How to Use Social Media to Drive Sales for Your Ecommerce Business

How to Use Social Media to Drive Sales for Your Ecommerce Business

Last Updated on 26th Mar, 2024

Social media provides a powerful platform for ecommerce businesses to drive sales. With billions of active users, sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer numerous opportunities to connect with potential customers.

An effective social media strategy focuses on engaging followers by sharing visually appealing content, running contests and promotions, utilizing influencer marketing, and driving traffic back to your online store. Curating content aligned with your brand that provides value for your audience is key.

Social media allows ecommerce businesses to build relationships, increase visibility, and ultimately boost conversions and sales. With strategic posting and paid advertising, social platforms can significantly grow an ecommerce business’s reach and revenue.

How to Choose the Best Social Platforms

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With so many social media platforms out there, it can get overwhelming for ecommerce businesses to figure out where to focus their efforts. The key is to select platforms that align with your target audience and product. Here are some of the most effective social platforms for ecommerce brands:

Facebook

With over 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a must for most ecommerce brands looking to drive sales through social media. Facebook has powerful targeting capabilities that allow you to segment audiences based on demographics, interests, behaviors and more. Some key ways to utilize Facebook for ecommerce sales include:

  • Creating a Facebook Shop to showcase your products
  • Running Facebook product ads that re-engage site visitors and reach lookalike audiences
  • Creating a Facebook group centered around your niche to foster engagement
  • Going Live or creating video content to boost reach and engagement
  • Using dynamic product ads to promote your catalog to interested shoppers
  • Creating shoppable Instagram posts that drive traffic to your online store

Instagram

As a visual platform, Instagram is hugely popular among ecommerce brands in fashion, accessories, cosmetics and other aesthetically-driven verticals. You can leverage Instagram Shopping and shoppable posts to seamlessly drive followers to your product pages and boost conversions. Instagram ads also deliver high engagement rates from target audiences.

Pinterest

With over 400 million monthly active Pinners, this highly visual platform allows ecommerce brands to tap into an audience open to discovering and buying products. You can create shoppable Pins connected to your online store and optimize your pins to get discovered by Pinners searching for related products. Promoted pins can help drive high-intent traffic to your site.

YouTube

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world and video content can help ecommerce brands explain and demonstrate their products in action. By creating YouTube videos optimized for search and connected to your store, you can substantially increase product discovery and drive traffic. YouTube ads also allow you to re-engage viewers who have previously seen a video.

Twitter

Although not necessarily a visual platform, Twitter can be leveraged by ecommerce brands to engage followers through real-time content, build brand awareness through trending hashtags, and run targeted ads to relevant audiences.

LinkedIn

For B2B ecommerce businesses selling to other companies, LinkedIn is a key platform for paid ads, organic content and influencer engagement targeting professionals and organizations. Sponsored InMail and Sponsored Content allow you to generate leads and increase brand awareness.

Optimizing Social Media Profiles

Once you have selected the most relevant social platforms for your ecommerce business, the next key step is to optimize your brand profiles on each platform. Your social media profiles act as a “digital storefront” for potential customers to learn about your brand and make a first impression.

Here are some key tips for optimizing ecommerce brand profiles on social media:

  • Use high-quality visuals: Profile pictures, cover images and brand visuals should align with your brand style and aesthetics. Using visually stunning graphics makes a strong first impression.
  • Showcase your products: Feature engaging lifestyle imagery, videos and stories to highlight your key products in action. Give visitors a preview of your offerings.
  • Include a strong value proposition: Your bio should clearly communicate your brand promise and why visitors should buy from you in a few short, compelling sentences.
  • Add clickable links: Direct profile visitors to key landing pages like your online store, current promotions, etc. by adding clickable link trees or buttons.
  • Cross-promote channels: Prompt followers to connect with you on other social platforms by cross-linking channels in your bio and posts.
  • Spotlight customer reviews/testimonials: Social proof helps build trust and credibility. Display stellar customer reviews, testimonials and ratings prominently.
  • Add contact details: Make it easy for customers to get in touch by listing contact info like email, contact forms or messaging links.
  • Optimize for search: Include relevant keywords in profile details, captions and hashtags, helping you get discovered in searches.

Creating Engaging Social Content

The key to success with social media marketing is consistently publishing high-quality, engaging content optimized for your target audience. Posting irrelevant or dull content will cause you to lose followers over time.

Here are proven strategies for creating content your audience loves:

Offer value through education

Content that educates your audience on using your products, relevant industry topics, tips and tricks helps position your brand as an authority. For example, a makeup brand can create tutorials while a backpack brand can share hiking tips.

Focus on visual storytelling

Communicate your brand story and products visually through captivating social media images, reels and videos. User-generated visuals and livestreams also help your audience connect with real people.

Run contests and giveaways

Grow your audience and engagement by running exciting contests, giveaways and sweepstakes offering prizes like your products, gift cards or discounts.

