ShipStation 101: Branding, Part VI: Social Media

November 7, 2016


Once upon a time, businesses communicated with customers when they came into the store. Then it was newspaper ads, mail ads, maybe phone calls. Once selling moved online and ecommerce was born, new avenues for customer interactions popped up: websites, email, online ads, and now, social media.

Social media has become one of the simplest—and most pervasive—methods of connecting with your customers in shopping history. Almost everyone has a social media account or two—in fact, the New York Times reports that at the beginning of 2016, internet users spent ~50 minutes of EVERY day on Facebook. That’s a lot of time to get a customer’s attention with targeted ads.

In the span of 30 seconds, you can take a picture of a new product and post it to Instagram (and share it on Twitter and Facebook from within Instagram), reaching thousands of potential customers. You can have your phone notify you when someone retweets, likes, shares, or interacts with you in any way. Your social media can be managed from your pocket. That sort of customer availability is unparalleled.

In 2015, 20% of online shoppers said Facebook played a role in their shopping decision-making. 10% said Pinterest was a part of their process. That means customers are already checking you out on social media—how are you playing around with that? You can offer flash sales and channel-specific coupons (“Free shipping with code Twitter16!”)? If ever there was a time to tinker with your social presence, it’s now. Solicit product or company reviews, ask recent customers to tag you in product pictures (all of which you can do with our delivery emails), and promote sales/specials/coupons to find out which of your social media channels generates the most revenue.

If you feel overwhelmed by all the channels out there (from Facebook to Twitter to ello to Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat and on and on), pick one or two that you feel best encapsulate your brand and use those specifically. If you’re more artsy, Instagram and ello are probably your spots. Almost everyone has a Facebook, if only to point to their site, and with Twitter, you need to really play around with hashtags to stand out. Build up your presence on these specific channels and respond quickly to all feedback—positive and negative.

So what is your company doing on social? And what are doing to promote those channels? Can customers review you, tag you in pictures, expect help? Are you linking to social in your emails and on the branded tracking page? If you’re trying to connect with customers, you need to do all of the above and more. From 2014 to 2015, ecommerce orders from social media grew 202%. Social media has become a lot like Amazon—customers will search on there to make sure what they’re buying is legitimate and from a tried and true company.

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