Results for 'social media ecommerce'

Which Social Media Platforms Drive the Most Sales? [Infographic]

Business owners often wonder about the "ROI of social media". Is my Facebook page actually driving sales? Is…

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Business owners often wonder about the "ROI of social media". Is my Facebook page actually driving sales? Is all this tweeting really doing anything for my bottom line? Should I be on Pinterest and Instagram?

Well it turns out, when it comes to ecommerce, being social matters.

To better understand how social media is impacting the ecommerce industry, we analyzed data from 37 million social media visits that led to 529,000 orders.

Here's some interesting data points we uncovered:

  • Facebook dominates as a source of social traffic and sales. Nearly two thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores come from Facebook. Plus, an average of 85% of all orders from social media come from Facebook.
  • Orders from Reddit increased 152% in 2013.
  • Perhaps most interesting and surprising was community style site Polyvore which is generating the highest average order value ahead of Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Also noteworthly in this category is Instagram which is also generating higher average orders than those same sites. This is especially impressive considering the only clickable links in Instagram are those in profile bio's.
  • Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media ecommerce traffic at 1.85%

In addition to these stats, we've also analyzed specific industries to determine which platforms are performing well for them. You can check out all of our findings in the infographic below. Please click on the image to view it in full-screen. 


About the Author: Mark Macdonald is the Content Manager at Shopify. Get more from Mark on Twitter.

Top 5 Social Media Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Social media isn't just about sending a few Tweets and posting a few things on Facebook. If done…

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Social media isn't just about sending a few Tweets and posting a few things on Facebook. If done right, you can drastically increase traffic to your site, bump up customer spending, and create brand ambassadors that spread positive word of mouth all around the web. Having a bad social media strategy? Could be detrimental.

Managing your social media network effectively takes tender love and care. If you want to be serious about it (and you should),  don't get the intern to do it on his coffee breaks. Here are the five most common mistakes to avoid when building and managing your social media empire:

1. Acting Without a Plan

Planning is important. Imagine if football teams ran plays without planning ahead - sure it'd work sometimes, but long run? Not a good idea. Same goes for social media. Define what your goals are and map out how you're going to get there. Here are 7 quick steps to create a social media strategy

2. Thinking Size Matters

The amount of Twitter followers you have doesn't matter. Anyone can go on eBay and buy 5,000 followers for $__.__ but it won't do a thing for your business aside from feeding your ego with glamor metrics. Thousands of followers may look good on your trophy case, but if they're not quality leads it's a waste of time and money. Only go after followers that count. Once you have a high quality following then engage your audience with topical and interesting content, thoughtful questions, and relevant industry news. 1,000 quality followers is more powerful than 50,000 spambots. 

3. Spreading Yourself Thin

Pick the three or four platforms most utilized by your customers and focus on those. It's better to be awesome at only a few social media sites then be simply "ok" at all of them. Most online stores will get the greatest benefit from focusing their efforts to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. If you're a B2B company you'll also want to give LinkedIn some attention. 

4. Ignoring the Competition

Some say that knowing what you're up against is half the battle. I wouldn't go that far, but it's undoubtedly important to have a good understanding of what the other players in your game are doing. Keep an eye on what your competition is up to by regularly visiting their website, reading their press releases and frequenting their social media sites. You'd be surprised how much you can learn from the good things they do, and (perhaps more importantly) you can learn a lot from their mistakes.

5. Not Looking in the Mirror

Take a good look at yourself. Monitoring your progress will help you to focus on things that actually move the needle. If something doesn't work, change it. HootSuite  is the most popular social media dashboard that allows you to manage and measure your social networks. It's good for any sized company (even if it's just one person), and offers a basic plan that's free. If you're looking for more basic social stats, you can also check out: 

  • Topsy: Easy to use social stats. 
  • Sharedcount Super basic social share counter. 

