For a fashion brand to be successful, the people behind it must understand, they are not just selling a product, they are selling an entire lifestyle! This has become increasingly easier to convey to the customers, since social media made their entrance. The use of social media in the fashion retail industry is on the rise, because of visual channels like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube, simply because image is what these brands are selling.
Creating a solid, quality social media following should be a big part of any brand’s social media strategy and these channels are providing the perfect platforms for engaging with users, in order to raise brand awareness, drive website traffic and generate sales. With this in mind, we present seven ways to leverage social media for your fashion business.
Show the personality of your brand!
A platform like Instagram is perfect for a lot of things; including sharing ‘behind the scenes’ pictures for your brand, like major fashion house Chanel or Dolce & Gabbana does. This will make your followers identify with your brand on a more personal level, and that makes them more likely to choose your brand next time. It also portraits a certain lifestyle, to which the consumer wants to belong, and again is more likely to choose your product.
To know more about how to use Instagram for your business.
Use the content from your followers
When it comes to fashion on social media, one of the great things is that your followers will often create a lot of content for you, and it is right there for the taking! User-generated content works like word of mouth endorsement, with the users advertising your brand by sharing photos of themselves wearing your products. These posts, ofcourse reach the followers and provides free advertisement for your brand, but even more important, you can also share these pictures from your own platform, which not only makes the user feel valued, but further more provides any potential customer with an even more relatable post. Companies like Calvin Klein and Nike has some dedicated followers, who always posts their brand.
If you have yet to build up a strong group of followers, that automatically posts pictures of your products and tags you in it, you can consider running a campaign, that urges people to compete in posting their favorite outfit (including your brand, of course!), giving them a chance to win a price from you.
In today’s world where people believe people more than brands, Influencer marketing has become the most effective way of advertising. Over the time, many brands from different sectors and industries have shifted their marketing strategy to influencer marketing. Tie-ups with popular influencers help brands reach the right target audience.
Craftsvilla a well- known e-commerce fashion brand achieved great results through influencer marketing. The brand did a campaign with famous fashion influencers across different social media platforms. Neha, one of the fashion influencers shared her experience with crafts villa on her blog and other platforms titled ’Embrace the ethnic wear this season with craftsvilla.’ This post on Instagram received great amount of engagement from her followers.
If you have not explored influencer marketing its time you leveraged this option. So, go ahead and try it out today!
According to recent statistics, India has around 8.19 million Pinterest users. It is one of the fastest growing social platforms and allows users to save pins and create boards with anything from DIY projects to wedding ideas and fashion tips. Many fashion brands have used this platform successfully. It is a good idea for brands to explore Pinterest more.
Pinning just your products every time might make it monotonous for your users, hence, sharing some ideas or content related to the industry will be a great idea to increase engagement. Gehna, one of India’s leading jewelry brands has over 5,000 followers on Pinterest. The brand has created boards belonging to different categories based on occasions and festivals. This is an interesting way to showcase your products. It makes it easy for followers to pin jewelry that they like directly from the category they are looking for.
For more tips on how you can use Pinterest, find out here.
Videos are always more engaging than just images. Video options are available in every social media channel today, be it Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Top Fashion brands are using videos as a promotion tool. You can showcase your products, take your audience behind the scenes, live stream a fashion show, etc., which in turn will drive more engagement to your page.
Free people, a fashion brand from the US has leveraged the videos feature on snapchat to connect with their target audience. Since the brand caters to the current generation, they decided to reach them through a medium that is most used by them, which is Snapchat. The employees, take their fans behind the scenes by giving them tours of the showroom, models during photo shoots, etc. The brand also connected with their fans on a personal level through a campaign called “Question Wednesdays”where snappers can personally snap their questions to the brand’s snapshot account. They even ask snappers personal and friendly questions. The overall involvement and engagement through Snapchat that Free People provides users ultimately creates a valued and elite relationship for the user.
Snapchat is one platform that needs to be explored for your business. Check out how you can use snapchat for your business here.
