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6 Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful eCommerce Social Strategy

Sarah Fung • April 15, 2016

Over the past five years, all eyes have turned to social. What eCommerce businesses once questioned as a trend has become a staple of the eCommerce landscape. Nothing speaks to this better than recent data on global social network ad spend, which is expected to reach nearly $30 billion in 2016, accounting for more than 15 percent of total digital ad spending.

At LYONSCG, we’ve seen many eCommerce brands double or triple their social spend compared to last year’s budgets. This is no surprise since social media is a proven method for driving awareness, engagement, and revenue.

However, with the rally cries and budget shifts around social media, there’s still some floundering when it comes to the what and how of social media strategy. We’ve compiled a list of the top six do’s and don’ts of social media strategy.

DO Use Social Media for Customer Acquisition

Depending on your brand’s niche, your current customer database represents only a tiny fragment of your overall potential market.

With more than 1.5 billion active users on Facebook, 400 million on Instagram, and 100 million on Pinterest, social media is the perfect way to reach new customers. Repeating the same sweepstakes can only take you so far.

So where do you start? A broad, blind campaign will likely be ineffective and costly, so you’ll need to drive customer acquisition through social media more strategically.

Facebook’s lead ads are one way to do just that. Lead ads let people subscribe to your content natively. And you can collect more than just their names and email addresses, too. As an advertiser, you can customize your ad with open-ended and multiple-choice questions specific to your business. Using lead ads to conduct a look-alike prospecting campaign, based on the top 20 percent of your customer database, can be a successful way to acquire new engaged leads.

This lead ad for a furniture and décor retailer lets people subscribe to company updates from the Facebook mobile app.

DO Use Social Media to Innovate the Customer Experience

Social media not only enables you to inspire and connect with customers, but also deliver an elevated customer experience. People look to social channels for inspiration, connectivity, and, of course, an instant dial-in, but they also look to social to make their lives easier. Most people in the US check their social accounts 17 times a day, so why not meet your customers on their turf?

A great example of this is how Everlane uses Facebook Messenger to let customers track packages. Not only is this beyond convenient, it sets the tone for their brand. What’s more, this lets Everlane send personalized messages to customers and create up-sell opportunities.

Everlane sends a Facebook message alerting David his order has been received, shipped, and delivered. David sends a message back to Everlane, providing the brand with an up-sell opportunity.

DO Use Social Media to Drive User-Generated Content across Channels

Those selfies aren’t just for Instagram. Using UGC across email, ads, and your website can improve the engagement and revenue impact of these channels.

In fact, ads with UGC have a much higher performance rate—300 percent—than brand-only campaigns. That’s because people trust what their peers say about a product or service more than what a brand says about its own product or service.

But, as with all things in life, there are some pitfalls that you should avoid.

DON’T Spread Yourself Too Thin

You can only juggle so many balls at once. If you try to maintain a social presence across every new social channel available, you’ll find it difficult to sustain the same level of quality on each platform. Determine where your customers are most active and engaged, then choose between two and three channels to be really great at.

The easiest way to do this is research your audience, understand what social channels they use the most, and what channels generate the most traffic to your website.

DON’T Be Repetitive

No one wants to see the same exact content every day, especially if it’s identical across your email, paid search, social, and blog campaigns.

Don’t get me wrong—consistency can be a great tool when you’re trying to remarket, but you should tweak ads and test variations across channels to keep things fresh and see what audiences respond to. Ads with rotating product images are a great way to balance out static marketing banners.

DON’T Ignore Customer Feedback

If a customer publicly reaches out to you on social media, don’t turn a blind eye. An ignored comment or question can easily turn into a customer service nightmare (plus, the cold shoulder treatment is just not cool). You should respond to customer questions within 24 hours, even if you don’t have enough staff. Simply create a canned response that automatically replies to customer comments and questions with the appropriate contact information.

Sarah Griffis is a senior digital consultant at LYONSCG who manages the eMerchandising and eMarketing efforts for several LYONSCG clients, all of which have seen positive growth over the past three years. Sarah was recently recognized by Consulting magazine as one of the top 35 consultants under the age of 35 in the U.S. Sarah’s work has included Henri Bendel, Steven Alan, Jarden Consumer Products, and Hershey’s.

Sarah Fung

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Sarah Fung

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