Highlight user-generated content

User photos and videos with your products make authentic social proofs. Re-share happy customer posts, reviews and news of your brand mentions.

Share behind-the-scenes sneak peeks

Give your audience a look “behind the curtain” with exclusive behind-the-scenes content showing product development, team events or office culture.

Curate relevant industry news

Stay top of mind by selectively curating and sharing the latest news, articles and developments related to your industry as valuable resources.

Celebrate holidays and events

Timely holiday campaigns, cultural event promotions and current event marketing helps you ride trends and engage users.

Go LIVE frequently

Broadcast LIVE videos on your product launches, sales, Q&As, etc. to make followers feel personally connected to your brand.

Show off new arrivals

Give followers a first look at new products or collections with teasers, reveals and previews on social media to generate buzz.

Highlight happy customers

With consent, re-post happy customers wearing/using your products on social to build trust and community.

Partner with influencers

Work with relevant influencers in your niche to expand your reach and credibility through reviews and co-created campaigns.

Utilize platform-specific formats

Use popular creative formats of each platform like Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, YouTube Shorts, Snapchat Lenses etc. tailored for mobile users.

Running Paid Social Media Ads

While organic content is important for brand-building on social media, paid advertising is crucial for directly driving conversions and sales. Social platforms allow for ultra-targeted ads to reach your perfect customer base. Some proven ecommerce ad strategies include:

Retargeting ads

Remarket to users who have already visited your website or purchased from you in the past using custom audiences and similar audiences on Facebook, Instagram and Google.

Lookalike audience ads

Find new customers who “look like” your current buyers based on demographics, interests and behaviors through Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences.

Catalog sales ads

Dynamically promote your entire product catalog or specific product collections to interested audiences across Facebook, Instagram and Google.

Lead generation ads

Attract and capture high-quality leads through lead ads, boosted posts and click-to-Messenger ads. Offer an irresistible gated offer in exchange for contact details.

Brand awareness ads

Grow awareness and reach new audiences by running YouTube video ads, Instagram story ads, Twitter promotions and Facebook/Instagram newsfeed ads.

Retail website conversions

Optimize your website for on-site conversions and generate more sales from social traffic using Facebook/Instagram website conversion campaigns.

Local store traffic ads

Drive foot traffic to brick and mortar stores by targeting nearby customers through location-based Facebook, Instagram and Google ads.

Messenger marketing

Engage high-intent audiences through Facebook Messenger bots, click-to-Messenger ads, and retargeting Messenger users to automatically send promotions.

Abandoned cart recovery ads

Win back shoppers who didn’t complete a purchase by re-targeting them on Facebook and Instagram with ads offering discounts or free shipping.

Dynamic ads

Automatically show users the most relevant products and offers in real-time based on their on-site behavior using advanced algorithms.

Instagram Shopping Ads

Seamlessly bridge social media discovery and online purchase though shoppable Instagram posts tagged with your product catalog.

Social video ads

Engage audiences on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. with eye-catching video ads for higher conversion rates compared to image ads.

Lead form ads

Reduce friction in lead gen process by allowing users to fill out contact forms directly within Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn ads.

Conversational commerce

Interact with customers immediately via chat apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp using chat commerce tools to drive sales.

Live streaming shopping

Host live video shopping sessions showcasing products on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, enabling viewers to instantly shop featured items.

Leveraging Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing on social media has become extremely effective for ecommerce brands to increase awareness, trust and sales. As consumers increasingly look to trusted personalities for recommendations, collaborating with relevant influencers allows you to tap into their loyal follower base and credibility.

Some tips for successfully partnering with social media influencers as an ecommerce brand:

Identify influencers in your niche

With a visually driven niche like fashion, focus on finding influencers with high-quality Instagram feeds and blog photoshoots. For lifestyle niches, YouTube reviewers may be ideal. Identify influencers with content styles and audiences that align with your brand.

Research influencer engagement

Evaluate potential influencers not just on follower counts but actual user engagement through likes, comments and click-through-rates/sales conversions on affiliate links. Prioritize influencers with authentic engagement.

Offer complimentary products

Gifting influencers free products to feature on their channels helps raise brand exposure and provides social proof through real reviews. Ensure you have a gifting policy.

Co-create content together

Brainstorm creative ideas together for reviews, tutorials, haul videos, photoshoots etc. that align with the influencer’s style. Provide samples of on-brand content.

Compensate appropriately

Based on an influencer’s audience size and content types, provide fair compensation through free products, affiliate commissions, pay per post, or other models.

Promote their content

To maximize reach, re-share or repost influencer content featuring your products on your own social channels.

Track sales impact

Use tracking links or promo codes in influencer content to quantify sales driven by specific influencers and optimize your partnerships.

Build long-term partnerships

Develop lasting relationships with brand advocates by collaborating repeatedly and keeping in touch through product updates and relevant industry news.

