The perks of being a startup entrepreneur is that you are forced to wear multiple hats. You need to be a dummy god, ready to face any challenge and venture into the unknown, more to it, wet your skills around multiple domains that make you feel like an expat. One such domain which baffles an e-Commerce entrepreneur is Social Media. Maybe the first instinct that crossed your mind is, Hey it’s just social media. Let me deflate it, most entrepreneurs list their entity on social platforms just out of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Not that they understand the nitty-gritty of the platform. Just an attempt to follow the herd.
What if I tell you that you are using the channel in the wrong context. Daily posting on social media is not going to make the impact that you dreamt of. Understand the core fundamentals of each social channels, and create a strategy that appeals to your audience. It’s the basic principle, you talk to your audience in their native language.
Before I bombard you with tips on, How to effectively use social media for your startup business. Allow me to share a few e-Commerce platform providers that enable you to kick-start an eCommerce journey from scratch.
Wondering why to mention these pre-built eCommerce platform providers? Most startup entrepreneurs tumble into the pitfall of spending huge sums on creating an online store. When in reality you can start off with INR 1000 per month.
Basic:- USD 29/ month
Shopify:- USD 79/ month
Advanced:- USD 299/ month
Essential:- INR 3,500/ month
Premium:- INR 7,000/ month
Platinum:- INR 12,000/ month
Personal:- USD 29/ month
Professional:- USD 79/ month
Business:- USD 299/ month
Quicky:- INR 1,000/ month
Standard:- INR 2,000/ month
Pro:- INR 5,000/ month
Premium:- INR 10,000/ month
With a handful of eCommerce businesses sagaciously utilizing social channels to drive quality leads, this is one channel that still have the potential and cannot be ignored. For a product-oriented firm, the opportunities are numerous. Social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is widely used by startup’s to target and acquire leads at a reasonable budget.
Startup entrepreneurs make the mistake of getting confused with the idea of How to use social media. Most marketers and entrepreneurs fail to immerse into the idea that social channels are not a broadcast media rather a digital platform to interact, engage, and share value with the people. Every activity in the social platform should contribute to the customer value chain. With an average of 3.2 billion people actively engaging on social platforms, it’s important that you have a plan of action set aside to beguile the audience.
Most startup entrepreneurs get muddled when they find out that their social media strategies were a vapid effort. All those social shares, likes, and other matrix didn’t add any value to the bottom line. You need to have a set of clearly defined goals when you decide to dabble into the social channels. Not that these vanity matrices are not good but that to what extent is it effective in driving sales.
When comes to an eCommerce entity your primary goal will be to create a list of fan followers and then sell products through the online channel. Now the question is, How meticulously have you planned to achieve these goals. How do you plan to make people purchase your products with ease?
One standard practice to measure the vitality your social campaigns is by making use of Google Analytics. Regularly run through the data and identify how well individual data channels are performing. Map the data to your end objective, then you will get a clear idea, to what extent your social expeditions were successful.
Study Individual Social Platforms and Decide where your Target Customers Engage
As a startup entrepreneur who operates within a limited budget, it’s of paramount importance that you identify which social channel is most appealing in terms of customer acquisition. Not all channels are ideal when comes to targeting customers. Every social channel has an innate characteristic of its own. One typical example will be LinkedIn and Instagram. How an individual interacts and engages with the content on these two platforms differs on a great extent.
On a broad scale, a B2C company will find Instagram and Facebook more appealing to their customers, whereas LinkedIn will be the ideal platform for B2B business models.
Note:- Of course, exceptions are there.
It’s a good strategy to understand the peak timings were your social followers are active on the platform and then post accordingly. But like any business model flipping the dice and sprouting ordinary content is not going to give you the competitive advantage you dreamt of. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you share the right content that inspires the audience. What you share should resonate with the customer expectation and beguile them to interact with the content you shared.
As I mentioned above social media is not a broadcast media. It’s an effective channel to reach a cluster of targeted customers. Interact and educate your business offerings, build a relationship with social followers, and then slowly introduce the products to the audience. What you are planning to sell should not look like a cold marketing effort.
Be active on social groups and communities that are relevant to your niche. Facebook groups and communities are a great channel to find the relevant audience. Constantly engaging on these platforms will help gain significant visibility. Also, create a group for your fan followers, a dedicated virtual space for your fan followers to discuss and share their opinion about your eCommerce business entity.
User-generated content could act as an endorsement/ referral from the customer. Think about it this way. What kind of customers will share a positive experience on their social media? Exactly the happy ones. When a happy customer takes it to the social media it’s a golden opportunity. The customer is really excited and happy to spread the word that he/ she was able to sack the best deal from your eCommerce platform.
User-generated content acts as a psychological trigger which ingeniously motivates other users to run a dip-check on what’s so special around the post/ tweet. There is no alternative to a happy customer who is loyal enough to share their experience with other people in the social community. A user-generated content comes with a weighted trust, make sure that you amplify the post so that it could reach a wider audience and instill trust among them.
Draft a strategy that persuades your online visitors to share your content on their social media. There are multiple tools that make the process simple.
Free Social Share Button, Social Warfare, WP Social Share, Swifty Bar, Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebars, etc. These tools/ plugins will give your online visitors an option to share your website content with their social media.
Leverage the power of visual storytelling. Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are more innate with a custom audience who prefer to engage more in a casual style. We all enjoy good old-fashioned storytelling. A story line crafted with a fine purpose to amuse the customers is one great method to beguile your audience. You can make use of visual storytelling to educate, entertain, inspire, and position your brand presence among the target customers. If your story line is creative enough then there exists a high chance for the content to become viral on social platforms.
People are smart, don’t expect that a quotidian experience is going entice them. Be genuine and transparent about what your business is planning to offer. You should be consistent with your brand personality and the brand value. Certain startup business makes the mistake of emulating their competitor’s strategy. Understanding your competitor will help you gain tactical advantages, but it’s better if you synergize your own social media marketing strategy. That way you can stand out from the crowd and offer a unique experience.
Word of caution- Brands are not created overnight. It took a great measure of patience and hard work to gain customers trust. The best and the most effective strategy in social media marketing is – Add more value to the audience, once your presence is felt, then they are more likely to do business with you.