10 Proven Ways to Increase Followers, Sales and Brand Influence on Social Media
Over the past decade, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives- allowing us to connect with friends, share stories, and build global communities, all in the palms of our hands. Social media’s unique ability to easily reach audiences all over the world makes it one of the most lucrative marketing tools out there. It now is the key intersection between all customers and all businesses in any and every industry.
Never have businesses been able to communicate in real time with their customers, and turn them into brand followers. Chances are, you’re already on a variety of social media platforms for personal use. So using social media for business purposes must be pretty easy, right?
In reality, there’s a lot that goes into social media marketing you may not be aware of. Anyone can do it, but there are several key things you have to know in order to use social media to convert online traffic into a tangible, monetary profit.
Social Style House is here to help. We’ve put together 10 tips on using social media to market your ecommerce or lifestyle brand. After reading this guide, you should be well on your way to making your business dreams a reality.
Let’s get to it!
Do this exercise: Scroll through your instagram right now. Some of those companies that you follow rely solely on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest to generate money. They don't have brick and mortar stores and they have to pay hundreds of employees. A social media strategy means life or death...Are you going to survive?
Define your brand
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of social media marketing, it’s imperative that you ask yourself three big questions about your brand:
1. WHO ARE WE?
2. WHAT DO WE HAVE TO OFFER?
3. WHO IS OUR AUDIENCE?
Carving out a specific niche is a necessary step for any aspiring business owner. To put it simply, a niche is the industry your company falls under and the types of products or service you’re selling.
These decisions impact the type of audience that will be interested in your business. If your niche is too broad, potential clients may look to competing brands that better suit their needs. On the other hand, if your niche is too narrow, you may not attract enough customers to make a profit.
The challenge, therefore, is picking a niche that is focused and specific, but still caters to a large faction of people. It’s also important to look at competing companies that fall under your niche. If that niche already is filled by many other businesses, or by one very powerful company, it may be wise to adjust your target audience. Finding your niche is all about going deeper within your desired industry.
The riches are in the niches
You create the space you're going to occupy. It helps differentiate yourself from other competitors.
If you need more reading on this, click here.
Most importantly, it’s essential to retain the integrity of your brand. Why did you start your business in the first place? What problem(s) are you looking to solve?
If you aren’t truly invested in your ideas and your brand, it may be time to re-evaluate. Once you’ve got solid answers to the big three questions above, you should be ready to make social media the most powerful tool in your marketing tool belt.
Here’s an exercise - think about your business and the other businesses in that same space both bigger than and equal to you. They sell the same thing essentially, right? But what makes them different than each other? Is it their copy? Their colors? What do their images portray? Can you answer those three important questions looks at their brand?
Doing homework and really understanding the need to focus on your differences will help you create a brand that stands out from the rest.
2.Utilize multiple platforms
Using several social media platforms to market your business is a great way of creating brand awareness. A cross-platform marketing strategy will allow you to reach potential clients that may be on one social media platform, but not another.
However, we know that it can be difficult and time-consuming to consistently put out quality content on multiple platforms. To save time, we suggest choosing one social media platform as your primary focus, while maintaining a consistent voice on all other platforms.
The content you put out on every platform should be consistent with your brand story, while adapting to the unique structure and content-type of each platform.
When we are brainstorming the social media strategy for our clients, we think about where the demographic of our audience is mostly hanging out. They are all important but in recent years, and due to a rise in users, Instagram is arguably the most important platform to be on.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn follow close 2nd and 3rd depending on demographic. If you don't know where you should be, start with Instagram and go from there. Do you know where your audience is? Are you utilizing multiple platforms?
3. Integrate social media with your website
In addition to using multiple social media platforms for marketing, integrating social media content with your website is a great way to increase brand awareness and heighten your digital presence. Your goal is to drive as much traffic to your website as possible, converting social media followers into paying customers. There are a few ways to do this, especially via Instagram
LINK IN BIO
The Instagram link-in-bio function has proven to be a successful way to convert Instagram users into paying customers almost instantly. Many online businesses have started utilizing 3rd-Party link software to customize and improve the shopping experience from social media to the shop.
