How to grow your sales with social media

Amazon does a great job of directing people who want to buy a product to your listing. It doesn’t do a great job when it comes to building your brand or marketing your product to people who’re not yet actively seeking it.

It’s a bit like a department store. If someone has already come in the store, great – they’ll find you. But if someone’s walking down the street outside, you need to make them think about coming to the store in the first place. That’s where social media comes in.

The easy way to use social media is just to direct people to your listings. But that’s actually not the best way. You risk getting a lot of people to take a look at your product and then go away again – destroying your conversion rate, which is one of the key factors in Amazon’s search algorithm. You might get some extra sales, but you’ll slip down the rankings – not a great result.

So instead, try to create engagement using social media so that people enjoy your posts – maybe respond to them – and then go to Amazon when they’re ready to buy. For instance, if someone is about to get a kitten, don’t sell them a cat toy now – they’ll usually buy it once they’ve brought their kitten home, or once their kitten has already destroyed the other cat toys they bought!

Creating engagement is very different from advertising. For a start, you don’t need all your own content. Half or even 60 percent of your content can be curated – stuff you’ve found that your target customer will like. For instance, if I was selling rice cookers, I would be using a lot of Uncle Roger Youtube channel (look it up, it’s fun!), as well as some celebrity chef content and some stuff from RateMyPlate.

This of course has the advantage that you don’t have to make all your own content!

About a third of your channel does need to be your own content. That could be photos, blogs, videos. How-to content is always useful, and many customers like to know the history behind a new product development (“my cat always preferred the box to the toy, that’s why our packaging is impregnated with catnip and will last weeks as a source of amusement”).

This may sound like a big ask, but in fact, you can produce all the videos you need using your smartphone. For instance if you sell cooking equipment, do a weekly recipe post in which you use your product in your own kitchen to create a dish – just use a stand for your phone and don’t forget to do a proper tasting shot at the end!

Try to make an impact fast. Short videos are great – for instance, “Cat of the Day” featuring a new cat being cute (or not!) in just one minute. If you have a regular style of video people will get to know it and look forward to new ones. (If you think this sounds like a lot of effort for your cat toy sales, it isn’t; visiting a local refuge will give you a month’s content, and a feel-good factor if you support the refuge with a percentage of your profits.)

Remember that you’re not just broadcasting, you’re looking for customer engagement. So try to get your target audience to add to the content – ask for photos of their cats, or videos of their favorite food, or have a competition for unusual uses of your product. Get your channel to feel less like marketing and more like a community.

That leaves just ten percent of your channel for promotions. You’re using 90 percent to create interest, and then that ten percent is just there to capture the people who are ready to buy. Result – you get motivated buyers heading to Amazon, and your conversion rate holds steady.

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