Analytics 101: Metrics Overview

If you are a one-person company or even part of a small team, then you could be under the impression that using analytics on your ecommerce website is a drain on one of your most-valuable resources: your time. But the reality is, investing your time to understand and maximize your results is one of the best ways to understand how your business works.

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Metrics Overview

If you can’t measure something in your business, then it doesn’t exist. If you can’t prove something is not working, you can’t fix it. And, if you can’t prove something is working, you can’t take credit for it.

Data and analytics run the business world and it will be in your best interest to understand what you are looking to understand. Let’s cover off on some of the key metrics and ways to measure them in your social commerce and ecommerce campaigns.

Demographic Data (Investment)

The first step with understanding metrics is having a keen understanding of who your customers is and the type of profile you can build about them. Customer data (or demographic data) can tell you everything from age, gender, and geographic location and other information you can use to help target your message. For example, if you sell a certain type of toy for young children, your customer demographic would mostly likely be the child’s parents. It will be absolutely essential to collect this data and information because it will help you in many important ways, such as telling you who is purchasing your products, where they are located, and their demographic information. It will also help contribute to the language of your branding, copy, and overall marketing campaigns. Listening to what your customers are saying and how they are acting is the most important way to reach success using analytics.

Measuring Engagement

EngagementEngagement rate is a simple metric used to measure how effective a brand or company is at engaging with their customers and audience. If you are running campaigns using Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, It can easily be used to compare how these different platforms are working for your brand. Maybe you are finding that more people will click on the ad through Adwords but aren’t sticking around, whereas those potential customers who click on the FB ad not only stick around, but are returning more often and even purchasing your products.You should probably have your analytics dashboard setup so that you can measure key events such as engagement rate. If not, doing so well help you accurately measure the type and quality of traffic coming to your ecommerce site. Maybe you are looking to reach out to a specific type of customer, but on further review, you are finding that those customers aren’t coming to your site as much as you had hoped.

Isolating specific customer segments and measuring the engagement rate with each one you are analyzing can bring to light who exactly is having a positive engagement with what you have to offer. If you feel comfortable building a custom segment, even though  it is a bit more advanced, it can easily be done. Google has some great instructions here.

Measuring the Process

The Click Through Rate (CTR) is an easy way to measure how successful your advertising campaign is by measuring how a customer clicked a specific link. That link could be in an email campaign or even on a branded advertising campaign. How it works is pretty simple: the higher the clicks on a specified link, the more effective the campaign was at getting people to the destination. The CTR also measures the number of customers who were reached, clicked the link and redirected them to the destination page where they can learn more about your products or services and, ultimately, make a purchase. This action is known as a conversion, which can more broadly be defined as a percentage of users who take a defined action, which, in this case, is a purchase.

Cart in FieldFinally, if you are able to reach out to the best potential customers, what happens if they don’t make it through the final step which is making a purchase? The term for this is the ‘shopping cart abandonment rate’ and it happens more often with ecommerce sites than brick and mortar stores. For example, if you see that 10,000 people loaded a basket, but only 2,500 made a purchase, your abandonment rate is 75% (7,500 / 10,000 = 0.75). The typical abandonment rate is between 60% – 80% for ecommerce sites. All of these measurements are great tools in the toolbox. If you don’t know them now, be sure to learn them. 

Setting up your toolbox

Being able to collect and analyze the data from the various sources you are sharing content is the next step in improving your conversions. Google Analytics is the first platform that should be learned as it is essential to understanding how people are interacting with your site, how much time they are spending there and if they are purchasing anything. There is an easy-to-use tutorial here. Also, both Facebook and Twitter have powerful tools to analyze what your customers are doing.  You can learn more about Facebook here and Twitter here.

Understanding how to read basic metrics from sites like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Analytics are essential for running your ecommerce business successfully. Without all of these tools, you will be essentially shooting at a target blindfolded. Although it may take some time to understand how these tools work, learning them is absolutely one of the best strategies you can utilize to effectively run your social commerce business. 

In my next post on analytics, I will go over best practices for using the Shoppost dashboard so you can easily rule the social commerce kingdom and if you’re ready to experience Shoppost, sign up now!

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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.

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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. 

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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
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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.

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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.

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

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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?

Welcome to Shoppost!

screenshot-2-shoppost-previewWith the release of any new product, it is traditional for a company’s founder to share his or her thoughts on what they intend to achieve, or how they see their product impacting the world.

Now, I’m reluctant to call this sharing my vision, as that’s a slippery slope to referring to yourself as a ‘visionary.’ And that’d lead to hearing things at home like, “honey, visionaries don’t roll the trash down the curb,” which is a road I do not wish to travel. So, rather than sharing my vision, let me just tell you what Shoppost is and what I hope it will do for you.

