Being Authentic On Social Media

KIEV, UKRAINE - AUGUST 26, 2013: Collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logo.

Here is a question to ponder: how many times have you gone on to Facebook or Twitter and been frustrated with a brand or company that you follow because the message comes off as disingenuous or impersonal? This kind of thing happens all the time, and we here at Shoppost came up with what we call the “ABA” rule: Always Be Authentic.

At first glance, appearing to be genuine may seem cut-and-dried, but it’s more complicated in our very suspicious world. Sure, it may be straightforward with with your personal profile to a population who knows you, but for brands and businesses, it can be a bit trickier. First of all, being transparent is important. People sense when they are being led or lied to by a company. Maybe not all the time, but you only get one strike before your image is irreversibly tarnished, so don’t take the chance! It’s the quickest way to lose customers, revenue, and ultimately trust, which social media is built upon. People don’t want to connect with other people or brands if they feel there is a lack of integrity. To assist you in, to use a phrase from the 60’s, ‘keep it real,’ we figured it would be a good idea to write out a few guidelines for merchants and brands to follow. We hope this is will help create a better social and customer experience for your brand.

 

Engage Your Social Audience

Meme

The number one way to engage your audience is to be a positive source for information. And for fun, you can layer in some entertainment. A great example of this would be the use of memes in your social postings. What is a meme you may ask? According to Wikipedia, a meme is “an idea behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Some of the most well known brands use memes as an effective way to reach their audience. If you want to make one for you own campaign, head on over to Meme Generator and get started. They are super easy to make and it’s easy to let your creativity run wild. Also, remember that when you are reaching out to you followers, leave actual comments and engage with them, not just liking posts.

Use Real Images

We recommend that you not limit your account to graphic and stock photos. Instead, use photos of real people – you, co-workers, happy customers. You don’t need to filter everything through photoshop; just use undoctored (albeit good ones!) to convey who you and the company are. Every picture doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to tell something and connect with your followers.

Provide Guidance

This is your business and your opportunity to demonstrate your command of the industry. Social media is the best chance you have to really convey that type of authority and set the tone for your brand. This can be done by sharing industry relevant information in addition to promoting your company.

Be Human

Last but not least, remember to be human. Give your social media accounts a human voice and personality. It is all too easy for a brand to create a social bot and interact with their customers passively, but this can lead to some disastrous effects. It’s ok to automate some aspects of your social media accounts, but by all means, do not do this when actually starting a conversation with a customer.

Recap

Here is a quick recap of the main points:

  • Engage your audience and be a positive source for information
  • Use your genuine images
  • Provide guidance to your customers by being the authority that you are
  • Sound like a  human by using your voice.

The first bullet point is by far the most important because without an audience, you will have no one to promote your brand and ideas to. And without engaging your audience, most folks may assume your account is nothing more than spam.

So what approach to social media has worked for your business? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

You can now embed product images directly on Twitter using Shoppost

Looking to get more eyes on your product tweets? Why not add an image or two?

After all, tweets with images get 2x the engagement rate of those without, and an average of about 35% increase in retweets.

Adding images to your tweets is now easier than ever with Shoppost. Rather than searching through your hard drive for an image and uploading it to Twitter, you can skip all that by tweeting from the Shoppost app. The image will show up right in the Twitter feed, and it only takes a couple of clicks.

When you connect your Twitter account with Shoppost, all of your tweets can now include up to 4 product images. You’ll be able to select from the existing product images that you’ve already added for the product in your e-commerce platform. Tweeting through Shoppost will save you time, get more eyes on your products and increase the engagement with your tweets.

Start using richer and more engaging tweets today with Shoppost!

Debunking social commerce

Air tickets or boarding pass, passports, touchscreen smartphone with online airline tickets booking or reservation internet application, magnetic compass, credit cards and pen on world geographic map atlas

Social commerce has had several false starts in the past. So when United Airlines VP of eCommerce Scott Willson recently said that “social commerce, for the airline industry, is bunk,” we took notice.

We wanted to clarify that yes, adapting social commerce to some industries can have its regulatory challenges. But with a little imagination, social commerce can fly the friendly skies and be used even for highly regulated industries. I probably don’t need to remind Mr. Wilson that it was some forty years after Orville and Wilbur took their first flight that commercial aviation was a significant and economically viable form of transportation. I think social commerce having a meaningful impact on the airline industry will be an appreciably shorter span.

Securing online purchases

In regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, travel or financial services, the need of protecting personal identifiable information is one of the key challenges to social commerce. But the beauty of what we’re doing at Shoppost is that by providing a platform that is fully integrated with your back-end, you can sell directly through social media while ensuring that your customer’s data is secure.