Reach a wider set of audience by targeting the right audience through your Facebook or Instagram ads. Instagram has proven to be the most appropriate and a successful platform for any fashion brand to leverage. Create and place ads with visually appealing creatives on Instagram with a Shop now or Buy no call to action button.
Fossil, created a look by putting together products that would appeal to their target segment and at the same time communicate their brand’s personality. They did this through an Instagram ad in which they used a very attractive image with a call to action button and also added a quirky caption.
Enhance customer experience
Customer service is always key to any business. It is essential to make sure your customers are happy with your products and services. With social media you can do this by responding to their comments, queries, messages or tweets as quickly as possible. Also, ensure you come across as fun and exciting. People on social media do not want to interact with anything that is monotonous or dull.
Another way of making customer experience a delight would be by easing the process of shopping. With the introduction of social shopping, brands can use this feature to reduce the purchase process. Facebook shop is one of the best ways to do so. So, go ahead and leverage this feature for your brand today!
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and explore all these tips and tools today! Find the right one that will suit your business and make the best use of it.
When we conducted our Indian Industry Digital Marketing Survey we found that many brands were facing challenges in measuring the return that their digital marketing and social media marketing efforts were giving. Hence, we included an eclectic panel discussion on “Measuring ROI of Digital Marketing” at our Digital Leadership Summit.
We had four panelists moderated by Suneil from Social Beat: Mr. Vijay Anand – Sulekha.com, Mr. Arasu Shankar – Eshakti.com, Ms. Lavanya Hariharan – Zapluk and Mr. Shriram Sanjeevi – Oyethere.com.
Summary of the Panel Discussion
Channels that provide higher ROI will depend on product and customer segment
Google & Facebook continue to dominate as primary digital channels for most businesses
For products/services wherein search volume is lower – then social would be a better channel to start with
Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest allow for better product showcase and for visual products these would be interesting channels
Instagram, Snapchat, Emailers are other ways to build ROI depending on the business.
Life Time Value (LTV) is an important metric as marketing spend cannot be attributed to just the first transaction
Tools like Google Analytics & Improvely can help in measuring ROI
Perspective on ROI from the Panelists
Suneil started off by asking the audience as to how many of them believed you could get ROI from digital marketing; it was a pleasant surprise to see that over 60% of the audience believed it could. We as a digital agency couldn’t agree more. The panel started with a discussion on what each of them feels about the results from digital marketing. We also have had a Digital Chai Pe Charcha on ROI of Digital Marketing, and you can read it here.
Lavanya from Zapluk highlighted that they got a lot of organic growth once they started using the digital medium and in fact got 80% increase in customer base in just a month. As she rightly pointed out, it was a combination of brand building and lead generation activities.
Vijay from Sulekha.com candidly shared that they were one of the highest spenders in the city on Google and that digital is critical to their survival. He shared that Sulekha gets around 250 million visitors via organic search and another 20-30 million via paid search in a year, and it’s their strongest channel for new user acquisition.
Shriram from OyeThere.com said they use a 360-degree approach with a mix of digital and offline marketing based on his two decades of retail experience. He rightly pointed out that it’s a myth that digital gives immediate returns. Startups need to focus on building a brand, building the consumer trust and scaling up the service – then results come over time.
Which digital channels are scaleable and to what extent?
The entire panel did agree that the choice of the channel varies with the services/products and the consumer segment. It’s also very important to be smart as you scale adverting, as Arasu pointed out. It’s essential to be clear on what is the message you want to give about your brand.
Vijay continued to be a strong propagator of Google Organic and Google Adwords and said it’s the most scalable as SEO efforts now start showing results in a few days, for existing/older sites. Since they focus on services with low engagement from end consumers they, tend to focus less on social media channels. They did spend 15 crores on their TVC campaign earlier this year it only gives 5000 incremental visitors a day which is minuscule for them as they get about 6-7 lakh visitors a day. Vijay added that for brand building to show results, you need to be at it all the time.
