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3 key steps to take before launching on Social Media

Expert Advice
For Ecommerce Success
Our team of Ecommerce experts outline effective strategies for increasing and optimising your sales!
2,06 billion out of the 3,025 billion internet users navigate social media. These networks allow you to reach 68% of all internet users, and 28 % of the global population. In the UK, nearly half of the population has a Facebook account. Say you are still not convinced joining Facebook is the way to develop your business. Or you are undecided because you cannot see what you stand to gain, in concrete terms.

Bear in mind that 51% of Facebook-page fans are likely to buy products from the page they're following. Ballkit' s manager Jean-Philippe Thoër confirms the point : “Social networking sites allow us to share feedback from happy customers, and broadcast our new products and promotions, which enables us to maintain a permanent link with our customers and those who follow us. Our traffic has increased by 30% in one year

Before you set out, you need to think in terms of developing a clear, specific strategy. What should you broadcast, and in what way? Who is your target audience? What platforms should you be choosing?
It's time to take advantage of the 2h13 that internet users in the UK spend on social networking sites every day. Here is how to develop your social media strategy, in three steps.
1. Social media networks are an additional source of revenue.
2. The storytelling they imply allow you to build your reputation, profile your brand, and position your products.
3. Tailor your content to the social networking platform: competitions, corporate information, product information sheets,... Specific social media network = content specific to that network
4. Managing social media sites is a job in itself. Gauge the resources and skills you have in your company.
5. Be alert, and launch yourself on those new social media sites that will help set you apart from the competition.

3 key steps to take before launching yourself on Social Media Networks

01 Which social network should I choose, and why?
First of all, choosing a target will help you select networks, and establish an editorial policy. Are you aiming your products or services at professionals, or private individuals? Young people? Women? If you are targeting professional clients, use LinkedIn or Viadeo. If you are trying to reach a more feminine audience, use Pinterest. If you have a broader target, create a Facebook page, and open a Twitter account.

Once you have identified your target, decide what you are expecting from your social media platforms? Do you wish to increase your online visibility? Multiply your sources of traffic? The solution may lie in setting up PPC campaigns in order to more rapidly boost community numbers. You could also come up with online competitions, which will result in your content becoming viral. Do you want to create customer and brand loyalty? Think discount coupons, and special offers. The aim is to reward your community for their loyalty.

Finally, ask yourself what is the message you want to communicate to your audience, and the means through which you wish to do so. Storytelling is widely used as a means of engaging audiences,
and growing your traffic. This technique has existed forever and remains a powerful lever of action in marketing. Storytelling, as the name implies, involves using a tale, a story, instead of dry argument, to promote a product, for example, across social networking sites, or on a blog.

So, how should you use this technique? Easy. You need to align your facts in such a way as to trigger an emotional response. The facts invite action on the part of the consumer; the spike in emotions should guarantee conversion. Storytelling allows you to establish close relationships with consumers.
An example of successful storytelling is the brand “BeFruit”, set up for Oasis in 2012. The story? A gang of fruit sets of from the island of Oasis on a quest to engage with the human race. Social media networks loved it, and Oasis garnered 3 million Facebook fans. The brand went on to enhance its social media strategy with targeted operations spanning Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat.

Please note: The new tendency is towards Data Storytelling. This involves, for example, telling your story via a chart set up using customer data.
02 What content should I create for social media networking?
Facebook and Twitter are compulsory tools for sales, given they have 1,44 billion (April 2015), and 284 million (October 2014) active users respectively. Photo-based social media networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are increasingly popular, and call for the development of specifically-geared products and campaigns.

  • Facebook

Facebook offers brands an array of marketing options. For instance, you can create a page or a Facebook group as a meeting point for your fans, where they can gather “between themselves” to discuss your products. This is a terrific way to get “free” publicity. Thanks to Facebook you can reach a large panel of users, but also target those you are particularly interested in by using sponsored links. You can target them, for example, by gender, age, location, interests, etc. Facebook Insights, a statistical analysis tool, will also allow you to follow your (free or for-a-fee) publications.

