In a digital world, selling online means advertising online. The billboards you see on the streets become the ads you see all over the internet as they vie for our attention while vibrating from our iPhones. Social media has changed the way that we receive and consume advertisements. But when it comes to creating a successful dropshipping store, how can social media help us build our brand and boost our business?
Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become a major part of our day-to-day life and are probably some of the biggest revolutions of the 21st-century internet experience. According to Statista, there were 3.6 billion social media users worldwide in 2020. That’s almost half of mankind!
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the action of using social media platforms to advertise. When you sign up as a user to join a social media platform, you willingly share many details of your personal experience and preferences with the platform provider. This data is extremely valuable for any company and can affect how you receive and consume advertisements online. Before social media, you could find yourself swamped with flyers in a bid to sell a product that might be of interest to maybe a few members of your household, wasting huge sums of money and resources in the process.
The difference between traditional methods and social media is that it allows you to target key demographics. For example, there is no point in advertising baby clothes to someone that doesn’t have kids. Social Media will allow you to choose the profile of the persons that will receive your ad.
Do you have some Game of Thrones t-shirt to sell? You will be able to display your ad to people that have shown interest in the series.
If you’ve ever seen an ad for a custom t-shirt appear on your Facebook newsfeed that says how cool you are to have been born in a certain year at a certain month and a certain place, you can start to get a good understanding of how deep the kind of information marketers can obtain from your social media account can be.
This can arguably be a scary prospect, we’ll let you decide on that. However, it would be foolish to rule it out of your dropshipping strategy, especially when the internet’s organic traffic (customers finding you without paid advertising) is going down in a spiral.
Based on statistics from WEARSOCIAL, the average “free” Facebook post of a company reaches just 5.20% of its subscribers. On the grand scale of things, that’s not a lot.
Relying only on organic reach won’t work. If social media is free to use, someone else is paying the bill. In this case, visibility means investment, so be ready to spend some money on your social media marketing campaign. Thankfully, the efficiency of the method, if applied correctly, is second to none. Online stores are hardly successful without efficient social media marketing. So, with that being said, what platform should you invest your social media strategy budget on? Let’s have a look.
Which Social Media Platform to Choose?
Social media platforms differ not only in features but also in their user base. While some might have a more universal appeal, others might be suited for more specific fringes of the population. Your campaign and product should tell a story that catches the eye of the customer that matches it.
As we mentioned in our how-to start a Dropshipping business article, selling products that you identify with is an easy way to get inside the customer’s mindset. All you have to do is listen to your own opinion and think back to ads that made you buy something online, where you found them, and how they managed to convince you to make a purchase.
Other questions to ask when deciding who to target with your advertisements are:
- How old are your customers?
- How old are their friends that like the same kind of thing?
- Are they mostly male or female?
- What products do they usually tend to purchase?
Those are just some examples of the parameters that will help you configure your ads and decide on which platform you should choose. Let’s go through some of the most popular ones.
Is there anything left to say about Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire? Facebook has changed the world and chances are it has changed your world too. The demographics of Facebook users are probably one of the most balanced ones.
72.8% are within the 18-44 years old range. The biggest group of Facebook users are males between 25 to 34 years old who represent 18.8% of the user base. However, women of the same age range are slightly less and are about 12.8% according to statistics from Statista.
If the number of older users seems small, keep in mind that Facebook is undoubtedly their preferred social media platform. According to Pew Research Group, 46% of internet users aged above 65 used Facebook during 2020. Whereas a social media platform like Pinterest only received 15% of users above 65 in the past year.
Facebook is the bread and butter of social media marketing. Even if you don’t make it your main investment, being featured on Facebook and having a page and products to promote is a must!
Facebook customization options are impressive and intuitive to beginners. The average CPC (cost per click) is between 0.55-0.97 dollars, which is still competitive compared to Google and others. Of course, and this applies to all those platforms, a click is just a click and not a guaranteed sale. So, you need to approach this as a journey that is only over when the customer is happy enjoying your product. Facebook will provide lots of helpful advice when setting up your ad post but always remain mindful of your instinct.
