Ecommerce is one of the fastest growing sectors online. The popularity of online shopping picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic but was already popular even before the pandemic struck. People prefer buying products or services online because it is quick and convenient. With ecommerce, you can order items, pay for the purchase, and wait for the item to be delivered to your doorstep.
But with the fierce competition among online retailers, it can be hard to stand out and attract the attention of potential customers. You need a platform where you can promote your products and services or communicate with existing and potential customers. This is where social media platforms come in. With nearly 3 billion monthly active users, social media needs to be an integral component of your marketing strategy.
But while social media channels have opened doors for ecommerce businesses, choosing the right platform is a must. In this article, we uncover the best social media platforms for your online store.
How To Use Social Media For Ecommerce
- Building Brand Awareness
- Selling Products Directly
- Customer Service
- Social Listening
Best Social Media Platforms for Online Stores
How To Use Social Media For Ecommerce
As an online retailer, one of the first things you consider is where to sell your products and services. Also, you might be looking for new ways to reach new customers effectively. Thanks to social media, ecommerce companies are able to sell their products and offer their services with ease. It is a place where most of your potential customers hang out online. Statistics reveal that 58.4% of the world’s population use social media with an average of daily usage of 2 hours and 27 minutes.
If you are just getting started with ecommerce, you may be asking yourself how you can leverage social media to attract potential customers to your online store. Here are some of the ways you can use social media for your ecommerce business:
1. Build Brand Awareness
This is especially true if you are a new player in the ecommerce industry. You want to spread the word about your brand. But how will they know about it if you are competing against the giants of the industry? Social media platforms provide your online business with free promotions and publicity. With the right strategy, you can level the playing field when going up against the competition.
Just how powerful is social media as an advertising tool? Here’s the picture according to the Digital 2021 report:
- 190 million people can be reached through Facebook advertising
- 140 million people can be reached through Instagram advertising
- 170 million people can be reached by LinkedIn
These figures are based on the United States alone. But it goes to show how powerful these platforms are as an advertising channel. Most social media platforms come with advanced targeting tools that can be used for carving out the perfect audience and serving out ads for supporting goals.
3. Selling Products Directly
Some social media platforms have native shopping solutions for business accounts. These tools are often completely free to set up and ensure a memorable customer shopping experience. Social media helps streamline the sales process because the customer can shop directly from the feeds without clicking an external website.
4. Customer Service
While your main goal in social media is to attract new customers, you should not also ignore your current customers. You may have a dedicated customer service team handling customer issues over the phone or email but social media can become an ad-hoc customer service channel. Your customers may not just be coming from your website but also from your profiles to search for information, ask questions, or give some feedback. 88% of customers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
5. Social Listening
Social media also provides a good venue for social listening. Knowing what people say about your products or service can give you invaluable insight. Social media allows you to identify which of your products people love the most. It also helps you identify recurring problems or issues with your products. Lastly, social media will help you learn public sentiment towards your brand.
Best Social Media Platforms for Online Stores
Now that you have an idea of how you can utilize social media for your ecommerce business, which platform should you be on? There are many social media channels to choose from but that does not mean you should be on all of them. Choosing the most suitable platform can help increase your return on investment. Here are some of the best social media channels for your ecommerce store:
When it comes to social media channels, the first thing that comes to mind is Facebook. As of April 2022, there are 2.9336 billion active users on Facebook monthly. This constitutes 37% of the world’s population. But Facebook has become more than just a social media channel. Today, it has become a daily source for fresh news, a marketplace, and watching videos. It also can be used as a gig/job searching tool.
For online retailers, it is worth noting that 18.3% of US adults made a purchase through Facebook in 2019. In addition, 80% of American consumers discover retail products to buy from the platform. This means that you can potentially reach anyone on the channel. It’s needless to say that you should set up a Facebook business account for your online store if you still don’t have one. There are many ways you can use Facebook to promote your online business or even get direct sales.
Facebook offers various ways of telling your brand story and engaging your customers. The platform comes with retargeting options & tracking pixels that you can use to collect leads, send messages, and promote content to an audience. You can also set up a Facebook shop to promote and sell your products directly to users on the platform itself. Facebook offers more than 1,000 targeting options as well as a whole selection of ad formats.
Designed for sharing photos, Instagram is the perfect platform for any retailer who wants to show off their products. Latest data reveals that Instagram has more than 2 billion monthly active users as of late 2021. As it is owned by Facebook, one would think that the two platforms share a lot of functions and options but this isn’t the case. Instagram is all about visual content, pictures, and videos found at the center of each post and profile.
