There was a time when social media marketing was one broad term. Over the years, each of our most popular social media channels (from over 40 out there) – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn – have come out on their own. The demographics, style, content, target audience and intent of marketing for each social media is clearly defined.
When virtually the whole world (over 3 billion, till 2018) is online on some platform or another, having a social media strategy is important. What really makes it effect though, is tailoring your strategy to suit the USPs of the specific channel you are on.
In this new series, we look deep into how you can promote your online store on the top social media channels, on the tips, tricks and approach you can use to send out the right message, talk to the right people and get them to buy what you are selling.
Facebook is the longest-surviving social media channel so it makes sense to open with it. Let’s begin with some numbers, taken from Hootsuite, unless stated otherwise:
- Over 2 billion people log onto the platform each month, 1.47 billion of which log in daily
- 68% Americans use Facebook, compared to under 40% for each of the other channels
- 35% of Facebook’s ad audience is under 25
- Users use around 50 minutes of their time on Facebook daily, each visit around 10-12 minutes long
- Women users are at 54% and males at 46% (Statista)
- An average Facebook user clicks on 8 ads per month (for males) and 10 (for females)
So, how do you plan your marketing strategy on Facebook? Here are some strategies for your online store:
Facebook has become the community hub of the online world, where lost friends unite, schools hold 50-year-old reunions, where you get to know of events happening in the city and sign up for one seminar or another. To market on Facebook, it is this sense of community you have to tap into in your marketing strategy.
Take the product you are selling and build around it. If it’s an apparel brand, you can create a group aimed at body positivity.
If you sell sportswear, a fitness community.
If you’re a florist, build a story-sharing community and reach out to customers/people for their happy stories that involved the giving or receiving of flowers.
If you are a bakery, have a group for sugar-free, vegan, keto and other variations of sweets.
If you’re a farmer, you could create a group of the benefits of eating local, the challenges and the benefits to the farmer and the customer. Or you could share farm practices and follow transparent practices.
It’s easier to build groups and communities if you include diversity in your product mix itself. But your business and the message you want the community to hear should be in sync. You cannot have a body-positive group and then make clothes only for a particular size-range.
You can also partner and collaborate with influencers, conduct interviews and involve as many people from outside your organization. The more people who have a stake in the marketing, the more they are likely to share it and spread the word.
Engage, engage, engage
Once you have the community and the customers looking at you – do what you would at any party. Talk. Engage. Reach out.
Reply to messages, send them personalized messages and periodic discounts. Hold flash sales and giveaways.
Other ways to engage is to reply to comments and messages as soon as possible.
The Content Mix
What do you post and how often?
The type of content depends on what you’re selling and the message you are sending out. A mix of graphic, video and linked content should be used, unless your business is inclined to either medium exclusively.
Posting once daily is a must, but posting 5-times a day is what’s going to get you the bigger numbers. Invest a little in promoting your page, having a catchy cover image.
The community-angle should reflect in your content also. As a business, you can do this by:
- Sharing content from industry peers. Drop that ego and share articles, data, statistics from companies in the same space as your business. Share news and updates from the industry. Keep the customers clued in for something more than your product
- Keep a track of social movements and see if there’s a message you can attach to your brand. Whether it is related to diversity, equality, eco-friendliness or other matters of social relevance, your brand should be able to organically resonate with the message. For instance, as a florist, you can definitely use rainbow flowers on your images to celebrate LGBTQIA rights. If you are an apparel brand, run a campaign that challenges gender-normative dressing choices
- Post live-videos of events, community gatherings you may hold. Behind-the-scene (BTS) photos of your factory, front-end, or just your employees having a good time also work to add that personal touch
- Have someone funny in your team? See if they can turn those BTS photos into memes
- Share and celebrate birthdays of industry heroes and idols. Find legends whose stories inspire you and share them
Besides this, make sure your Page Content such as About page, contact details, business type are on point. Double-proof for grammar, always.
Social media ethics and etiquette have come a far way, especially after elections in US and India, where Facebook emerged as not just a social media networking space, but a news platform, a propaganda tool and more. The terms echo chamber and fake news are now common-place, so are post-truth, alternative facts and others.
As a brand and as a member of the society, it is your duty to ensure that you don’t fuel these negative aspects of the platform.
Don’t spread videos/news from questionable sources. Verify everything before you share it. Steer away from the echo chamber.
If a majority of your customers are males, don’t just cater to them. Also include content for females, and non-gender-binary people. Open the doors of your business to the world through your Facebook marketing strategy.
The keyword for Facebook is community and society. It is important for the business and the owner to be plugged into what’s going on in the society around them. Take your brand and make it a member of the society. Tap into the emotions of the people (happy emotions); love, nostalgia, the dream of a utopia, friendship.
And use this philosophy as you promote your products.