E-commerce News and Insights | Sep 14, 2022

5 Ways to Leverage Social Media to Grow Your E-commerce Business

Chris Manguerra

With peak season upon us and social media consumption continuing to skyrocket thanks to new advances in social selling technologies, there’s never been a better time for e-commerce merchants to leverage social media to grow and scale their business. In fact, 59% of the world’s population uses social media, and the average user spends about two hours and thirty minutes consuming social content daily. 

While it’s no secret that social media presents e-commerce merchants with a huge opportunity to grow and expand sales, implementing the right strategy and tactics may feel daunting for business owners wearing multiple hats. To help you get the most of the massive potential social media can play in boosting your online sales, let’s dive into five strategies you can try now to grow your e-commerce business.

Foster relationships with customers

Let’s start by turning our attention to the importance of fostering connections with your customers. One of the most unique opportunities that social media offers brands is the ability to build relationships with their customer base by engaging with customers directly via comments and direct messages (DMs). This not only brings personality to a brand but also fosters a community where customers feel connected and informed. 

Let’s take a real-life look at how the founder of The Ollie Swaddle, Ollie World, uses social media to build and foster a community with other moms looking for tips on how to survive motherhood.

“Our topics don’t tend to be lipstick and glitter, but more focused on the raw reality of being a mom and/or dad. That being said, we feel that social is more of a way for us to truly engage with our customers first and as a marketing tool second”, says the Ollie World team. By leveraging social as a way to connect with their customer base, the Ollie World team is able to build brand credibility and trust – and generate more sales.

Provide customer service

Now that you’ve connected with your customers and started building an online community, it’s time to think about how you’re going to extend those relationships with world-class customer support. 

In today’s e-commerce ecosystem, customers expect brands to answer support, sales, and shipping questions quickly. A recent study found that 79% of consumers expect to hear a response back within 24 hours when engaging with a brand via social media. By utilizing tools like Facebook Business Manager and the various social media listening tools, e-commerce brands have the opportunity to delight their customers and stand out from competitors by providing excellent service.

Optimize your social channels for e-commerce

A recent report by Bloomberg estimates that shopping on social media will become a $1.2 Trillion business by 2025. With social media platforms continuing to invest in social selling opportunities for online businesses, now is the perfect time to start selling your products through these channels. 

Where you can sell your products directly on social media:

  • Facebook: Take advantage of the over 1.3 million+ users on Instagram by creating an Instagram business profile and setting up an Instagram shop
  • Pinterest: With over 430 million active users, Pinterest is a great place to attract new customers and drive more sales. You can start by creating a business account and integrating your Shopify or WooCommerce store with your Pinterest business account. Learn more about how to get started here.
  • Instagram: There’s never been a better time to set up your e-commerce business with an Instagram business account with Instagram boosting over 2 million active users daily. To start selling on Instagram, you must first set up a business account and you can begin adding posts with your tagged products so that visitors can shop directly on Instagram. To learn more about how to start selling on Instagram go here.
  • TikTok: As one of social media’s growing platforms, selling your products on TikTok should be a no-brainer. In fact, 38% of users convince their friends and family members to buy products from videos they come across on TikTok. To get started, you must set up a TikTok business account, upgrade to a Pro account, and link your eStore to your TikTok.

The easiest way to start selling through social media is to ensure you’ve set up your social channels for social commerce. This can be done by establishing your social channels as an e-commerce brand and enabling the numerous e-commerce selling tools and integrations across all four social channels mentioned above.

Collaborate with influencers to boost brand awareness

If you’ve ever come across one of your favorite actors, entrepreneurs, or social media influencers promoting products on social media it’s likely that you’ve experienced an influencer marketing promotion. There’s never been a better time for e-commerce brands to hop on the influencer marketing trend and take advantage of the numerous opportunities it can deliver to e-commerce businesses.

You can begin to put together your influencer marketing strategy by getting a grasp of popular trends and interests that might appeal to your target customers. From there, you can use create a list of target influencers who you’d like to target to promote your brand and popular products. By leveraging the influence and following of online influencers, you’ll be able to increase your brand’s visibility to thousands of potential new customers and promote your product to new markets.

Run social promotions to boost sales

This is where all those customer connections, social listening insights, and increased brand awareness meet. At this point, you are now ready to put in place a social strategy that caters to increasing sales by leveraging your social content to connect with your followers and provide exclusive social offerings to your customers.

An easy way to boost sales and promote exclusive social discounts is to engage with your followers by providing tips and tricks that add value to your followers’ feeds. Check out this example from Holistic Lifestyle Specialist (@ancientartery), who provides her followers with tips for how to create healthier habits, and then couples that with an exclusive 50% off discount to encourage her followers to buy her product before the price increases. 

Here’s how @ancientartery leverages social media to connect with her customers by being authentic, which leads to more sales and customers for her business: “Through social media, I’m able to give support and be of service to deserving people from across the globe. My brand has taken off because I’ve had the opportunity to show the same authenticity that I display in real life, on camera. Ultimately, people just need to know that you’re a real person who really cares about having an impact rather than just gaining another follower, and social media has helped me do just that!”

Here are a few more ways to promote and boost sales:

  • Run giveaways: Encourage your followers to participate in social giveaways that require them to like, share, and promote your social posts in order to increase reach and engagement.
  • Promote flash sales: Take advantage of the “stories” feature across social platforms by promoting flash sales to drive instant sales and add encourage your followers to stay up to date with your social accounts.
  • Run exclusive social media promotions: Promote sales that are exclusive only to your social media followers as a way to reward your followers while enticing more people to follow you for the latest social promos.
  • Use brand-specific hashtags: Use hashtags that are relevant to your brand and your industry.
  • Share user-generated content (UGC): Share content created by your customers, followers, or fans of your brand.

In today’s evolving social media landscape, staying on top of social trends can elevate a brand and boost sales when done right. Using social media to build your brand, connect with customers, and promote sales is only the start of the ever-growing potential that social media can unlock for e-commerce businesses. For more tips on how to organically grow your e-commerce business and customer base, be sure to follow Shippo on our own social channels @shippo on Twitter, LinkedIn, @shipwithshippo on Instagram, and on TikTok!

Chris Manguerra is a Social Media Manager at Shippo.

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