My wife and I started our Shopify store with just two ideas in our minds. 1. we were going to print her artwork all over apparel (and just about every other accessory you can think of), and 2. if we wanted to sell it, we needed to find a way of getting as much attention as possible.
That’s just about the biggest thing in marketing, isn’t it? The only thing left to do once you get attention is to get people to like you.
So what is the importance of social media for marketing a business? Before we launched our business, we built a social media presence. Within about 9 hours of launching our business we had already done over $500 in sales – 96% of this traffic came from Facebook, and 100% of it was free. 24 hours in, and our 3 posts had already been viewed by a couple thousand people, without paying for a single ad.
This is the power of leveraging your business on social media.
So we need to talk about the importance of social media when marketing your business. And I’ll explain everything that I’ve done to grow my social media presence 100% free (I still have yet to ever spend money on advertising).
Why Does It Matter?
Take a look at this chart to the right. These social media platforms are all free. And they also see enormous amounts of traffic.
According to this research from Pew Center, Facebook and YouTube are used by the majority of adults in the United States. And these are numbers are growing.
Picture based social media, in particular, has seen exponential growth – Pinterest and Instagram being the 2 strongest in growth.
As a business owner, you need to be there. Simple as that. You need to be right in this mix =====>
The vast majority of conversions (and the vast majority of traffic for that matter) comes from Facebook. But the dependence that online sellers have on social of every kind covers every inch of marketing.
In fact, marketing has probably never been as social, and as interactive, as it is at this point in history. Pictures, video, and messaging have become the center where sales are generated.
Having a social presence is not JUST for gaining visibility either. Building trust and reputation is where conversions really start to happen. You can get content in front of people’s eyes all you want, but consumers increasingly want more relational companies that they know they can trust. A brand needs to have personality. Not feel corporate.
Social media is where you can build that trust. It’s where you can capture the ambiance and style of your brand. It’s where you can tell the story.
And while it’s definitely ideal that you have your own website, there is now an option with Shopify called Shopify Lite for only $9/month, that allows you to sell directly through a free Facebook business page. No website required.
Starting a business. Being actively engaged on social media. These things aren’t separable anymore.
The Facebook Strategy
I’ll start with Facebook, because it’s the most obvious. It has over 2 billion monthly users, which is the majority of the people currently on the internet, so if you want to reach people with your new product… this is a good place to start.
Like I said earlier, when my wife and I launched our brand, our Facebook page was the place we truly launched from. We had a beautiful Shopify store ready to go. Facebook is where we got the traffic flow. These are the bullet points of what you’re going to need to do, in this order.
- open a business page on Facebook
- build up the content on the page BEFORE you launch it (i.e. fill it with pictures, choose or take quality profile and cover photos, write a personable About Us(me, etc.) page to introduce page viewers to your brand, ad a few prelimary posts, connect to website and Instagram)
- gather likes from your friend group
- join TONS of Facebook groups
- gradually integrate with these Facebook groups, and gently introduce your business
That’s the plan.
This is how it breaks down. Opening a Facebook business page is easy. On the far left side of your regular Facebook, there is an option to “create a page”. Facebook gives you the option to create a business or a brand page, and will guide you through building it yourself.
Having good photography skills (and a good camera) will go a long way while your giving life to your Facebook page, but if you don’t have camera skills, I recommend using Unsplash.com. They have tons of free-to-use images that look amazing. Shopify has its own collection of amazing pictures with Burst.
Making a logo is also super easy. You don’t need graphic design skills. You can either outsource it to have someone make you a perfect logo on Fiverr, which is usually not too expensive. Or make one yourself with a free app: Canva and Logo Maker by Desygner are my 2 favorite. Don’t skip this! The logo is an important part of your brand image!
This is the logo for the website my wife and I use, and it’s front and center on our Facebook page too.
Very simple, but it tends to be memorable. It’s worth having.
Write a personable “About You” page, and let them know who you really are. This sets the precedent for the voice of your brand.
Add a few posts so that it’s not just an empty page for your first visitors to arrive to. And finally, make sure you connect your Facebook page to your website (if you have one), and your business Instagram.
Your first big chunk of likes and followers will be your friend group, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Share your new business page, and don’t be afraid to invite your friends to like it, and especially to share it. Every time one of your friends shares your page it has the potential to reach hundreds of more people that would never have otherwise seen your business. And it’s free!
The first wave of likes and follows that you have on your Facebook page will give your business page credibility. Now for the next step.
Search for Facebook groups related to your niche. Whatever type of product you sell, or theme your business centers around, there are likely to be Facebook groups centered around those subjects. Introducing yourself to these groups, and coming to understand what they want/how you can help them with your product, is crucial.
