In the 3rd installment of this month's Ecommerce Marketing Checkup, our panel of experts offers Shop the Wag advice for a successful social media marketing campaign.
The Volusion Services Team selects one of our merchants every month for a comprehensive Ecommerce Marketing Checkup. The marketing experts have taken a deep dive into online marketing recommendations for this month’s merchant, Shop the Wag. In Part 1, we covered how the ecommerce store can increase traffic and sales with improved SEO and conversion marketing. In Part 2, our paid search specialists outlined Google Adwords and Shopping Feeds best practices.
In the final installment of the marketing checkup, we explore how Shop the Wag can tap into social media to earn new fans and establish themselves as an industry leader.
Social Media: Learning to Speak & Other Engagement Tricks
“Shop the Wag is a lively, unique boutique, but its social presence might as well be playing dead. Sporadic posts and neglecting to build up a community through regular engagement has forced the social pages into a stagnant mode. Fortunately, it’s not too late to learn some new tricks and put some life back into the social pages. It’s time to speak up and show off personality! ShoptheWag.com needs to show off its unique perspective and products with consumer-focused resources, contests and visuals that are shared regularly and tailored to specific social networks.”
-Bethany Smith, Social & Search Marketing Specialist
The following suggestions are meant to reinvigorate Shop the Wag’s social networks by establishing the brand as reliable and helpful, but also fun and innovative, while growing the target market to improve audience engagement.
Update Profiles with High Quality Visuals
Shop the Wag has long had profiles on Facebook and Twitter, but it appears as though the design has fallen behind the recent updates to the networks’ profile dimensions. While there’s some cohesion in the image choice between the look and feel of Shop the Wag’s Facebook and Twitter, which helps create some branded identity, pictures are either lacking, low quality or oversized. Twitter is missing a header image and has a profile picture that is low quality, resulting in a fuzzy image. Facebook’s cover photo is oversized and words are cut off. Update these graphic elements to continue to reflect the brand’s fun, care-free voice, but also show that this is a modern, up-to-date and innovative company. In doing so, it will help establish authority and trust in the eyes of consumers.
In addition to updating the profile designs with high quality images that are reflective of the brand, make sure to maintain the profiles’ “about” sections to meet best practices for optimization and consumer use. Shop the Wag does a good job integrating website links into the “about” sections and uses succinct and clear descriptions about their service, while also using industry-specific keywords. For additional information real estate, add a description to the Facebook cover photo that helps inform users and direct them to relevant information with a product link or special. The cover photo is also a great place to spotlight discounts, seasonal trends, new products and more. Every so often, try out a new image on Facebook that showcases something new and fresh. This gives your followers just one more reason to visit your page rather than wait for an update in their newsfeed. Like Facebook, Twitter’s header image should also be refreshed every so often to emphasize key company features while also engaging users at the same time.
Be Bold & Share Regularly
Shop the Wag should focus on building up its social media by sharing regular status updates on their accounts. Consistent statuses will establish the company as reliable and personable. To build a social following, Shop the Wag must be committed to delivering long-term value through their social networks. The first step is to develop an engagement strategy. An editorial content calendar for planning statuses can help outline a variety of posts to share and tailor them by network. To save time, a management tool such as HootSuite can be beneficial in making things even easier.
Because it has been months since the last statuses were shared, it would be a good idea for Shop the Wag to start off with a post that explains and apologizes for the extended time away with a promise of commitment moving forward. This not only helps humanize the brand, but reiterates trust and reliability moving forward.
Past statuses have been light-hearted in tone and typically associated with holidays or incorporate memes. While these are fun and in line with the brand voice, more effort should be made to set Shop the Wag’s posts apart from other pet-related Facebook and Twitter pages. Using Fenway, Shop the Wag’s furry member of the family, as a sort of voice or mascot on social media can be a nice way to craft branded, cohesive posts while offering insight into the company culture. Show off Fenway using Shop the Wag’s products on Facebook, highlight his daily adventures or share his #ootd (Outfit of the Day) on Twitter.
Also, some of the mostly highly engaged with statuses in the past were in relation to giveaways or promotions. This type of contest or discount post can be a useful way to continue to generate engaging statuses, especially while getting back into the social media game. It also helps reward customer loyalty and encourages followers to keep checking back for new exclusives.
