How to Do Social Media Marketing: Nine Actionable Tips to Build an Effective Strategy in 2020

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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2020 is upon us. Kind of weird, isn’t it?

Novel feelings of walking into a new, futuristic decade aside, a new year means a new opportunity for merchants to refocus their aims, set new goals and orient their brands toward new horizons.

In today’s hyper-connected digital age, part of that means revamping eCommerce social media strategies.

As it stands, there are more than 3.5 billion people on social media. While this is an oft-cited figure, it seems that readers rarely take into consideration that this is nearly half of all people on Earth.

Moreover, as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and other social sites continue to increase the number of sales-oriented features available to retailers, eCommerce brands have more opportunities than ever to generate revenue from these channels.

Lack of strategy

However, despite the immense amount of potential that social media holds for online retailers, many still struggle with harnessing the power of such platforms. For instance, in a 2018 survey on the top social media challenges, 24 percent of respondents cited a lack of formal strategy as their main hurdle.

Given the ubiquity of social media, that number is far too high.

To remedy that issue for the scores of sellers struggling with an absence of a social media marketing blueprint, today, we are going to explore nine actionable tips for how to do social media marketing in 2020.

Get out that pen and paper and get ready to take some notes.

Audit the Previous Year’s Performance

For one to know where they are going, they must first understand where they have been.

Therefore, before laying out a plan for how to do social media marketing in the New Year, it is essential to acquire an in-depth understanding of a brand’s social performance in the previous year.

To begin, carefully analyze the metrics from each social channel the company uses to establish where and how leads were earned, traffic was driven, followers were amassed and conversions were generated.

Assuming retailers had goals for the previous year, determine how well these outcomes served those aims. While a bunch of likes and comments may look good, they are ultimately useless if campaigns did not hit their social media KPIs.

Tracking a company’s social media metrics in relation to its ambitions will help merchants determine if efforts are succeeding or require rethinking.

After auditing the year’s performance, retailers should have an idea of how to outline their goals for the next 12 months.

Define New Social Media Marketing Goals

Much like defining a website’s role in a business blueprint, social media objectives should correlate to a brand’s overarching goals.

A company’s broader targets are dependent on a variety of factors such as its size, audience, competition and many other considerations. That said, some likely goals for eCommerce retailers to aim toward include:

SMART Strategy

No matter what a brand is after, it is vital to set SMART goals to determine what success means for the business. As most are probably aware, SMART goals are those that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Given this framework, retailers should create a goal, precisely document the desired outcomes, establish methods of measuring progress and success and delineate by when the target should be met.

For instance, if a retailer wishes to increase orders by 30 percent from the previous year’s figures, then the brand might:

  • Utilize Facebook eCommerce features to a greater degree
  • Create a content marketing strategy that hits all points of the sales funnel
  • Inspire and share more user-generated content
  • Create social media retargeting campaigns

Based on these activities, retailers have a specific, attainable and relevant goal with a clear timeframe. Using the tactics listed above, merchants can easily measure where sales are coming from and invest more heavily in the most fruitful of the bunch.

Choose the Right Platforms for Success

When laying out the new plan for how to do social media marketing, it is necessary to select the platforms that will best serve the brand’s goals.

For instance, if a merchant wants to increase website visits, it is vital to determine which social network drives the most traffic to their site. While this will vary from brand to brand, Facebook and Instagram tend to be prime movers.

Whats your marketing objective

Alternatively, if revenue is the objective, then retailers might find Pinterest and Instagram best as the two drive the highest average order value of all social sites. Facebook is also a great contender for this goal as it drives the highest conversion rate.

When it comes to cultivating brand awareness, retailers will want to target the social platform with the most significant number of users and employ PPC adverts to reach new consumers. For this aim, Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature is ideal.

Create Audience

Again, the platforms chosen will be dependent on the seller’s goals and performance from the previous year. That said, retailers should not use a social channel if they cannot explain how it helps to meet predetermined goals.

The platforms utilized are tools for growing an organization. When scaling an eCommerce business, not every tool is going to be right for the job.

Conduct Competitive Research

At this point, much of the groundwork for how to do social media marketing over the next 12 months has been laid. However, before diving into content and advertising strategies, retailers should take some time to spy on the competition.

While doing some surface-level analysis (viewing their most active profiles, analyzing social posts, etc.) is okay, merchants who want to overthrow their rivals should consider employing a competitive analysis tool to take a deep dive into the competition’s numbers.

Competitive analysis Tool

Analyzing the presence of similar retailers will help to inform a merchant’s own promotional strategy. However, it should be noted that the goal isn’t to just copy the competition’s efforts. Instead, retailers should establish which tactics have worked for them and how they can be co-opted.

To begin this process, sellers should look at how certain brands are performing on Google by searching for valuable keywords to see who surfaces organically and in paid spaces.

From there, cross-reference this information with social media accounts to see which brands are most active and where their presence is most prominent. Those who are performing well in search and social are prime candidates to monitor and from which to adopt strategies.

