With more choice and more information at our fingertips than ever, customers are more than willing to shop around. The modern savvy-shopper isn’t going to fall for traditional sales tactics.
The oversaturation of advertisements in our daily lives means companies need to be as authentic as possible with their social media marketing tactics. Here’s how you can promote your products on social media.
Customers are bombarded with products and sales pitches daily. On social media, television, or even on the daily commute, there is no escape from advertising. Most of us are sick of having products constantly sold to us.
This means, more often than not, potential customers are likely to ignore anything too ‘salesy’ because it’s the hundredth ad they’ve seen on their social media timeline today.
Everyone wants to find a brand that is authentic, trustworthy and provides reliable products or services. This means that eCommerce owners need to get creative with their social campaigns to catch the attention of customers.
Here are five ways to effectively promote your products on social media without being a sleazy salesperson.
1. Build Relationships with Influencers
Building a working relationship with influencers in your niche can have many benefits. They allow you to promote your products in a more genuine way.
Word of mouth recommendations are far more powerful than any advertisement could ever be. Think about it — would you pay more attention to a commercial or a trusted friend?
These days, influencers and bloggers have huge audiences of loyal followers. These followers look to influencers for advice and inspiration. If a trend-setting influencer loves the product, their audience is more likely to try it.
Collaborating with influencers is a great way to increase your chances of your product becoming a trend they create. Influencer marketing is effective because social promotion doesn’t come across as salesy.
To establish this valuable relationship, you need to make sure that you are reaching out to an influencer that is a good match for your business. If your company is relatively new, it’s best to start with micro influencers. Just like smaller bloggers, they’re more approachable than the bigwigs. You need to make sure that you share the same target audience and that they share your company’s values and image.
There are a few different ways to approach influencer marketing.
You could send the influencer a free sample or trial of your product, leaving it up to them whether or not they want to review or promote your products.
However, a more efficient way is to partner with your chosen influencer. Firstly, if they don’t believe in your product, they aren’t going to agree, so there is no chance of a negative review. Secondly, it allows you more control over how your product is going to be portrayed online.
You can work together to find a way to showcase your product that is mutually beneficial. Pay attention to captions and hashtags as well as photographs or blog posts. Just remember even when a post is sponsored, you need it to come across as natural as possible.
Take the Instagram post below for example. In collaboration with popular fashion blogger Retro Flame, Cluse, a watch company, was able to reach their target audience. The post is a photograph taken by the blogger herself, so it doesn’t stand out amongst her other posts.
A particular aesthetic is created around the watch which reflects the brand and the influencer. They see the watch on their Instagram feeds, but also as part of the blogger’s lifestyle. The result? They see the product as stylish and trendy and they want one too!
The whole point of influencer marketing is not to trick the audience into buying your product but to showcase your product in the best light. You should only approach influencers who adhere to the FTC endorsement guidelines to ensure transparency. An easy way to do this is to make sure the post is tagged with #ad or #paid.
In addition, influencer marketing is all about building your audience and brand name. Since the post is not coming directly from your brand, the influencer will share their experience with the product, helping you to build awareness and trust.
If the collaboration with your chosen influencer goes well, you can continue to strengthen the relationship. Maybe they could even become a brand ambassador as your business grows!
2. Create Product Videos
If an image speaks a thousand words then think how much a video can say.
Many brands now have Youtube channels and often host live streams on social media. This growing trend is no coincidence. Videos are a great way to show your product in action, provide demos, and give reviews. Videos can show your audience how your product could enhance their lifestyle. But how is that any different to traditional sales commercials?
Well, firstly, videos offer your audience something just by watching it.
Before they ever buy the product, they are receiving information, instruction, or sheer entertainment. This not only makes it feel less like something is being sold and more like you’re giving your audience something of value.
Having a Youtube channel or video series also provides a place that your audience can check back to for new content. It can help to build brand awareness and establish your company as industry experts.
Samsung uses their Youtube channel to showcase their products. Their videos don’t come across as a commercial due to their entertainment value. Instead, they show potential customers the possibilities that having a Samsung phone would bring to them. They also establish the company as forward-thinking and creative.
