When opening an online store, you have taken care of its design, the shopping cart and you’ve generated interesting content for potential customers. Now you must worry about having a solid base of clients that will allow you to maintain and steadily grow your business. The challenge is to maintain that base, to create frequent buyers and customer loyalty. To achieve this you have to start surprising your audience to avoid them considering other stores. Here’s where social networks get into the game as a way of generating sales for your online store. It may sound simple, but there’s a thin line separating a job well done and a social network disaster that could greatly damage your business.

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Next there’s a series of tips and questions any online store has to answer about its social network strategy. They will help discover if the conditions are right to launch a campaign in these communities. Social networks are a very attractive resource in e-commerce and everyone wants to exploit them, but only a few can achieve what they’re expecting.

Don’t push for a sale on social networks, it must come from the customer

It happens every day. We follow a new online store on Facebook because we like their products, the brand they’re showing off and their style. But two days later we stop following them because everything we were seeing on our newsfeed were discounts, promotions, prices and news about new products. Many online stores and brands make this grave mistake and end up asking themselves every day why are our followers not interacting with the publications.

People who follow a brand on social networks don’t do it to receive discounts and promotions (e-mail is the best medium to send this kind of information). They do it because they want to relate with the brand, its image, what it means and what it communicates. Let’s explore the case of Bevel, an American company that makes shaving products specially designed for Afro-American people. Their social network strategy has always been very clear: an “old barbershop” feel to the experience. Well attended, vintage style, everything personalized around what the customer needs.

They have never shown products, discounts, prices or similar things on their Instagram or other social network accounts. They have always shown their products focusing on their great design. They show barbershops where the product is being used with a very special aesthetic. They use social networks to communicate and show what the brand needs, not to sell. Sales will come when the necessary trust is created between the brand and the client. There’s a general rule you should follow when implementing a social network strategy: 40/60

  • 40% of your content should be your own, original, better and distinct from what already exists. If you think your followers would respond well to posts about new products or promotions, use only 10% for this and leave the remaining 30% for original content.
  • 60% can be derivative work from a carefully selected collection of content, making references to other related articles or topics.

What social networks do your potential customers use?

Using the customer profile you already have (some people call it Buyer Persona), you can make a list of potential social networks where the segment is present and more active. Select the top 2 or 3 and focus only on them.

As a reference, if your products are related to clothing, style or design, you should use social networks in which images will trigger the user’s attention. Bevel and Instagram is a good example. For more technical products, when the functional qualities are more valuable, platforms such as Youtube can be of great importance to encourage potential customers to buy your products by way of tutorial videos or podcasts.

Are there any influential personalities related to your product?

There may be a group of people considered relevant or influential in your niche market. Their opinion can have a considerable effect in the target group’s decision making. This may be because they have focused on achieving a large amount of followers on a particular topic or they could be known artists using the opportunity to offer themselves to the brands as a communication method (ambassadors).

If there are any, identify them and follow them right away on social networks. Contact them and show them what you’re doing, as there could be a mutual benefit to be quickly exploited.