Once the top contenders have been established, use a competitive analysis tool to compare their performance to one’s own. Compare performance and tactics for all the social platforms that merchants intend to leverage in their new blueprint and figure out how rivals are optimizing their posts to drive awareness, traffic and sales.

Follow this same formula for each competitor.

Invest in the Proper Tools

It is nearly impossible to talk about how to do social media marketing without talking about related services.

Given how important social platforms have become to online merchants, it is crucial to invest in the best social media tools for eCommerce retailers as many of these can help to automate processes, gain relevant insights and complete tasks more efficiently.

Social Media Tools

For many merchants, social media can be a time suck. Therefore, obtaining tools that will help keep retailers focused, productive and top-of-mind for consumers is a necessity.

Some great social media tools that sellers can add to their arsenal include:

Craft and Curate Compelling Content

Naturally, content is the core of a social media marketing strategy.

At this point, sellers should have a good idea of the types of content they should create, given the established goals, platforms and information obtained through competitive analysis.

That said, retailers still might feel a bit overwhelmed given the array of content formats at their disposal. Moreover, 46 percent of consumers say they will unfollow an overly promotional brand. Therefore, it is essential to keep social media followings entertained and engaged with fresh content.

There are a couple of types of content that will likely go over very well on most social media destinations:

Video Content

The ability to build a video marketing campaign is more vital than ever as video is the most viewed form of content across all social networks.

Jackson and Perkins

While YouTube is well-known as a behemoth in the social video space, Facebook and Instagram have placed much of their focus on this type of content in the past several years as well, with the former prioritizing original video content in its feeds.

That said, sellers will have to play around with different formats (short loop, long-form, live, etc.) to establish which resonates most with audiences.

User-Generated Content

Today’s shoppers want authentic content. Nothing is more authentic than using user-generated content.

The best part about using this type of content (aside from the results) is that it takes minimal amounts of effort to harvest with tools like Yotpo. With this kind of a tool, eCommerce retailers can collect and display UGC on social media, paid ad campaigns and other vital destinations to elevate trust and sales.

Moreover, user-generated content isn’t overly salesy given that the focus is on the customer, not the product. The item is a bonus.

Forget Vanity Metrics, Focus on Traffic

One of the biggest distractions on social media is vanity metrics such as likes.

Likes don’t produce anything.

In fact, likes are so utterly meaningless that Instagram is currently testing hiding likes. Part of the reason for this is that this “measurement” can be downright deceptive given that, “Some 64 percent of influencers admitted to buying likes, a 2018 study from influencer marketing platform HYPR found.”

Given the empty nature of likes and similar metrics, retailers should focus less on such false indicators and instead emphasize driving traffic from social media websites.

cost metrics

The way to achieve this is to focus on producing the highest quality content possible and including a call-to-action to inspire consumers to click-through. This call doesn’t need to be sales-oriented, either. Sellers can implement CTAs, such as:

“Like this ? Check out our websites to see other awesome content that you’re sure to love!”

However, it is essential for retailers to understand that even though likes are fruitless, influencer marketing is not going away. In fact, sellers can still leverage this modality to drive traffic and sales, as many social media influencers are still trusted voices.

Which leads us to our next point:

Collaborate with Industry Influencers

While the industry has its problems, the fact is that influencers drive sales as it is reported that “78 percent of online shoppers ages 37 and under have clicked on a social media ad, and 34 percent of that group have gone on to make a direct purchase.”

Given these types of results, working with influencers can produce a massive boost in an eCommerce company’s social media marketing efforts, thereby introducing a brand to a broader audience and driving sales simultaneously.

Moreover, retailers need not possess a massive budget to procure the biggest influencers a platform offers. Instead, micro-influencers are often more effective for brands as they speak to highly trusting and engaged (albeit smaller) audiences.

By assembling a small team of micro-influencers, retailers can still reach a good-sized audience that is likely to convert, while helping to keep costs to a minimum.

Track and Measure Progress

Plainly put, it is impossible to know how to do social media marketing effectively if its outcomes are not measured.

Measurement is possibly the most critical step in the entire process as this helps retailers to understand the effectiveness of their strategies, if they should continue in a certain way or if they should go back to the drawing board.

test and learn

Therefore, it is essential that sellers monitor all the primary performance metrics such as reach, engagement, follower count, mentions, pageviews, conversion rates and the like. However, while all these elements should be tracked, merchants should focus on amplifying the ones that are most relevant to their predetermined goals.

Nearly all social media platforms provide users with detailed analytics tools to help understand how much of an impact a brand is having on its audience. Using the information provided, sellers can establish which content formats and topics are useful, the best times of day to post, how often to post, which types of ads bear fruit and tons of other valuable insights.

Account overview

When determining how to do social media marketing in the New Year, it is necessary to have a roadmap to success. Such a blueprint starts with understanding where one has been, and where they want to go next.

Follow these actionable tips for creating a social media marketing strategy in 2020 and your brand is far more likely to achieve its goals.

However, if you could use a bit of assistance in setting your brand up for social media success, reach out to Visiture’s social media advertising specialists and we can help get your brand a slew of new followers, clicks and conversions that can help your retail brand become an eCommerce empire.

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