From overcoming the basics to creating an ongoing campaign, our latest social media webinar attendees have questions and we have answers.Blog_GreatSocialMedia_2-7-13

After covering the dos and don’ts of every major social media channels and helping our attendees develop their summer marketing calendar, our specialists devoted almost half of last week’s social media webinar to answering the audience’s questions. We were delighted by the wide range of topics that came pouring in through Twitter and Facebook—from questions about that basics to ad optimization and advanced strategies, our attendees helped make the conversation comprehensive and engaging.

Due to time constraints, we were not able to answer all of the questions posed by our audience; however, all of these inquiries deserve a thorough answer, and we wanted to take the time to address them now.

To help guide you through the discussion, we have divided the questions into three categories:

  • How Do I Start My Social Media Campaign?
  • How Do I Promote My Business Through Social Media?
  • How Do I Manage an Ongoing Campaign & Keep My Audience Engaged

How Do I Start My Social Media Campaign?

1. How Am I Able To Add Products To PolyVore?

Polyvore has a handy clipper tool that you can use to add products.

2. What is a realistic budget for facebook ads in promoting a new product?

Again, this depends on what you are trying to achieve with the promotion. Are you looking to just get the product more awareness? Build interest? Get sales? Start experimenting with a low budget and then increase if you are not seeing the return you expect.

3. How many posts a day or week do you recommend for a social media campaign?

The amount of posts depends on the platform and the audience. Start posting at least once a day (or another manageable amount) and then increase from there. Make sure to test to see if posting more or posting less is better for your business – it’s going to be different for everyone as well as different on each social platform.

4. Is there a way to be able to advertise on FB & media? Some won’t let us advertise our company - we have a vapor business.

Many advertising platforms do not allow the advertising of tobacco products but will allow the promotion of blogs or groups that exist to connect those interested in related products (as long as they do not lead to the sale of the product).

An example from Facebook:

Facebook example

Always check a network’s guidelines to make sure your products make sense and can be shared on that platform. Some networks, such as Facebook, have different restrictions for pages vs. promotions. For example, Facebook would still allow you to have a Facebook page for your business, but you wouldn’t be able to promote your products through their Ads platform.  You may want to seek out alternative ways to connect with customers such as searching for people talking about these products on Twitter as well as active online communities and forums such as Reddit.

5. Does social media means just Facebook and Twitter?

While Facebook and Twitter are some of the well-recognized and established social networks, social media encompasses much more these two channels. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, social networks can include Google+, Polyvore, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vine, Instagram, YouTube and even Tumblr, just to name a few. Bookmarking and article-sharing sites, and forums such as Reddit, are also considered part of social media.

6. How does one call attention to their brand new online store at first and attract its first amount of customers?

If you’re just starting an online store, social media can be a great way to spread brand awareness and build interest, but it shouldn’t be your “end all be all” for marketing a new store. Plus, if you’re starting out with a new store, chances are your social profiles for that store are also brand new and need some help building up followers and traffic too. A brand new store should and can build up presence in organic search results with SEO best practices, but this takes some time to build up. Investing in PPC or Shopping Feeds can produce more immediate results at a small cost.

7. Do you have breakdowns by age and/or industry for favored platforms and demographic tendencies?

Volusion has not performed any demographic research of this kind, but some of the sources we cited during the webinar make use of similar research. In particular, Digital Media Ramblings is a wonderful source for social media statistics.

8. Is there a way I can make uploading easy on some sort of common social media site?

Social media dashboards can help you manage all of your platforms and all of your posts from a single site with a single login. Our department’s personal favorite is Hootsuite, which will allow you to manage three social profiles for free.

9. Can you provide a walkthrough for creating a Facebook commercial account and listing my Volusion store products on Facebook?

Facebook provides a detailed walkthrough for creating a business pages as well as advice for identifying your audience and promoting your business.

How Do I Promote My Business Through Social Media?

10. What’s the difference between posting to FB right after adding a new product (where you just click to button) and ongoing FB marketing with existing products, events, offers?