Shoppost is a social commerce application that lets merchants sell goods from their Shopify or Big Commerce stores on social media networks. With just a few clicks, you can showcase and sell your products directly on your followers’ Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as on Google+ and Pinterest, letting your customers shop and interact with your product without ever having to leave the site.

We know that people spend an enormous amount of time on social media every day, and this trend will only continue. We’ve seen that consumers follow merchants and product lines they like and, in turn, want to share their experience with their peers. But until now, there wasn’t a simple, effective way to do this within a social media platform, or offer a seamless experience that moves the customer from one platform to the others without frustrating consequences.

Until Shoppost, the solution has been a series of redirects, cumbersome processes and time wasted, resulting in lot of abandoned shopping carts. But now that Shoppost is available, these are problems of the past. Building your Shoppost takes just a minute for you to set up, and purchasing and sharing couldn’t be easier for your customers.

Shoppost lets your customers preview your product with an image or video of the product that’s located directly on the social media platform – they can even interact with the product by selecting a size, color or any other variant. And all of this happens without a redirect. Your customers on Facebook don’t have to leave the site until they land on your secure checkout page.

There’s nothing else out there that’s even close to this functionality. It takes just a minute to promote a product, and even less time for your customers to buy. And additional integrations and enhancements to Shoppost are rolling out all the time. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Shoppost costs nothing and can only increase your sales and brand awareness. So give it a try – then be sure to drop me a line to let me know how we’re doing for you.

Happy Shopposting!

David Robb
CEO

What Small Businesses Get Right About Social Media – And What They Get Wrong

Social Media Newspaper Concept

Social media has been a huge boon to small businesses all over the world. Perhaps no other platform has enabled businesses just getting off the ground to amplify their message and reach their customers. But not every business is taking full advantage of this opportunity. So what are some of the things that small businesses get right about social media, and what do they get wrong?

The Good

Have a Facebook presence –More than 25 million small businesses are now using Facebook, which is a positive sign. Facebook today is properly understood as the top platform for most businesses to engage their customers. Expanding your brand presence on Facebook can only lead to positive results.

Be human – One of the more positive aspects of being a small business is that it’s much, much harder to sound like a soulless corporation in your communications. Many small businesses are significantly more responsive and engaging with their audience than larger brands, which admittedly have larger followings, but still should not just use social media as a place to just regurgitate their press releases.

Don’t go overboard – You know that company that uses social media to just regurgitate their press releases? Well, their evil twin is the company that uses social media to constantly promote their products many, many times a day, day after day after day. There’s a time and a place for promoting your products, but multiple times a day is not that time. That’s a lesson that most small businesses inherently understand. You know your customers limits. We’ll get back to this question of how much to post a little later.

The Bad

Not Utilizing Twitter or LinkedIn –SMBs are using Facebook, but they’re not utilizing Twitter or LinkedIn, which, increasingly, is becoming a missed opportunity. Fewer than one in four use Twitter, and fewer than one in five uses LinkedIn, both of which are becoming more and more useful platforms for your small business strategy – LinkedIn especially, as in addition to reaching potential clients and talent directly, it’s also a source of strong business advice.

Not Posting Enough – If you look around the Internet, you’ll find dozens—maybe hundreds—of guides telling you exactly when and how many times you need to post to achieve maximum engagement. Too many businesses get caught in that trap. According to longtime entrepreneur and advisor Guy Kawasaki, you shouldn’t worry about how often you post on social media.

“Almost every company is not posting as much as they should,” Kawasaki recently told Business Insider. “Many are believing ‘expert’ advice that the optimal number of posts on each platform is one per day. This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard. Imagine if NPR, CNN, ESPN, or the BBC did one report per day — and never repeated it. Companies are afraid of a vocal minuscule minority complaining about too many posts and repeated posts.”

The takeaway? If you have something that’s useful and relevant for your audience, post it. And conversely, if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything at all.

Expecting Immediate Results – You have a Facebook profile filled out, great imagery and a crack team ready to engage potential customers. So you should start seeing an uptick in sales, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

You’re in this for the long game. You’ll be engaging with a lot of potential customers who have no plans to make a purchase in the near future. Your goal with your social media strategy shouldn’t be to immediately convert everyone on your Facebook list, it should be to build your brand awareness, keep your business top of mind when it does come time for making a purchase, and to nurture and support potential brand advocates among your customers. Patience: it’s not just a virtue – it’s a sales strategy.