Using Social Media to Promote Your Online Store

Using Social Media to Promote Your Online Store The social media revolution has made it possible for business…

The social media revolution has made it possible for business of all sizes to reach an infinitely expanding audience. With the right integration tools, it’s simple and easy to automate your social media activities directly with an ecommerce storefront and eliminate the intimidating time commitment that can accompany the move to a social marketing program.

Below are a couple of great examples about how to use social media to promote your business.

What’s in it for you?

Connecting social media with your ecommerce presence allows even the smallest shop to tap into an enormous—and still growing—potential customer base. With more than 400+ million users on Facebook alone, this single network now boasts more traffic per week than Google in the U.S. The real value in Facebook and other social networks is in their exponentially powerful word of mouth marketing. Believe it or not, 75% of consumers trust peer recommendations of products and services, while less than 15% trust paid advertising. This means you can have a much more honest dialogue with your customers through social media.

Direct Product Marketing

The easiest way to get started in with social media integration for your e- commerce business is with direct promotion of products, services, special offers and events distributed through a Facebook Fan Page or Twitter. By sharing news about new products, special offers for Facebook or Twitter followers and even exclusive events, you can build a loyal and engaged following that will want to share their “secret” find with their friends. Contests, giveaways and special promotions designed to encourage fans to spread the message can help to grow your network and customer base. For example, create a contest whereby the 100th follower to Re-Tweet your “deal of the day” receives a special discount or gift certificate. Charmandchain.com, an online jewelry boutique that uses Shopify for their online store, has incorporated word-of- mouth marketing into their Facebook page by offering an incentive for the customer to tell friends about the store. By inviting 20 friends to become a fan on Facebook, follow on Twitter and join the mailing list, the customer is entered into a sweepstakes to win a $300 gift certificate. The message about Charm and Chain is spread exponentially.

Brand Building with Indirect Marketing

Besides direct promotion of products and services, social media provides an easy and effective way to build brand leadership and trust among your customers and fans. Blogs are an excellent way to weave a bit more of your shop’s personality and expertise into the sales conversation without a direct sales push. Blogging about new products and events is important but by also sharing your knowledge, tips and thoughts on industry news, product trends and other “big picture” aspects of the business, customers will be more inclined to turn to you for their purchases based on this established trust factor. Active participation in community forums is another powerful way to maintain engagement with customers beyond the sales transaction. Answering questions, providing feedback and serving as an information resource in your own or other public forums positions you as an expert in your industry, someone your customers can trust and a company they can turn to in order to meet their needs. Finally, don’t forget to integrate these efforts with Facebook and Twitter. By sharing a link to a new blog post over Facebook or Twitter, for example, you can reach your audience in multiple ways thereby making it easier to keep up to date on your news.

Integration Tools Make it Easy

While integrating social media with your ecommerce presence may be free, it may still come at a price: your valuable time. Maintaining multiple online presences, pages and feeds can be extremely time consuming. Fortunately, with the right ecommerce platform, you can easily integrate—and automate—these efforts to save time. First, build a Twitter applet, Facebook “Like” button and a blog feed directly into your storefront to make customers aware of your social presence and make it easy for them to find you. Second, choose an ecommerce platform provider with social media integration tools that automate the distribution process. This way, when you add a new product, launch a promotion, post a new blog article or have any other bit of news to share, the message is distributed instantly and automatically across all the social networks you’ve established. With just a single point of contact to spread the message across multiple platforms, you can dramatically reduce the amount of time you invest in social media management to improve efficiency without sacrificing valuable customer engagement. While it may seem overwhelming to step into the social media fray, the opportunity for growth by leveraging this evolving medium simply cannot be ignored. With easy-to-use integration tools at your disposal, building a social media presence can not only easily generate an impressive return on investment, but it can also be a fun and energizing way to interact with your customers and learn more about what makes them tick—which can pay further dividends long down the road.

Here are a few free apps to use with your online store. Give them a shot and see what they could do for you.

BeeShopy
Check out BeeShopy, which lets you publish your online store directly to Facebook and lets customers and fans buy without leaving your fan page.

