TopRank Marketing Editor

5 Social Media Tips for Ecommerce Marketing

TopRank Marketing Editor     B2C Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media

If you run an ecommerce business, chances are your customers – regardless of their age, gender or economic status – are active on social networks and social media sharing sites.

Just consider the statistics from social media monitoring site Pingdom:

  • Males and females almost equally use social sites (47% vs. 53%)
  • 61% of Facebook users are middle aged or older, with the average age being 37
  • 18- to 24-year-olds don’t dominate any particular social networking site; they’re spread out all over

The bottom line: If you aren’t discovering which in social networking channels your customers spend time and include them in your ecommerce marketing mix, you’re probably  missing out on building relationships, community and increasing new customer acquisition through online word of mouth.

Leverage these five social media marketing tips for ecommerce to either get started with more social digital marketing or take your current social strategy to the next level:

1. Go Where Your Customers Are

Very few things in life promise endless options – digital and social media marketing being one exception. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube, there’s no limit to the number of social networking channels available for your business to leverage. Key to successful social media marketing for ecommerce is choosing the right channels to reach customers.

Find out where your customers are congregating by:

  • Asking them. Sounds overly simplistic, but sending a formal survey to customers or more informally polling them on your website can provide a wealth of knowledge.
  • Monitoring social sites. Use a free tool like Social Mention or Trackur. For something far more robust use tools like Radian6 to discover how and where customers are talking about your brand, your competitors or target keywords.
  • Leveraging the stats. Some sites like Facebook are transparent when it comes to user statistics. Or leverage research conducted by third-party firms like eMarketer.
  • Review backlinks, job postings, news announcements and keyword rankings of competitors on a regular basis to get a glimpse into their online marketing health.

2. Monitor What Your Competitors Are Doing

Whether your ecommerce business is new to social media marketing, or just need to take your efforts up a notch, competitive intelligence can be very useful. Spend some time by conducting a competitive audit of your top five competitors on the social web. Include:

  • The social sites in which they are active
  • The type of content they publish on the social web
  • The number of followers/fans/views they have on each site
  • How they promote specific products, programs or events via social media

For even more inspiration and insight into what works well on the social web, look to ecommerce sites in other industries or even successful B2B social media examples.

3. Promote Exclusive Offers Through Social Media

In order for your ecommerce business to gain a following on whatever social channel you choose, entice customers with something they can’t get anywhere else.

For example, promote a contest via social media. Last fall, TopRank® Online Marketing leveraged this tactic for one of its ecommerce clients. TopRank used the client’s blog and Facebook fan page to promote a Halloween contest to name the best costume. This initiative not only drove additional traffic to the client’s website, but also helped increase the number of Facebook fans.

Alternately, offer an exclusive item to social media followers or fans, such as free shipping or a weekly coupon. You can also offer “breaking news” that does not appear anywhere else, like pre-product release announcements or an inside look at your company’s inter-workings.

4. Don’t Just Push Products and Promotions

The primary goal of your ecommerce site may be to sell products, but your social media marketing strategy should encompass a wider range of tactics that simply promoting offerings. With too much product pushing and not enough engagement, you’re unlikely to experience optimal success.

Incorporate some of these ideas into your ecommerce social media marketing strategy:

  • Share messages or news stories from external sources
  • Create a blog on your website and feed blog content to your social accounts
  • Ask questions, participate in discussions or poll your customers via social media
  • Post pictures from company events or videos from your CEO’s speaking engagements

5. Sell Products Through Social Networks

1-800-Flowers maximizes the use of social media for its marketing efforts.

Many ecommerce sites leverage social channels to make it even simpler for customers to purchase their products. 1-800-Flowers has taken this idea to the max (see image above). It was the first ecommerce site to launch a Facebook store, allowing customers to browse and purchase its products directly through Facebook.

1-800-Flowers may be an extreme case, but ecommerce sites large and small can still indirectly sell products through their social profiles. For example, highlight new products or best-sellers and provide a link to the order page on your website. It may not be quite as simple as purchasing directly from the social profile, but it can be just as effective.

The five ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ecommerce social media marketing. What social media tactics have you found to be successful?

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  1. Social media presents a very strong base for marketing and promoting products. Although a large number of people (no thanks to 'automated' social media apps) tend to push it by blatant over-selling products in their network of followers or fans. I think the best idea is to promote traffic to our website to build our list rather than just 'selling'…Suggestions anyone?

