Social media has evolved from its days of niche Myspace entertainment to the global phenomenon it is today. A Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report found that nearly 30 percent of all traffic driven to websites was referred by a social network in Q3 2014.
Facebook is still king, while Pinterest is now comfortably in second place for most influential social channel.
E-commerce companies must have an effective social media strategy not only to compete in their industry, but to stay in business period. Google algorithms will overlook websites lacking social media channels, while business owners will miss out on valuable brand awareness and customer service opportunities. Whether you hire a dedicated person to administer your channels or tackle it personally, it’s a vital business function for companies looking to increase profits.
The following five tips will help you maximize the power of social networking.
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Facebook Boosted Posts
It was September of 2012 when Facebook changed its algorithms and effectively slashed the number of followers business pages reached organically. Before the change companies with hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of followers enjoyed free, powerful advertising through the social network. But now business posts only reach about 16 percent of followers organically. That is unless they pay for more visibility.
You can spend as little as $1 to reach more followers. The key to maximizing returns is to only boost posts that direct users back to your website. There are a lot of business owners upset about the change, but the boosted posts are still relatively cheap for the number of people you can reach. Some companies have had issues with Facebook overcharging and completing recurring charges without authorization. The best way to prevent issues like this is to use a pre-paid credit card for your boosted posts.
The visual bookmark sharing platform was launched in March of 2010, but has already surpassed the 70 million user mark. Pinterest is particularly useful for companies that sell items that can be visually displayed with real-time inventory and pricing information. Those who are new to Pinterest are encouraged to create an account and start playing around with it to learn its functionality.
BigCommerce recommends using redirects on hot items you’ve created rich pins for. That way when it’s out-of-stock, customers will see a similar item instead of a “404 Page Not Found” message. Make certain each pin has a good description of the product and use hashtags to make them easier to find.
Marketers can no longer ignore Instagram’s 300 million monthly active users. But companies new to Instagram that lack a large collection of hashtagged photos already will need to build one up from scratch to take full advantage of the photo sharing platform.
KISSmetrics recommends starting an online campaign that encourages followers to snap pictures that pertain to your brand in some way. For instance, a coffee shop can encourage followers to post photos of how they keep warm in the winter for a chance to win free coffee for a month. Of course the photos must be brand-relevant in some way to be eligible for the prize.
Don’t Forget Twitter
What makes Twitter simple and effective is that you can always use trending hashtags to increase post visibility. But the key is to also create and include your own unique hashtags that are brand relevant.
The LifeLock Twitter feed, for instance, created its own hashtag, #CreditHealth. The company gets the most favorites and retweets on posts that include it. The company also uses the #IdentityTheft hashtag frequently to bring more exposure to its posts.
Timing Is Everything
Social media marketing firm Buddy Media found several trends with Facebook posts after analyzing 200 of its clients’ pages activity for two weeks. Engagements rates were 20 percent higher outside of business hours, particularly on Thursdays and Fridays. Further, the best times to post for maximum engagements are early mornings, after work and late nights.
Companies that continue to ignore social media will be left behind. The combination of good content and effective social media marketing will boost profits and brand visibility. Now is the time to start taking it seriously.