Tweetify
With Tweetify you can market your products directly on Twitter.

Socialify
Use Socialify to publish products and promotions directly on your Facebook page. Your fans will have it in their news feed as well.

Re-Thinking Traditional Social Media Share Buttons

By now I'm sure you're familiar with the traditional set of social media sharing buttons. Here on the Shopify…

By now I'm sure you're familiar with the traditional set of social media sharing buttons. Here on the Shopify Blog we use Twitter, Facebook, inShare, and Google + buttons. StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are pretty popular as well but we haven't started using them yet. There's an even newer breed of buttons quickly gaining traction and a Montreal based startup, Willet Inc, is thinking critically about the next generation of ecommerce social media sharing buttons. 

Traditional share buttons were primarily made for content providers - newspapers, magazines and blogs. They weren't created with ecommerce shoppers in mind. Fraser Harris, co-founder of Willet Inc, says "Your customers want to share aspirations, opinions, and questions about your products. You need sharing tools to reflect these motivations and, in the process, deliver to your store inexpensive, pre-qualified, positively biased friends." I asked Fraser some questions about social media buttons and here are his responses: 

Can you leverage your customers’ social networks?
"Each one of us wants our customers to bring their friends to our store. It’s the holy grail of acquiring new customers: inexpensive, pre-qualified, and positively biased. By all appearances, social networks have made this easier than ever, but the new customers never seem to materialize in droves."

"The average Facebook user spends over 15 hours on Facebook a month. To put that in perspective, it's about ¼ of their time online. But social networks are rarely a source of traffic for retailers. Research shows that only 1 in 200 visitors to an ecommerce site originate from a social network.  Even worse, social traffic converts less than search traffic."

But what about traditional sharing buttons?
"An early solution was for merchants to add sharing buttons to every product page.  This hasn’t worked out as promised by social networks. While your products are very valuable and useful to your customers, they aren’t necessarily shareable. Sharing is about bringing value to or getting value from, your social network: entertainment, meaningful causes, or self-expression. Angry Birds plush toys are hilarious and shareable, but most products sold online aren’t."

So what's the solution?
"The next wave of social innovation is about collecting, and this time your products will be the focus! Your customers will add your products to collections if they are stylish, fashionable, interesting or aesthetic. Collections are very social, and can generate significant traffic to your store! The most popular collection sites are:

Pinterest - Organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use Pinterest’s virtual pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Tumblr  - A blogging service that has become the focal point of fashion on the web. Users obsessively post small updates like photos or quotes, follow each others fashion finds, and comment and repost other peoples discoveries.

Svpply  - A growing community of people discovering the products they love. Use Svpply to keep track of the things you want to buy, or browse a personal feed of products from across the web, curated and filtered by the people and stores you find interesting.
What is Willet Inc working on?
We are trying something new at Willet! We’ve realized that Shopify stores are using borrowed sharing tools (Tweet, Facebook..etc..)  We feel you need more appropriate sharing tools, so we're currently testing a free app called ShopConnection! The App will allow you to install Pinterest, Tumblr, and Svpply buttons quickly and easily on your Shopify store. Right now it's in Beta, but watch out for our pending launch in the Shopify App Store. For info on our Beta program go here."

Why Timing is Everything With Social Media

It's extremely important to publish your content at the right time of day. A recent study by KISSmetrics helps outline some best practices…

It's extremely important to publish your content at the right time of day.  A recent study by KISSmetrics helps outline some best practices for posting at times when your audience is most likely to properly consumer your content.


Before you do anything, you should consider what time zone your customers and prospects live in. Think about this: 48% of the US population runs of Eastern Standard Time (EST), 33% on Central Time (CST) and 14% on Pacific Time (PST). Define where your current and potential customers are and gear your social media publishing toward them. Here are some tips to help you choose the best times to publish and promote your content on Twitter, Facebook, Email Marketing, and your Blog:

Twitter

  • The best days to Tweet are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • 6pm is most ecommerce merchant's golden hour. 
  • Avoid having a block of time where you tackle Twitter in one go. Instead, spread your posts throughout the day. Statistics show that you will get the best CTR (Click Through Rate) if you post 1 to 4 times an hour. Save the most important Tweets for 6pm.

