Social media has become a popular marketing tool for eCommerce businesses over the past few years. It’s a great way to connect with customers and share brand information without having to spend money on paid ad campaigns. An article from BigCommerce reports that for online stores, social media is critical for success in eCommerce: “Online stores that have a social presence have 32% more sales on average than stores that don’t.” Social media can boost sales, promote brand identity, and increase trust – but only if used correctly.
Misusing social media may seem impossible; the bright blue “Tweet” button is easy to use and recycling company phrases seems easy enough to do. However, haphazardly posting content and sharing posts isn’t enough. There are some common social media mistakes that eCommerce merchants make and by learning how to prevent them, social media can become a valuable asset for any merchant.
Below are three common social media mistakes that eCommerce merchants make and methods for prevention.
1. Rarely Interacting With Followers
For social media to be effective, communication needs to be a two-way street. Merchants can’t only post information about themselves such as new product announcements, current sales, etc. and hope that will satisfy followers. Interaction with customers, especially when they have a problem or question, is crucial for success.
Many customers turn to social media when they are having an issue with a product or service to receive fast and courteous assistance. When customers are ignored or receive a delayed reply, it is likely for that customer to unfollow and do further damage on social media by spreading negative comments or reviews. People want to feel that they are being heard, so take their questions and complaints seriously. When running a social media account, make sure an employee is monitoring that account for complaints or questions and are able to take direct action in assisting any customer’s needs in real time. Proactive customer service is important for maintaining repeat customers and for building trust.
Repeat Customers are Important Customers
Good customer service is not only a good business practice, but it also plays a large role in encouraging repeat customers. If customer needs are met and they have had a meaningful customer experience, it is more likely that they will continue to return in the future.
Trust is Everything
An article by Nextopia states that “Trust impacts buyer decisions at every step of the purchase process. Specifically, trust influences the decision to visit your site, buy your product, promote your brand, and return to the site again. If they don’t trust you, visitors won’t do any of those.” In order to gain that trust, merchants must be credible in all aspects of their business, including social media.
Studies indicate that fast response time on social media builds trust because it demonstrates a certain level of accountability that customers appreciate and view as good customer service. When a customer submits a complaint on social media, they expect it to be handled quickly. An article from Shep Hyken reports that 64% of consumers on Twitter expect a reply within an hour. That means that no matter the issue, don’t make excuses or try to ignore it. Take responsibility, apologize, and make it right with the customer quickly.
2. Not Understanding the Audience
To be successful on social media, it’s critical to understand the customer audience. A common social media mistake made by merchants is posting the wrong type of messaging to the wrong group of people at the wrong time. It’s true that the frequency for posting on social media isn’t always clear. Further, what works for one merchant might not work for another. For new merchants starting out on social, it might be tempting to post every hour in order to reach as many people as possible. Or, it might be difficult to get a post once a week if the staff is busy with other obligations. Ideally, both of these extremes should be avoided.
Posting too often will likely annoy customers and turn them away as they grow tired of seeing repetitive content. On the other hand, posting too little will do the opposite and customers may forget about the business altogether.
To start, try posting unique content at most 1 or 2 times a day. If people are regularly engaging, keep it up or consider increasing the amount. If posts are ignored, try scaling back or consider posting higher-quality content less frequently.
It’s also important to test content and frequency out on different platforms. For example, what works on Twitter may not work on Facebook or Instagram. It’s helpful to do research on the target audience as well to establish which platform is best to spend time efforts. For example, for merchants targeting Millennials or the Gen X generations, statistics from Spredfast show that the two groups are more likely to share content on Facebook. For those targeting teens, Instagram may be the best platform with 53% of teens saying the image-based platform is the best place to advertise products.
Further, age isn’t the only demographic to study. Pinterest has 200 million active users. Notably, 60% are female. Therefore, merchants looking to target the male population on Pinterest will need to think of a smart strategy for reaching them or consider a different platform.
The type of content posted on certain platforms is worth considering as well. For example, coupons and offers have a history of being successful on Twitter with 84% of Twitter users noting that they use the platform to find deals.
3. Never Establishing a Voice
Finally, the purpose of social media for eCommerce merchants is to connect with customers on a personal level. However, being personal is hard to do if every social media post is robotic. People want to feel that they are connecting with another human being on social media. Customers are not interested in seeing multiple automated posts over and over again. To be personable, it’s crucial to develop a certain tone of voice for the brand on social media. In order to develop a voice, the first step is to figure out what that voice should be. Some companies take a cheeky tone. For example, Wendy’s the humble fast food chain, has received a lot of positive attention after a very noticeable change of voice on Twitter. The company started posting edgy tweets roasting their competition.
It was a gamble that worked for Wendy’s. Many marketers are using an edgy tone to stand out from the crowds of larger competitors with more marketing dollars to spend. Wendy’s noted that their strategy is good-natured and fun but they don’t take themselves too seriously. In an interview with MarketWatch, Ken Kane, chief concept and marketing officer of Wendy’s stated that “We take food quality seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. That helps guide us to what the line is, what we should be calling out, and what are the types of things we should be staying away from.” Clearly, their 2.7 million followers agree with the updated tone.
While the edgy brand tone worked for Wendy’s, it won’t work for everyone and that approach requires thought, serious wit, and strategy. Professional tones, playful tones, or even masculine or feminine tones all work as well for the correct audiences.
Once a tone is set, there are some key ways to develop tone including reinforcing the brand’s beliefs, monitoring the audience’s responses, and injecting some of the company’s personality into every post. Social media is meant to be more relaxed and playful. Post lighthearted content and avoid having a rigid structure that every post must follow.
However, even though it’s important to be personable and fun on social, keep it professional at all times. Unprofessional accounts warrant unsatisfied customers and in certain cases, may even be subject to viral criticism.
Learning Social Media Takes Time
Creating a social media presence as a business takes time and patience. Though social media mistakes can occur, the key is to recognize those mistakes and then work quickly to correct them and prevent them from occurring again. Mastering social media will not likely happen overnight, but the process is well worth it when taking into account the many ways it can be profitable.
For more information on how to improve your social media efforts, please feel free to contact us or give us a call at (513).469.7042.