Social Style House uses LinkTree. It's simple and easily customizable. It's like your navigation bar before you get to the website. It works great for blogs as well as ecom shops. It works well so the customer doesn't have to click around and get overwhelmed at all the product options if you only are interested in one product/category. There are plenty of others out there that do similar things, just do some digging
TAP TO VIEW PRODUCTS
The tap-to-view-products functionality on Instagram is yet another way to lead followers directly from an Instagram post to the corresponding purchase page on your website. Just set it up on the backend and start tagging!
If you are running a business profile and have more than 10,000 followers, you’ll have the option of adding a “swipe-up” link to your Instagram story. Similar to the link-in-bio functionality, the swipe-up tool allows Instagram users to instantly access a product page to make a purchase. Because the "Story" circle is the most immediate thing on the screen, this is a great tool to drive discovery of new products and brands.
SOCIAL LINKS & INSTAGRAM GALLERY ON WEBSITE
While your goal is to drive traffic to your website, it’s also important to drive traffic to your social media accounts.
When a user finds your brand’s social media accounts, they’re more likely to become a fan of your business and a consistent paying-customer.
Australian clothing and intimates brand Tiger Mist has done a great job implementing what we’ll call “full-circle” social media/website integration. In addition to providing links to all their social media pages, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, on their website’s homepage, they have an Instagram shop page where you can easily purchase products featured on the brand’s Instagram feed.
The idea is to make the buying journey as seamless and easy as possible. If they don't know how to shop the product from your instagram, or there's one too many clicks, people get annoyed and click out to avoid the headache.
4. Develop a cohesive visual brand strategy
Establishing a consistent look for the content you post on social media is a great way to express your brand’s identity and attract your target audience. It is essential that your visual content strategy illustrates your answers to the “big three” (Who are we? What do we have to offer? Who is our audience?”)
When deciding on what content to post, remember that consistency is key. By repeatedly putting out quality, on-brand content, followers will be able to visually identify your brand and potentially become true fans, and paying customers of your business.
One brand that has developed a successful visual content strategy is Recess, a CBD infused sparkling water drink that is targeted towards comfort- and pleasure-seeking millennials. Recess’ visual content on Instagram and Twitter matches the pastel sunset color palette of the product itself. The brand does a great job of not just selling the product, but selling the feeling it is meant to evoke in those who drink it.
The color palette represents the dreamy, relaxed, wellness focused lifestyle that millennials tend to desire. The content itself consists of surrealist style graphic design, conjuring feelings of nostalgia towards mid-2000s internet aesthetics. Recess’ social media presence is a compelling example of a visual content strategy that is both highly cohesive and incredibly unique. This leads to a strong sense of brand identity, while helping them to stand out amongst competing businesses.
Do you have a strong visual content strategy or are you looking like everyone else out there?
5. Diversify your content
SHARE MORE WITH 'STORIES'
The Instagram 'stories' feature should not be ignored. While the feed is still used to showcase products and build to your brand/profile over time, the Stories feature allows you share more ephemeral content. Behind the scenes footage, brand building, quick tips...basically any content that isn't feed worthy, put it in your stories. It disappears after 24 hours.
It's effective because of the placement in Instagram. Rather than being the 20th or 50th scroll down the feed, your story feature can potentially be 1st or 2nd depending on how engaged the user is to your profile. We like to tell our clients shoot for at least 5 story posts a day.
When posting a story always tag your location and use the hashtags from your niche! A lot of people neglect this feature because they don’’t want the hashtags to be seen but all you have to do is pinch and make them extremely small to the point where you can hardly see them. Using hashtags improves your engagement by at least 12% they are essential in growing process of your account.
Most importantly using the right hashtags will get you ranked high on the algorithm boosting your content to be seen by organic eyes. A lot of posts on Instagram don’t get seen due to people using the wrong hashtags and not posting at optimal times.
PRODUCT DEMO SHOTS
Showing the product in action is imperative to selling the product. Away luggage does a great job of showing how your packing is improved with their cases. If you sell clothes, make sure you have models, and you're not just taking pics of them on the rack.
SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO
There's about a billion different facts about how effective using video in your content strategy is. For example enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%; and 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others. This means if your video content is engaging and memorable, people will remember you, and tell people about you, and buy from you. It's potent and powerful; invest and lead with video.