Targeting your customers

We’ve talked a lot about using Facebook or Twitter’s built-in advertising and targeting systems. It is quite a straightforward process to use Shoppost to target potential shoppers. For example, if you’re an airline that wants to sell a SEA ✈️ LAS route, simply create a shoppost that is tied to that route on your inventory management system and make it function as a disposable URL. Once you have “sold out” of that fare, the link is no longer valid, which makes it so only a limited number of people can buy the route.

Additionally, because Shoppost is tied directly to your inventory management system, order fulfillment is streamlined and payment processing is tied directly to the purchaser’s identity. A customer can simply click purchase right from Twitter and is taken directly to your checkout page.

Accurately represent your products

With our ability to present full images in Twitter and functioning as an image in Facebook as well as a full detailed description on the embedded version, shopposts are able to provide in-depth information about the product or service being offered for sale. This eliminates the risk of misrepresentation as well as provides a platform for any disclosures that need to be made prior to a sale. Consider financial advisors, for example. They are able to utilize social media to solicit new clients through shopposts while also fulfilling the SEC disclosure requirements.

With the oversight on regulated industries and the emphasis on security, making sure that your ecommerce systems are not only easy to use, but also protecting your customer is crucial. We are certain that with the proper configuration, social commerce can quickly move beyond bunk and into material results. If you’re ready to put social commerce to work, try Shoppost now.

Give us a call, Scott. Let’s see if we can fill up some middle seats for you!

get-started-button-wide

Video created the social commerce star

Live streaming, life casting, on-demand video is quickly broadcasting its way into the retail sector.

It’s no longer enough to post a Vine video or short clip to Instagram. Consumers are quickly looking for spontaneous, interactive opportunities to connect with their favorite brands. Are you ready to use new services such as Meerkat and Periscope to broadcast to your customers?

Meerkat and Periscope pop up

Periscope for social commerce.

Using Periscope to live stream a product preview or new design is a great way to engage your audience on demand.

The first to appear in this latest wave of on-demand live streaming was Meerkat. It wasn’t the first. Services like uStream, Qik, Justin.tv and Kyte were early players in the so-called lifecasting movement. Meerkat’s rise was instantaneous and it quickly touched off the ability to broadcast live.

Services such as Snapchat had introduced “stories,” which enabled users to compile a series of snaps and Vine existed, but Meerkat was different. Quickly starting a live stream of video from your mobile device, while interacting with viewers in real time was important. As users experimented with Meerkat, some of the savvier marketing people began how to explore to use it to broadcast sales, product lines and even the crafting process.

Soon after Meerkat sprang up on the scene, Twitter announced it had purchased Periscope, which is another live-streaming service. Both services have quickly grown with millions of people and brands broadcasting in real-time. There’s pros and cons to both, but they are both great at instantly connecting you to your customers. So, how can you use Meerkat or Periscope in your store?

A turn on the catwalk

How can you use it to make your sales pop? These apps are a great way to maintain connection to your audience with organic and dynamic content. Being able to humanize your brand behind the camera offers the ability for your audience to provide instant feedback on a product.

You can even solicit real-time product development insight using live video. Invite your customers into the development or design process and let their voices be heard. While it is ultimately your vision that executes a product, it must also be something that there is demand for.

The ability to offer product support or how-to content on demand is an invaluable resource. You are able to respond to comments, demonstrate features and offer guidance on how to be most successful with your products.

Behind the scenes looks at the team, the archives or even the environment of your store or offices are a great way to connect to your audiences. Some of the first brands to utilize Periscope were focused on bringing viewers into their worlds.

Regardless of how you use on-demand video in your stores, sharing where your customers are is vital. There are a host of other benefits to using video in ecommerce and a lot of great resources are out there on how to connect to your audience in the figurative sense using video as well.

So what are you waiting for? Go fire up Meerkat or Periscope and then share the link. You can even tweet to us @shoppostco to showcase your video.

get-started-button-wide

Best Practices for Using Shoppost on Facebook

Best Practice
Many of you have asked us about how you should use Shoppost on social media, with an extra emphasis on Facebook. We have found that with Facebook’s efforts to improve the “quality” of content its algorithm places in news feeds, ensuring that your page’s posts are as high quality as possible is essential.

With that in mind, here are several tips to ensure your posts have the most reach possible!

Post between non product sales post.

