If you’ve been waiting for the right time to jump into social media, consider this: Social media platforms are becoming ecommerce portals.
In 2014, 80% of the online population used the internet to make a purchase. Ecommerce is getting even easier now that several networks employ “buy now” buttons, which allow users to purchase items they see while scrolling through social media networks. That includes all of our suggested top five networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, although YouTube’s version is “click-to-shop” ads that take you to ecommerce pages for easy purchase.
Social media has to be incorporated into your overall marketing strategy. Add social sharing buttons to your website, so clients can share the products they like and those they have purchased, and encourage social media connections to subscribe to your email list.
Remember that social media channels are designed for socializing, not for shopping. Use social media as an opportunity to engage with your audience, build loyalty, and make the shopping experience better.
You want to choose the right platform(s) for your business. Here are some basics about the top five channels.
No. of Users: 1.44 billion worldwide.
Demographics: Facebook encompasses all ages, from 18 to 65 and up. In its Social Media Update 2014 conducted last September, Pew Research Center reports that 71% of adult Internet users are on Facebook. 66% of women and 77% of men use Facebook. 66% of women users and 69% of male users are 18 to 34 years old.
How to use Facebook: The site is useful for telling your brand story and engaging your customers. Keep fans updated on new deals, special promotions and useful industry information. Consider advertising or paying to promote your page on Facebook. It’s easy to target customer segments by such attributes as age, location and interests, so you get your message to the appropriate audience.
According to a Shopify analysis, Facebook dominates in the areas of photography, sports and rec, pet supplies, drop shipping, jewelry and watches, apparel, food and beverage, home and garden, web design, health and beauty, music and movies.
No. of users: 300 million worldwide
Demographics: 24% of men and 21% of women use Twitter. 37% of adults 18–29 use Twitter, while 25% are 30 to 49. Additionally, 77% of accounts lie outside the US. Twitter is particularly popular among those under 50 and the college-educated.
How to use Twitter: Twitter posts are 140 characters long, although you can link your posts to longer articles and post photos, too. Twitter posts have a short life, so you’ll want to post several times per day. Make liberal use of hashtags to capture and tag conversations on specific topics – a good way to find new connections and customers.
Shopify reports market share for Twitter in the arenas of retail/catalogs, home and office furnishings, home and garden, and gifts and specialty products.
No. of users: 47 million worldwide
Demographics: 42% of women and 13% of men use Pinterest. 80% of Pinterest users are women, particularly moms.
How to use Pinterest: Pinterest is designed for visual content, so it’s ideal for retailers who can pin product-focused images. According to Shopify, Pinterest gets market share with antiques and collectibles, service businesses, books and magazines, and IT/computing. Use it to showcase new products, along with their prices – Pinterest pins that include prices receive 36% more likes, according to Shopify.
No. of users: 300 million worldwide
Demographics: 26% of online adults use Instagram, but 53% of adults 18 to 29 use the service. 22% of users are men and 29% are women.
How to use Instagram: Share visual content, including short videos (less than 15 seconds). Encourage users to post photos of your brand’s product in use. Use hashtags, and comment and “like” other people’s posts to build awareness of your brand. Industries ideal for Instagram include lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands.
No. of users: 1 billion
Demographics: YouTube is a male-dominated channel. In March 2015, it drew 31.8 million users ages 18 to 24 (98.3% of U.S. internet users in that age bracket) and 19.4 million visitors 65 and older (74.4% of that demographic) according to Digiday. Shopify says YouTube does well with digital products, services, merchandise, and automotive products.
How to use it: YouTube is good for brands that have video content and video ads. Additionally, it’s useful for explaining how to do things or showing what goes on behind the scenes. For example, manufacturers can demonstrate their production process to achieve transparency with their audience. Videos should be no longer than 1.5 minutes.
Even if you participate in some or all of these networks, it’s worth jumping in a little deeper. Social media is not going away, and is becoming increasingly more important to ecommerce efforts.