Facebook

  • The best day for Facebook is Saturday when people have time to read your links and respond.
  • Facebook posts peak around noon and after 7pm - as people check their profiles during lunch hours and after work.

Email Marketing

  • For ecommerce stores, 7pm to 10pm is your 'sweet spot'. People are more likely to respond to marketing campaigns or special offers when they get home from work.
  • 6am to 10am is also a good time slot as people get into work, check their emails and allow themselves the distraction of marketing campaigns to delay the inevitable start of their workday. We're all guilty! :-)
  • Never send emails between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
  • When the end of the work day comes, and introspection sets in and readers are more likely to open mail from financial institutes and property services. The hours of 3pm to 5pm are ideal for this kind of marketing.
  • The noon to 2pm lunch hour is when people prefer to be left undisturbed by email marketing in general, but if you are distributing news or magazine-style information, give it a shot.
  • Weekends and early mornings see the highest CTR.

Blogs

  • Blogs get the most traffic Monday at 11am.
  • Post early in the morning or after the work day is done.
  • Men prefer to read blogs after working hours while women are more likely to read them in the morning. What's your gender demographic?
  • If you're looking for engagement: Blog comments peak around 9am and on Saturdays.

Final Thought

I spoke with Sean Work from KISSmetrics, who stressed the importance of doing whats right for you. "Everyone should collect their own data and find out when the best times to post, email, tweet are." It's very true - even with the Shopify Blog I've found exceptions to the rules stated above, so it's important to take everything with a grain of salt and see what works best for you.  KISSmetrics offers full-service customer analytics starting at $29 per month. 

For more advice on social media marketing check out:
 


4 Principles of Social Proof Every Ecommerce Store Owner Needs to Know

Social proof, one of Cialdini's famous six pillars of influence, has become a very important part of selling…

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This is guest post by Gregory Ciotti from Help Scout.

Social proof, one of Cialdini's famous six pillars of influence, has become a very important part of selling given the open nature of the web.

More and more often, we look to the opinions of others and additional "signals" to evaluate our potential purchases. Perhaps this is best expressed in the rise of the online review:

  • Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.
  • Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

But social proof isn't as simple as slapping up a 5-star rating system on your website.

There are a few principles for social proof that marketers and entrepreneurs should never forget, and today we'll go over how they can impact your sales.

The Influence Mix of Online Reviews

Despite the growing importance of online reviews, they aren't treated equally across all industries.

According to findings published on the Harvard Business Review, there is an influence mix that applies across product categories, on a sliding 'PMO' scale:

  • P: a consumer's prior preferences, beliefs, and experiences (ex: buying a particular brand of milk over and over)
  • M: the value of information from marketers (ex: you bought a GoPro camera thanks to a compelling marketing campaign)
  • O: the importance of other people's opinions (here are where online reviews matter)

Some products are more dependent on P than O. For instance, you aren't likely to check out reviews before you buy a certain brand of orange juice, you're just going to go off of your prior preferences.

As the author's would put it:

"The greater the reliance on one source, the lower the need for the others. If the impact of O on a purchase decision about a food processor goes up, the influence of M or P, or both, goes down."

Click here to view a larger version of the above image.

Ecommerce store owners need to have a general sense of where their products fall on this scale before they proceed with reviews and ratings.

Let's take luxury clothing - I'm a customer of Viberg Boot, and I can tell you that I don't give a damn about ratings before I make a purchase.

Why? Viberg is a company that bases its entire brand strategy around the quality materials and handmade nature of their footwear. The issue of quality is a non-issue given their reputation, so adding reviews would really be a distraction.

Rather than stars, I'd like to see a personal account of ownership. Maybe a customer interview with someone who's owned the boots for over 10 years. That would fit with what Viberg was selling.