Remember folks are not always wanting to be sold to. Spread out your postings of Shopposts so that it creates a natural cadence of content. Don’t want to look like spam to your followers. That is the quickest way to lose fans.

spiegel screen

Add additional context or stories to your statuses.

If you are selling T-shirts, mention something about them in the post. People are more compelled to click on your post if you include something in the status. Otherwise they don’t know what the heck the shoppost is and it will get skipped over.

All about that action boss. 

Vector Round 3D click here pointer - button (call to action)

Don’t forget to add some sort of call to action like “click the play button to check it out” or “click on the play button to buy it now.”

Spend a little to get a lot. 

Mega explosive sale design, comics style.

Facebook has publicly stated it is tightening the amount of organic reach a page’s post will receive. In order to get a bit more eyes on your post try boosting it with a small budget, nothing to big. You would be amazed how $25 or $50 dollars spend can be a great ROI booster. Shopposts are not like your traditional ads so a little boost can go a long way and by taking advantage of Facebook’s demographic and interest targeting, it can be a great way to kick start a successful Facebook post.

Timing is Everything
3d big red alarm clock and alarm clocks on white

Best time to post on Facebook is during those lull hours during the workday between 1-4PM. This is when the most clicks on posts occur and also is when people at their desk are looking for a bit of an escape from the day.

If you’re sharing content on the weekends, posting before 8AM or after 8PM will most likely get you the best clicks and traffic. People on the weekends are less like to engage with FB because they are out doing things with friends, family or just checking out from technology all together.

Curate, don’t automate.

social-management-tools

In order to make social sharing and management, use social media management tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer or other tools to schedule posts in advance and then you can spend time on your core business. We will cover the ins and outs of how to use Shoppost with those tools here in the near future.

The biggest piece of advice is to avoid posting ten shopposts in row, this could be perceived as spamming and at worst will just annoy the person on the other end and you will probably lose them as a potential customer after that. Be real and let them know that there is a human behind the page and not only an automaton :) And, of course, be sure to like our non-salesy, non-spam, organically curated Facebook page.

Use social media to capture impulse shopping

Social media has enabled people to keep up to minute on their favorite products and services. Real time marketing has given brands the power to connect with their current and potential customers. Adding these two ideas together can create a very powerful combination, and it’s one that all small business owners with an online presence should be taking advantage of –  give your customers the opportunity to make an impulse buy. Whether it’s for an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or holiday, knowing when to post can bring a tremendous advantage to your business.

For starters, let’s go over some metrics that both small and larger businesses will find useful. According to a study from Evergage, 88% of digital marketers find that real time marketing is absolutely critical to their campaigns. OK, so what is real time marketing you ask? According to the same report, it’s “personalizing content or creative in response to customer interactions” in a short amount of time. How short of a time span? Some consider it to be under a minute, although it can reasonably take place when an event is still highly topical.

The tangible benefits include an 81% increase in customer engagement and a 59% increase in conversion rates across the board, according to the Evergage study. These metrics are fantastic starting points, but you may be wondering how to actually implement something with your own products. Let’s take a look at some options.

First things first, ramping up your social media efforts is a must. It is also a terrific way to engage with your customers and get real time feedback. Your customers may respond more to content that is relevant, smart, and makes use of pertinent cultural trends. This is also a wonderful time to use Shoppost to sell more products right where your customers are in social media, the Facebook Newsfeed. Doing this will enable you to get real time feedback with what is selling for you and what isn’t.

Make e-commerce seamless by monetizing your marketing and social media channels.

meme generator Fry social commerce

Built using memegenerator.com

Arguably, nothing is going to be more effective for this than Shoppost. You want to drive your customers to your shopping cart. In order to get them there and for them to ultimately make a purchase, you must make the process as simple as possible. Shoppost can give you the power to do just that by making impulse buying easier by putting them one click away from check out. You can think of Shoppost as the best way to give your current and potential customers the opportunity to make a purchase right in Facebook. Remember, every addition click and each time there’s another redirect, it is one more chance to lose a sale. This is an entirely new way of making a connection — timing the product with customers’ buying preferences and habits. There’s no better means to generate the potential for a spur of the moment buy than being in front of a customer with the right product that right time.

Customize and tailor the content for your shoppers

Real-time marketing during the holidays allows your customers to share their own stories using social media. When you are monitoring your customers’ interaction with your social media marketing campaign, you can tailor each and every post or tweet to specific customer needs. For example, perhaps a potential customer is displeased with the price of a particular product and says so in a Facebook or Twitter post. You can immediately spring to action by adjusting the price and letting them know, and even thanking them for bringing it to your attention. This allowed you to get around a potentially blocked sale and even engender greater customer loyalty. Changing the price in your inventory will automatically change the price in Shoppost. You just gave your customers all the more reason to share with their friends and build an even bigger purchasing loop.