How to More Easily Market Your Products on Social Media

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Like most technology, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are in a state of constant change. And while these changes are often undertaken for the end user’s benefit, they can often throw your marketing strategy into chaos.

How are you supposed to promote your products and reach your customers when you don’t know if what you’re doing today will work tomorrow? And how can you tread this uncertain landscape when chances are that none of the platforms you’re on will operate the same way a year from now?

Change is inevitable. But though you may not know what’s coming, you can prepare all the same. Here are three tips to more easily market your products on social media, and handle the occasional curveball.

Keep on Top of Changes

If you want to use social media, you have to understand the platforms. Yes, change is inevitable, but you need to know what’s changed and how it’s changed, when it changes. By understanding what’s happened and how it will affect your business’ social presence, you can craft a plan of action to address the changes now and keep your online presence on a path of growth.

You can’t get ahead on social media if your strategy is based on information that’s years behind. Check out sites like Social Media Examiner to keep on top of the latest in the world of social.

Aggressively Target Your Audience

Knowing who your audience is is Marketing 101. But that audience changes. They browse different websites. Their interests change. They watch different TV shows and like new bands. And if you want to reach out to them and talk to them where they’re at, you need to keep up.

Do what you can to strengthen your audience research. You can then take this data and use it for better-targeted advertisements. Social media platforms are nothing more than giant data sponges, and their ad programs can each be heavily targeted at certain segments of that data. Be sure you’re on top of who you’re talking to when you’re using paid media.

Build Your Community

You know what convinces people to buy things, more than anything else? It’s not the big elaborate commercials. It’s not the hilarious advertisements you put up around town. It’s not even your totally awesome website. No, it’s people – friends, colleagues and even acquaintances who enthusiastically promote your product.

You can help build this community of potential brand ambassadors by starting on social media. Engaging with your customers and your community, and being a company that is seen as really, truly, actually human, is the best way to turn customers into advocates for your brand. Make sure your social presence is as engaging as possible.

Of course, the presumes that you have a product that’s worth raving about. If you do, there’s no better way to get your product in front of potential customers than Shoppost. And the easier it is to share your product with their friends and family, the better your word-of-mouth buzz will end up being.

What about you? How have you responded to the changing social media landscape?

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Boost Their Online Sales

Woman Working At Flower Shop Smiling

Sure, ecommerce platforms work fine for the large retailers who already have a built-in customer base and following. But what about the small business or new startup? How can you establish an online foothold in an increasingly more complex and difficult sales environment?

We’ve got you covered. Here are our five tips to jumpstart your online sales.

Set Up a Website

If you haven’t done that yet, stop reading and get one set up!
Okay, that wasn’t much of a first tip. Let’s call that one a freebie.

Get Mobile

Mobile is the wave of the future, and it’s either time to ride that wave or get out of the way. According to StatCounter.com, mobile web usage is at approximately 30 percent, up from just 3 percent in 2010. If your online presence only caters to desktop users, you’re missing a huge—and growing—part of your audience.
Always optimize your site for mobile users, and consider launching your own app. Engage this growing section of your customer base.

Be Social

Recently, we talked about how you could use Facebook to drive sales. This just underscores the need for your business to have a social media presence. It doesn’t have to be every single social media network, but you should know which networks your target audience is using and make sure you’re active and engaged there.

Focus on the Customer

Companies like Zappos have become legendary for their devotion to customer service. And in a world where everyone has a story about being routed to a call center halfway around the world, only to wait on hold for what seems like hours, this Business 101 staple should not be overlooked.
No matter your platform, you should have clear means for the customer to contact you with any issues, and a plan in place to satisfy customer returns, complains and questions as quickly and effectively as possible. Buying from an online store is one thing – knowing what to do when that item is returned is another. A lot of companies spend all their time on the buying part of the equation, and not the post-sale customer service aspect. Don’t be like a lot of companies.

Identify Trends, then Jump on Them

You should always have an ear to the ground for “the next big thing.” The Internet is a fast-changing place, and new ideas, memes and methods are popping up every day. The now overly-clichéd Wayne Gretzky quote is nonetheless apt here: “Go to where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”
What are some of the trends that might affect your small business? Digital couponing, for one – this sales tactic jumped 141 percent in 2013 to 66 million digital coupons redeemed. Retailers with a strong digital coupon strategy are the ones reaping the rewards. Another is video, which is projected to generate more than two thirds of all Internet traffic by 2018. While not all businesses need to utilize video, those that do are opening themselves up to a much larger potential audience.

Use Shoppost

Come on, you didn’t think we wouldn’t put this in, did you?

What are your online selling strategies? Has your small business had success selling online? We invite you to share your stories with us in the comments below.