Conversely, in an industry like electronics, where there is very little brand loyalty, reviews would be an important part of the buying experience - I don't know how this or that printer performs, and I'm not buying off of previous experience, I just want to know what others think.

So before you throw up ratings, social widgets, or testimonials, think about what your prospective customers actually care about when it comes to social proof.

Get it While It's Hot

One important way that social proof is used is in convincing people that items are moving fast.

In some sense, it's the most authentic and effective form of urgency that entrepreneurs can us.

Have you ever wondered why some ecommerce stores keep up listings for items that are sold out? If they aren't available for sale, why not just remove them?

In certain instances, like for Stalward's limited number of handmade ties, the "Sold Out" sign serves as a subtle push for prospective customers to jump on a style they've had their eye on - because it's apparent that other items are selling fast.

Site's like ScoreBig show recent purchases on the sidelines (pun intended), reassuring customers that people are buying, and reminding them that the tickets available won't last forever.

GetElastic covered a great example of implementing a live version of this into ecommerce category pages:

Backcountry has built a unique feature into its category pages – “Bubblelicious.” Shoppers can see instant updates when an item has been added to cart or purchased.

Similar to Amazon's famous "Only 2 left" red text, with an added kick of letting customers watch it happen live.

Certainly an effective way to get those on the fence post to make a move, so be sure to investigate how you can use social proof to reassure and nudge customers towards not waiting on a purchase they've had their eye on.

Put a Face to the Name

Talk to any business owner about "appearing trustworthy" and they take it as a personal attack. Trustworthy people assume the world knows that they are trustworthy.

But the truth is that just because you are telling the truth doesn’t mean customers are going to believe you.

The same applies to "too good to be true" social proof.

One way to add legitimacy to the praise your receive is to put a face to the kind words you've received, where applicable.

Research on "truthiness" revealed that adding images (even nonsensical images) increased perceived trustworthiness among all participants. Additional research has shown that putting a face to the name can increase empathy between strangers.

Obviously, there are certain instances where this tactic is best suited.

ModCloth offers an incredible example through their Style Gallery section, which shows real customers in outfits they've assembled:

Sites like Fab will take a simpler approach by simply putting photos for any praise that they'll use. On many pages, they'll add a buyer or designer's comments on a certain selection or collection, which is a great way to increase consumer trust.

This really applies to business of all kinds, as it takes very minimal effort to get permission to use a photo, and the benefits of seeing a friendly face next to kind words are certainly worth the effort.

Lots of people ask me questions regarding how to get images, but it's often as easy as a simple email. If you've ever had a happy customer contact you, send a simple follow-up message stating, "Hey ____, we appreciated your kind words so much that we'd love to feature a quote from you on our site! Would we have permission to share your statements along with a small photo of you?"

Most customers will be happy to oblige.

No Proof is Better than Low Proof

As P.T. Barnum was known for saying:

"Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd."

It's important to remember that the lack of the crowd can often have an inverse effect. In other words, having low signs of social proof can be even worse than not listing social proof at all.

This is especially apparent through the superfluous use of social media buttons.

The folks at Visual Website Optimizer recently published a case study involving these now ubiquitous distractions on an ecommerce purchase page.

Taloon.com, after removing their Twitter and Facebook buttons, found a 11.9% higher "add to cart" conversion rate with a 95% statistical confidence.

These findings have been replicated elsewhere, and it's been argued by Rand Fishkin of Moz that no proof > low proof due to how stagnant social signals can be misinterpreted:

  • Your product or brand may appear untrustworthy.
  • Your business may appear to be too new, and might scare away risk averse customers.
  • Your product pages now look unpopular thanks to a silly Facebook button; is this just because people don't often share product pages, or because your product sucks? Customers won't know.

This creates a very easy choice for you — if you're going to use social proof on certain pages, it either has to be "hell yeah!" or no, meaning it should either wow customers or shouldn't exist at all.


