Zero To Hero: Building a Brand Series
In last week’s blog post we had a brief introduction on E-commerce and the key steps you should take to create your own sales channel. Another way to create a powerful sales channel is through Social Media.
Social Media is essential to get your target audience to find your brand and connect with influential figures in your niche. In the past few years, social media has become the number one medium for promotion and businesses who want to achieve long term success need to have a social media strategy in place.
Why Having a Social Media Presence is Important
We often hear how social media is powerful and important for brands around the world. The main reasons why social media is the platform of choice is:
- Advertising conversions are higher than other forms of promotions such as traditional PPC, offline marketing and television.
- People spend a lot of time on social media so it’s very easy to find your target audience.
- Social Media provides a lot of data on demographics and behaviours which if used right it can scale up your business significantly.
- Drive Huge Amounts of Traffic To Your Website & Amazon Listing.
- Connect with your customers on a personal level and find out their concerns or needs in your category.
A Look at Social Media Platforms
Facebook is without a doubt the most popular social network to use. Although having(and growing) your own Facebook page is essential for your brand, the advantage Facebook has over other platforms is an affordable and converting advertising platform.
Initially, the best strategy to use Facebook Advertising is to find your target audience. No other advertising platform in the world allows you to segment your audience by:
When launching a new brand, my strategy is to have a budget of $5 a day maximum to find my target audience, that way, when the time comes to launch my product, I know already who to target. Facebook also allows you to target audiences who liked a particular page, so if you have a fitness brand and want to target female audiences aged 18-25 who like Nike, Adidas & Under Armour; you can do that with FB Ads.
What this allows is to have better converting Ads and more clicks to your sponsored posts. One suggestion I can give is to not direct the audience to your Amazon listing(unless you have a lot of positive reviews), but instead to your website/landing page to collect email addresses.
We will talk in more detail about Facebook Advertising in the coming weeks, however, as a business in 2017 and beyond, you need to be on Facebook – it’s where your target market hangs out most of the time so take advantage of it!
Instagram is the platform of choice if you want to showcase your products, brand and your story. The visual aspect of Instagram allows you to truly differentiate yourself from your competitors. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can use their advertising platform to also target Instagram users.
What I really like about Instagram though, is the ability to connect with authority in your niche and even larger brands. This makes it the perfect social media platform alongside YouTube to gain massive exposure for your brand.
However, the downside of Instagram is that you only have one clickable link in your whole profile – The Bio. This makes it very hard to direct audiences to click the link, for this reason, although Instagram can be used to drive sales, the main use of the platform is to gain exposure.
Twitter is one of the top social media networks, however, their follower base has been declining in recent years so in my opinion, other social media platforms are much better. Twitter works best for announcements or to give news regarding your brand or products.
I would still suggest you to have a Twitter account though, not only it works great for some niches such as fitness, yoga and cosmetics; but also because as a brand you need to be everywhere! The more places you are, being social media platforms, marketplaces or countries, the better.
So while in some cases twitter can work great, it’s not an ideal platform for Ecommerce sellers.
Out of all the most popular social media platforms, snapchat is the newest one. However, they are quickly gaining a large following(particularly amongst younger audiences) and they are set to go public soon. Snapchat is a video-based application that allows you for to share videos which are only available for a limited amount of time.
This is a great app if you want to make quick promotional videos or even use it to make instruction-based videos on your products. However, unlike most social media platforms, Snapchat only applies to certain categories.
Nonetheless, if your market is mostly younger audiences, you need to use the app as it’s quickly becoming the number 1 social media platform amongst the younger generation.
YouTube is by far the best social media platform for exposure and driving insane amounts of traffic to your website or Amazon listing. With the introduction of their Video Advertising Platform, you can quickly gain enough exposure or even go viral. It’s not uncommon for unknown brands to go viral and get massive sales via YouTube. Video based ads convert much better also, however, at $0.20 a click, it can become quite expensive.
The power of YouTube relies in a pool of YouTubers from all kinds of niches, in fact, if you can find influencers or brand ambassadors willing to make an unboxing review or How-To-Guides for your product, you will get more sales than any other method, such as PPC or FB Ads.
The major tips I can give regarding YouTube are:
- If you’re starting your own channel, your videos must be very well made.
- Focus on providing value and showcasing your brand.
- If sponsoring other videos, make sure that your products are of a higher quality. Packaging, inserts and the product itself need to look professional.
- With thousands of videos uploaded every minute on YouTube, your videos can easily get lost, have a keyword strategy in place and leverage other social media networks to get views.
If used right, YouTube can be the single platform that elevates your brand from a small business to a well-known brand loved by its audiences. Unless you have enough video making or editing experience, I wouldn’t suggest you make YouTube videos yourself(as a brand), instead, outsource the whole process or even better, leverage the audience of other YouTubers.
Pinterest is a social media platform that very different from the rest. It focuses mainly on images where they are structured using pins and boards. What makes Pinterest unique is that the platform has a majority of women followers, so if your brand or products are aimed at this demographic, you need to focus your marketing efforts on Pinterest.
Pinterest, unlike Instagram, has clickable images, so every image you put in the platform can be directed to your website or Amazon listing. This becomes really powerful when your follower base get bigger as it can help increase conversions.
Social Media & E-Commerce
Social media and E-Commerce are a perfect match for each other! No other platform gives you the ability to showcase your products in front of thousands of potential buyers. When it comes to promoting your products on social media, you need to focus on these points:
- Show what your brand is about(your brand story). People are more willing to buy from brands they can connect with.
- Run Giveaways, Polls and Promotions frequently. These will not only boost sales but it will also give you some great data about your customer base and buying habits.
- Show unique features about your products and great looking pictures will attract more followers.
- Use social media to provide great customer service. Check your inboxes frequently and reply to comments you get on your posts.
However, the most powerful way to gain followers and exposure to your brand via social media is by advertising. Facebook and YouTube provide the best converting advertising platforms and give you a lot of data about your customer behaviour.
Amazon PPC can get very expensive after a while and social media is another great way to drive traffic. It is recommended to not drive traffic directly to your Amazon listing via social media advertising, but instead, use the following strategy:
- Set-Up your Facebook/Instagram/Youtube Ads targeting your ideal audience.
- Links should point to your website or Ecommerce store.
- Have a landing page and an offer to get email subscribers.
- Provide customers the option to either buy from your website or Amazon itself.
By driving traffic to your website you have the ability to collect email subscribers. Email subscribers allow you to:
- Pitch offers during holiday seasons or when you experience slow sales.
- Connect with your customers to build a relationship with your brand.
- Send an email blast when launching new products so you not only get some sales, but also some traffic to your listings.
Social Media Marketing can be a great asset to have for your business. No other tool comes close when it comes to connecting with your target audiences and getting exposure for your brand. Keep in mind that social media is a slow process and not every platform will suit your brand.
We recommend focusing your efforts on 2 or 3 social media platforms and outsource the rest to a virtual assistant.
In next week’s blog post we will discuss Inventory Management, FBA Prep and Storage. Amazon has been constantly increasing their fees so it makes sense to look for alternative options to store part or all of your inventory.
We hope this short guide prove helpful and as always, if you have any questions, kindly leave a comment below.
All the best and happy selling,