Building a Winning Social Strategy for your Store

Part of the challenge of running a thriving Ecommerce store is keeping up with changing shopper habits and trends. And, with nearly 30% of the world's population now active on social media – and rising – it's never been more clear: your store needs to get social!

Not only are social platforms a phenomenal vehicle for reaching new customers and providing great service – social signals also play a role in your search rankings.

But what makes a winning social strategy for your store? Here's our quick guide...

1. Decide which platforms are right for you

This is one of the most important decisions you'll make, and our advice is to avoid biting off more than you can chew. It might be tempting to establish a presence on every social channel you can find, but there are only so many hours in a day, and the most important thing is to keep every channel up to date and well-maintained.

A lot of your social success will simply boil down to 'being available.' Customers can, and will, provide feedback on your service and products in a highly public way, and it's important that these comments are dealt with swiftly and satisfactorily. An Edison Research poll suggests that 79% of customers who complain on social do so in the hope that their friends will see their dissatisfaction – and 77% of these users expect a response at least on the same day.

Related reading: How to unlock the true value of Pinterest for your Ecommerce store

TOP TIP: Start small, with maybe 1-3 accounts to begin with. You can always set up new channels at a later date if you find you have the time.

2. Set your goals and metrics

The first step to achieving success is to define exactly what 'success' looks like, right? But a surprising number of businesses completely neglect this step when it comes to social strategy.

Right off the bat, you want to be specific about what you want to achieve – doing social 'because everybody else does' shouldn't be your main rationale!

Whether you want to drive more traffic to your store, deliver better service or boost your brand profile, you should put this into a documented strategy – ideally with specific targets and performance indicators so you can monitor your progress down the line.

3. Integrate your store with your social channels

It's really important to make sure that your store and social channels are connected. Users should be able to share your content and products on their social feeds – so make sure to include social share icons on these pages to make this process easy.

Equally, you should promote your own content and product pages on social, with links to your site to help generate more traffic.

4. Plan ahead – and batch process the mundane stuff

There's no getting around it: effective social marketing does take up time. This can cause problems for businesses with limited time and resources, but there are ways to be smart about this and lessen the load.

For one thing, you don't want to get caught up in the daily grind of worrying about what to post. Creating a solid editorial calendar that lays out your posts 2-4 weeks at a time will lets you get this whole job taken care of in half a day or so. You can then use scheduling tools – Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Hubspot, Raven Tools and more – to schedule your posts ahead of time.

All you need to do then is monitor your channels for incoming messages and posts, so you can ensure they're properly replied to.

5. Act like a person, not a brand

When you put together that editorial calendar, make sure you're mixing up your content. The most effective social channels are great because they focus on engaging with customers rather than just selling to them. Themed days are a great way to do this – so maybe you'll run a featured product once or twice a week, but the other days you could focus on industry news, useful articles, or off-topic and humor.

Before you make a post on social, ask yourself: does this add value to my target audience? Is it something I'd like to see? Your users will be happy to see a little bit of content about your products – after all, they chose to follow or like your page – but this is only one component of your ideal posting output. What users really respect is a brand that can engage with them on a personal level.

6. Track your ROI

Just as a lot of businesses neglect to set goals and targets, many struggle with gauging the ROI of their social channels.

Now, there are certain things you can't measure – brand awareness being the main one.

But you can definitely track some key metrics. You could use Analytics software to measure how much traffic comes to your site from social. Or you could deploy visual tracking tools – Crazy Egg's heat maps, or ClickTale's recorded user sessions – to evaluate their experience on your site and track conversions.

Closing Thoughts

Over the last decade, social media has become intertwined with almost every aspect of our lives – and online shopping is certainly no exception.

As an Ecommerce merchant, it's important that you embrace this opportunity to engage with your customers. An active social presence is going to help you deliver top-line customer service, grow your audience, promote your products and, ultimately, drive traffic that converts into sales.

Our advice is this: avoid spreading yourself too thinly across many different channels, make sure you respond publicly to all comments (particularly negative ones!) and set goals. These key points are going to form the basis of a social strategy that wins. Good luck!

Enjoy this post? Check out our FREE e-book, ' 13 Conversion Mistakes Smart Ecommerce Owners Make.

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