CURATE A LIFESTYLE & DEFINE YOUR AESTHETIC
The most important and least well known idea about Instagram is that its not all about pushing a product, it's about promoting a lifestyle. By curating images that help bolster the brand's ethos, you'll help people identify with the brand and therefore consider buying the products to align with that idealized lifestyle.
California Rancher does a fantastic job at curating that California, feel-good, BBQ, lifestyle that people can identify with. As you can see, it's not all products. When you build your feed, pull images from Pexel, Unsplash, Tumblr and Pinterest (or create your own) to build the lifestyle around the product.
If you look at any major Instagram brand account,, you’ll notice something right away... There’s a clear concept or characteristic you can find immediately and makes them unique. We’re talking about the style, look and feel of your feed. This is the number 1 way you’re going to g et an organic following. People love consistency. And if your content is relevant and consistently looks amazing - - aka thoughtfully produced -- people will catch on.
The way to do this is to choose a color palette and photo filters/ edits and stick with them. Your color palette is the set of identifying colors that represent your brand. In addition to what pictures you post, the colors in those images help show the mood of your photos. While your palette can be achieved through selection of photos, editing plays a big part in sticking to your colors.
It doesn’t really matter what editing apps you use for your photos but you should try your best to stick to the same 1- 3 filters. Or you can create your own using VSCO for beginners or Lightroom if you’re advanced.
SEX SELLS. AGAIN AND AGAIN
Instagram is visual, and when you have girls in bikinis selling your product, it's going to get a lot more eyes than if there wasn't bikini-clad women using your product. Bang Energy's social media strategy is to use bikini babe influencers to make short-form content of them on a beach in a bikini drinking their energy drink. It's the perfect formula, and it works. I know not every industry might take seriously half-naked girls or guys as advertisements, but pretty faces can't hurt!
QUOTES & TEXT
The use of text on your feed such as trendy letter boarding quotes is a great way to grab attention, say something unique and fun, and make a statement that directly relates to your brand.
Is your content diversified? Are you using all these different forms of content to grow your brand and audience?
6. Schedule Content in Advance
While creating and posting content for social media is extremely important, it’s just one of many tasks that go into running a business. With responsibilities piling up, it’s important to spend your time as efficiently as possible.
This includes the time you spend posting content on social media. Digital planners and schedulers such as the Planoly app can be helpful in developing a content strategy and preparing social media posts in advance. Planoly allows Instagram users to visualize their feeds before actually posting content, view data and engagement rates for each post, and schedule content to be automatically posted at a specified date and time.
Organization and content planning are essential for any business-owner looking to optimize their time and manage multiple tasks. Other social media schedulers include Buffer and Hootsuite. Are you taking the time to produce, schedule, and post your social media content in advance, or are you doing it whenever you feel like with no clear direction?
7. Partner with influencers
Having influencers advertise your brand on their social media is a great way to reach new audiences and organically grow your fanbase. When choosing influencers to partner with, it’s important to look at more than just their follower count.
Make sure to choose individuals who truly embody your brand’s vision and who would realistically use your products or services. These influencers’ followers likely share similar interests with them, and therefore they will be more inclined to engage with your business if the influencer is an accurate representation of it.
Highly successful clothing company REVOLVE has succeeded in utilizing influencer partnerships to market their brand. The REVOLVE Affiliate Program has recruited dozens of influencers to wear and and advertise their clothing. The company regularly hosts getaway trips, from Palm Springs to Morocco to Tokyo, labeled with the hashtag #RevolveAroundTheWorld.
The biggest fashion bloggers and Instagram models are flown out to these locations, where they wear REVOLVE clothing and post a plethora of sponsored posts to their own social media accounts. REVOLVE has done a great job identifying the influencers that most accurately represent their brand identity, who also happen to have enormous followings. Are you utilizing influencer marketing to reach new audiences? Have you tried a few collaborations but not seen any real ROI with influencers?
8. Optimize engagement
Brands that consistently engage with their followers on social media have proven to be more successful at gaining followers, retaining pre-existing followers, and converting followers into paying customers. Social media is a great outlet for brands to easily and directly interact with customers from all around the world. The advent of social media has made instant communication between brands and customers possible, and this is an opportunity any ecommerce business should take full advantage of.
