There are thousands of articles on the web and “gurus” preaching the importance of social media in helping you promote your products online.
In fact, here are just a few enticing stats that should convince you that having a good social media presence online for your brand and products can help you sell more:
The challenge most of us face as sellers on Amazon (or other eCommerce channels for that matter) is that we don't really know how we should go about it.
We end up reading what feels like a million articles, watching hours of YouTube videos, and spending thousands on courses and training – with very little to show for it at the end.
Don't worry – you're not alone!
The reason why so many of us miss the mark on social media marketing can be summarized by three critical “bottlenecks” to social media marketing success:
Let's go over how to solve each of these three bottlenecks in more detail.
Which platform you choose to focus your advertising and engaging customers with is going to depend largely on a) who the most likely to buy your products and b) how they are gathering information to make an informed buying decision.
When you think about the who and the how, you can start to piece together the what and the where – what are your customers using to make purchasing decisions? Where are they going to hang out to get this information?
For example, let's say you were selling something in the clothing niche. Something like a designer t-shirt.
The first question you should ask is: Who actually buys designer t-shirts? Are they younger than 30? Mostly men and not women? What sort of other common interests do they have? How do they collect their information?
When you're researching your target audience, you have to turn into a private investigator. You can use a number of resources but my personal favorites are Google search using a Chrome extension tool called Keywords Everywhere and Facebook Audience Insights, which is available to Facebook Business account holders.
When I am trying to find information on my target audience, I just start by going to Google and typing in the main search term associated with my product. In this case, it's “designer t-shirts”.
Using the Keywords Everywhere Tool, I see off to the right-hand side, a list of related and relevant search terms, along with estimated search volume, as you can see here. The green highlighted terms are the ones with the most monthly search volume according to Google and Clickstream.
Based on the search results and the Keywords Everywhere tool, the top related search terms are “designer t shirts on sale”, “designer t shirts mens”, and “luxury t shirts brands”…
What I am really interested in however, is what is listed under the “People Also Search For” – because this is going to give me more specifics into what people are interested in that are related to the product.
I see that four of the first five returns are all brands – True Religion (they sell designer jeans), Givenchy, Versace, and Chanel.
I am really interested in the fact that there are over half a million searches for True Religion Jeans. With that much traffic, chances are that Facebook has some good data on people that follow this brand. So let's go to Facebook!
Using Facebook Audience Insights to Do Market Research
The next step is to take this information and go into Facebook Audience Insights.
I start my search by letting Facebook know I want to search for everyone on Facebook.
Then, I want to select the United States as my Audience.
Next, I am going to start defining my audience based on the fact that they like True Religion Brand jeans. I type in “True Religion” and sure enough, this comes up as an option!
Looking at the Demographics tab first, the very first thing I see is that my target audience is nearly split between men and women, with a little bit more women (but overall, there are a bit more women than men on Facebook anyway).
The second thing that stands out is the age group. Nearly 80% of both genders that like are aged between 18-44 years old.
Third, nearly half of our audience is single and well over half are college-educated.
Thinking about how demographics ties into purchasing decisions, younger, single, but educated crowds tend to be focused inward, place a higher importance on good looks, and “upward mobility” in the social ladder.
The next thing I go to are the Page Likes. I notice that there seems to be a lot of interest in people, brands, and media that are targeted heavily toward people in the African-American community. Musicians such as Blac Youngsta, TV such as Black Entertainment TV (BET), and other influential black entertainers, sports figures, and brands.
The next tab over is the Location tab. When I click on this, it shows me that there are certain locations in the United States where there is a higher population interested in the “True Religion” brand and potentially designer t-shirts as well. I look at the cities and the States here, and note that it may be worth testing targeting just to a select number of States and cities to start with.
The last tab I want to look at is the activity tab. This tab tells me two pieces of information: How much my audience is engaged with posts on Facebook, and what type of device they use to get their information.
