So, you’ve got your eCommerce website up and running. The copy has been written, the product has been stamped out on an assembly line in China or hand-etched on a vintage pottery wheel by your grandma or however it’s made, you have your order fulfillment plan down pat and you’re approximately six months of lukewarm sales away from throwing in the towel and going back to your old job, which will totally suck.
If your super awesome product goes for sale online but no one on social media hears about it, does it make a sound? The answer is no, it does not, and that’s why you need to bring your A-game to the table and make sure that the entire Internet can hear you shouting from the rooftops. But let’s be clear: shouting from the rooftops isn’t subtle.
There are bad ways to do social media marketing for eCommerce companies. We’re not going to talk about those (at least not today); we’re going to talk about three great examples of social media engagement that have boosted a brand’s presence online and translated into sales. And if you've masterminded a killer social media campaign of your own, don't be shy -- tell us about it in the comments below!
Cards Against Humanity gets massive Facebook cred for being humane
If you haven’t heard against Cards Against Humanity, you probably haven’t been to a house party, bar, or hung out in hipster enclaves such as Portland, Oregon or Austin, Texas in the last couple of years. Besides raising serious questions about what you do to have fun, this means you’ve been missing out on CAH’s kickass Facebook campaign, called “Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah."150,000 people paid $15 to receive eight days’ worth of sensible gifts including treasures such as three pairs of socks and a one year membership to Chicago’s NPR station affiliate. But the coolest thing they did with some of that Hanukkah gelt was pay for one weeks’ worth of vacation for every single worker at their printer’s factory in China. Not only did this gesture illuminate the lives of a bunch of hard-working Chinese families, it also resulted in over 5,000 shares on Facebook and over 1,000 notes on Tumblr. Which means that the next time they’re selling a new expansion pack or literally selling nothing in exchange for $5, more people than ever will be on board to buy it. Sometimes it pays to be good
Nasty Gal dominates Instagram thanks to famous musicians and their adoring fangirls
Nasty Gal is haute couture with its tongue sticking out; it’s the coolest girl in the room, the one who dresses to impress her fellow fashionistas. Thanks to an incredibly savvy social media campaign—90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35 and 68% of users are female, so it’s a natural focal point for Nasty Gal’s marketing—this fashion brand is constantly driving traffic to its website thanks to Instagram.Nasty Gal is constantly campaigning on Instagram. Currently, #NastyGalxCourtneyLove, for a new fashion collaboration with rocker Courtney Love, has been mentioned over 1,000 times in the last week. It helps that the brand is dangling a huge carrot at users to advertise on their behalf: one lucky winner will be flown to Los Angeles for a meet and greet with Nasty Gal’s founder Sophia Amoruso and Courtney Love, plus given $1,000 to spend on Nasty Gal couture. Contests are a great way to involve loyal customers (or in this case, fans of edgy design and edgier rock stars) on social media and jumpstart traffic directly from Instagram to your eCommerce site. When you do it right, like Nasty Gal does, you gain more followers and customers in the long run in exchange for fronting plane tickets and a shopping spree to two very lucky (and probable life-long) fans of your brand. Considering that they sell in more than 120 countries, they’re doing a very good job of reaching their target of
Nomadic Matt Tweets an awesome list of travel books, including his ownOne of the most popular and widely-read travel bloggers on the web, Matthew Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, has been preaching the gospel of cheap yet epic travel ever since he realized that most people carried a misconception that only the wealthy can afford to spend a few weeks in Europe or backpacking in Southeast Asia. For the past year his authoritative book on the subject of budget travel, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, has been listed as the #1 bestseller in Amazon’s budget travel section.
How do you keep the hype up on a book that’s been out for almost two years? Besides featuring on major media outlets such as Huffington Post and the New York Times to spread the word about budget travel, Nomadic Matt engages constantly with his nearly 200,000 Twitter and Facebook followers with lots of useful content that’s geared towards their interests. A great example of the genuine relationship he has with his followers is this list he posts on Twitter. The list links back to his website and includes ten great recommendations for fellow lovers of all things travel and book-related. At the very end of the list, he adds a link to his bestselling book, just in case one of his visitors is interested. This is a great example of creating genuinely useful, relevant content that drives traffic to your site without turning anyone off for being too salesy.
Now it's your turn
Hopefully you’re back from that quick visit to Cards Against Humanity’s website to pick up an expansion back. Now that you have some concrete examples of how to create an effective social media campaign to improve your brand’s presence, go ahead and see how you do on your own. Create a Twitter hashtag that resonates with your customers, start a Snapchat contest of funny cat videos (assuming that funny cats have something to do with your business), or upload inspiring quotes to Pinterest that remind people why they like your brand--Nike does a great job in particular. Still stuck? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions regarding any of these examples or your social media strategy. If you have a friend who could really use a hand with social media for their eCommerce business, share this blog post with them!