If you are an online retailer who has yet to adopt the use of social media as a marketing tool, you are missing out on an opportunity here. Social media has become a catalyst for traffic and sales for many websites over recent years, with numerous ecommerce websites reporting higher conversion rates from those who are referred by social networks.
Although chasing sales should not be the main focus of your social media use, your strategy can certainly be used to aid the often complex path to purchase via the web.
Social networks can provide value at all stages of the purchasing funnel. From heightening brand awareness, helping customers connect with you and building hype about products/services. Social media can fill a gap in your sales cycle in a way that the other digital avenues cannot.
The most important aspect of making the most of social media as part of your marketing strategy is to keep monitoring your campaigns. The only way to do this is to make use of social media analytics tools.
Here are 5 of the best social media analytics tools to aid you in understanding which content and products your audience engages with most, as well as where to find your target demographic:
Social Media Management – HootSuite Free and Sendible
The first stop for social media should be these management suites ideal for retailers of all sizes. Our favourites are both affordable and suitable for all types of businesses too.
HootSuite is one of the best management products for keeping on top of your core social networks whilst on a tight budget as it’s completely free to get started with!
Some of the highlights of the system include the keyword search function for Twitter. This means you can keep on top of relevant tweets across the world and find/interact with both existing and potential new customers.
HootSuite can do more than just measure; over a period of time, it can help you gauge how efficient and popular your brand is on social media. It can really help you to understand the reach and overall effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns.
It can also help you keep in touch with your brand evangelist and influencers and maintain important engagement with them.
For the other social networks (Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ etc.) you’ll find that although scheduled updates are possible it's more affordable to access the individual networks analytics (HootSuite’s additional reports can get costly).
HootSuite’s search data is a great way to build Twitter followers by following accounts that are relevant to your business. It’s also a brilliant way to establish exactly what your customer base is saying and how they feel about specific key phrases or competition. The fact that HootSuite is free to use (bar premium extras) is a major plus. You can access a lot of usable data without having to spend out. If you want to start building relationships with your online customer base, HootSuite is a natural starting point.
Sendible is a simple social media scheduling and reporting tool but comes with a monthly cost of under £50 as a starting point.
This tool has extensive keyword monitoring capability and supports the image upload function for all major social media sites. This means you can add visuals to your posts and updates with ease, an important tool for social shopping as it helps tell a story about your product. The more exciting and inviting your visuals, the more likely you will be to get customers making a click-through to your product page.
This tool is a nice option for those organisations working to a strict budget, but you will need additional tools to work alongside Sendible too.
Social media tools are all about saving you time, Sendible does this with its report function that will provide you with all you need to accurately review your strategy on a monthly basis – helping you increase the likelihood of engaging updates. Anything that can make this task quicker and more effective is a good investment.
Link Shortening and Interaction Tracking: Bitly
There really is only one link shortener that is worth considering at the moment; Bitly is streaks ahead of other link shortening tools, proving trackable links which can provide info on who clicks and shares your links. Data provided includes location, times the link was clicked and where the link was clicked from.
Bitly data is really helpful for online retailers. It will tell you demographics of your online audience, where these people are and what social networks they prefer. Take a look at this video from Ms. Ileane to see How to Use Bit.ly To Customize and Track Your Social Media Links
Bitly’s data provision allows for actionable insights and a better understanding of your online audience and what content is working for you. It can help with everything from your social media strategies to your email marketing.
You will find that the search term ‘bread recipe’ has increased over the past month, so as a retailer related to bread products we can use this within our next blog post as anchor text and in social media updates alongside #GBBO to increase traffic to a specific product.
It’s that easy!
Internal Network Analysis with Facebook and Google+ Insights
Insights are a great social media tool and both Facebook and Google+ provide them. Although there is some stigma attached to the analytics of Facebook Insights, because the data is limited and ‘clunky'.
However, they are good to use for free social media analytics and can get you useful information in a very short space of time.
Since the early 2014 update, Facebook Insights can provide lots more information in a visually pleasing layout.
Facebook Insights are available to anyone with a Facebook page, and is free to use. It allows you to track competitor’s growth and weekly reach as well as your own. If you launch a marketing campaign around a specific product or service and want to raise awareness, Facebook Insights show you if your posts are reaching their peak potential.
Google+ Insights are quite new, but an overdue feature, to the social network. Their data provides a useful, though limited, overview of how your Google+ brand page is doing. Since the launch of the Google My Business hub, Google+ has placed emphasis on Place Pages and Pages for brands, encouraging interaction and content.
Google+ is beneficial for your search engine results, both technically and aesthetically, so spending time here is a good idea if you want to make the most out of your retail web present. Their insights will help you make your Google+ investment in time worthwhile. Posting to the site blindly will not help you sell your products, you need to data to know that what’s working.
- How to Discover Analytics with the Google+ Dashboard Social Media Examiner
- Will the Real You Please Stand Up: Show Up, Be Authentic, and Prosper in Social Media Kim Garst
- Optimize Twitter to Maximize Small Business Results Rebekah Radice