Using Facebook is a priority for salespeople, if you think you have content to relay (blog updates for example), if you wish to start building your e-reputation, and if you want to ensure buyer-loyalty through establishing a dialogue with them.
    « Facebook is a privileged tool for unlocking potential: having an ever-increasing community of customers at our fingertips allows us to fine-tune our brand, and promote our products. Our site and Facebook merge, thanks to the automatic updates suggested by Oxatis! »
    C. Duval - Amsterdamer
  • Twitter

20% of Twitter users follow at least one brand (Source: Twitter, June 2014). Seize the opportunity. Furthermore, Twitter is THE live information-network. It is an extremely useful tool for broadcasting content during specific events (a practice referred to as live-tweeting). Start a Twitter account if you are certain you can commit to daily usage, and will tweet or retweet information which is both interesting and relevant to your area of activity. Use hashtags, and “@” to gain visibility. Follow influential bloggers and interact with them in order to be identified as an expert in your sector. Do not hesitate to favourite tweets that catch your attention. You will have the opportunity to pour over them later on. Twitter is a tool which is perfectly adapted to allowing you to get closer with and spontaneously interact with your community. This implies, on your behalf, to be highly reactive. Our next expert advice segment will be dedicated to the tools which allow you to constantly keep an eye on your networks ;-)

  • Pinterest & Instagram

Photo-based social media networks are particularly popular right now. They will be hugely useful if your products are compatible with visual marketing strategies. Stage your products on Pinterest and Instagram!
Pinterest has 40 million active users (July 2014) and works along the same lines as Twitter (a system where you register on boards). You bookmark your images (referred to as 'pins') to a thematic board. Every pinned picture can be clicked, thereby engaging a referral to the site it came from.

69% of all Pinterest users have bought a product after seeing it on the social network (as opposed to 40% for Facebook). Pinterest's audience is primarily female and interested in every day objects, decoration, cooking and fitness. Still wondering what you can use Pinterest for? Why not pin images that are relevant to your commercial area or even display your product-catalogue via a board?
Instagram is another photo-based social media platform; it operates differently however. It is an application which is only available on mobile devices, and was acquired by Facebook. 58% of al Instagram users have wanted to purchase a product after having seen it on the network (Source: Kindai, March 2014). Given it can boast of a community of more than 300 million active users (December 2014), Instagram's potential is hardly negligible. It is easy to use, there are no boards, which is a feature specific to Pinterest, and it allows you to upload photos or even videos with special effects in a few seconds. In line with the other social networks, the application has developed its own publicity programme. You can therefore upload sponsored photos of your products to the app.

Indeed, Instagram is an interesting tool in that it allows you to simultaneously publish edited pictures onto other social networks (Facebook, Twitter,....) if your accounts are linked. Use Instagram if you want to promote your products, their environments, or even your work group (backstage, behind the scenes,...). When you are using this social media network, think of being liberal with the use of the appropriate hashtags (#) to gain in visibility in online keyword searches.
03 Gauge your resources clearly and know how to mobilise them
Once you have come up with a structured strategy, you need to establish whom, within your company, is going to be responsible for developing the social media side of your business. Do you possess the necessary means and resources internally, or would you prefer to have the matter handled externally?

If you want to handle your social media strategy internally, make a list of the skills, budgets, and timeframes essential for the task. A community manager needs to have demonstrated ability in several fields, and needs to be adaptable and autonomous. He will be in charge of digital communication and publicity, which implies the need for a creative spirit. He will have to act as moderator, and will sometimes take on a customer services' role: patience and diplomacy are key.

Finally, a community manager also has to be a salesperson, a content curator, and an analyst. Reactivity is therefore an non-negotiable requirement. Does this fit any of your staff members? The work involved is time-consuming, so be certain that the person has a timetable that is compatible with taking on the whole community manager task-package. If you do not find the person you need internally, some service providers or freelancers are specialised in this field. All you would need to do is brief them regarding your objectives, needs, and expectations.

At last, you are now ready to face the end of the holiday season! Motto of the upcoming!