Retargeting Audiences on Social Media

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a proven ecommerce strategy leveraging the power of customized audiences on social platforms. It involves serving targeted ads to users who have already expressed an interest in your brand by visiting specific pages but haven’t yet converted.

Here are some tips to boost ecommerce sales using retargeting on social platforms:

Retarget website visitors

Create custom audiences on Facebook and Instagram to re-engage all users who have been to your online store or product pages recently.

Target abandoned carts

Remarket specifically to users who added products to cart but didn’t complete the purchase with tempting offers.

Target subscribers

Follow up with users who have subscribed to your email list or signed up on site but haven’t purchased.

Create lookalike audiences

Find new customers similar to your existing buyers based on demographic and behavioral attributes for tailored outreach.

Develop saved audience segments

Remarket visitors of specific product pages, high-intent pages and other audience buckets using Instagram and Facebook’s detailed audience tools.

Retarget engaged users

Track engaged users like those who have watched your videos, engaged with posts or clicked on promotions to nurture leads.

Offer limited-time discounts

Incentivize retargeted users and help overcome purchase barriers through discounts, promo codes, free gifts and special offers.

Drive re-consideration

Use retargeting creatives with social proof, customer reviews, product images, or videos to re-capture interest.

Monitor frequency caps

Optimize remarketing ad frequency based on your niche—high-intent buyers may need more impressions, low-intent fewer.

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Integrating Social Media with Ecommerce Store

To maximize sales impact, it’s crucial not just to have social media accounts but to seamlessly integrate them into your ecommerce store experience. This “omnichannel” approach connects social media discovery and engagement with immediate purchase opportunities.

Some effective ways to integrate social media with your online store include:

Add social follow buttons

Make it easy for site visitors to follow your brand’s social profiles directly through clickable buttons on your store site header, footer or product pages.

Display social proof elements

Build trust and credibility by showcasing your social following counts, customer reviews and testimonials, user-generated images, etc. on-site.

Enable social login

Allow customers to easily register, login and make purchases through their existing social media profiles like Facebook, Google, Twitter etc.

Share product pages on social

Integrate social sharing buttons for every product so buyers can easily share your products on their own social channels.

Tag products on social

Use trackable tags and links when sharing product images and videos on social so clicks directly lead to product pages.

Create shoppable Instagram posts

Tag products in Instagram posts and stories so users can instantly click through to your online store checkout and purchase.

Share user-generated content

With permission, re-share great user photos featuring your products on-site as social proof. Link images back to your social accounts.

Sync product catalogs

Sync your product catalogs between your store and platforms like Facebook and Instagram to enable seamless tagged shopping ads.

Automate social sharing

Automatically share new blog posts, products and promotions from your site to social media using marketing automation tools.

Tracking and Measuring Social Media ROI

To optimize your ecommerce strategy, it’s critical to implement social media tracking to accurately measure return on investment (ROI) from your campaigns. Key performance indicators to track include:

Sales revenue

Use affiliate links, promo codes and pixels to quantify how much revenue is being directly generated from your social media channels.

Lead generation

Track leads captured from social platforms like newsletter signups, contact form fills, conversation starts, etc. as a precursor to sales.

Engagement rate

Calculate engagement rates on social posts to identify your best performing content types, formats and topics to guide future efforts.

Click-through-rate

Measure click-through rates on links and ads to determine the appeal of promotions, products and entry points to your online store.

Traffic sources

Use UTMs and analytics to identify your top social media traffic sources by volume and conversion rate optimization opportunities.

Brand mentions & sentiment

Monitor brand name mentions and sentiment on social media as a metric for brand visibility and public perception over time.

Reach and impressions

Assess overall reach of your branded and paid social content as an awareness-building metric. But also evaluate meaningful reach through engagement.

Hashtag performance

Identify your top performing branded or campaign-specific hashtags on Instagram and Twitter as benchmarks for future efforts.

Competitor benchmarking

Regularly audit competitors’ social media activity in terms of followers, engagement, click-through-rates, etc. to compare performance.

Lifetime value of acquired customers

Analyze the long-term value of new customers acquired through social channels vs. other sources to guide budget allocation.

By regularly tracking and optimizing these metrics, you can continually refine your social media campaigns to maximize sales and ROI. The beauty of digital is every result can be measured – so make sure you leverage the data!

Final Takeaways

In summary, social media can be a powerful tool for driving sales and growing an ecommerce business if used strategically. By creating engaging content, running paid ads, leveraging influencer marketing, and analyzing data, brands can increase website traffic, build brand awareness, and boost conversions.

However, success requires commitment, creativity, and adaptability. Social media moves fast, so brands must be nimble, optimize efforts based on performance data, and continually find new ways to connect with target audiences.

With a thoughtful, metrics-driven approach, social platforms offer immense potential to cost-effectively acquire and retain customers at scale. The key is developing an integrated social strategy tailored to the brand’s products, customers and growth objectives.

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