If you are targeting a younger audience base, Instagram can be the perfect platform for your ecommerce business. 59% of Internet users between the age of 18 and 29 use Instagram and another 33% of Internet users are between 30 and 49 years old. Moreover, another study reveals that 90% of users are under 35 years old. Photos and short videos with a small amount of text perform well on Instagram and you can integrate your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Instagram tends to have a bigger following in urban areas so companies that focus on fashion or digital technology will perform better than companies focused on agriculture or home-building. With an Instagram store, your users can browse products and collections. You can also personalize your store by assigning products to specific themes and occasions.
With only 478 million users as of the first quarter of 2021, Pinterest is not as popular as Facebook and Instagram. Still, the platform is a good venue to build your online store. Just like on Instagram, you can showcase your products and content in a vertical or square image format. You can also publish short videos and product collections.
Data published in a Shopify article in 2019 revealed the following about Pinterest:
- 90% of Pinterest users say that the platform helps them make purchase decisions
- 78% of users find branded content published on the platform to be useful
- 66% buy products after seeing the brand pins
So how do you get started with being an online retailer on Pinterest? Of course you first need to create an account. Then you must upload your product catalog and turn them into product Pins. Once you have done so, you will receive a Shop tab on your profile. With Pinterest, you can load multiple feeds using the same account and control which products will be visible in different markets.
Pinterest also allows you to integrate your account on the Shopify platform. Once your website is integrated, Pinterest tags will let you measure your conversion rate and optimize ads for an improved shopping experience. Pinterest pins that include prices receive 36% more likes. Advertising on the platform will help you achieve four different goals:
- Awareness (build brand or product awareness)
- Consideration (get more traffic)
- Conversions (drive online sales, signups, and subscriptions)
- Offline sales (increase in-store purchases)
With more than 229 million daily active users as of the first quarter of 2022, Twitter is another great social media platform for ecommerce businesses. In partnership with data analytics company Annalect, a recent survey by Twitter revealed that 40% of their users have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer. In addition, participants who were exposed to brand tweets were 2.7x more likely to purchase compared to those who did not see an advertiser tweet.
With Twitter, you can share product information and links to the product pages. Aside from that, users now directly tweet an ecommerce company whenever they have issues or voicing their experience with the same. The platform provides online retailers with the perfect venue for providing quality customer service. Furthermore, it lets them create ad campaigns and target audiences based on their interests as shown in their tweets.
The key to successfully marketing on Twitter is to post several times during the day. Twitter posts are just 140 characters long but you can post links to longer articles and photos as well. Use hashtags in the most liberal way possible to capture and tag conversations on specific topics.
If you are looking to connect with both workers and business owners, LinkedIn is the best platform to do so. As of December 2021, LinkedIn has more than 850 million users in more than 200 countries. Over the years, it has built a reputation for being a place for finding employment and employees. In terms of professionalism, no one can top LinkedIn. It also provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your business, the story behind it, mission & vision, and what sets you apart from the competition.
It is a social network teeming with entrepreneurs & business professionals so ecommerce businesses can start networking with other business owners. Using LinkedIn provides an opportunity to create symbiotic relationships with other business owners to get you increased visibility and help you generate more sales. The platform is a good place for promoting blogs, podcasts, or sharing email blasts.
However, you must remember that LinkedIn yields the most results for business-to-business sales, rather than businesses that sell directly to consumers. Although it is still a good idea to establish a LinkedIn presence for your ecommerce business, don’t expect to see a huge spike in your sales from the platform because it is really designed for businesses.
If you want to stream video content to promote your ecommerce business, the best place to do it is on YouTube. It is the second largest search engine after Google in terms of organic search. To date, there are 38 million active YouTube channels of which 15 million are content creators and 22.000 of them have crossed 1 million subscribers. Now that’s a lot of reach especially if you are just a startup business.
User engagement is high on YouTube compared to websites like Facebook, Twitter, and streaming sites like Netflix. YouTube users consume more than 1 billion hours of videos daily, which is equivalent to 5 billion videos. They stick to the platform for an average of 11 minutes and 24 seconds. YouTube is a good channel for businesses engaged in digital products, services, merchandise, and automotive products.
If your ecommerce brand has video content and ads, you can maximize YouTube and post them on the platform. You can also create explainer videos on how to do things or what goes on behind the scenes of a manufacturing plant. For example, you can demonstrate your demonstration process to achieve transparency with your audience. Just make sure that your videos will not exceed 1.5 minutes.
When done right, social media marketing can do wonders for your business. But choosing a suitable platform for your ecommerce business will be more effective. It will lead to increased revenues, new customers, and wider brand recognition.
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