Believe it or not, you can use this connection to Facebook groups to drive TONS of traffic before you ever even buy an ad.
Facebook advertising is also an effective option, but one that you need a budget for. While initial ads aren’t usually too expensive, they can accumulate quickly. Facebook has a lot of information on the demographic details and habits of its users. It might seem a little creepy, but hey it makes sense. Every time you like something, it gives them an idea about the kinds of things you like. This way you’re able to advertise in a very targeted way.
And make sure you don’t undervalue the power of video on Facebook. Video promotion still reigns as the highest converting form of ad. It may be worth investing in the creation of a nice video to present your product.
Even if you only use video to keep communicating with your followers, or showing them bits of what your brand is about, having videos mixed in with your pictures and words ads a deeper dimension to the connection that you have with your customer base.
The Pinterest Strategy
The next big conversion machine is your Pinterest. I have a second business in affiliate marketing, and my first couple of conversions came through… you guessed it… Pinterest.
Like I said before, Pinterest is one of the greatest places in the world for marketing, not just because it’s popular, but because it’s users are already shopping. Users on Pinterest tend not to feel like their privacy is being violated when they see advertisements. And this is an opportunity for you.
I wrote a guide to proper Pinterest marketing, which you can check out here for more detail ==> Pinterest Marketing
You need to follow these guidelines:
1. You need good images, with brief, eye-catching words. Look at my Pinterest post below.
What’s another thing you notice about this Pin besides it’s simplicity? It’s tall. The vast majority of actual clicks (and conversions) that happen on Pinterest are interactions with tall pins. They stay in the line of sight longer, and Pinterest is designed to specifically cater to these taller images. If your Pins are square, rethink your plan.
On top of this, having warm colors (reds, oranges) produce higher conversions than colder colors (blues, white).
The beauty of Pinterest is that you don’t need followers to get people to see your Pins. It certainly helps to have followers, but you can have pins that are public without a single follower. None of my conversions through Pinterest were actually through people who are following me.
Similar to Facebook, once you’ve established yourself on Pinterest, and have at least 5 boards, with a couple dozen pins, it’s time to start joining groups. This is yet again an opportunity for you to soft-promote yourself without paying for any advertising. The more you build a following this way, the more powerful your social presence will be.
Instagram and the Power of Influencers
You should be picking this up by now, but the most powerful marketing is based in a lot of visuals. You want pictures and imagery that will not only represent your brand perfectly, but that can communicate enticingly to your potential customers.
There’s no better place for Instagram. A wildly popular platform, now surpassing 700 million regular users, Instagram is the picture sharing hub of the world. Made all the better because of its simplicity.
Instagram is a very unassuming marketing asset. In fact, it may be one of the most unconvetional marketing places imaginable, because it doesn’t let you put links to your products directly into your Instagram posts.!
And this is one of its strongest features.
Instagram works as a sort of reverse Pinterest. Instagram is where people go and NEVER expect to be advertised to. Links, whether direct or affiliate, tend to be clutter. And clutter is becoming less and less effective in the marketing world. People are seeking simplicity. Preferring minamalism. And Instagram is the perfect, subtle place for this.
You can still tag products in Instagram posts if you have a business Instagram page, but you’ll need to simply encourage your Instagram viewers to checkout your bio to find the link there.
This is more effective than you might think! A beautiful picture that looks like an ad will turn someone off, or make them glaze over, in a matter of seconds. We’re wired to tune out advertising. A beautiful picture that looks nothing like an advertisement… that may have a better chance of getting someone to click. This causes the consumer to actually seek YOU out, instead of feeling chased after, and this makes a better relationship from the start.
So how can you really expand your reach on Instagram?
Through the power of influencers. A person who has a massive Instagram following in your niche, with 10 or 100’s of thousands of followers, has a lot of power to help you out.
Get in touch with some of these influencers. Some of them (though not all) may ask for some compensation, but you could have an influencer share your content to their story for a day. If you chose the right product, for the right niche, the results from this can be astronomical.
Beyond this, Shopify even has easy apps to help you set up an affiliate program, where you could give Instagram influencers an opportunity to make money, without you having to pay anything until you’re guarenteed profit!
These are just the starting points. These are not one-and-done solutions. They are ways in which you can continuously expand your reach through consistent action. Be creative!
But if you’re not doing all of these things already, and you’re wondering why traffic has been pretty slow… this might be a wake up call!
Obviously, there are a lot more social platforms than just Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. But they’re the ones that I’ve used to the most success, and found the best strategies to work with. Stay tuned, and I’ll be breaking down the uses for other social media platforms like Google+ in the next week or so!
What are some of YOUR best strategies for using social media to promote your business? Let me know in the comments, and if you want to learn more, follow me on Facebook, or Pinterest!