About the Author: Gregory Ciotti is the marketing strategist at Help Scout, the invisible email support software that's perfect for ecommerce store owners who don't want to deal with help desk headaches. Find out why your business will love Help Scout by clicking here.

Inside An Ecommerce Entrepreneur's Brain

Running a successful ecommerce business requires a special set of skills. Whether it's SEO, social media, customer service,…

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Running a successful ecommerce business requires a special set of skills.

Whether it's SEO, social media, customer service, shipping and fulfillment or email marketing, often you need to be a jack of all trades.

What are some of the areas you find yourself spending the most time on in your business? Do you think all of these tasks belong here? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments.

To embed this Shopify graphic on your own site, just copy and paste the code below into your blog post or website.


Have you subscribed for free email updates yet? Get ecommerce, online marketing and social media resources delivered directly to your inbox by signing up in the sidebar on the right.

12 Social Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Online Sales

The biggest challenge that online store owners face is increasing traffic to their ecommerce store. Knowing where to…

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The biggest challenge that online store owners face is increasing traffic to their ecommerce store. Knowing where to start and how to stand out from the thousands of other shops that are competing for the same traffic is a daunting challenge.

The explosion of growth in the ecommerce world has only made it tougher for ecommerce sites to attract the critical mass of visitors needed to stay in business.

In this post there I'm going to give you 12 different strategies to help you grow your online community and increase traffic to help you boost sales. Pick the strategies and tactics you find most interesting and suitable for your business and start seeing your business grow.

1. Post Daily Content for Continued Growth

One of the easiest ways to grow your social communities over time is to post content consistently. Studies have shown that different audiences react to different posting frequencies, so make sure you are testing the optimal frequency with your own audience or look at the engagement levels in comparison to posting frequencies of your competitors for some guidelines. The minimum should be once a day on Facebook and 4-6 times a day on Twitter. Also pay attention to what time of the day you post, the timing of social media is very important. 

Two amazing tools which can be used to help automate this process are Swayy and Buffer. Swayy is great for finding high quality articles and news related to your industry and allows you to schedule posts to your different social networks. Buffer is a very popular app that can be integrated with your browser and dozens of other apps to help you schedule posts to your social networks. Using these apps can help you cut down your time spent on your social marketing to half an hour a day.

2. Use Images When Posting to Facebook

The best way to increase engagement on Facebook is by including images within your posts. Photos on Facebook have been shown to generate over 50% more likes than the average post. When you want to post an announcement or to promote a piece of content then include the link to the page within the post (preferably after the content so it stands out) and attach an image to the post.

Here's an example from Shopify's Facebook page last week:

Adding an image to an otherwise text-based announcement is far more compelling and will increase click-through significantly.

For guidelines on posting on Facebook with images, check out this post, “3 social media bad habits you need to quit now."

3. Increase Exposure of your Communities With Social Buttons

The more impressions you have on your social networks the more likely it is that you will gain more likes. The best way to dramatically increase the number of impressions on your social networks is by embedding social buttons within your site and within your marketing communications. Most blogs have social sharing buttons displayed prominently to encourage readers to share the article. Here's an example from an article by Shawn Graham in Fast Company: 

Some of the places you may want to consider to place social buttons:

  • Footer of your website and blog
  • Header of your website and blog
  • In your newsletter
  • In your email signature
  • Within specific blog posts

4. Run a Launchrock Campaign

Launchrock is a popular free service for collecting email addresses of people who want to get early access to the launch of a new app, service or really anything. The special thing about Launchrock is that it integrates social within the subscription process which is a very powerful component that can be used to turn a regular promotion into a viral marketing channel to help drive traffic and sales.

You have probably seen a Launchrock page before, they look something like this: 

After opening a free account with Launchrock you can fully customize their widget and marketing copy and then embed the widget within your promotion page on your site.

The idea is to create a give-away or some other promotion which works on friend-bring-a-friend and use the social features of Launchrock to make it viral.

Inform your visitors and social communities that in order to enter this amazing promotion they need to enter in their email address on the promotion page. After they enter in their email address, Launchrock will show them a message and social sharing buttons.