I learn that my demographic is responsive to ads (the click on them) but they do not take promotional offers.
This is a good piece of information to have, as it tells me that if I were to advertise on Facebook, or elsewhere – promotional offers may not be the best advertising strategy.
However, if I created an ad that directed my audience to a “trust building” offer off site, then it may serve as a valuable bridge my customers to my brand and products.
The other piece of valuable information I receive from this tab, is that over 80% of my target audience uses their mobile device (aka Smartphone) to use Facebook. Again, if I were to advertise on Facebook, I need to be very aware of how I am delivering ads and that the format is optimized for mobile devices. Otherwise, I will have a difficult time communicating anything or even getting my ads displayed.
Now that we have addressed the problem of not knowing our target demographic, we can now address the problem of have some good information about who are designer t-shirt audience is, we can develop a strategy for reaching our future customers on social media.
Looking at the previous exercise in which we found out about our target audience for designer t-shirts, we discovered that our target audience (*based on the data obtained through Facebook Audience Insights*) is:
Knowing this information, we can take this and look into what sort of social media platforms would reach our audience given the product being sold, their gender, age, ethnicity, and location.
Turning to Google, we can start doing a bit more research into what social media platforms are more popular than others for this demographic profile.
The first thing I do here, is go to Google, and start a search:
“Most popular social media platform ____”
The blank part is going to be filled in based on these demographic attributes.
“Most popular social media platforms by age”
If I type this as a search query, I get several results including an article from Pew Research center – which is a well-established independent research and polling firm out of Washington, D.C.
Based on this information, it tells me that those aged between 18-44 prefer mostly YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Similarly, I type in
“Most Popular social media platform for African-Americans”
And I see an article by Black Enterprise, which declares that Instagram is the favorite among this ethnic group.
My other piece of research involves the product I am selling.
Thinking about clothing and fashion in general, this is a very image driven product category. As such, I need to think about the primary use of each social platform, how it structures and presents information and content. Then I need to look at these formats and how relevant they are to my product niche.
Instagram seems to fit nicely because it is all about sharing images and videos, rather than words.
Think about a funnel, it is wide at the top, and then gets progressively narrower as you move to the bottom.
The very first step in this process is to engage with your potential customers. The best way to engage with your target audience on social media, is to start a conversation with them.
If you're on Facebook, you might want to consider creating “fan club” page or group that is based on the niche you're selling in.
In the designer t-shirt example, think of other topics such as music, art, and entertainment that your target audience is interested in.
Once you start engaging with your audience, you need to provide them with valuable content. By content, this could be how-to information, news, funny memes, videos, and interviews. What you share with your audience will depend largely on what they are interested in, so to do this you need think again, about what your prospective customers already like. Knowing the types of brands, people, and information they are consuming already will help you in providing them value of your own for your own products and services.
If I go to Instagram and look at True Religion Brand Jeans, I can see that they have a great Instagram profile. They have over half a million followers. Note how they have a consistent “theme” for their fashion, using a mix of genders, and ethnicities. They also have mixed media, a blend of professional photos and videos.
The final piece of this equation is the irresistible offer. This is where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak – because after you have engaged with your audience, provided value, and built a solid foundation of trust – it's now time to introduce them to your product so they can purchase it.
Creating a good irresistible offer will depend on a number of factors such as price, how many other complementary products you have in your brand line, and what your target audience is receptive to in terms of an offer.
Here are different types of irresistible offers you could provide your customers:
In this article, you learned about how to effectively promote your products using social media by addressing three critical bottlenecks to social media marketing success:
You then learned about how to choose the right demographic to engage with (your target audience), how to determine which social media platform works best for your audience, and then you finally learned about how to engage, provide value, and build trust with your customers.
As you can tell, social media marketing success isn't about short term bursts of sales, but a long-term marketing strategy that should be managed and deployed carefully with research and planned for long-term growth.
If you're patient and work for the long-term gains rather than short-term bursts of sales, you will be rewarded!