E-Commerce Content Strategy: Using Social Media To Influence And Engage

Feb 1, 2017 1:42:42 PM

by Virtucom Group Team

Did you know that 190 million consumers in the United States will shop online this year? With more and more shoppers turning to their computers and smartphones to make purchases, your business needs a comprehensive content strategy to remain competitive. Over the past few weeks, we've talked about a variety of content you should have in your tool kit, including unique product content, category content and buying guides. This week, our focus turns to social media content and how it can round out your arsenal.

What is social media content?

Social media content should be unique, engaging and shareable. There are many different platforms to utilize, from a blog hosted on your company's website to options including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Content created for social media shouldn't focus on a hard-sell strategy. Instead, social postings should create a rapport with customers and further develop the face of your brand. Your ultimate goal? To offer potential customers and existing shoppers something informative, entertaining or both that establishes the company's ethos and personality.

Because of the range of platforms available, you have a multitude of options for creating social content. Long-form posts and articles allow brands to share thought leadership and get into the important details, while shorter posts have the benefit of being quick to consume and easy to share. And your options don't end with copy — many platforms focus on images, video or a blend of content styles for additional ways to reach out and connect.

Why is social media content important?

As e-commerce continues to grow, so does the need to forge relationships with potential customers. The Pew Research Center reports that 65% of Americans use social media, including 90% of individuals between 18 and 29. Social media content lets businesses reach out to these consumers in a way that showcases brand identity along with products and services. Social content also creates the opportunity to show, not tell. You might be most familiar with this expression in reference to storytelling, and that's exactly how it applies here — it's a chance to tell the story of your brand, your team and its values. And while you certainly can write manifestos and missions to express these ideas, it's often more powerful to demonstrate identity through day-to-day conversations and open communication.

Shareable Content Creates Brand Ambassadors 

The shareable nature of social content is another huge benefit to your business. No matter how good your message is, it can only be effective when seen by its target audience. Creating great social content encourages loyal customers to follow your online presence, whether that means signing up for an e-mail notification list for new blog posts, checking out press releases and news on LinkedIn or enjoying daily or weekly updates on other platforms. Thanks to sharing capabilities, your influence doesn't end with existing customers. Taking the time to craft useful and engaging content encourages fans to like, comment and share it with their followers, turning every loyal shopper into a potential brand ambassador. And while direct advertising can be a turn-off, insightful articles, heartfelt notes about company culture and community engagement and posts that provide a much-needed laugh are often more welcome.

Of course, there's always the SEO value to consider. Adding social posts to your site, whether in the form of a blog, articles or a social media feed, creates new content on a regular basis. We've discussed the importance of unique content for achieving improved search engine rankings, and social content provides another reliable source of fresh, one-of-a-kind copy to help you rise to the top of the SERP (search engine results page).

Social content requires assessment 

Like all aspects of your content strategy, social content requires careful assessment before you dive in. It may sound easy to begin generating blog posts and status updates, but the truth is that many companies jump in too quickly, get in over their heads and wind up seeing poor results. Before you commit to a robust roster of platforms and an optimistic posting schedule, take a hard look at your available resources and develop a realistic timetable. Scale your efforts to ensure you're sharing the best possible content on a regular schedule, and consider whether help from an outside partner might make the workload easier to manage.

Develop Your Brand Persona

It's also critical to develop your message and your brand persona. That doesn't mean that you must remain silent until you've perfected every aspect of social communications, but you should have a strong idea of what type of personality you want to express and what you want to communicate to followers. You know your customers best, so put that knowledge to work as you develop a strategy for social content. Again, if you're struggling to define goals, partnering with an outside firm can help clarify what you hope to achieve and how best to accomplish it.

Where is your audience? 

Finally, remember that not every platform will be right for you. It can be tempting to sign up for everything and see how it pans out, but abandoned accounts can create a poor impression. Instead, start with a few key platforms that feel right for your business — maybe long-form content, like articles and blog posts, is needed to shed light on your industry. Perhaps your most important goal is to showcase company values through highlighting your team. Once you have a good handle on a few primary platforms, it's a good time to consider expanding your outreach.

Have questions about getting started with social content or want to share the story of your success? Leave us a comment and let us know. And you can always keep up with us on social media by visiting us on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Data integrity, time to market and increased conversions are vital to all e-commerce retailers. Our product data management and unique content creation program ensures consistent product names, robust product descriptions, complete and accurate product attributes and an array of digital assets are at your disposal, providing time to market and quality improvements that will outpace your fiercest competition. Contact our team and get started with Virtucom Group today.

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