we're sharing them all with you.
This is Part 3 with another 20 pieces of advice for you to consume. There is another 20 back in Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't read it yet, you need to! Next week, we'll publish the third and final installment in this series.
(Want all the tips now? There's an opportunity to download the whole thing at the end of this post.)
Marketing Strategist and Social Media Expert
Neal Wiser Consulting – NealWiser.com
Over fifteen years experience delivering successful interactive marketing solutions for clients such as NASA, Comcast, GSK, Merck, Toys R Us, USPS, etc.
Advice: Bring value to the relationship. Offer to help, answer questions, give advice, provide information. In other words, be a great person, but one who knows a tremendous amount about the prospect's industry and is willing to share and help without the expectation of payback.
Social Media Expert
Red Rocket Media - http://www.redrocketmedia.co.uk/
Advice: Stick to what you know. I’m seeing too many people dipping their toes into the waters of newer platforms. This usually stems from a blog they’ve read which tells them to give (for example) Google+ a go. The individual then creates an account on the platform never really knowing why they’re on there. Any expansion to a new platform requires thought and… you guessed it… objectives!
Social media marketing expert
CKSyme Media Group - http://www.cksyme.com
Chris Syme is the founder and principal of CKSyme Media Group, an agency experienced in crisis and reputation communications including PR and social media marketing. With over 20 years in marketing and communications, she a sought-after expert in the college sports and education sectors.
Advice: Develop a content channel on social media that positions you as a source of helpful information for potential customers (blog/Facebook). In his excellent book, Youtility, Jay Baer says, "if you sell something, you make a customer today. If you help someone, you make a customer for life. Smart marketing is about help, not hype."
White Glove Social Media - http://www.whiteglovesocialmedia.com/
Advice: If you are not already on Pinterest …“You have to be operating a successful Pinterest account if you are in eCommerce!” Anna Bennett. “If you are not, you are very likely losing sales as a result.”
If you are on Pinterest…
For those on Pinterest “you would benefit greatly by using Rich Pins to the max.” Rich Pins make your product stand out more from the crowd. Rich Pins provides more information such as the price of the product and provide links to where to buy it. Plus if you ever change your price each person who has pinned your Rich Pin automatically receives and email from Pinterest advising them that your price has dropped. This automated email feature allows vendors to stay top of mind with their target audience which leads to more sales.
Case in Point: when Target started using Rich Pins in 2013 they noticed a 70% increase in traffic from Pinterest to the Target website.
Digital Strategist to blue chip companies
Publisher of What's Next Blog, contributor to AdAge, DigitalNext, and co-host Beyond Social Media Show. B.L. Ochman has been helping companies including IBM, Meijer, McGraw-Hill, Transitions, Cendant and others to incorporate new media into their online marketing since 1996. B.L. is a Google-certified GooglePlus Coach and YouTube Partner.
Advice: Social media offers no quick fixes. It takes time and talent to engage with current and potential customers in a meaningful way. Twitter and GooglePlus both offer excellent ways to deal with customer service, but Google Plus takes the possibilities many steps farther.
For example, brands can have a private community within GooglePlus where they can interact with customers; hold online events; demonstrate products; and much more. I strongly urge both agencies and brands to learn about the remarkably robust tools that Google is providing - free of charge. Nothing compares.
Social Content Marketing Strategist
Contrast Media – www.contrastmedia.co.za
Carla Dewing is an author, tech entrepreneur, award winning blogger and content strategist. As CEO of Contrast Media, she provides strategy and training to large corporate brands that want to know how to launch a successful social brand identity online.
Advice: If the ecommerce store is an extension of a brick-and-mortar store, I would suggest linking a hashtag strategy to SMS geofencing for improved foot traffic that can then be converted into chatter online. Geofencing email lists can be promoted directly on the ecommerce site’s blog and leveraged across all social properties for higher conversions.
The basics like mobile responsiveness, the use of innovative apps to leverage sales (like group buying) and the creation of high value content assets should all be priorities in 2014.
Social Media & Digital Marketing Expert
BuzzPlant – www.buzzplant.com
Bob Hutchins (Franklin, TN) runs Buzzplant), a 12+ year-old Internet marketing agency targeting the faith/family market. His team was an integral part of the online campaign for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, Soul Surfer, and many other movies, books, music releases, and events. His client/partner roster includes Time-Life, Sony Pictures, General Motors, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Warner Brothers, Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan. He is co-founder of The Faith-Based Marketing Association and Ground Force Network, and has been featured on Fox News, MSNBC, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Fortune Magazine, MarketingVOX, American City Business Journals, Dallas Morning News, and on various television/radio media.
Advice: Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%, but few companies actually leverage testimonials in their strategy. Why not? They’re cheap or free to obtain. Plus, they can be some of the most persuasive words a prospective customer ever hears about your business. In today’s “Recommendation Age,” as I call it, consumers are tuning out companies and tuning in to their peers for help making buying decisions. Successful marketers will put consumer testimonials at the core of their business in 2014.
Tammy Kahn Fennell
MarketMeSuite - MarketMeSuite.com
Tammy Kahn Fennellis CEO and co-founder of MarketMeSuite, the leading social media management dashboard for small- and mid-sized businesses. Tammy launched the MarketMeSuite platform in late 2009 after years of experience marketing her own small business online. Prior to that, Tammy lived in the ecommerce world, running a small antiques and collectibles store on eBay (BakertowneCollectables). Today, MarketMeSuite's easy-to-use, affordable platform has over 30,000 users.Tammy writes frequently on social media and small business topics and shares her knowledge and advice with thousands of SMBs via radio, Web seminars and live presentations.
Advice: Encourage your buyers to connect with you on social post sale. It's always easier to get repeat business than new business, and often just including a note with the item you send is enough to get people to engage. You can even offer a discount -- like my page and tweet me @mycompany and I'll reply with a discount code for 10% off your next order!
Social Media Expert
SBN Marketing - sbnmktg.com
Stephanie Nelson is Owner/Social Media Maven at SBN Marketing, a boutique social media firm focused on getting small businesses found online in their area.
Advice: Test, test, test. Do posts with photos work better for you or those without? Do posts on Wednesdays at 10am get more engagement than posts on Fridays at noon? All audiences are different, and published best practices should only be considered a place to start to see if they work for your particular audience.
Social Media Expert
Maximize Your Social -http://maximizeyoursocial.com
Neal Schaffer is the author of the definitive book on social media strategy Maximize Your Social, global social media speaker and consultant, and founder of the leading social media for business blog Maximize Social Business. Neal also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Mini-Social Media MBA program.
Advice: We all know the importance of advertising on Facebook in order to get our message heard. However, you'll want to make sure you get the biggest bang from your Facebook buck by optimizing your advertising using the following tools that Facebook provides you: 1) Custom Audiences (Power Editor) to target those in your email database 2) 3rd Party Databases (Power Editor) provided by Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to help you find customers that might not be discoverable through normal targeting, and 3) Utilize Pixels to both optimize your current ads as well as create custom audiences for future ones.
Social Media Marketing Expert
Jen Lew Marketing & Design was founded in 2009 in Mattituck, NY. Services include social media, branding, strategies, coaching, web design, email marketing, and more. Jen Lew offers unique business solutions to a variety of small-business clients locally, regionally and nationally. She specializes in providing innovative strategies and developing support services to manage marketing efforts with ease and social media strategies for highly motivated and driven clients.
Advice: Find your brand voice and maintain it throughout ALL social campaigns. Often at a Social Agency there are multiple people taking on various tasks for a brand. That brands voice may sound one way on a press release and another on email marketing and completely different on social media sites. Your brand voice needs to carry through as much as the logo needs to remain consistent.
Content & Social Media Marketing Expert
Long before Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google +, there were message boards, chat rooms and email groups. In 1998, Foxtrot Media founder, Deborah Smith, used these ancestors of social media to launch her first business, which owned and operated several websites serving the nanny industry.
Deborah is a sought-after social media consultant, strategist, marketer, trainer, coach and public speaker. She uses lessons learned from her own personal experience, as well as the latest social media educational training, to help businesses and organizations harness the power of social media, from the very basics to the most advanced social strategies.
Advice: Embrace Blogging: Create interesting content around your company. Know your audience and what their interests are and create engaging content that you own and can repurpose in many formats.
Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. He's written for Forbes, the Huffington Post, Business Insider and others.
Advice: Another major problem businesses face is spreading themselves too thin across social media since there is often an urge to be active on every major social network. It is important to reserve your username on every social network so know one else squats on your business's name but, otherwise your company only needs to be active on a few channels where your audience is active. Out of the box, this typically entails Facebook, Twitter and Instagram since they have the most mainstream audience spanning demographics but in the end, the needs and the audience of each business are different.
Digital Marketing Expert
Entrepreneur and executive with over fifteen years of business operations and management experience responsible for developing and executing strategic plans that drive growth and improve overall market positioning. The lion’s share of my experience has been in marketing, web development/user experience, and ecommerce, but I have owned or worked for companies in retail and consumer products, consumer healthcare, global consulting, cloud computing, and multi-family real estate development. My core strength is being able to identify market opportunity and trends in the context of market positioning and business profit, loss, and value.