While this question might need a little clarification to answer fully, it’s a good idea to share your new products on your social networks to get your customer base excited about new releases. This shouldn’t be thought of as a one-time strategy, but part of your overall social media plan. Try to space out promotion of your new products so that you share them on social media when they’ll have the most impact. Pairing new releases with a limited offer on the new product might generate even more buzz.

Also, tie new products as well as existing products into industry and seasonal trends to create fun, engaging content that serves the dual purpose of spreading product awareness. Of course, use product promotion sparingly. You don’t want to seem too salesy.

11.  How do I get better engagement with fans of my page if they aren't even seeing my posts? Having 3800 Fans means the average post is seen by 36 people unless I pay to boost post. But a boost only lasts so long if I have too many words for Facebook standards.

Unfortunately, ads are necessary if you truly want your posts to be seen by a greater percentage of your followers. Social networks such as Facebook are businesses, and like you, that have to find a way to generate money to stay in operation. Facebook uses these ads because they understand that your audience isn’t seeing everything when you post it, and they want to help it cycle through the newsfeed when your fans are logged in. The good news is that ads do work and they’re fairly low cost.

Facebook does have plenty of regulations for boosting a post, though; so, if you know that you’re using too much text in a photo or your post is too long, work around it by keeping the post simple, but then link out to a blog article that expands on what you’re trying to say or share.

12. Volusion recommends limited a Facebook store to 20-25 items.  Would it hurt to list 60 as this would cover all of my items?

Your Facebook store is meant to complement an ecommerce store, not replace it. Typically, best practice is to highlight 20-25 featured products. Keeping product limits small on a Facebook store help keep your consumers’ decisions simple, prevent long load times (the more products, the longer it takes the store to load, which can cause consumers to abandon the store), and even help increase traffic to your website. While, it won’t necessarily hurt your store to add more products than the 20-25, keep an eye on your sales to see if more products improves or decreases sales through the app.

13. Our Facebook store is supposed to give customers who like us 50% off, but it doesn't always work, even for the same customer. Are we doing something wrong?

To fully answer this question, a little more detail is needed. However, if this is a Volusion store with a Volusion Facebook app, go into your store’s settings into the “Manage Promotions” section and scroll down to “Like Promotion.” Make sure this is enabled and that you have a discount listed. Save. If this is all set up correctly and problems are continuing, remember that you can take advantage of your support team 24/7 for assistance.

14. How to I boost sales/traffic to my website?

There are numerous channels for marketing your website: SEO, paid search marketing, social media, design services, traditional marketing and more. Although we focused on social media during this webinar, we always advise our merchants to diversify—as they would with any investment. Do not rely on social media, SEO or any other method alone; you will only increase your risks and limit your potential return on investment.

15. How can social media be used to target wholesale customers or a B2B business?

One of the best ways to do this is to target your ads and boosted posts towards employees of specific companies. This is very easy to do in both Facebook and LinkedIn, and in both cases the narrow focus of your ads should make them very inexpensive.

16. Do I really need to pay for Facebook ads to get an audience on our page?

Facebook’s algorithm changes almost make it a necessity. Start by encouraging your current customers to like your page and engage with your conversational posts. You may find that this existing community is enough to suit your needs. If you wish to grow your audience beyond that, then start with a small budget and begin experimenting with Facebook ads. You can start with as little as $5 a day, and you can make your ads more cost effective by focusing on a narrow, relevant audience.

17. Should I sell items on my Facebook page?

We do not advise that you focus on selling products on your Facebook wall. Keep a conversational tone and share information that your customers crave, but talk about your products sparingly. On the other hand, we still encourage you to sell items on Facebook through a Facebook Store.

18. What’s the best approach to promote a brand (specifically) that can lead to licensing deals, not just retail sales?

When promoting a brand, it is especially important to utilize more than one social media channel, to provide different content for each channel and to make sure all of your social media platforms have a professional, consistent design. Also, when you are planning out your ad campaign, focus on impressions rather more than clicks to your site. This way you will be paying for exposure; this tends to be less expensive on a per-ad basis as well as much better for brand recognition.