On the other hand, Lavanya, Arasu & Shriram all spoke on how social media and in specific Facebook Marketing has worked extremely well for their businesses to get scaleable results. Lavanya highlighted that for a service wherein the consumer still doesn’t know it exists, the search volume on Google is extremely low hence Facebook & Twitter were the driving growth as they were able to achieve leads along with building the brand and engagement around it.
Arasu & Lavanya also touched upon the importance of building the trust factor with consumers regarding answering their questions and doubts and also in terms of showcasing the products/service in a more holistic way. As Arasu rightly pointed out that Facebook allows for better product showcase via the carousel ads, videos, etc. Even brand awareness and the brand story is better executed via channels like Facebook and Instagram. Talking about the social trust that’s built out, Arasu added that they now see existing customers answering queries raised by potential clients and that it’s a game changer for them.
Shriram added that the approach they take depends on the message, the channel also changes. For example, when they ran a huge campaign around Kabali by selling t-shirts, giving away movie tickets and more; Facebook worked very well for that as it’s a mass channel.
Influencer Marketing & Platforms other than Google & Facebook
We couldn’t agree more with Arasu when he said that “Channel will depend on product and customer segment.” For example, if you are looking to target millennials then Snapchat would be an ideal platform. If your product or service is visual and you are targeting a sub 40-year-old audience, then Instagram would be an excellent channel but there is indeed a demographic difference across channels. eShakti also focusses a lot on Pinterest as it’s relevant to many a fashion brand.
Emailer Marketing still works if it’s with your own audience. Vijay of Sulekha spoke about how emailer marketing is an important channel and delivers results when done smartly with smart targeting, in spite of Gmail pushing a lot of emails to the Promotions tab. Of course, once a user is acquired it’s up to the brand to retain them and emailers is a great way to do that.
Influencer Marketing was another channel that works very well and eShakti uses it extensively. Arasu shared that they work with 1000s of bloggers and they have built their network over a period. They calculate the ROI of influencers via direct referral traffic as well as transactions driven by the unique referral code given to each influencer. He also gave an interesting insight that there is higher trust from a consumer that comes via an influencer, so the 5-10% off that they give is covered up there.
There was an interesting question from the audience – Dr. Manoj from Dr. Smilez Group of Dental Centers asked about how they got very low engagement low on social as customers were not very keen on sharing their dental experiences. Lavanya shared her similar experiences as not a lot of women would like to share they got a beauty service or a wax treatment as it’s a personal service. The way Zapluk approaches it is to given them an offer or incentive but in the long run, content marketing is the key. Shriram added saying that ROI cannot always be attributed to direct sales – brand building and marketing is also to be measured
Importance of Life Time Value (LTV) of the Customer in calculating ROI
Everyone on the panel agreed that the return on marketing spend is not immediate; hence Life Time Value is an important metric to help scale up business and understand whether it’s moving towards profitability.
The LTV depends on different businesses, and we got varied perspective from the panel. Arasu spoke about phenomenal ROI wherein it just takes them 1.2 transactions to recover marketing cost as they have high-value transactions and very high repeat purchase. For Zapluk and Pamperazi it was three transactions to get the back marketing cost. Whereas for a brand like Sulekha, the end consumer was not paying anything, so it’s difficult to ascertain LTV.
Arasu mentioned that they look at the time taken to recover the marketing cost of acquiring the customer and for them, it’s usually the first 1-2 months whereas it is 3-4 months for Zapluk. Key metrics remain around customer acquisition, retention and finally on how to make them spend more and more often. It of courses varies by cohort, seasonality’s (for example, summer is a strong season for eshakti), types of customers, depends on the marketing channel and the marketing campaign that you run.
Shriram again had a very different perspective and said that “The word LTV is over done. Companies that boasted of High LTvs have shut down in the last couple of months because LTV was more of a myth.” He gave an example of Chennai’s leading retail chain Viveks wherein in many cases three generations have been shopping there and apparently they are also grappling with LTV. He also questioned how come Flipkart only had 32% growth in spite of the perceivable high LTV.
