Leveraging Social Commerce during the Holidays

So, you’ve read our holiday guide and know how to prepare your business operations, team, and inventory for the holiday shopping season. (Don’t worry if you’ve haven’t read our guide yet, there’s still time! Head over here.) We talk about how to leverage social for your holiday campaigns in that guide, but I want to take a deeper dive into social commerce and how you can leverage it to increase sales.

In this blog, we’ll cover how to advertise on Facebook, jump on the viral selling trend, manage your social community, and why you should buy into ‘Buy It!’ buttons. First, let’s start with the bare bones of Facebook advertising.

Boosting your Facebook Page

First and foremost, your business NEEDS to be on a social network. To get started, I recommend: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  

Secondly, to be successful at selling on social, on Facebook specifically, you need to have an advertising budget, something as small as $25/week to as large as $5000/month depending on your audience size and products you’re promoting.

  • What do you promote? Promote your holiday sales, any products that would make great gifts, and call them such in your post. 

  • When do you promote? Wednesday through Friday, and I suggest running each post for three days at a time. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck this way and customers will keep your store in mind when they start shopping later in the week into the weekend. 
  • How do you measure success? I’d take a look at two main metrics - overall engagement and product sales. By looking at this, you’ll want to see increase in your results to determine success.

    Overall Engagement: Engagement is the wealth of people talking about your social content.  Were there a ton of likes, comments, shares? This is benchmark for measuring engagement.

    Product Sales: Did the product you promote see a surge in sales during and after you ran the ad?

Create your community and be organized about it.

The foundation of social selling is backed by your social community and how effectively you listen to what they are saying. To do this successfully, you’ll need a social media management platform. Why? You’ll be most organized when you have an all-in-one platform pulling in your social channels. A social media tool we use is Sprout Social. It is to social media as Stitch is to inventory management and multichannel selling.

Once you have your social channels organized, the next important aspect to consider is your customer service. Imagine you run a brick-and-mortar storefront and you have an upset customer in your store. Only a handful of other customers may see this interaction. However, on social media, when a customer reaches out frustrated, not only is it more visible, but in many cases, it is permanent. How you handle these types of outreach affects your brand and in turn, your sales.

Some of you may be reading this and be thinking, ‘but you can hide, delete, and/or ban those negative posts on Facebook. So, how is it permanent?’ Here is my case on why you should almost never delete negative wall posts and comments:

That customer will know you’ve deleted or other to that post. Especially in cases where they are expecting a response from you. This, in many instances, leads to that customer just moving on to another social site, or even review site to express their frustrations.

What I recommend is to take it offline as diplomatically as possible. Ask them for an order number or an email, and work through it via email or chat. This way, you keep your positive brand reputation, but also work towards a resolution and also not revealing personal information.


#HaveFun with #Hashtags

Yes, you can hashtag your business (for example, #StitchLabs) in your social posts; you should in your regular business posts. However, during the holidays, feel free to get festive with social media. Creating a unique hashtag campaign will encourage fans and customers to share on their own social media outlets with your hashtag and products. This is what I like to call, viral selling.

How viral sellingworks is, for example, let’s say you sell handmade scented candles, and you’re looking for a way to boost social shares and awareness from your customers purchasing these candles. Create a hashtag campaign around gifting candles to friends and family with the tag #ScentSanta. You’ll then post relevant content with this tag and ask fans to do the same. (Example: Which scent is your go-to for gifts when you’re #ScentSanta?)

A great big-brand example is Benefit Cosmetics and their recent launch of a new product called ‘Air Patrol’. They created the hashtag #airpatrol and encourage fans who have purchased the new product to use the hashtag. Then,they will re-post fan photos on Instagram with this tag. Below is one example of this:

Should you buy into the ‘Buy Button’ fad? YES!

What are the first three things you typically do after waking up? Shut off your alarm on your phone,  check your texts and emails, and then visit some social network. Social media is now an addictive commonplace in our society (#FOMO, anyone?), and there are several ways to also make just as common in your selling structure. Here are a few options:

  • Buy It’ on Pinterest: This is the easiest way to selling selling via social media. The referral traffic potential is exponential.  Pinterest is the second largest social channel for referrals. Second only to Facebook, and now with the Buy It button, it makes it even easier for users to purchase products they are already pinning.
  • Shopify + Facebook: You now have the option to sell your Shopify-listed products directly through Facebook. If you have a Shopify store and a Facebook page, you should make this integration happen for the holiday season. It saves people shopping/searching on Facebook one extra step and gets you one more sale!
  • Twitter’s ‘Buy Button’: It’s currently only available to 100,000 merchants, and while you wait, you can leverage Twitter by sharing links to your Pinterest posts. This is something to think about for the new year when building a Twitter profile and community during the holiday season. How will those customers and followers purchase on social in 2016?

Now that we covered the basics, let’s review the biggest takeaways to increase sales on social this holidays are:

  • Be present on social and be sure to share and advertise your products.
  • Use creative promotions to create viral heat behind your holiday promotions.
  • Get ahead of the social ‘Buy’ button trend and add them before the holidays hit!

 

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