The following is an excerpt from The Shopify Merchant’s Guide to Holiday Engagement, a free eBook featuring 10 incredible Shopify experts. In this post, Michael Chachula, Founder of Foursixty, shares some common misconceptions and best practices for using social media to engage customers, plus his actionable tips to help you boost your sales this holiday season.
Why It Matters
Social media platforms, and particularly visual platforms like Instagram, are vital for anyone selling a lifestyle product online. Because online shoppers can’t physically experience products by trying them on or testing them, these customers don’t know how products will fit, look, or work on them. This is where social media can make up the difference.
Social media networks like Instagram foster online purchasing by helping consumers envision themselves wearing or using products by putting them in context. Many successful brands take their social strategies to the next level by integrating shoppable Instagram platforms like Foursixty into their online stores. This kind of solution enables brands to bridge the gap between their social content and the point of sale.
If you provide your customers with a tool that easily lets them shop your social content, they will use it. While results vary depending on the brand and industry, we have seen some brands generate up to 10% of their online revenue through shoppable social tools.
“You have to be a well-known brand or influencer to drive sales on Instagram.”
One big misconception about social media is that only well-known influencers and bloggers can drive meaningful traffic and sales. We’ve found that brands who put in the time and effort to cultivate their customer communities through social media do quite well, even if they don’t have the largest follower count. The important thing is doing it the right away.
Cultivate micro-influencers among your followers.
For most ecommerce merchants, product discovery is no longer happening at the point of sale: it’s happening on social media, and it is rapidly driving purchase desire. The power of social media lies in the everyday customer as the “micro-influencer.” The micro-influencer is the customer who loves your products and who will post great photos of them.
Your goal should not be to flood your social media with general content, but rather to cultivate micro-influencers who will maximize on-brand and authentic content streams. Micro-influencer content attracts like-minded followers and turns them into potential customers after they see products on people who look similar, share similar styles, or share other commonalities.
Speak directly to your customer.
You know your customer best. You know what they want. Once you have an engaged community on Instagram, make sure to interact with them and post tailored content. If you’re running a promotion that you know will appeal to them, or if you know what kinds of products they’re likely to want to buy during the holiday season, focus your content around that.
Add shoppable Instagram content to your Shopify store.
If you use a solution like Foursixty, the products featured in your Instagram photos will be available for customers to purchase when they click through to your store. This gives your followers an easy way to shop for items they find in your Instagram feed, as well as customer generated content.
Post great content consistently and often.
Social media is very much a “publish or perish” kind of world. Ensure that you’re delivering consistent value to your followers by regularly posting content that is completely aligned with your brand’s story. That goes a long way with customers.
Be available to provide customer support.
For many online shoppers, social media is considered an appropriate and expected channel to receive customer service. This is especially relevant during the holidays, when shoppers have less time and more urgency, and won’t hesitate to get in touch with you however they can. As an online merchant, you should be open and willing to provide support to your customers over social media.
Make It Happen
Posting on social networks is a great way of engaging customers organically. As Instagram has grown over the past several years, ecommerce merchants have had tremendous success posting lifestyle photos of their products and cultivating brand ambassadors among their followers. Foursixty takes this a step further, allowing you to make your Instagram and user-generated content shoppable. Sign up for a 21-day free trial to start driving sales directly from Instagram.
Read more in our free eBook!
For more lessons on how to engage holiday shoppers and boost traffic and sales, be sure to check out The Shopify Merchant’s Guide to Holiday Engagement. It’s free to download—no email address required. Consider it our gift to you this holiday season!