“Meme commerce” may just be the next big marketing tactic. Memes are spread as members of communities share them with one another – often through social media platforms. Memes have become such a fixture on online communities because they’ve hitched a ride on the increasing influence of social media.
And while you may already know that social media is a great way to market your e-commerce store, you likely don’t know the full story.
In this post, we’re digging into something called social commerce, the practice of promoting your products through social media channels.
Wait, what the hell are memes?
Before we really get into the conversation, let’s do a quick recap: what the hell are memes?
Have you ever scrolled through your social media feed and saw a photo with a quote or text that perfectly describes a specific situation, idea, or thought (probably in a pretty funny way)?
For example, this cat eyeing the bathwater in this image is exactly how it feels to gaze at the neighbor’s refreshing swimming pool on a hot day.
If you haven’t already, it’s inevitable that you will come across memes like this while exploring social media. And you may laugh and share the meme with your own community. And then they share them with other communities they’re in. That’s how viral memes are born.
Memes are an integral part of the internet. Defined by Merriam-Webster as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”
The popularity of memes shows the diversity, creativity, opinions and the desire of everyone for shared humor in their lives.
In addition, the ability for a meme to be shared millions of times in a relatively short period speaks to the power of social media. Isn’t it about time you leveraged some of that power for your Shopify store?
Using social media to promote your business
Okay, back to social commerce. In case you’ve forgotten, social commerce is simply promoting your products and services using social media.
But here’s the thing: Not all social media platforms are the best fit for all types of media. If you want to publish videos, YouTube or Facebook may be your best bet. To publish images, opt for Instagram or Snapchat. To announce promos and discounts, check out Twitter. Media format and the type of platform that you will use are dependent on each other.
It’s exciting to have many options, and you may be tempted to try them all. But it’s going to exhaust your time and resources to post multiple types of content across multiple platforms. Sometimes it works to throw a large net to ensure a catch... but in those cases, the quality of catch is not top-notch.
Reaching your specific target audience
The beauty of social media can be boiled down to one thing: personalization. In social media, many people share their personalities and preferences voluntarily, and the platforms have algorithms and analytics that aggregate this data to help businesses like yours target specific customers.
You can use the data to focus your social media efforts on a specific audience. To learn why this type of focus is important, imagine the following scenario: You have a physical stall at a local market where you sell fishing equipment. At one location, there are a total of 2,000 people that could pass by your stall everyday.
Then, let’s say that there is another location that has less foot traffic; only 200 people pass by your stall every day, but all of them are fishermen. Which location has a better chance of making a sale?
It’s the second one. Even if the first location has many more people passing by every day, it’s still not optimized to have more expected sales. How many of those people really need fishing gear anyway? The second location has fewer people, but all of them have a high possibility of buying your products.
This is having a targeted audience for your social media, in a nutshell. The benefit of focusing your social media content on a specific type of person is more sales.
But this is not the only benefit, there are multiple reasons why social commerce is beneficial…
Advantages of social commerce for your Shopify store
Social Media has a low barrier of entry
Getting started is very easy, and it’s mostly a freemium model. This means that starting out is free, however, if you need more features, you will need to pay up. But usually, it’s not an obscene amount of money.
Content for social media platforms also doesn’t have to be expensively produced. You just have to be creative or you have a creative person working for you.
There are tools and apps that could help you
Every social media marketing campaign has to be measured for effectiveness. Also, implementation has different kinds of complexities per platform. These actions can be done easily using social media marketing tools. Some platforms already have built in tools for analysis, but to have more integrated data and specificity, there are free and subscription-based tools at your disposal from third parties.
Social media evokes a sense of community
Communities are being created, nurtured and expanded on social media. Interacting on social media is a social activity after all. Having a community instead of having a customer base is going to be better for the longevity of your store. Customers come and go, but your community sticks by you.