Suneil also added that there is sometimes a time lag between generating a lead to sale and ROI can be improved if you can figure out how to leverage that time frame to communicate about the brand and the offerings.
Vijay spoke about Google Analytics Premium (GAP) which is more relevant for larger organisations as its costs around USD 90,000 a year. He talked about Google Analytics data being heavily sampled; wherein GAP has unsampled data which can also be downloaded. GAP has only around 15 clients in India but Vijay recommends it’s to e-commerce and digital businesses as repeat customers are harder to track in free analytics tools and attribution is not always clear.
Facebook Marketing has become an integral part of any digital marketing strategy and it has revolutionized the way we look at the online marketing industry. Over the last 12 years, Facebook has seen a 360-degree shift, transforming from a simple social networking site to the face of a multi-billion dollar company allowing brands to find new customers, increase their sales, create brand awareness and much more. When we ran an industry survey amongst CMOs and Brand Heads across India we found that close to 90% Brands in India are already leveraging Facebook. Advertisers are spending more money than ever before on Facebook as it has emerged as one of the biggest platforms to engage with their target audience. Keeping this in mind, new features are being regularly added to Facebook and marketers have to constantly make alterations to their strategies to ensure their content is still reaching its target audience. Below are a few points that have been gathered keeping in mind the recent changes which may give us clues as to what 2017 will hold for both consumers and businesses.
Less Is More – Page Posts & Organic Reach
Following the decrease in the organic reach of Facebook page posts last year, Locowise conducted a small study to analyze how page posting frequency impacts reach, engagement and negative feedback.
The study reveals that pages that posted once a week or less on their official page reached an average of 15% of the audience who liked their page per post. Interestingly, pages that posted two to four times a week reached only 10% of the page audience and pages that posted once a day reached a lower average of 8.42% per post. This means that organic reach drops with an increase in the number of posts, and over posting content is a common mistake marketers tend to make on FB. This also means that the quality of content and FB posts needs to be extremely high and we are likely to see many brands evolving into fewer but highly engaging posts.
Another study by [email protected] reveals that for large pages with more than 5,00,000 Likes, the organic reach has seen a remarkable decline when compared to other smaller pages. It is believed that marketing managers can expect the organic reach to further approach zero in the future. The detailed analysis and data interpretations along with the recommendations are available to read here in the full white paper.
The number of users on Facebook has doubled from 845 million to 1654 million over the last five years. There are more brands than ever who are joining the bandwagon of Facebook marketing and these brands are posting multiple posts every day. All of this creates more noise and unimaginable amounts of content that will simply be filtered out and never reach the news feed of a specific user. With so much information to be filtered, Facebook uses complex algorithms to pick and show content to users they are most relevant to them and those that they are most likely to engage with.So it can be assumed that increased brand post frequency is aiding in the drop of organic reach.
However, the only exception to this organic reach debate was seen in the news & media industry. The organic reach of news publishers seems to remain steady, even with a higher posting frequency. Here’s the result of analysis of 3,318 profiles, by Sotrender.
Videos – Future of Marketing For Brands
Videos are the next step in the social media evolution and will most likely dominate the online advertising and marketing industry. As per the stats by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Daily views have increased from 1 billion to 8 billion in the last one year. These stats are proof that users have started consuming more of video content and it is essential that brands leverage this in their favor to engage with the potential customers. Video content is the best medium for storytelling and is a great opportunity for brands to connect with their audience.
Live videos were one of the major updates announced earlier this year by Facebook. This gave live videos prime placement in the Facebook app and also adds new ways to find, create, share, and react to them. This move efficiently makes live videos one of the central features of Facebook. Live videos offer a new way to interact on a platform that can feel so familiar that it risks feeling stale. Broadcasting live to your social circle gives you a certain thrill or even just watching a friend’s live broadcast, can bring in a fresh feeling of excitement and make you want to interact on the same old platform in a new way. On an average, Facebook says people are commenting 10 times more on live videos than they do on regular videos. This clearly means that brands must explore Live videos over recorded videos as this would help drive higher engagement levels with the audience. Facebook also rolled out an update where advertisers could add a video element for FB Carousel Ads. The shift towards video as a tool for marketing is evident and is definitely here to stay.
