We talk about social media often. This is because when you’re first starting out, or if you’re just launching into digital marketing, social media is the easiest (and cheapest) method of marketing your online store.
When building your social presence, it’s important to create a community around your product and brand. This community will drive visits and sales to your store, and turn your followers into brand ambassadors, harnessing the most powerful type of marketing that exists: word of mouth.
Prestashop has created another video with our CEO Nicolas Chevalier on how to use social media to drive visits and sales to your e-commerce site. Check out the best tips on how to foster a community around your brand:
Step 1: Understand your Target Audience
When building a community, you need to understand who would ideally make up that community. For this, you need to begin constructing an idea of who your typical customer is- after all, if your community is built around those who aren’t interested in your product, it wouldn’t make much sense, would it?
But how do you best understand your ideal customer? Take some time to reflect on what you sell and who would be interested in your product. Look at those who have already purchased your product and try to get a feel for who they are. In marketing, we call this constructing a customer persona.
The foundation of any social media campaign is the customer persona. That’s a fancier way of referring to your target audience, which breaks down into three components:
- Demographics: Demographics refers to factual statistics about your audience. For example, age, geographical location, and yearly income are all ways to define your customer persona.
- Psychographics: Psychographics are mental, attempting to measure personality and taste. A few common psychographic metrics are fashion sense, hobbies, and political views. An example of this is to try and target people that love sports.
- Common Behaviors: Common behaviors refer to the actions that your audience do on a regular basis. For example, your fans may post a lot of selfies or frequently share memes on Facebook.
You can use these three categories to build a customer persona. This helps you understand what niche to target with your social media content.
Creating a customer persona is essential to everything behind your marketing strategy. You can create it by asking yourself a few questions about your customer and brand:
What kind of customer visits my e-commerce store?
- Who is the typical person that visits your store?
- What is their age, gender, and purchase power?
- Where do they live? (this is especially important in cross-border e-commerce where this might be a crucial question for marketing to different cultures)
What are your customer’s interests?
- What kind of music/movies/series do they like?
- What are their hobbies?
- What are their goals?
- What is the personality of your typical customer?
How does your customer behave?
- What do your customers consume?
- Where do they spend their time?
- What do your customers like and dislike?
- Where do your customers go?
How can you add value to your Customer’s experience?
This last question is the most important. Once you’ve answered the other questions about your typical customer, you can determine what these consumers want and need.
Understanding fundamental wants and needs of your customers is your ace to being able to provide those things. When you can add value to your customers, they will trust you as someone who really understands who they are.
You want to help your loyal customers become your brand ambassadors. There are two ways to approach this.
One method is to reward them for bringing new people into the community. Referral programs have been successful for brands like Dropbox and Lyft. This takes a lot of work to set up, but can have big results.
A less extreme method is to cultivate evangelical fans. You can’t force people to love your brand, but you can facilitate it through extreme generosity. Try to identify your best customers early on and find ways to give them a lot more value.
Determining what they’re looking for and how you can provide it will engage your customers. They will appreciate what you provide them, and in the principle of reciprocity, they will be more inclined to give you their attention (and purchases) in return.
Step 2: Keep it Human
Social media may be business to you, but it’s casual entertainment for most of your fans. You want to be relaxed and maintain the human element to your content.
For starters, never create content by committee. Large groups are terrible at creative work. You should assign an individual or small group to create the best content that they can, without allowing more than one manager to have veto power over the end result.
Ask for feedback on your social media presence. If you have a healthy community, your superfans will be eager to help you iterate and improve your content. Keep in mind that this only works if you are humble enough to listen and take the advice.
Above all else, interact on a personal level. Don’t post as “the brand.” Use real names and faces whenever possible to create a human touch in all that you do. No one wants to interact with a faceless brand or a corporate robot. Forget all that!
What’s most important in interacting online is remembering that on the other side of each (most) interactions is a human being. When talking to your community, imagine that they’re actually in front of you and make sure that you’re acting like a human.
But interaction doesn’t come naturally to everyone- and that’s okay. Remember, you’re allowed to make mistakes with this- which will, incidentally, make you more human to your community too. If you lock up and you don’t know how to respond or talk to your community, here are a few tips:
- Dont be too serious
- Don’t be afraid to go for something a bit silly or funny to better resonate with your audience.
- Keep your interaction positive
- Even in the face of negativity or trolls, don’t ever let anything get under your skin. Remember, the internet is the place where things can go viral quickly. Keep a positive attitude, and only great things around your brand. Handle any and all negative feedback with tact and respect.
- Ask for feedback
- Don’t be afraid to ask your community for feedback directly. Many might ignore you- but others will respond to a sincere request for feedback on your brand, store, and products. However, this only works if you’re ready to listen.
- Listen to your community
- The biggest part of communication in any situation, is being able to listen. If your community is telling you something, take it to heart and listen. What’s more, take steps to correct any negative feedback they might have- this will show your community that you respect their opinions, and that you’re willing to respond to them.
- Interact on a personal level
- Find a way to personalize each message. This can be as simple as using their first name or mentioning something interesting from their profile. Don’t be afraid to compliment your customers on something.
- Take a (non-creepy) interest in their lives. For example if one of your followers posts something interesting, feel free to like it. Post a comment and tell them their photo is cool, or if they post about your brand, thank them for their feedback.
Creating a community takes time and work, but it’s worth it. Community engagement and trust is something that money just can’t buy, and the value that it will bring to your store is immeasurable.
It’s good to settle into a social media routine. That means having a regular schedule for your content and targeting the same niche for a long time.
Don’t post sporadically or randomly. Set a reasonable pace, such as a new blog post every other day, and keep at it. You want to create content in the same niche over and over, providing real value the whole time.
Make content that adds something new to the conversation. You can reference and respond to other blog posts in your niche, offer behind-the-scenes content, and so much more. The key is to be consistent and to make good quality content.
Whenever a brand has a hard time using social media to drive visits and sales, there’s usually one of two problems. They either have a quality problem or a consistency problem. You should work hard to be as consistent as you can be. The big question on everybody’s mind is: How do I get more traffic?
The answer, as this article shows, is to be generous. Think less about your own needs and more about what you can do for your fans. Not only is this a pleasant mindset to live with, it’s hugely effective on social media.
It takes some courage to use this strategy. Be bold, giving your employees the freedom that they need to create great content. Act natural and connect on a personal level. If you approach social media with the giving mindset, you’ll be able to build a community around your brand.
Getting customers to like your brand will drive visits and sales to your online store. Getting customers to feel like they’re part of a community will make them identify with your brand- which will increase their overall lifetime loyalty. With these tips, you can foster customer loyalty from social media which will build a base of loyal customers to your brand.
What’s your best tip for driving visits and sales to your e-commerce site? Tell us below or tweet us!