Make sure the message has a powerful incentive to get your visitors to share the promotion with their friends. Something along the lines of, “Increase your chances of winning the summer giveaway by inviting your friends to join the promotion”, or “Get 3 friends to join the promotion and all of you stand the chance of winning a bonus prize,” should help increase the share rate and thus the number of people that will get exposed to your promotion.

Within Launchrock, you have detailed analytics on the number of referrals each email brings which can help you identify the top influences. These influencers can then be contacted via email and thanked personally for their help in spreading your promotion which adds a very nice personal touch to your promotion.

5. Leverage Social Reviews to Automate Word of Mouth Marketing

Using product reviews to create trust and provide insights on your products is a great way to increase sales.

Yotpo is a popular free social review app that's available in Shopify's app store. The app helps convert over 8% of customers to reviewers through their mail after purchase email which results in a large number of reviews being created. The best part is that this process is automated so you don’t have to spend time reaching out to customers to try and get new product reviews. Here's how it works: 

Yotpo’s social features allows you to connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts and post your user-generated product reviews directly to your Facebook business page or Twitter account. These reviews help bring social traffic to your product pages which in turn increases sales. For great examples of stores taking full advantage of social reviews check out the Facebook pages of RockinWellness and KollectionK.

6. Create Micro Content

We are all suffering from information overload, which means that people have less patience and less time to consume content. A growing trend among marketers which should be seriously considered by online store owners is the creation of bite sized chunks of content for quick and easy consumption.

Two great services which can be used to host such content is Soundcloud, a cloud-based sound file hosting service, and Vine, a relatively new video hosting service released by Twitter. Vine is a free mobile app that enables users to create and post 6 second video clips that can easily be shared on social networking sites.  

Some brands like Urban Outfitters, Doritos, and even Nascar have started experimenting with Vine as a new tool for creating content.

Here's a Vine video that Nascar posted recently: 

7. Run a Twitter Q&A

Engagement is critical to keep any online community alive and well. A great tactic to grow your Twitter community and dramatically increase engagement is by hosting a weekly Twitter Q&A. The idea is to pick a day of the week, and then encourage your community to post questions related to your product, business, industry or really anything. You then provide answers to their questions and then choose the best questions and use them in a blog post.

Over time others in the space will take part and slowly you will establish your brand as an authority in the space. Remember the mantra: No Engagement Left Behind.

Bonus tip: Pick a hashtag related to the Twitter Q&A and ask your community to use it within their tweets. This helps with branding and will help make the practice familiar to those who choose to take part. Here are some tips from Twitter UK's company blog on how to host a Twitter Q&A session

8. Run a Pinterest Treasure Hunt

Pinterest is one of the largest social networks in the world and can be used for a wide range of marketing activities. One powerful way to use Pinterest to create buzz around your brand and product line is to use it to run a “treasure hunt” promotion.

The way the treasure hunt works is to contact a few partners and ask each of them to pin an image on one of their Pinterest boards. Each image is meant to provide clues to the next image in the treasure hunt. You get the ball rolling by publishing a blog post about the promotion and a link to the first image. Fans that get to the last image are forwarded to a hidden page where they enter in their credentials to take part in the raffle. Here's how Cottage Life Magazine hosted a Pinterest treasure hunt, you can follow their strategy as a guideline on where to start your own. 

9. Experiment With Different Titles in Your Blog Posts

The title of a blog post carries a lot more weight than the average person realizes and should get as much attention as the content of the post. Here are some tips for optimizing your titles:

  • Use everyday language
  • Leverage common psychological traits (urgency, fear, desire, etc)
  • Keep it short
  • Use negatives (Don’t do this vs. do this)
  • If you're post is a list, start the title with how many points you're going to make

Check out this amazing article on a post that received thousands of shares and how its title helped it reach this amazing feat.