Always remember to ask yourself, what would convince you to buy this product?
Instagram, the popular picture-sharing platform has been around since 2010. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well that’s the central idea of Instagram. Forget the text but instead, focus on the visual.
90% of Instagram’s user base is aged under 35. While 68% of Instagram’s users are female. If you’re looking into targeting young women, Instagram is the place to go. Instagram in many regards gave birth to the influencer marketing concept as we know it today.
When you, a handsome person (don’t be modest), shares images and videos of your brand-new designer sneakers, you are giving away free sponsorship. If the grass is always greener on the other side, your Instagram followers are probably fantasizing about your fancy new shoes and would love to buy themselves the same pair. And all because they saw you post a photo on Instagram sporting them on.
Public posts and hashtags allow users to find your photo based on topics. Users particularly talented at taking good photos of themselves and their purchases can generate millions of followers who are always on the lookout to know the latest must-have product to buy. As a Dropshipper, you might have the potential to ascend to the level of a superstar influencer who can influence what people buy online, but If not, you can always invest in one to do the influencing for you.
Remember, an Instagram post is all about appealing and attractive photos. Make sure to have professional images of your product when promoting your business online. Another aspect of Instagram you should consider is ‘Instagram stories’. Instagram stories are short videos of no more than 15 seconds and are a must for any savvy business owner looking to promote their brand and products. According to Instagram, 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day!
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and their efforts have been to harmonize their marketing offer. You’ll find many options that will allow you to purchase bundled marketing options. All in all, Instagram and Facebook are a good way to get lots of reach with one single ecosystem.
Twitter is the biggest public forum and controversy marker in the World! Twitter has been falling out of the social media marketing radar but it remains a platform to consider. The average CPC is one of the cheapest at 0.38 USD in 2020.
The Twitter approach is fairly similar to Facebook but the organic reach is more approachable. If you tweet consistently, pick a beautiful photo and a killer text with the right hashtag, you can count on Twitter users to snowball your content by sharing it across the platform, and making it go viral!
If your 12 years old niece asked you for a light ring for her birthday, chances are she might be doing the trendy dance moves of the latest TikTok craze in her kitchen at the time you read this. The Chinese social media company is a new player in the social media landscape, but it has taken the world by storm. What was China’s very own version of Snapchat and Vines has now become the new and improved way to share short videos and make them viral in the west.
Amidst controversy, TikTok is still standing strong and has become extremely popular with users between the age of 10 to 19 years old, accounting for 32.5% of US users in 2020.
If you don’t go down the influencer marketing route, the most popular approach to the TikTok platform is their ad prices which are particularly competitive, mainly because they are highly biddable. Some users manage to have a CPC cost of 0.19 dollars which is one of the cheapest options out there.
If your product is suitable for children and teenagers, TikTok is a must! When shaping your ad, don’t forget to find a popular song to feature over your video as the platform is famous for its use of popular music.
Do you like nice things? If so, that’s what Pinterest wants you to see. Pinterest takes the visual approach of Instagram but focuses it on objects. If you liked a photo of an object, Pinterest will show you another object similar to what you might like. You can follow trends and subjects and browse your day away looking at products and items that are catered for your interest.
Pinterest might be more discreet in the social media landscape; however, it is still a relevant player even in 2021. It has 459 million active users, 60% of whom are female and are spread across many age groups. According to Pinterest, 4 to 5 percent of moms in the United States are Pinterest users!
The cost is also very competitive. The CPC is very low with an average of 0.10USD. If your product is in this target audience, a business social media account on Pinterest is a must-have!
Is YouTube a social media platform? That’s debatable. What is not debatable is how important it can be for your dropshipping business. Like Facebook, is there anything new we can say about YouTube that you don’t already know?
The video platform is viewed by 73% of US adults, with 77% of users being between 15-25 years of age. Men are the most prominent demographic but women still account for a significant part of the viewership.