3. Involve Your Customers
Getting your customers involved is a great way to promote your products. User-generated content comes across as authentic and builds a community.
Customer-generated campaigns are more likely to be trusted and grab the attention of other potential customers than traditional advertising.
Read More: Why Most Paid Ads Fail
There are many ways to get your customers involved and engaged with your brand online. You could consider using sharable hashtags or running a contest on social media.
Or, why not combine the two and run a competition that requires customers to share your products on social media?
Some ideas for social media contests include:
- Photo contests — for example, ask them to post a photo of them using your product.
- Video contests — similarly to photo contests, this can easily build up your brand’s online presence.
- Asking a trivia question on Twitter or Facebook about your business or something your audience are interested in.
- Provide a survey that, after completion, enters the participant into a draw. This is an effective way to gather feedback.
- Repost contest to get people sharing
- Collaborate with influencers to promote your products and content. You can let users enter by following your brand and the influencer and leaving a comment or sharing the post.
- You could get entrants to tag friends in the comment section of your contest post. For example, ask users to “tag four friends they’d like to share the prize with”, chances are the friends they tag will enter, tagging four more friends.
Before promoting your contest, make sure that the terms and conditions are outlined. You should always make the details of your competition clear from the start.
Include when you will pick the winner, the closing date and time, who is eligible to enter, when the prize will be sent out, and what entrants must to do to enter.
Establishing expectations early will cut out any miscommunications or confusion later.
Lastly, don’t let new leads get away without making the most of them. Make sure to add new audience members who enter your contest to an email list or get them to follow you on social media.
4. Engagement is Key
Social media platforms give your brand the opportunity to engage in conversations.
Every interaction you have online has the potential to showcase your brand in a positive or negative light. So take the chance and reply to tweets, reviews, complaints, and compliments.
Answer as many questions as you possibly can. Replying personally will make your brand stand out, strengthening your customer relationships. One positive experience could win loyalty and referrals.
If you provide a good customer service, your clients will remember. If it is out in the open for your customer base to see, all the better.
Interacting with your customers via social media is a great way to promote your business and sell your products, without actively trying to.
Take the company Innocent Smoothies as an example. They use their Twitter page to build strong customer relationships and interact with the public. Besides replying to tweets and inquiries in real time, they also use the platform to post witty comments and promote their competitions and product launches.
5. Build your Personal Brand
By building your brand on social media you can subtly promote your products.
Ask yourself what kind of personality you want to portray. Do you want to come across as serious or fun? Are you a reliable resource for information and guidance or do you provide entertainment?
You decide how your audience is going to view your brand in your social media strategy. Consider what image you want to portray and what values you want to highlight. Knowing your audience and what will grab their attention will help you to decide.
Read More: Why you Should Invest in Personal Branding
Airbnb is an example of branding genius.
They use their Instagram page to showcase that their company is all about adventure and experience. They never directly show the product they are selling, but instead the experiences you will have if you use it.
For example, they post pictures of scenic landscapes and cultural aspects. They are selling the places that the accommodation is located in just as much as their business. The wanderlust their Instagram feed instills is complemented by the human aspect that their business favors. Airbnb is all about letting their customers experience a place as a local instead of a tourist.
You can see in the photo below that the breath-taking Irish cliffs are combined with a story-like caption. They are showing that by staying in an Airbnb, you have the opportunity to interact with the locals instead of having an impersonal hotel experience.
Their account lets them showcase their ethos of meeting new people, experience, and adventure. They very deliberately make users want to travel and show that it’s possible by linking to Airbnb where they can find affordable accommodation.
These days, people can see right through traditional sales pitches. It is much more effective to use these alternative marketing techniques to ensure that your brand comes across as genuine. You want to make customers feel like they are making up their own mind while showcasing the best parts of your brand.
With so much information available online along with more choice, customers want to make the most informed decision they can before they buy.
Avoid coming across as salesy at all costs. Instead, you should be providing customers with the information they need to consider purchasing your product. Investing time into building genuine relationships, along with establishing your brand is more effective than force-feeding potential customers commercials.
Forge out a community, engage with your audience, and make the most of the resources available to you for effective, authentic marketing.