Interaction and communication is easy, instant and fast
Customers, potential and existing, have multiple options to talk and interact with your brand through social media. This makes people feel good not only because of the ease of communication but also because brands and businesses can reply faster.
One of the major factors that customers want in a brand is a fast reply to their inquiry – especially complaints. Customers have expectations of how fast your reply should be depending on the platform, and you should try your best to meet these expectations. This promotes customer loyalty and converts customers who are frustrated into customers who will stay.
The fact that consumers can have a resolution or an answer within 48 hours is very empowering for them, allowing them to trust your company more.
Social media grants you possibility of going viral
Everyone – no, really, everyone – has a possibility of becoming famous overnight. Even businesses.
Some companies understand this opportunity and use it to their advantage, shelling out thousands of dollars to manufacture viral content. But unlike these businesses, you don’t have to spend so much to have your content go viral.
Although there are tips out there to boost your chances of having a viral post, they don’t always work. You just have to put it out there and see if it snowballs.
As Gary Vaynerchuk pointed out, “Social media is the plumbing to word of mouth in our society.” In other words, social media facilitates the transfer of information from person to person the way plumbing facilitates water to faucets. Social media not only makes it possible to have your ideas spread via word of mouth, it makes it exponentially faster.
We can bet that you may have seen a picture or video from someone halfway around the world, thanks to social media. Imagine your store publishing that viral post. Even if some of the people are not interested in your products or services, they might know someone who is.
You can use personality and authenticity to combat ad fatigue
Due to consumers being surrounded by media everywhere, on road signs, public transport and on their phones, a phenomenon called ad fatigue has developed.
Ever heard of the phrase, if you say a word many times, it will lose its meaning? That actually happens. It’s a real life scientific phenomenon. And a similar thing seems to be happening with ads. Consumers just aren’t noticing or resonating with traditional marketing like they used to.
The only way to combat ad fatigue is to make something that gives value to customers, something authentic and personal yet still within the guidelines of transparency. People aren’t just refreshed by authentic posts, they actively seek it.
People will watch, read or look at a post that is educational, thought provoking or entertaining even though they are aware that it’s an advertisement.
Audiences will get tired of being sold to everytime they browse. To cut through those kind of posts, you can entertain them, thank them and make them feel good about following your page.
You get relevance in SEO and in the hearts and minds of customers
Since Google’s algorithms are understandably opaque, we cannot prove that social media posts and sharing affects rankings, but there is a very high correlation.
Majority of social media users are either studying in school, trying to find work, working or starting a family. In short, people are busy. In these busy times, sometimes we forget things, events and people. Often, we just rely on our smartphones’ calendars and assistants to remind us to do things.
Having consistent social media posts remind our customers that you are still here. Or, let’s say that your store is known for your posts that provide helpful tips for cleaning homes. Some of your audience might find your content genuinely very convenient and useful, making your business close to their heart.
What are the challenges in having a social media account for my online store?
Every rose has its thorn. All of these great benefits to your store can have serious downsides.
Trust in social media is waning
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other bad headlines referring to the largest and leading social media site, Facebook, online trust on social platforms is steadily eroding. However, there are really no other direct competitors to these platforms…. so people have no choice but to keep using them.
YouTube was also recently shaken by a threat of another “adpocalypse.” These headlines often frighten users enough that they just exit the platform entirely, even without a competitor to switch to.
Though there are users exiting the platforms, the majority still choose to stay. Even with their bad reputations, these platforms are still considerably young. Plus, their companies are so big that significant changes can be applied to win back users and strengthen their platform for users, advertisers, influencers and small businesses like yours.
Social reputation can be volatile
Social media works like magic. It could change the performance of your Shopify store in an instant. However, make one mistake that alienates your audience, and you’re finished.
It could take multiple months or years for you to build your reputation and community but it could be all destroyed by one mishandled event. Remember that even negative content about your store can go viral.
Disgruntled employees or teammates, angry customers, trolls or hackers can release a very negative post that intentionally or unintentionally damages your reputation.