So what does optimizing engagement look like? Following them, engaging with their profiles, responding to a customer’s product-related question on a post, thanking followers for compliments, and following a potential customer and/or liking their own Instagram posts are all great ways to engage with the community. Additionally, reposting images that users have posted using your products shows gratitude and appreciation towards already paying-customers.
This sort of recognition increases the likelihood that a first-time customer will return to your site in the future and make more purchases. Especially with your new followers, take some time to like the first 8-10 pictures on their profiles, comment on one of them and even DM them and congratulate them on their pictures. There’s no easier way to gain a loyal follower than interacting with him the minute he or she follows you.
Are you monitoring your accounts at all times? Are you engaging with your followers on social media?
9. Use Facebook and Instagram Ads
Once you’ve converted your Instagram account to a business account, you’ll have the option to run ads for your business on the platform. This is an amazing opportunity to advertise your brand to the millions upon millions of users on Instagram. There are three ways to create and manage ads that will appear on Instagram: INSTAGRAM. This simple option allows you to create advertisements using posts and stories directly taken from your Instagram account.
If you have a Facebook page for your brand (which if you’re following Tip #2, you should), you can link your Instagram account to that page. Ads for your Facebook page will help attract people who want to learn more about your brand, and promote a cross-platform marketing strategy.
Ads Manager, a tool provided by Facebook, is a one-stop-shop for creating and posting ads on both Facebook and Instagram. The tool will help you choose a campaign objective, identify your audience, schedule ads, and more. The types of ads seen on Instagram also vary. Stories Ads, Photo Ads, and Video Ads are simple yet effective ways to promote your brand. If you’re looking for something a little more comprehensive, Carousel Ads allow users to swipe through multiple photos or videos in a single ad. Collection Ads, with its gallery-like format, are also a great way to encourage users to discover, browse and purchase multiple products at once.
Most ecommerce business these days is advertised through either Amazon or Facebook/IG Ads. Why? Because the targeting capabilities are incredible and the cost to advertise is so cheap. Gone are the days of spending hundreds and thousands on lousy ads in newspaper, radio or bus benches. You can advertise to users exactly in your target demographic leveraging facebook's user data. You want to advertise Men between 20-45 who are interested in fishing and outdoors, no problem.
You can test different creatives to different audiences over and over again at a small cost to see what works.
If FB and IG ads are not a part of your marketing strategy, fire your marketing manager and start today! And if you don't have the FB pixel installed, just email me at Jake@socialstylehouse.com and I'll install your pixel free, no questions asked.
10. Start a gifting program
Creating a gifting program is another amazing way to engage with customers and demonstrate your company’s thoughtfulness. People love to feel appreciated, and small rewards can be the difference between a customer deciding to return to your business or not. Gifting can be targeted toward two different groups: normal customers and influencers.
Discount codes, membership perks, and free gifts with a purchase are all great ways to make a customer feel valued. If your company’s budget allows for it, rewarding influencers with complimentary gifts will likely convert them into true fans and advocates of your company. Additionally, influencers’ followers will see them using your products, increasing brand awareness and possibly recruiting new customers.
Putting it all together
You’ve got all the tools you need to effectively market your brand using social media. Now it’s time to put them to use! In case you need a quick reminder, here are some of the key points we’ve gone over:
KNOW YOUR BRAND IDENTITY.
Arguably the most important step is defining who you are as a business and understanding your niche audience. A strong sense of brand identity is necessary in winning over customers and keeping people interested.
CONTENT IS KING.
Whether it’s creating beautiful content for Instagram, directly linking your social media content to your website, or understanding and adapting to current content trends, developing a smart content strategy is essential.
INFLUENCE, ADVERTISE, AND ENGAGE.
Social media is the perfect outlet for you to directly engage with followers, customers, and clients. Additionally, social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook have become massively important advertising platforms for businesses. Furthermore, social media influencers can be extremely helpful in increasing brand awareness and converting their followers into your customers. Now the power is in your hands. Refer to these 10 tips and you’ll be surprised by just how quickly you’ll start driving sales and making your business dreams come to life! And if you need a marketing to help create, execute, and manage your social media strategy, get in touch with us!
Social Style House is a social media marketing agency in Los Angeles. Whether it's growing and managing your social media, creating amazing content, designing beautiful websites, or driving online sales - we're the whole package!