    • Faiz–so true about the importance of not simply “over-selling”. It's a delicate mix of asking questions, participating in discussions, re-tweeting (or re-posting) others' relevant insight information, etc., etc.

      I've always thought perhaps developing a formula — 15% product information, 20% blog content, 15% retweeting, etc. — could help marketers keep their efforts balanced.

  2. Great points! Specially Point 1. Go Where Your Customers Are.

    I would like to add:
    Be there before the sale and be informative and helpful to be recognized as a trusted source first.

  3. Michelle;
    This post is a great start to running a Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaign.
    We find that the best way to do this (as with any process), is to conduct the campaign according to a rigorous Process Specification which dictates what to, how to do it, and when to do it, and perhaps most importantly, what to do about measuring your effort. This is the path of Continuous Process Improvements and its followed by using the Mantra: Think, Plan, Do, Measure and Repeat.
    Sounds very theoretical, doesn't it? To give our clients an example, we wrote a series of posts which describe the approach in detail, specifically in how it relates to SMM. There are 4 posts in the series:

    1) How to Run a SMM Campaign. This is the formal process description on how to run your campaigns. And because it calls for one to measure ROI as one of the metrics to use in monitoring your campaign, the other 3 posts cover:
    2) How to measure the ROI of your website as a whole
    3) The 10 best free ROI calculators on the Web and
    4), How to build your own ROI calculator so that you can measure the ROI of your SMM.

    Here's the link:

    • Eric–thanks for sharing! I know a lot of our readers will really find this helpful as they're either getting started or looking to revamp current efforts.

  4. That´s the best point of all! One / Two faces to the customer –
    1. Go Where Your Customers Are
    That´s evben more important in these days.

  5. Hi,

    Really helpful article! I learned #4 the hard way as some of my closest customers told me I was being way too aggressive and salesy on my Facebook wall always pushing my products. I did stumble across that 1-800 Flowers and thought that would work out great on my Facebook page as it was a nice way to present my products to my customers without throwing it constantly in their face. Took me a while to find a Facebook App that would create a shop tab on my Facebook page so thought I would pass along the one I am using and really like. I have a bunch of products on my website so was able to export my products and this app had a data feed tool so only took me 10 minutes to set up. Anyway, thought I would share the Facebook ShopTab app so you can check it out at

    For monitoring competitors I have been using Google Alerts to keep me updated on what is going online. Do you have any other suggestions on services to use to get notifed of competitor updates?


  6. Create a Website says:

    Thanks Michelle
    Really helpful post about start to running a Social Media Marketing campaign.
    I have a bunch of products on my website so was able to export my products.

  7. customlanyards says:

    I completely support companies being active in social media and definitely agree that pushing products is not the way to approach it. These sites are called SOCIAL media for a reason – be social!

    But in some cases, it's tough to find that niche. If you start a new Facebook page and you have no fans or no friends, you end up posting to yourself a whole lot. What ends up happening to a lot of businesses is that they abandon social media altogether, thinking it's a waste of time. But that's *exactly* the point – it's a waste of time! It's supposed to be fun and entertaining. It's a place where you can waste time and interact with people – and if you happen to be promoting your company in the process, then that's even better. 🙂

  8. This is a really helpful post to start using social media marketing to promote your products. Point 1 is the most important, go where your customers are. Thanks for the great points

  9. It is a really good checklist for those who are starting their online presence as online shopping websites. However, most of the things mentioned go for pretty much all online businesses, whether they sell exclusively online or not, or just promote their services like that.

  10. springbox says:

    This is great. We are definitely seeing the integration of social media and e commerce as an inevitability. I feel like number four (not pushing products and promotions) is one of the best things a company can do to be successful. Consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated with the internet at their fingertips, so it is important to remain transparent. We wrote a similar article:

  11. vanessaschultz says:

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  14. These are definitely significant and practical tips for ecommerce marketing.

  15. These are definitely significant and practical tips for ecommerce marketing.

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  17. useful tips there. But not only do this until you get the rankings you want, you need to keep going with these methods, otherwise your competitors will overtake you. It’s a very big game, especially for keywords like Search Engine Optimisation and Web Design.

  18. jonyates says:

    Have read your post with interest and really like the don't push just products angle – We developed and try to encourage our members to create personalised social eCommerce campaigns.



  19. I would surely like to implement these 5 tips for eCommerce marketing