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How E-commerce Can Increase Their Engagement Rate Using Social Platforms

While a drilling equipment manufacturer may have a hard time finding customers from social media, an online shop or a digital art exhibitioner can bag too many fans and followers.

Social media doesn’t favor all brands equally.

What about e-commerce?

The stats below can give us an idea:

  • Shopify stores received more than 80% of social orders from Facebook
  • YouTube is the second most likely channel (after Facebook) to influence people to buy.
  • Social media referrals motivate over 70% consumers to purchase. And more than 75% consumers follow posts from brands on social channels.

Clearly, social media’s impact on e-commerce is massive. But online retailers often to fail to harness the power of social. Here are some guidelines on how they can increase their engagement rate using social platforms:


Innovation in marketing mix

The majority of e-commerce consumers are millennials and unlike boomers, they value the experience alongside the product. Hence, the 4Ps are not enough, a marketer needs to add the “I” or innovation into the marketing mix.

Some e-commerce brands are doing it right. These brands are:

  • #Sephora - Sephora is an online retailer for beauty products. They pulled an out-of-the box trick. First, they leveraged mainstream social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc to expand their reach. Next they funneled the traffic into a newly set up social network of their own called The Beauty Board.
  • #Nespresso - The US-based espresso machine retailer devised separate strategies for separate channels. All were killer strategies. On Instagram, Nespresso asked customers to share photos and videos with #nespresso and #intensecoffee hashtags. On Twitter, they uploaded product promos, accompanied by stellar images.

Innovation levels the playing field for small and large-scale e-commerce brands. Anybody can be innovative; it hardly costs anything. And yet, it produces favorable outcomes.


Snapchat for customer communication

Strange as it may sound, on Snapchat, brands can merge communication with promotion. Here are some eye-opening info about Snapchat:

  • Over 150 million are using it per latest reports.
  • Almost 60% Americans aged 13-38 are on Snapchat and the number of 25+ Snapchatters is gradually increasing. Take a look at the infographic below:

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Image Source

The My Story feature connects brands to Snapchatters, yet retains the feel of personal messaging. Once something is posted on My Story, it stays there for next 24-hours. It’s an one-way communication, but an effective one. Using My Story, brands can inform customers about new arrivals, promotion, giveaways, etc.

Some hold Snapchat is Twitter-with-10-seconds-videos-instead-of-tweets. What makes them say this? The daily number of tweets is 500 million and that of snaps is 700 million. Pretty close.

But there’s a difference that’s not visible on the surface. Individual tweets, even by top brands, can never make the same impact that a 10-seconds long video can. Video is more powerful than texts.

Graphic and multimedia-based communication is more effectual than text-based communication. This brings us to our next point:


Marketing with visuals

E-commerce sites as well as eCommerce templates normally don’t feature non-product images. And product images don’t suit organic promotion. Does that make visual marketing a bit difficult for them?

Not really.

They can use Instagram and connect to people. Because Instagram is a visual network, one can upload images without any context. And research shows Instagram-style photos are far better than professional photos in terms of conversion.

A brand can always add creativity to the equation, so that the engagement rate goes up. The LEGOxBelkin campaign demonstrates the role of creativity in Instagram marketing. Look at the image compilation below:

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All these Instagram photos were uploaded by Belkin and LEGO’s customers.

Pinterest is also a great platform for online shops. The majority of posts on Pinterest are curated. An e-commerce brand can upload its entire product catalog with suitable hashtags for increased virality score.

Of course, users on Pinterest must have a reason to curate a pin. Hence, the visuals shared by online retailers must be unbeatable in quality.


Social commerce and UGC

The main aim of social commerce is to turn electronic shopping into a social activity. For that to happen, social media users need to recommend each other branded products. But fearing negative publicity, brands often put phony reviews on their fanpages and honest opinions from genuine users never come into the mainstream.

Does it benefit them?

Not at all.

Smart brands rely on UGC. UGC is the essence of social commerce. Customers these days consider unknown people certifying a product as an indication that the product is worth their salt. UGC is exactly that.

But what about the fear that haunts most online retailers? That their products will be negatively reviewed by a non-control group.

Online review sites routinely get sour customers who vent their frustration there. And shoppers take such reviews very seriously. So what these brands fear is bound to happen anyway.

Secondly, UGC comes with promotional opportunities. Research shows 74% shoppers prefer reviews with pictures and video. An e-commerce brand can motivate satisfied customers to share user-generated images and videos with others. An eyeglass retailer brand called Warby Parker did this. The image below, shared by one of their customers, show some merchandises, including a Warby Parker glass, ready to be packed for a trip.

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E-commerce brands can club incentives, discounts and reward points with UGC, as in customers can get reward points upon posting positive UGC.


Summing up

E-commerce is slowly sidelining mainstream retail commerce. With that, competition among e-commerce brands is also on the rise. Merely creating a presence on social media is not going to help. Users need something new, something rewarding for them. The tips shared here can help brands progress towards discovering that “something.”


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William Johnson

Diving into debts of web design is my real passion. Getting along with new tools and finding useful tricks is more than just a hobby. Let me lead you through the website design ways.

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