Similar to other video-based social media platforms, YouTube has two dimensions. The ads you see before the video (pre-roll adds) and the sponsored content that “YouTubers” will sell either as a form of sponsorship or as the central topic of their video. However, it is the second option that is gaining more and more popularity since the ad revenue that comes from YouTube is becoming less and less profitable. Even if those sponsored ads are often more focused on apps and services, there’s still space for products.
When marketing on YouTube, your strategy should remain the same just like other social media platforms, with influencers being a centralized focus of your overall campaign. However, be aware that a significant budget might be needed. In some instances, you could hire a company specialized in video editing and try to build your campaign from the ground up on your own YouTube channel.
When it comes to YouTube content, the possibilities are wide.
The next big social media platform
Do you know the next big social media platform? We don’t, but you sure should be on the lookout. Keep your finger on the pulse and stay updated on the latest technology and trends.
Smaller platforms have a very low ad cost, while their topic and demographic, even with a small user base, could give you results up to par with bigger platforms. If you’re familiar with the community around the product line you sell, chances are this social media platform will find you.
When it comes to social media marketing, be open to the possibility of anything.
Social Media Marketing Trends
Be yourself and be authentic
You’re a modest Dropshipper in a world of big corporations. Just like helping the small family-owned store across your street, people are sensitive to authenticity and the struggle of the underdog. Faces, the human touch and relatability are qualities that should be part of your approach. Show your human side in your communications and messaging style. Use humour and popular meme trends to show that your brand is in touch with the day-to-day reality of the online community. Sell a product because it’s good and because you believe it will make someone happier and not just because it’s cheap.
According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index, transparency and engagement with the audience are the top two factors that give a brand a positive perception on social media. It’s in the name, be social!
Do you see most of the social media pages we talked about here? Well, most of their users access them through their phones, not their computers! 79.9% of Facebook users only check the platform on their phones. Instagram’s browser version is a pale version of the app version. Same for Tiktok. More than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile phones… You get the picture.
Make sure that your campaign is smartphone-friendly. Otherwise, you may risk losing out on essential mobile phone traffic.
Just like Tiktok, Livestream shopping is a trend that comes from the east. While your mom would host Tupperware parties in your living room back in the day, live streams are a way to invite people into your feed and create an interactive shopping experience in a modern setting. Like a cool new version of the infomercial.
The Livestream trend is going full force in China, while the potential in the West has not yet been fully reached. All the ingredients are there, and with the global pandemic still negatively affecting traditional retail outlets, consumers are craving an interactive and social purchase experience. If you are a great communicator, starting a Livestream could be a very efficient way to get the attention of your customer base. If not, an influencer might do the trick.
Make a difference
In what we hope will be the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, the world is desperate for some good news. Life is not only about buying things, but also about making the world a better place. Find creative approaches to make a difference. Make a difference in your local community through charity or any positive action within your reach. Make it part of your brand and communicate your message through your product.
Social Media Customer Service
When something breaks down, the fear of having to call a customer support line can cause major anxiety for many consumers. The arrival of e-mail changed that for many of us, but it took away the immediacy. Social media, through its direct messaging to businesses, gives the best of both worlds. Social media gives customers a way to talk conveniently to a business without picking up a phone. Commenting on your customer’s posts and reviews help create a relationship between you and your customer. Make sure to have your social media customer support ready and you’ll be rewarded for it.
Augmented reality and filters
Using social media filters, you’ve probably discovered that your co-worker Dave would one day make a fine-looking lady if he was born a woman.
Deep fakes, augmented reality, filters… Social media can be a fun and exciting way to escape into a world of our imagination.
We all want to share something on social media while not necessarily having the tropical island backdrop to justify it. Filters are a great way to express yourself using technology without actually being there! There was a time when everybody’s profile picture on Facebook was wielding a lightsaber. While for many of us it was just a little bit of fun, for Disney they had just hit the marketing jackpot.
Filters can create a great buzz around a brand and product and if you or someone you know has the proper know how, this could be an unexpected way to reach great heights.
Social media has become part of the consumer experience and can greatly influence how we shop and discover a brand. With so many competitors using social media in creating a buzz about their product, standing out from the crowd and thinking outside of the box will be essential in your social media strategy in boosting your dropshipping business.