However, these events are manageable – if they’re addressed properly, honestly and immediately.
If you don’t reply immediately, the bad press will spread like wildfire. If it’s mishandled, it could also get worse., That’s why if there are honest mistakes that have been committed by you or your team, it’s better to come clean. People online are observant and determined, and if they saw make a mistake, they will know. Trying to cover it up will only make the backlash so much worse.
On the other hand, these situations, if gracefully handled, can actually make you gain more customers. As onlookers can see, even in the face of adversity, you stood fast. People buy your stories first, before your products. You can learn and still grow your customers even when you’ve faced situations like these, but we hope you never experience the negative power of social media in the first place.
Time can be your enemy
Having a successful ROI is going to take some time. The technique is consistency. There’s nothing wrong with some low performing posts. But you still need to post continuously. Social media is a battle of attrition and endurance. Success is a very slow and deliberate burn.
Another aspect of time that is kinda tricky is that people on the internet don’t care about how long you’ve spent building your social presence. Once you’ve missed a post, people will forget.
And since there is a very low barrier of entry, you are competing with everyone else. Thousands of them. So if you leave your spot, you will be replaced faster than you can say “competition.”
Social media management is also time consuming, and people expect a very fast response whenever. This is going to be hard if your online store is only handled by a few team members that already have their plates full of tasks. The answer to this is outsourcing. It is not usually that expensive, and the people that would handle your social media account are specialists.
All of these downsides are manageable and each has an actionable solution.. So, we’d safely say that the risks are outweighed by the benefits.
Tips for having an effective social media presence for your Shopify store
Actively marketing on social media is the final form of using social media for your business, but it’s not the only way. Get started by simply existing on social media, by having a presence. It sounds easy and simple--which it is--but it has profound effects on your target audience and customers.
Know the uses of Social Media
Social media is a Swiss-army knife for your store. It has many functions that traditional businesses do, but they’re transformed into a more accessible, easier and more intuitive form. Knowing these uses is a definite advantage for your online store.
Use your social media presence to allow people to ask for information and pricing about your products and services, like a virtual front desk.
Your social media account for your business acts like an entry in the old-fashioned yellow pages. As people scroll through accounts looking for what they want, they’ll see your business and contact information.
Because anyone can reach out or comment on social media, it functions as a place for anyone to contact your business for inquiries, complaints, suggestions and kudos.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth is the most important function of social media. Reviews and personal opinions about your products and services can posted or shared on your business page. This makes a very strong impression on potential customers. Customers look for reviews first before purchase, and they trust reviews as much as they trust their friends’ personal recommendations.
Build customer relationships
Relationships are a two-way street. Having a social business page means people expect your interactions and response. A social media page that is dormant and passive is a waste of a valuable resource. Here are some things that you can do to strengthen relationships:
- Replying to and interacting (liking) with comments promptly
- Giving valuable content away for free, especially funny content, tips and memes
(You can also use your social media for good-natured banter against your competition. People love a friendly competition. It boosts attention and gives a huge point to inclusivity.)
- Promoting and rewarding people that produce user-generated content
- Having activities such contests, giveaways, live streams and more
In short, socialize with your customers.
Customer experience should be top priority
Thinks of the customers’ value when creating content, instead of what your value would be. The most common mistake businesses make on social media is putting their agenda first. Put the customers’ interests first and everything will be better. For you and your customers.
A customer that has a great experience not only sticks around longer, they also have a higher chance of spending more. Not to mention, a really thrilled customer could become your free and very effective marketing megaphone.
Boost your Shopify store with social media
Social media is the hottest thing now, aside from the weather (and maybe memes). Social media is the town hall, the local newspaper and the magazine your store should be featured in.
It can feel daunting to start a social media account for your business, as you have so much to do already. But don’t worry. Social media basics are super easy to learn, and you can even outsource the job to a specialist.
Our advice? Get started now.