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Social media marketing tips for merchants

April 13, 2022

Social media offers an effective and cost-efficient way to grow your brand. But most importantly for merchants, it can help sell products and services. However, you will need a strategy loaded with ideas that resonate with audiences. Those followers can then be monetised to help increase revenue by directing them to the product pages on your website. With that in mind, this guide features helpful social media marketing tips that can help drive your store forward.

1) Research is key

Just because you can post a social media message doesn't mean you should post one. Not straight away, at least. Like any other plan of action, anyone new to social media needs to research their market before jumping straight in and creating content.

Researching your audience can help identify personas and discover where your target market congregates online – the right research can reveal that your audience is mostly on Twitter, as opposed to Facebook or Instagram. 

One of the best ways to determine this is to identify the ages and personas of your target market and then cross-reference them with social media networks. Facebook users, for example, are 43.5% female and 56.5% male and it also tends to have a slightly older demographic than, say, Instagram, whose average is between 24 and 35.

2) Keep up with the latest trends

Nobody wants to arrive at a party too early or too late. It's all about timing it so that you get there during the peak period. It's the same principle for social media and implementing the latest trends: users need to embrace trends just as they reach peak popularity. 

It's easier said than done but making sure that you're slightly ahead of the curve with your social media output can give you an edge over competitors. One of the best ways to do this is by looking at the most popular social networks and reviewing the actions of the biggest brands in your industry. 

Whether it's using live streams on Facebook, Instagram TV, TikTok videos or taking advantage of location-based marketing, the latest trends can help propel your businesses' social media outreach. You want to be seen as a thought leader and trendsetter rather than a follower.

3) Use social media tools

If you're new to social media and feel like it's a continuous game of catch up, there is some good news. Social media tools make managing your efforts across each platform easier with in-depth insights and access to information all in one convenient place. 

Instead of navigating to each social media platform individually, a social media tool lets you view everything happening across every platform. The best ones like Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social also provide data-rich insights to help you better understand your efforts. 

Social media tools act as a convenient way to monitor conversations, schedule and publish multiple posts and compare yourself with competitors. Having a social media tool provides extra support to help run your operations more smoothly.

4) Be consistent with your output

Opening a social media account is the easy part; building an audience with engaging content is a somewhat harder task. Persistence will pay off, though, even if it feels like you're not seeing promising results to begin with. 

Failure to see instant growth shouldn't result in you ignoring the social media account and leaving it to accumulate digital dust. Instead, schedule regular posts, engage with other people and businesses online and aim to start conversations about topics in your industry. 

Regularly update your website with new content, such as blog posts, and then share them on social media. Include images in posts: on Twitter, tweets with images get 18% more clicks 89% more likes. It might take a few months, but you will start seeing follower counts increase and more people clicking through to your online store.

5) Don't go for the hard sell

As a retail business, your primary goal is to convert, but social media requires more nuance. That’s not to say you can’t sell products on social media and offer promotions. Just make sure it’s not the only action you take. Going straight for the hard sell on social media can end up being a costly mistake.

Using selling as the sole method of communication could see you lose trust with your audience. And once that trust is gone, it's virtually impossible to build it back up. Instead, create content that enhances your follower’s knowledge and gets them involved in your posts.

Use your social media page to share news about topics in your industry, ask questions directly to your followers with polls and provide them with rich content. Such an approach should aid some sales-led posts encouraging them to convert from a follower to a customer.

6) Get your audience involved

Social media has given everyone a voice. As a result, it's changed the way consumers think about brands. They no longer want to buy products from faceless organisations, and instead demand to have their input in the brand. 

You should aim to create a community where followers feel like valued assets. One of the best ways to achieve this is by engaging with them and asking their opinions, whether it's about new branding material or asking what they want to see from your product line. 

If customers feel valued, they are more likely to become brand evangelists and champion your cause. Seventy-four per cent of customers say they’re loyal to a brand because of its product quality, but 33% abandoned a brand lacking personalisation. Ensure that you make your customers feel values and use social media to connect a community where everyone has their input.

Summary: Using social media to grow

Applying these tips will help your retail business get off on the right foot in the world of social media. At first, it might seem like a tricky place to navigate. But keeping at it with creative, engaging content will prove to be a rewarding experience that sees you grow your follower count while driving more business to your online store.