There is no one-size-fits all approach to integrating social media into your website: however, a combination of the following strategies are sure fire ways for any eCommerce brand to really start leveraging the power of the social sphere.
Homepage social feeds represent an incredibly powerful means of bringing your product to life on-site. Such feeds can help your site feel more human and less like a sales pitch. If you decide to integrate a social feed into your website, keep in mind that you need to ensure that your feed only contains high-quality images and content worthy of your homepage versus unrelated selfies or advertisements. Feeds are a form of social proof, arguably the most important psychological trigger when it comes to drawing in new customers.
Social buttons are an absolute must do for any brand, this is especially true in today’s world where customers are spending a bulk of their time on Facebook versus on-site, it’s incredibly important that you make following your business via social a one-click process versus forcing followers to try and find you. You can also use social media buttons on your website to increase sales: such buttons can promote your brand’s social media channels as a way for visitors to hear about contests or promotions you may be running. Regardless of where you place your buttons, you should keep the following in mind before rolling them out:
- Make sure that your buttons mesh with your site’s layout and colour scheme.
- Only highlight the social platforms that you’re active on: if you’re only active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example, don’t bother linking to your dead Pinterest page.
There’s perhaps no easier way to encourage social sharing than by creating a hashtag. Not unlike social buttons, hashtags can be implemented throughout your brand’s visual content to provide customers with a hub of discussion and sharing for your brand and its products. Beyond coming up with something unique, keep the following in mind as well:
- Keep your hashtag short and sweet (the ideal hashtag length is said to be under 11 characters)
- Be prepared to curate your hashtag in order to avoid spam or potentially irrelevant images
- Pick something that you can use for the long-haul: the more you use your hashtag throughout your marketing, the more likely it is to catch on.
Social media represents the modern word of mouth: buyers want to show off and share to others about their purchases. To feed into your customers’ needs to share, ensure that you have social sharing enabled on your product pages. Be careful however as it’s crucial that the social buttons on your product pages should not interrupt the buying process, but rather provide a way for customers to receive one-click feedback on their next purchase. Keep the following principles in mind as a means of optimizing your products for shares:
- Do not use the same social buttons on your homepage and product pages: your product buttons should be smaller and stylized differently.
- Only offer sharing to the social networks where it makes sense: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are much better than somewhere such as LinkedIn.
- Make sure that your plugin captures your product’s image and description appropriately as it’s shared
- Don’t forget about the importance of your customers’ experience once they’ve landed. Give them a chance to share their experience in the buying process: you may be surprised at how many of them are more than happy to sing your praises.
Social Sign Ins
Did you know that 73% of users prefer to log in to a site with social login, as opposed to providing an email address and creating a new account? Improve your website visitors’ experience with social login and increase your website registration conversions and retention. The benefit of social sign-ins are two-fold: visitors can browse your site without the annoyance of creating a new account and they can comment on your blog with ease.
Include Share Buttons
If you sell a product or run a full-fledged eCommerce site and you haven’t added share buttons to your product pages, you are missing out on a whole host of potential social impressions. Share buttons should enable website-goers to seamlessly share or recommend a product. Two broad tools that can help with this are AddThis and ShareThis. Both provide efficient and easy-to-use solutions for social media sharing across eCommerce sites with the added benefit of analytics to see how the content is getting shared.
With 79% of consumers trusting social proof as much as personal recommendations, it’s important you integrate the proper social widgets on your website to increase sales and website conversions. One way to do this is to use one of Facebook’s social widgets, such as the “Like Box”. This feature shows your visitors that you’re a credible source, their friends also like your Facebook page, and that you’re a legitimate product or brand. As an added bonus you’ll also be able to increase your Facebook likes with this social media integration.
Making Social Part of the Retail Experience
There are many other ways to integrate social media to improve conversions, streamline customer services and drive repeat business and referrals.
- Improve your post-purchase page with a range of social cues (i.e. Share your purchase) to enhance the customer experience, and to spread the word about your business.
- Add a simple sharing section which allows a user to send a tweet or a Facebook status with a link to the product they just bought.
- The post-purchase page can also include quick links to your social media channels, email newsletter and links to access customer services too. This is also the place, as well as in order communications, to share any referral discounts you offer for customers who share with their friends.
Reviews and Ratings
Social customer service is just as important as other functions like contact forms, call centers and live chat, so make sure you offer a good service that customers can access. Reviews help reassure customers, improve SEO and encourage repeat business. Linking social sign-in to your reviews set up will more than likely lead to more reviews from customers, as it just makes everything easier and more streamline. Make your social customer service easy and obvious to access by displaying it prominently on your help pages.
This is an excerpt from my book ‘The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive, Jargon-Free Guide to Social Media Marketing For Those Who Just Don’t ‘Get it’!’ – Available now on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback!