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Connect, Educate, Learn, Collaborate...
Social media marketing is only expected to grow in 2015 yet many online retailers still aren’t sure what’s in it for them or how to use it effectively. If you’ve dabbled in social media in the past, or you haven’t paid much attention to your social channels lately, this article aims to show you some ways social media can help your business in 2015.
Not only do social networks help increase your exposure, but you get to connect directly with your customers.
It’s important to note that social networks are most effective at enhancing the shopping experience as opposed to leading to direct sales. While social posts can lead to sales, the best way to approach social sites is to think of them as more of a way to build relationships and loyalty with your customers.
You can do this by sharing interesting stories, company news, photos and videos with your followers. This gives followers a chance to get to know your business better and even interact with you. Because of this interaction, social networks are also a great place to do some research.
With social networking, you have the ability to ask your followers anything you want directly. You can ask about products or services you offer or see what your customers wished you carried. You can even post polls. Social networks give you direct access to the people who choose to connect with you and do business with you. They allow you a great opportunity to get to know your customers much better.
You can definitely use social networks as a place to share sales news and promotional information but it’s not usually as aggressive as email marketing. So why not use your social channels to ask your followers to sing up for your email lists as well? You can offer a special coupon or offer and strengthen your link with that customer beyond your social network.
Picking the right social media channel(s) for your business is key. Most businesses don’t need to join every network out there. First of all, there’s simply too many to realistically keep track of them all without devoting a ton of time to it. Secondly, they all won’t make sense for your business. Different social media networks provide different benefits – ranging from access to different audiences to different formats for your posts. Since social media is social — the most important thing to consider is the audience. Which network does your core audience use? Which network does your target audience use? If you’re not sure, you could find out by asking your customers directly — whether that’s surveying them in your store, online after a purchase or through an email blast. That said, below are the basics of each network and why you may consider using them for your business.
Facebook and Twitter will still be the main players in 2015 and you should definitely consider adding them to your mix if you haven’t already if for no other reason than they have the most users. Men, women, teens – people of all ages use both of these networks regularly. Also, you can easily sync posts to show up on both networks simultaneously. So if you have one, it’s very easy to add the other.
LinkedIn is geared towards professional advice and other work-related content. Right now, it only makes sense for B2B companies.
Google+ can seem a lot less popular than other sites but it does actually have a lot of users and it can also give your SEO a boost with regular activity.
Instagram can be an easy add-on to Twitter and Facebook, if it makes sense for you. It’s an image-based network where users upload and share photos with their subscribers. This network can work for all kinds of businesses, as long as you have the ability to share regular photos. Photos could be of your products or your stores. A lot of businesses also use Instagram to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at their business. You could show images of your products being assembled or your employees working on special projects. You can be creative. The key, as with any network you chose, will be to post regularly and also post content that is interesting or useful to your audience.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is also image-based and makes the most sense for businesses with a lot of photos or images to share. But it also is most popular with women, so if women are your target audience and you have plenty of images to share of your products, this might be a good place for you.
These networks are all video-based so they’re perfect for businesses that want to show their products in action or want to share tutorials for how to use their products.
While you probably won’t use every social network, if you decide to use multiple networks, take advantage of any syncing options. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can all be synced – so if you post to one, the others will share your post as well. This saves time and makes sharing information across your channels much easier. Another option is to use something like Hootsuite which allows you to monitor and post to multiple networks simultaneously.
No matter what you decide to do, remember to post regularly, post what your audience wants to see and don’t quit. It takes time to build a following, often longer than you think. But the best way to grow your networks is to show followers that you update your pages regularly and that you share news or promotions they find interesting or beneficial.
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