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The beginner’s guide to social media marketing

As an ecommerce store owner, you are one of the millions of stores on the internet, all trying to compete for visibility. So what’s the solution? One of the best ways to stand out in the crowd is to implement an excellent social media marketing strategy.

Everyone is on social media nowadays. Therefore, using these vast networks to your advantage is key. Of course, this can be challenging but, if you do it right, social media marketing can be one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your store.

Here are our top 10 tips on how to get started using social media as a tool to help drum up business:

1. Don't overdo it

With so many social media platforms available, it can be easy to dive in too deep. When starting out, the key is to pick one or two platforms, get them right, and then work your way up over time.

Start by taking a look at which channels your competitors use. If they’re having a lot of success on Instagram and Facebook, for example, it might be worth starting there. Explore which channels could be the best fit for you by taking a dive into Adobe’s guide to the top social media channels.

2. Know your audience

The next step is to figure out your demographics. Who are you targeting and who typically uses the platforms you’ve chosen? By understanding who your desired audience is, you can craft a targeted approach that will aim to draw in as many potential customers as possible.

For example, males between the ages of 18-24 represent the largest demographic on Instagram - so Instagram could be a great place to start if you’re targeting males in their early 20s.

3. Optimize

Though it may sound obvious, it’s vital that the profiles on whichever social channels you use are optimized.

That means ensuring that your page has a good description of your business, a high-resolution logo, and links to your website. Having these things ready and in place will allow you to hit the ground running and increase your chances of attracting potential customers.

Check out Hootsuite’s 11 easy social media optimization tactics for faster growth.

4. Understand the platforms you’re working with

Every social media platform is different, and it’s essential to understand how they all work before jumping in to post content.

Facebook and Instagram may have similarities in that you can share image-based posts, but the way you use them as a marketer will be different. Likewise, other platforms like TikTok and Snapchat operate completely differently from each other, so it’s vital not to have a one-size-fits-all mindset.

Do the research and understand the most effective tools each platform offers.

At Gelato, we have found Instagram to be the strongest platform to interact with our customers. Research and experiment to find the best fit for you and your business - social media is not one size fits all!

5. Find a balance between paid vs organic growth

When marketing on social media, you have the choice to go down the organic route or the paid-for route. Or both!

Organic growth focuses on generating traffic to your store over time, using the content you share as the hook to bring people into your community and eventually convert them into customers. Paid growth uses paid-for adverts and promoted posts to boost your engagement, which can provide quick results but can also be costly.

In the beginning, organic growth will be easier to maintain, and will allow you to try different approaches without potentially wasting money. Take learnings from your organic social triumphs and apply those to your paid strategy to get the best bang for your buck.

6. Create a content strategy

Having a good strategy is essential. Without one, your content may come across as rushed and potentially inauthentic, which isn’t the best message to be sending to a new audience.

So, when you’re getting started, it’s a good idea to plan out the types of posts you want to generate and compile them into a content calendar. There are many free or paid platforms for content scheduling, or find free Google Sheets templates online!

For kickstarting your strategy planning, we recommend Hubspot’s guide to creating a great social media strategy plan.

7. Create engaging content

Each platform you’re using will require different styles of posts; the things you post to TikTok won’t be the same as the things you post on Twitter. But regardless of where you’re posting, ensure that it is bespoke to the audience you intend to reach and, most importantly, is engaging.

Perhaps that means making your content funny. Or maybe it means using striking, eye-catching images, or it could be linking it to relevant pop culture themes.

Whatever it is, the key to success is to make content that people will want to engage with, because ultimately, that will drive the most traffic back to your site.

8. Post often

As well as posting engaging content, being successful on social media also requires visibility, which means frequently posting to maximize your chances of being seen.

This is where scheduling plays a key role. Once you have your content strategy and calendar laid out, make sure to schedule posts in advance. This will help you keep on top of what’s being posted and ensure that regular posts don’t get missed by accident.

Thankfully, many tools are available to help with scheduling, so it’s a good idea to find one that works for you.

Keep in mind it will take some time to get a content plan up and running - so don’t worry if you’re not posting as frequently as you’d like yet!

9. Build a community

Part of social media marketing involves building a community. While some people that buy from your store may never return again, if they like your brand and engage with your content, they’re more likely to become repeat customers.

Creating a community can be as easy as engaging with messages you receive in public and private channels. Another easy way to make your customers feel they are part of your community is by reposting UGC (user-generated content) of your products!

10. Track your metrics

Lastly, track your metrics to see what is and isn’t working. If certain posts have a lot of engagement, do an audit and see why that might be. If specific posts don’t do very well, take a step back and see what you could change to make them more engaging.

The most common metrics to keep track of are engagement (likes, comments, and shares), reach and impressions.

You can find more tips and tricks to help you on your ecommerce journey in our blog.