Advice: The beauty of social media lies in its ability to provide a context for you to relate to your consumers and engage them in a conversation. The business of building brands is much different than it was even 6 or 8 years ago, and the growth of different social channels provides an opportunity for brands to touch their consumers in meaningful ways. What does this mean? Define your brand. Provide easy ways for customers to connect with you on social media channels. Use those channels to deliver content (blogs, videos, offers, etc.) that is consistent with your brand and meaningful to your consumers. It will build loyalty, and, if compelling, get shared and expand awareness.
Social Media and Instagram Expert
Jenn's Trends - www.jennstrends.com
Jenn Herman is a social media strategist and Instagram advocate who writes a blog focused on understanding trends in social media management. She provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies for success. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing.
Advice: The biggest new trend in social media marketing is visual marketing. It is especially important for businesses in ecommerce to provide visual content to promote their products. I honestly believe that all businesses can use Instagram, but those businesses with products to sell absolutely should consider using Instagram.
Use Instagram filters to further enhance your posts to best reflect your products and your brand. If you're a vintage company, use filters that accentuate this style. If your products include vivid colors, choose filters that showcase the variations and vibrancy of the colors.
Instagram can be used to share photographs and videos of your products in a variety of ways. Display your products in their best promotional positions. Show them in use - even invite your customers to share images using your product! If there are best ways to use a product or a frequent troubleshooting issue, these can be displayed through photos and videos to better help your audience.
And once you've created these images and videos on Instagram, you can also promote this visual content by sharing it to other social media sites and including it on your website! Take advantage of one of the best visual content creation platforms to set yourself ahead of your competitors while growing your audience on Instagram.
Internet business transformation advisor
Isra is the creator and author of the paradigm that has revolutionised the social media: Human Media. As well as cofounder of Mapmakers, the Spanish-speaking platform about change and inspiration that's most visited in the world.
His blog on Social Media, Marketing, disruption, inspiration and change is visited by more than 110,000 people every month. Only 29, Isra has taken part as a TEDx speaker on two occasions and has participated, as speaker, in more than 270 industry events.Isra´s early work as a consultant, in charge of teams and Social Media strategies for Social Media & Community. There are just a few of the highlights of his career. Undoubtedly, Isra adds a visionary and human-technological way to understand this new environment that the Internet has provoked.
Advice: Companies that claim to care about people but who can’t be bothered to interact with their buyers can ignore all of this. We’re ignoring you in one way or another.
Ask, listen, do something with all of this. Look out for conversations, take part in them. Recommend services that are in line with your audience, become “the person to turn to if I need something” and let the results speak for themselves.
Monica Jade Romeri
Content strategy and social media expert
Darwin Digital Content - http://www.darwindigitalcontent.com
Monica Jade is a prolific writer on topics ranging from inbound, content, email, mobile and social media marketing—including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+—to SEO. Her content is frequently published on Social Media Today and Business 2 Community.
Advice: Visual content, such as images, videos and infographics, will be vital to social media success in 2014. Visual content can inform and entertain your audience at the same time. The rising popularity of Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are evidence of the visual content trend. Always include captivating photos or even video elements in your written content in order to capitalize on the appeal of visual content and rise above your competition.
Social Media Expert
JB Chicago - http://jbchicago.com
After experiencing big agency life and realizing there was a smarter way to do things, Steve opened shop in 2000. Today, he uses his diverse background in design, marketing, management and client relations to lead the JB Chicago team, with the goal of providing accountable marketing that is tied to measurable results — making every dollar count. JB Chicago launched Axe Deodorant/Unilever as one of the first major brands on Twitter and continues to be a pioneer in bringing accountability to social media.
Advice: Utilize one or two social media platforms and own them. There are so many social media platforms now that you can’t expect to be great at all of them. Choose your strong suits and have the most presence there.
Publishing and Authorship Expert
Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, transforms writers in to authors. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she inspires people from all walks of life to create books that positively impact readers and to develop careers as authors, achieve their goals, and fulfill their potential. Nina is a sought-after nonfiction developmental editor, proposal consultant, and author, book, blog-to-book, blog, and results coach. Some of her clients have gone on to sell 300,000+ copies of their books and to land deals with major publishing houses. She writes four blogs, has self-published 12 books and is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge..