Ideally, posts should:
- Offer variety: Regardless of the network, posts should offer variety and be interesting for the audience. Share industry articles, highlight special offers or new products, ask polls, offer company insights, post photos and share inspirations. As more posts are shared, Shop the Wag can learn what types of posts perform better with their audience and tailor their social strategy accordingly.
- Happen daily: Ideally posts and pins should occur daily, at least once a day. Different networks are more active by the time of day, so pay attention to when the audience’s peak engagement hours are.
- Encourage conversation: Ask questions, request an action such as a like or a comment, or encourage clicks. As a pet boutique, a good example post might be, “Help dress Sparky! Comment “red” or “blue” to tell us which shirt he should wear!” accompanied by a side by side photo of a dog wearing a red shirt on the left and a blue shirt on the right.
- Be specific by network: Currently, all Twitter updates are pushed from Facebook, but each network has its own formatting rules and lingo. Preferably, unique statuses are crafted for each network, but if there is some overlap between a Facebook status and a tweet -- at minimum – tailor by network. Shorten the tweet, use a relevant hashtag, etc.
Seek Out and Expand Audience
With a content strategy plan in place and networks that are updated, Shop the Wag should next focus on expanding their existing audiences to help grow engagement.
- Facebook: With over 200 likes already, the Shop the Wag Facebook page is off to a good start, but there is still plenty of room to grow. Facebook offers advertisement options specifically focused on building likes. Shop the Wag should target advertisements on consumers whose buying behaviors are associated with pet products, like dog breed fan pages, pet company pages such as PetSmart, or local shelters. The audience should be at least 16+ so that they are of an age likely to purchase for a pet that they own or as a gift. Additionally, Facebook ads are a useful tool in boosting posts to increase engagement and visibility.
- Twitter: Currently, Shop the Wag follows six other Twitter profiles and only has one follower. This is a meek start for a profile that’s been around since 2010. Seek out and follow not only industry profiles, but consumers as well. Advanced Twitter search options can allow user discovery by brand names, product keywords or even hashtag topics. As more users are followed, some will in turn follow @ShoptheWag back. In addition to following users, sending @messages to other users discussing pets and their accessories can help grow the audience as well. Some people make Twitter accounts for their pets and these can be highly influential. Seek out these users and offer them products to review on Twitter. This can help Shop the Wag gain positive buzz and increase new followers.
Inform Consumers of Social Presence with Promotion: Shop the Wag’s domain does a great job promoting the social networks. Buttons linking to the social networks and the blog are integrated just below the main graphic on the website; however, to help keep traffic on the website while simultaneously promoting the social sites, the links should be modified to open in new tabs or windows. Each product page also includes social bookmarking options to allow customers to easily share products on their own personal social accounts.
Shop the Wag should continue spreading the word about their online presence. Integrate social buttons into the blog. Cross-promote the networks by occasionally using a tweet or Facebook status post to inform audiences about other networks. Let the audience know the value of joining the brand on a different network or offer an incentive. For example, a good Facebook post might be: “Are you on Twitter? Follow us as we tweet our puppy #ootd and we’ll follow you back.” Also, make sure to share links from the blog – this content is often more engaging than sharing a link to a product page and can generate more traffic.
Facebook advertisements are also an easy way to promote the company website or other networks. In addition to building an audience on Facebook with a targeted campaign to generate page likes, Shop the Wag could promote pages on the website, encourage engagement on a status for increased visibility or even share another social network.
Finally, the mailing list is a great way to spread the word about the increased social presence. As Shop the Wag reinvigorates their networks by regularly sharing, send out a newsletter informing the audience of the increased devotion to social media. In future newsletters, share links directly to a social post or simply incorporate social media buttons.
Other Opportunities Worth Exploring: Due to the visual allure of Shop the Wag’s products, an image-based network such as Pinterest could be a good addition to the current social presence. Some Pinterest users have already pinned products from Shop the Wag, and pet lovers are abundant on the network. Additionally, a network like Pinterest is a good way to share tips on pairing accessories or dressing up a pet with easy to use descriptions and tags to help make these images more searchable within the network.
Additionally, as mentioned in Part 1, Shop the Wag should also start regularly updating the blog. At one time, ShoptheWag.com created a blog on BlogSpot, but has not updated it since January 2011. Blog articles are great resources to share on social networks and this could also be a good place to showcase the adventures of Fenway. If Shop the Wag is limited on time and unable to launch consistent blog updates, the “blog” button should instead be removed from the website’s global navigation.
Do you have questions about the best ways to use social media to promote your own business? Be sure to leave them in the comments below.