10. Make it Easy for Customers to Share and Pin Your Products

Including social sharing buttons is a must for any online store that wants to take advantage of our innate social behavior online. Make sure you include buttons to the popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) and that they are not hidden away in your store’s theme.

Many choose to go in the direction of choosing buttons that match their store’s theme but this may limit the percentage of shares. Choosing colorful buttons which stand out can help improve the amount of shares which will help drive new traffic to your site.

Try and use a service like AddThis which has its own analytics and can be used to help you with finding the optimal positioning and layout.

Here's how Thomas Holmes, author of the book "Shopify & You," uses AddThis on his product page to encourage social sharing: 

11. Invest in an Infographic

Over the last few years infographics have become extremely popular. Investing in a professionally designed infographic is one of the best ways to create a huge spike in traffic to your site and help you get a number of high value back links which are great for SEO. A quality infographic can cost anywhere from $100-$1,500 but it will be well worth the investment.

Spend some time researching an interesting topic in your industry and find a whole bunch points that you will cover in the infographic. An example of such an infographic might be “How much money do Americans spend during Christmas compared to the rest of the world.” This infographic could be created by almost any online store and would be general enough that many blogs and news sites would link back to it, resulting in thousands of visitors to your blog.

12. Create a Complimentary Board on Pinterest

A great way to provide additional value to your customers is by providing them with info and special deals on complimentary products which you don’t necessarily sell.

Let’s say your store sells hiking shoes and you would like to provide extra value to your customers. One of the best ways to do this is to create a complimentary board on Pinterest with a whole range of complimentary products that your customers may want to buy. The stores and other sites that you are promoting on your board will take notice of the incoming traffic from your Pinterest account and may even adopt the same strategy which will result in new incoming traffic to your store.

Connect all your marketing channels around this board and make sure you drive traffic to your Pinterest boards from your social accounts, newsletters and blog posts. Your fans will be thankful.

Conclusion

Many of the strategies mentioned in this post are very fresh and underutilized which means that if you are reading this you have a unique opportunity to take full advantage of the advice mentioned in this post.

I would love to hear how some of these strategies are helping you build your online empire so once you have started your campaigns and promotions let all the readers know by posting your story in the comments section below.


By Justin Butlion, the Content and Social Marketing Manager at Yotpo. He loves to blog about ecommerce, online marketing, web development and entrepreneurship. Check out his latest posts on the Yotpo blog.

Ecommerce Roundup, Feb. 28

Here’s this week’s dose of “I’ve posted the best and not the rest” for you… The "2007 Ecommerce…

Here’s this week’s dose of “I’ve posted the best and not the rest” for you…

The "2007 Ecommerce Success Report" is available at RetailSolutionsOnline.com. The report, compiled by MarketLive.com , details the ecommerce sales over the 2007 Holiday season, what the trends and gains were, as well as the strategies that drove the results. There are some very interesting numbers in here, such as the comparison between early holiday and peak holiday conversions (a 66% increase) and a 27% increase in year over year revenue. Take a look and see if there is any information you can apply to your stores for next year.

Over on the Get Elastic blog you’ll find an educational article on SEO. It touches on the SEO Shenanigans a threat to Social Media debate, as well as providing great ideas for good search engine optimization that you can apply to your site.

ZenTrend’s has come up with a very innovative approach that combines ecommerce and customer driven content. Their iStyler allows customers to view potential future fashion offerings from their store and vote on whether they love it or hate it. As described by openPR.com , the customer then gets a direct say in whether or not a piece makes it to the virtual shelf – thus prompting return traffic as well as providing real feedback in what is sometimes a hit-and-miss decision for fashion buyers. Not to mention it is completely addictive.

There’s a fun podcast over at Startup Nation, where they interview Kevin Harmon from InflatableMadness.com on various approaches to ecommerce, including finding the best outlet for your products!

And finally…

Happy Birthday to you
Happy birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Ecommerce!
Happy Birthday to you!

Read the story of how the first ecommerce transaction took place on March 4, 1983 – with a 300 BPS modem and phone line, no less!

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