19. Does having a Facebook store generate actual sales? I’ve heard that several large companies are closing their Facebook stores?

We have seen a lot of success with small and medium businesses selling products through Facebook. Keep in mind that large companies have wider brand recognition and distribution, meaning that their social media sales are competing with other profit avenues. Large companies may find that these other avenues are more cost effective, but this does not mean that the same holds true for a small or medium business.

How Do I Manage an Ongoing Campaign & Keep My Audience Engaged

20. I always struggle with what to post on Facebook.  Could you could give some tips for coming up with posts? 

Like we mentioned during the webinar, checking out what your competition is doing online always generates great ideas for content. Use Facebook as your company and then find and like your competitors and like-businesses, as well as complementing businesses. This will allow you to always have fresh content in your stream (that only you see), making it quick and easy to see what other businesses are doing on a day to day. Also, ask questions, see what’s trending on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and check out this tool by PostPlanner – their status idea engine is really helpful.

21. What was the biggest success tweet from your clients and worst or bad example tweet?

Some of the most successful tweets that I have seen have included a call to action such as, “please retweet”.  Really bad tweets happen when people shamelessly try to jump on every trending hashtag or topic or tweet about something highly offensive, like when Justin Sacco joked about getting AIDS in Africa.

22. How long should you run a social media contest?

This really depends on your goals, audience and contest rules. Maybe you are just looking to delight your audience so you run a quick 12 hour contest on Facebook asking people to decide between two colors of a product and then give one away free. Or maybe you are asking your audience to upload pictures of your products after they get them in the mail – you may want to run this kind of contest for a week (or more) depending on your audience reach.

23. How do I build social media presence?

When you’re starting out with social networks, spread awareness with the marketing tools you already have at your disposal. Send out an email blast to your customers announcing your new social presence. Make sure to add social buttons on to your website. Use low cost, targeted ads on Facebook and the other networks to promote posts and generate likes. Finally, the most valuable way to build presence is through engagement. Like and follow other users. Repin, retweet and comment back to others. Be engaging, surprising and delightful and you’ll have a social presence in no time.

24. How do I get more followers and more likes without looking desperate?

In general, quality, engaging content will naturally gain you followers and grow your networks. Also, if you follow, comment, share and like the content of others, you’re more likely to get back what you give. Of course, you can also use ads to promote posts and gain more followers. Facebook actually has an ad template specifically designed to generate more page likes and it can be done for as little as a $5 a day bid. The nice thing about this ad template, is that it only shows to new users that haven’t already liked your page – that way your existing community doesn’t see you as desperate.

25. How do you deal with positive/negative comments with social media?

You want to address all comments (within reason) that you can on social media. By nature, positive comments are easier to deal with and a response can be as simple as liking it or retweeting it to your followers. Comment if it calls for it or send back a message as simple as a “thank you” or “glad you enjoyed.” By engaging with the positive comment, you increase its visibility so that other potential consumers see it as a testimonial.

Unfortunately, negative comments do happen and how you handle them can make or break you in the social world. Don’t delete! You will get called out for deleting and ignoring a negative comment. Respond, and always be calm and professional in your response. A good way to deal with negative comments, is to respond publically that you want to address and fix their concern, but then move it to a private channel. For example, a negative comment about a delay in shipping could be addressed with: “We apologize for any delay and would love to get this fixed. Can you send us a private message with your phone number so that we can resolve?”

26. With a day job and other responsibilities, I simply do not have the time to create and implement social media campaigns on a regular basis. Can I outsource this aspect of my marketing, or must it be done in-house?

It is certainly better to outsource your social media campaign if you do not have the resources—either expertise or time—to confidently carry it out yourself. Just remember that outsourcing is an investment, so carefully choose a company or individual that is dedicated to the industry’s best practices and shows an eagerness for learning about your in-house needs.

One thing the webinar taught us was that the questions get more interesting as the conversation keeps going. Do you have a question that was not addressed here? Let us know in the comments below.

-- Cindy Day, Bethany Smith and Jason Ferguson