Social media has become a necessity for helping businesses flourish, especially if you rely on online sales. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and many other sites are great platforms from which you can spread information about your business. The unique thing about advertising on social media is that you can easily start a discussion with your customers. You can also get immediate feedback, answer questions, ask your own questions…the possibilities are endless! Another great aspect of social media is the fact that once you create content for one site, you can easily share it to your accounts on the other sites.
Whether you’re just starting out with promoting your business on social media or need a few tips for expanding your reach, here are several ways you can use social media to boost online sales:
Using Twitter is incredibly simple. There’s a small limit to the number of characters you can use within your message, forcing you to keep it short and to the point. Because of its popularity and simplicity, Twitter is a great resource to use to start a conversation with your customers and spread news about your business.
Twitter is the site that created the use of hashtags (#) in social media. By putting a hashtag in front of a short key word or phrase, it groups your message in with similar hashtags. This makes it so that you can search for related posts and other people can similarly find your post. Use this tool to see what people are saying about your product and to interact with them. Get people talking about your product, answer questions, and make connections.
Although Facebook started as an exclusive site for connecting college students together, it has grown to be one of the biggest and most influential social media sites. As such, it’s important to use Facebook to your advantage for your online business. Make a page for your store that other people can visit and follow. Reach out and share information with status updates. Interact with other groups and pages that have to do with your business.
Pinterest and Instagram are both amazing resources for online businesses trying to get more traffic. They are lumped together here because they are both used to spread more visual media than many other sites. Engage with your audience by sharing photographs, infographics, and other pictures. Take pictures of your product, show the manufacturing process, tell a story, and develop your brand image. Some businesses will have an easier time coming up with interesting visuals than others, but if you are creative enough, you can gain a loyal and growing following with these sites.
LinkedIn is a more business-oriented, professional social media platform. It’s purpose is to connect professionals from all kinds of industries together. It allows you to easily network with people from all around the world. Set up an e-commerce business profile and look around for connections with other companies, suppliers, potential employees, and other websites. Use it to find other businesses that might want to carry your product. This site is less for advertising or sales and more for connecting professionally and improving your reach in other ways.
YouTube isn’t just for finding music videos, movie clips, and other entertainment. It can be a powerful tool to use for your business. People love to watch videos, and if you can make interesting content in video form, you can draw in tons of viewers. Create a YouTube channel for your business and post videos related to your product. Try behind the scenes manufacturing videos, tutorials, maintenance and repair tips, interesting ways to use a product, and any other type of video that works well for you.
Tumblr and other blogging sites are a great way to spread information about your product and business. Design your page around your business and provide content that is engaging, informative, funny, or otherwise interesting. Reinforce your brand by talking about it and providing more information. Make sure that you connect these posts to your other social media pages and vice versa. You don’t have to make completely different content for Tumblr and for Facebook!
Reddit is a site used mostly for news and entertainment. However, if used properly, it can also be a great resource for your business and draw in dedicated followers. The tricky part is knowing which subreddits (indicated by r/topic) you should post on. r/entrepreneur is a great place to start. Also look for subreddits directly related to your business or product, if it’s popular enough. As with other sites, try to engage with the audience by showing behind-the-scenes processes, reveal struggles you have faced, and other unique information about your business in particular.
Craigslist and Etsy
Online marketplaces can be a great place to start selling your products before you set up your own sales website. General sites such as eBay and Craigslist have been around since 1995, and allow you to sell pretty much anything to pretty much anyone in the world. More recently, sites have created more specialized sales environments. For example, Etsy is a marketplace for artistic and handmade creations.
Before the big social media explosion, forums were the major way people connected online over various topics. Although they have been shoved out of the spotlight, forums are still thriving and are great places to make connections. Find forum websites that specialize in your product or niche and start a conversation. Forums tend to be great resources to use to find answers to questions that people have already asked. You might find some great blog, post, or video ideas deep in the online forums!
Besides providing content, there are other ways you can use some of these sites: paid advertising. Facebook, Google AdWords, YouTube ads, and banner ads reach all over the Internet. Carefully consider where your money would be best spent when deciding how to use paid advertising on social media sites. Do you have a lot of followers on Facebook? Are people watching your YouTube videos? When you design these ads, spread the word about your other social media pages so people can easily connect.
Try using these sites and others to help spread the word about your business and boost online sales. Compared to other advertising methods, these sites require you to show a bit more of your company’s unique personality. Try to engage with your customers, listen to what they have to say, and adjust your content to fit their needs and wants. Using social media for your business can seem like a daunting task, but once you get used to it, it can be really fun!
If you want more tips for promoting your online business, check out Virtual Market Advantage’s other blogs. Here we discuss ways to use content marketing to boost online sales.