With over $3 billion in eCommerce sales in 2014 and that number exponentially growing, social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram ought to be a part of of your marketing mix. If not, you are leaving a ton of potential sales on the table but also failing to engage with your potential customers.
Even with all the statistics on how social media is an important part of of eCommerce marketing, there are the few who complain they have very little time for that.
Now there is truth to that statement as an entrepreneur of any size is juggling a thousand things already and becoming a social media marketing expert overnight is not exactly great advice. However, given the numbers, it is time to make your mark on all necessary social media channels at some point to grow your business.
Is this possible to be done in ten to fifteen minutes of your day? What if there are alternative methods to keep your social channels engaged and productive to your business?
A typical social media engagement task list goes like this:
You post/share content (about your product, about your market/niche, about a news snippet that is related to your market, etc.)
- You respond to comments and mentions
- You like/favorite other social content
- You comment on other social content
There are tools to automate almost all of these today, but that’s not an ideal way of social media management. The only thing that you can automate of these is sharing content.
Why would you want to automate sharing/posting content, anyway?
Having an active social media profile brings in more potential customers and therefore possible sales. In order to have an active channel, you need to post regularly thus spending time on social media sites. By automating your site via scheduling, smart, tasks, etc., you would save at least an hour daily.
Here’s how you can automate your social posts:
Schedule them for a week
If you can schedule sharing and re-posting your products on social media, it doesn’t have to be a time consuming task if done in one go. With tools like Around, you can integrate your store, import the listed products and start scheduling them across multiple channels almost instantly.
Tip: Schedule a bunch of posts for a week on Monday or on Wednesday. You won’t have to worry about product promotions on social media for a week if you did this.
Use IFTTT recipes to share liked/Favorited articles
While wandering the web, you find things that you like or favorite and you just might want to share them with your followers as well. Typically you would share them immediately via the share button but that can make your social channel to loud at times.
By saving all your posts or content that you like/favorite, to a scheduling app like Buffer, you can avoid the overwhelming of too much sharing and re-posting on your social media site. IFTTT enables you to do just that. So as you like/bookmark articles, they are also automatically scheduled to be posted to your social media.
Tools like IFTTT can set things up so that you write/post once, and it gets posted in all channels or depending on the scheduling tool you use, you may already have that feature available to you.
Rely on highly-targeted hashtags to find and post content automatically
Tons of unearthed content is often hashtagged and another way of automating posts is to filter and auto-schedule based on them.
Suppose you want to share any link or post that’s related to #cycling, #fitness and #commute. You can pick those tags (or combine them for fine-tuning) and create a recipe that lets you schedule or share posts with these target tags.
2. Pick a daily mini-window of engagement
Automating posts and content shares is just a small part of the social media equation and what matters most is engagement.
- Replying to comments, mentions, and messages on social media channels
- Liking/favoriting other people’s posts on social media
- Commenting on other people’s posts/participating in discussions on social media
This is what takes most of the time on social media and automation doesn’t work here. This is where human interaction is makes your shop stand out so be sure to do this manually.
Too much clutter can be a reason enough for not having enough time to manage your social media site. To avoid this, start by de-cluttering your newsfeed; unfollow accounts that are just re-posting a ton of stuff through the day. Create lists.
Spend 5-10 minutes just skimming through and comment and engaging with posts
Set aside about 10 minutes a day for every major social channel that you want to grow sales from. Pick just three of these (e.g, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) and engage.
Thank every mention, answer every message on social media
Tracking social mentions can be made easy with tools like Hootsuite. With about 5-10 minutes a day, you can make sure all mentions of your brand/shop are replied to. Answering every mention of your brand on social media is quickly becoming a norm that you can’t afford to skip. To the potential buyer, it doesn’t matter if you’re Groupon or a small-time solopreneur from Europe. They expect you to notice when you’re mentioned.
Optimize by finding the least-engaged time
Optimize your engagement schedules to be at a time when your audience least engaged (so you receive fewer replies to your messages, comments, etc.). When your audience is most engaged, we have an urge to reply asap to a comment or message thus the reason for taking up more time than planned.
3. Curate more, create less
Most successful social media eCommerce entrepreneurs have an 80-20 rule: 80% of their social shares are content that is not theirs – other people’s interesting products, market trends, posts from elsewhere, etc. Only about 20% is their own content. You should curate more, create less to share on social channels.
Your followers on social media are discovering that it is difficult to admire great value in posts because there are too many of them to choose from. there is an abundance of overwhelming content causing too much noise.
For every 10 links shared, let 8 of them be interesting and contain valuable content sourced from elsewhere such as YouTube videos, posts you liked or blogs. Allow the other 2 to be linked to your content.
There are some scheduling tools that make this easy by suggesting popular posts but can not be customized to include our favorite blogs. A handful of tools like Around.io let you import blogs/feeds so that you can readily share them right from within the tool.
If you’re creating images to share (images do well on Facebook and Twitter), use something like Canva to generate images faster.
Create easy patterns, repeatable templates
The art of repetitive templates/patterns can save you a lot of time. Create patterns or templates where you just have to swap the text and the image or the color scheme.
4. Hire Interns / VAs
Find interns who are willing to work. You can outsource social media work to paid/unpaid interns or virtual assistants whom you can hire online. Having another person help does not take away distractions but can aid in other human input for fresh ideas in the social media marketing field.
In conclusion, social media brings a lot of sales and will continue to raise its share of driving eCommerce sales. You need a solid social media presence to be able to leverage this and grow your shop.