#Hashtags

all the things meme for hashtags.

Built using memegenerator.com

Another way of taking advantage of this is to use #hashtags.The concept behind hashtags can be foreign to people who haven’t used them, but are easy to explain. Hashtags allow the grouping of similar messages that can be easily searched. An example of this would be Facebook’s “trending” feed. The first thing to do is to monitor whatever trends could be relevant to the products that you sell. Next, in the copy you will be using for your #shoppost, insert the relevant hashtag. This makes your post easier to find by people in search of your wares. Adding this simple step increases your chances of making your products easier to find to potential and existing customers.

Using real time marketing to implement impulse buys isn’t easy. In fact, 30% of online merchants lack the knowledge of how to successfully implement in their campaigns. A good place to start though is by using Shoppost, which allows you to sell where you share, thereby maximizing your efforts and ROI.

The Pay-for-Play Social Revolution: What SMBs Need to Know

Focus on banking with Small Business isolated on blue

More brands and more people are posting on social media. Facebook has more than 1.28 billion monthly active users, while Twitter has 255 million. You do the quick math – with that many users posting and sharing potentially multiple times a day, it’s no wonder it’s harder than ever for SMBs to connect with their target audience via social media. However despite that proliferation of content, these channels are making it easier – and more affordable – for SMBs to get their posts and tweets seen by the right people.

What is Paid and Why Should You Care?

Social media marketing strategies fall into three channels: owned, earned and paid. Owned channels are your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, etc. These are the channels were you share your content and your message. When social media usage was in its infancy, it was easy for a brand to set up a profile and share content – and have it seen organically. If people really liked the content, it would earn the attention of followers and potentially go viral, or capture the attention of media, who then wrote about it. Because the adoption and usage of social media channels have grown so much, there’s increased competition for attention – this is where paid comes in.

Ever wonder why you see posts from brands every day, while others you never see? Paid helps your posts and content be seen. It’s no longer enough to just produce great content – you need to put a little money behind it to ensure you stand out among the baby pictures and BuzzFeed articles users friends are posting. And it’s not that hard to do with self-service platforms designed with SMBs in mind. All you need is a little money (budget is up to you), an image and ad copy, and a link to where you’re interested in driving traffic.

How do you get started?

1. Got goals?: Is your objective to grow engagement on your social channels? Or drive someone to your webpage? Once you figure out what your ultimate goal is, you’ll be able to come up with a tactical strategy to help you reach your objective.

2. What’s your strategy?: The best paid social media programs employ a mix of tactics across Facebook and Twitter. In a Mashable article, HipLogiq CTO and cofounder Adam Root explains: “My strategy is to use Twitter to gain new users, Facebook to build a community. My logic in choosing this strategy is that Twitter is a good medium for targeting moments and encouraging action, Facebook is a great medium for building long-term relationships…”

Keep in mind, Facebook and Twitter offer a few different types of paid social media options –advertisements or promoted posts. Your strategy (and the types of social media paid options you employ) will be influenced by your ultimate goal. If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of social media buys you can execute on these platforms, check out this an easy to understand tutorial from Facebook and this guide from Twitter.

3. Who are you trying to reach?: One of the best parts about paid is that it ensures that the right people are seeing the right content. Going into your campaign, you need to know exactly who you want to reach – even down to the geographic location. Because social media users are sharing a lot of personal information on these sites, it’s easy to ensure that someone who is interested in craft beer in Seattle is able to see your promoted post or promoted Tweet about craft beer in Seattle.

4. Get creative with your content: If you’re going to do a social media paid buy, you’ll need some creative content. The type of creative content you need will be influenced by your strategy, but you’ll need to make sure that the images, text and links you’re utilizing will be relevant for your audience(s). For example, an image of someone running in New York City, won’t resonate if your target audience is runners in San Diego.

If you opt to promote a post or Tweet (vs. execute a social ad), all you’ll need is a link to the piece of content and some text that you would use for an update.

5. Advertise away!: Once your strategy and audience is defined, your ads can be up and running in 2-3 days via Facebook or Twitter’s self-serve platform. You can look in real-time to see how your paid buys are performing and what is resonating with your target audience. Something didn’t land well? That’s okay – you can easily re-allocate your budget to a new ad or post that you know your audience would be interested in based on how the rest of your campaign is performing.

Does your SMB have a paid social media strategy? How are you using it to grow your owned channels?