Now that you’ve set up your various ecommerce social media schedule and utilities and launched your shopping cart (view Part I of this series to learn more), it’s time for the “care and feeding” that your social media presence is going to need in order for you to be successful.
Keeping a regular schedule is beneficial both for you and your followers for many reasons: you know what you need to be doing and when, you can work it into your schedule, and your followers (and hopefully customers) know when to expect content and contact from you. It keeps them engaged. That’s what social media is about: engagement. Keep yourself in people’s minds and keep them coming back to your site. The more often they are at your site, the more likely they will be to make a purchase.
Be prepared to spend some time every day (maybe even on weekends) on your social media efforts. Some days it could only be a few minutes, others more than half an hour – depending on how many friends and other connections you have. This is one case where having too many friends could be a “good problem.” A bad problem is when you let your social media take up so much of your time that it gets in the way of the actual work of running your online store and shopping cart. That’s where an eCommerce Social Media Schedule becomes invaluable.
Blogging to Gain an Audience for Your Shopping Cart
As discussed in Part I, your blog is a where you broadcast your passion about your market and engage your audience (and future customers) with longer form content.
Some things to keep in mind when building an eCommerce Social Media Schedule:
1. Do at least two blog posts per week. Add more posts if you have special events coming up. Keep people engaged!
2. Post on the same days. Get readers in the habit of coming back regularly for new content. If people need to wonder when new content is coming out, they will soon forget about it and about your shopping cart. Your other efforts (see below) to inform them about your content will only annoy them.
3. Mondays and the days after a holiday are crowded for many people. Posts on these days will likely be drowned out. Avoid releasing anything really important on these days.
4. Vary the length of your posts. A healthy post is 300 to 500 words long, with section headings, bullet points and/or a numbered list. Keeping the information broken up like that makes it easier for your readers to digest.
1. Release at least one 300 to 500 word post per week.
2. Consider shorter posts (150 to 250 words) if you have a lot of pictures
3. Form relationships with other bloggers and consider reposting their work (with permission) or snippets, with a little blurb advising your readers to go to the other blogger’s page. Make sure that you get reciprocal treatment from the other blogger.
5. Have a list of possible blog topics in your “back pocket” for those days/weeks when you are short on ideas for posts. If possible, write some “evergreen” (meaning that it doesn’t get old) content and have it “standing by” for emergencies. It’s important to keep that editorial schedule!
6. Write your blog post the day (or more, if possible) before you want to publish it. Many blogging services allow you to preset a time to release the blog post. This also gives you some time to walk away from it, then come back later to edit it and make sure that it is as good as it can be.
7. Link your blog with your Twitter and Facebook account so that updates automatically post to those sites with a link back to your blog. Make sure that you have an RSS feed enabled and encourage readers to use it. This helps make your eCommerce Social Media Schedule more efficient.
8. Respond to “important” comments daily. Keep the conversation going. Let your readers know that you care.
9. Don’t be lured in by negative comments geared at confrontation (sometimes called “trolling”). If there is a legitimate customer service issue, then do your best to resolve it privately. With luck, the now-happy customer will post their results on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and create a good message.
Make your Twitter Part of Your eCommerce Social Media Schedule
Twitter can be a real time sucker (same with Facebook) because it thrives so much on interaction: retweeting, reposting, and constantly keeping up with the latest trends. Your regular blog posts and Facebook updates, if linked with your Twitter account, will keep your Twitter feed current.
1. Make one or two posts to Twitter daily (or at least every other day), in response to comments by people you are following, to keep the conversation warm. Twitter goes stale very quickly.
2. Keep it professional, but fun. Twitter should not feel like work. It should feel more fluid and flexible than your blog or even your Facebook page.
3. Scan Twitter for mentions of your company, shopping cart, or even your own name. When things are positive, reTweet with a “thanks!” When you encounter negative Tweets (like customer service issues), use Twitter, e-mail, and any other techniques at your disposal to to make the situation right. If it’s a disgruntled former employee, or a competitor slinging mud, use caution. Avoid direct confrontation. Get a positive counter-message out with a competing hashtag and rely on your network to figure out the truth.
4. You can use utilities like Tweetdeck to track trends in tweet activity and weigh in when appropriate. You can also use it to schedule Tweets in advance. Keep a little wiggle room in your schedule to accommodate this.
Managing Facebook Alongside Your Online Store
Facebook is an even bigger time sucker than Twitter, but it has the greatest potential to actually help you make, maintain, and improve relationships with your followers.
1. Log on at the same time every day. Make sure that you’ve done some real work before you get to Facebook.
2. Use a timer. Set it for five minutes. If you can’t find something to do on Facebook within five minutes, move on and work on your shopping cart or some other aspect of your online store.
3. Know what you need to do in terms of creating new pages, messaging people, etc. before you sit down.
1. If you have upcoming events, make a page for them. Give people time to spread the word about your event. At least two weeks is sufficient. More than a month can be too long (the internet has given people short attention spans).
2. Establish who your most important followers are on Facebook (people in your industry, people with large networks). Keep contact with these people strong. Post on their walls, etc. This can be a great way to spread around links for upcoming events or new blog posts (again, be careful about the hard sell, people don’t like that in their faces).
Managing YouTube and Your Shopping Cart
If you’ve decided to commit to YouTube, then make sure to keep up with it. One video per week is pretty much the minimum you need to stay current. Like everything else on this list, keep your schedule regular. Use your YouTube account to let people know things about your shopping cart that you can’t or aren’t shared in other ways.
1. Post on the same day every week.
2. Aim for the end of the week/weekend (Thurs/Fri/Sat), when people will have the most time to spend on your videos.
3. Keep it between 2 and 5 minutes long.
Have you set-up an eCommerce Social Media Schedule, yet? We’d love to hear how you’re doing in the comments below!