Advice: Don't worry so much about having a huge number of followers on social media. Instead, connect with the followers you have--and find out what they actually like, which could mean surveying them. Do they prefer to get information directly from you? Do they prefer to see you curating content? Do they like it when you mix up your content--audio, video and written? Engage with them in different ways on different sites. In other words, don't just do the same old thing you've always done. Try different things and see what your audience truly likes best.
Social media expert
Cool Cat Teacher www.coolcatteacher.com
Vicki Davis is a full time classroom teacher recently named as one of Mashables top 10 Teacher Rockstars on Twitter with more than 70K followers. She uses social media to inspire educators and to help them understand how to write effectively using technology with her upcoming book Reinventing Writing.
Advice: Use tools like Social Bro and others that help you determine the best time to tweet. Follow people who have keywords in their profile that are your target audience (I follow teachers.) Engage in conversation and don't be a troll! Give great information. Make people laugh. Inspire them. They'll reward you by following and sharing out what you're doing and what you're selling. Good luck!
Social Media Expert
Deltina Hay is the author of three books on social media, the mobile web, and search optimization. She is a veteran Web developer, publisher, and a pioneer of social media and Web 2.0, especially as it applies to small business and the publishing industry.
Ms. Hay developed the graduate, social media certificate program for Drury University; and her first book, The Social Media Survival Guide, is used as a text in colleges and universities, worldwide. She presently serves as the Board Chair of the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Advice: Know your target audience and identify which social media sites they frequent. For instance, Pinterest appeals mostly to women between 18 and 34 years of age; while YouTube appeals to almost all audiences. Facebook appeals to an older demographic, while younger social media users gravitate to more mobile-friendly social networking tools like Twitter and Snapchat. LinkedIn is ideal for targeting businesses, entrepreneurs, and young professionals, while Google Plus is where you can reach a mostly male, tech-savvy audience. Do your research on where your target market can be found in the social web, so you can focus your efforts on the right tools for you.
Social media expert
Brandon Uttley Consulting -www.brandonuttley.com
Brandon Uttley is a seasoned web marketing and public relations professional with 25 years of experience. He has been involved in starting three web development and online marketing companies. In addition to working with a range of clients, he is a frequent public speaker and a regular contributor to several top business sites.
Advice: Develop quality content on Slideshare. This is an overlooked network for many people. The slideshow format is good for describing the benefits of your products and services, and Slideshare makes it easy to share your presentations. With a paid account, you can also embed a contact form in your presentation.
Expert in Social Selling
Agent-cy Online Marketing www.jasminesandler.com
Jasmine Sandler is a veteran in Digital Marketing. She was recently named (2013 and 2014)) as a Top 40 Global Digital Marketing Strategists by the Online Marketing Institute. She has over 15 years’ client experience in helping corporations use the web to drive online brand awareness and generate new business. She is the founder and CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc. and consults in Digital Strategy for mid-enterprise B2B and e-commerce global corporations.
Advice: Run campaigns on image-based social networks to drive interest on product promotions. Pinterest and Instagram are great social networking sites for ecommerce brands to use to drive position within a product category and drive sales.
Viveka Von Rosen
Viveka is author of best selling LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”. CEO of Linked Into Business and Co-Founder of LinkedProspecting, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter and co-moderates LinkedStrategies, the largest LinkedIn strategy group on LinkedIn.
Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer, and she has been cited in Money Magazine, Simple Living, Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner.
Advice: If you are going to invest in LinkedIn Ads to promote your eCommerce site, then use them to share valuable content that will drive people into your sales funnel. Just paying $200 bucks and popping your gadget for sale in the text heavy (and visually un-stimulating) Ad will prove poor ROI. But if you have a white paper, downloadable eBook, case study or some other piece of marketing collateral that your target market will find interesting, then you can at least get them into whatever email or sales funnel you are using and work on selling your product or service from there.
Lori Ruff, “The Voice of Influence” on InfluenceRadio.net | Forbes & AGBeat Top 50 Industry Influencer | Keynote Speaker, Author, Columnist, Host | CEO, Integrated Alliances: Teaching LinkedIn for B2B
Advice: It is time to realize that social media is not a passing fad; it is here to stay. If you want to be where your customers are you must be in social media. Instead of "being everywhere" ask your customers where they spend their time. If they say Facebook, then you should be on Facebook. If you are a merchant that provides products and services related to sports or music or anything that people get passionate about, you should be on Google+ because people go their to engage with others who share their passions! If your audience is a professional one, even if you are B2C, you must consider LinkedIn as a serious contender because that is where professionals spend their time online.
So the formula is: (What do you offer to whom) + (Where do my current customers and/or prospects spend their time online) = where you should have a presence.