The fact that a business needs to have a mobile-friendly website is much talked about and is not a new concept. Last year, Google announced that, for the first time mobile searches surpassed desktop searches. This eventually led to a new situation where Google’s algorithm started to penalize sites that were not optimized for mobile devices. For the last few years, marketing experts have been stressing on the fact that there is an obvious need for businesses to optimize the sites for the ever-increasing number of mobile users. Facebook Inc announced that it has over 142 million users in India, of which about 133 million access the social network via their mobile devices. This means that a staggering 90% of users are using facebook on their phones in India. It is essential that marketers who are trying to engage with and attract potential customers in order to redirect them to their website, ensure that their website is mobile optimized and are able to leverage every micro moment of Indian consumers. In today’s Smartphone era, mobile-optimization is the norm and an essential item that can no longer be placed on the back burner to address later.
Ads are Inevitable
A few years ago, advertising on social media platforms was a very niche concept with not too many players in the market. In this new age of online marketing, many brands have become aware of the importance of ads across various social media channels, especially Facebook. Today, with the various targeting and advertising options on Facebook, we can reach out to millions of potential customers in any part of the world. Facebook advertising is a strong tool that can be used by brands to meet their marketing objectives.
Facebook ads allow you to choose from a wide range of possible adverts including but not restricted to Page Post Engagement, Clicks to a website, Conversions on Website, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Ads etc. Over the last few years, Facebook has evolved into a paid marketing platform more than an organic one so it is essential for marketers to leverage the power of the various adverts available. You can read our detailed guide on measuring ROI from social media.
Shop On Facebook
In an attempt to make it easier for brands to reach out to potential customers and drive sales on mobile devices Facebook has started rolling out the Shop section in phases. This section allows a brand to list out their products and let consumers browse through the catalog and purchase products that they like from within Facebook. The social network does not charge you to add a shop section to your Page nor does it take any percentage of the money you make through it. In the upcoming year, more businesses will start selling stuff directly from Facebook as this new section is set to change the way we look at e-commerce and social selling. Ofcourse it also has had Product Ads for E-commerce companies for a long time now – these can be also be leveraged parallely.
We have left out Instagram Marketing from this conversation, as it warrants its own blog. We are also seeing some interesting developments around Instagram analytics and Instagram targeting going forward.
Do let us know what other features you expect FB to evolve in the coming months.
Not so long ago, Facebook took a plunge into uncharted territories by launching Carousel Ads. Though this ad type was initially meant to showcase multiple products in one ad, Facebook crafted a strategy for the Carousel Ads to tease e-commerce clients and make them buy more ads on the platform. But the Carousel Ads slowly moved across verticals, towards becoming one of the advanced Facebook Advertising techniques that is extremely engaging in promoting businesses.
1). Showcase products in detail
Carousel Ads allow you to place up to 5 cards with images that can communicate messages effectively. If it’s a single product that you are highlighting, it would be prudent to describe its features in detail, keeping the CTR on an inclined angle. A ballet shoe manufacturer made effective use of showcasing a product, where each card of the ad focused on one distinct feature. They also used the headline copy to provide defined context to each image.
2). Tour your product
It always sums up to be a perfect formula when you try to deliver a good idea of what customers can expect from your offering. This will improve the quality of enquiries/leads, thereby increasing the probability of sales through Facebook. An automobile giant promoted one of its newly launched Coupé by creating an expressive Carousel Ad campaign that displayed features that made the car stand out from its competitors. The cards highlighted the key specs and of model and attracted genuine customers to engage with the carousel ad.
3). Tell a story Stories are an incredibly effective way for branding, talking to customers, and engaging with them. A popular western airline company created an effective carousal ad campaign to market their vacation packages to The Grand Canyon. They infused a panorama of the location to tell a story that triggered people to book their air tickets to visit the location.
The Monetary Game
Can Carousel Ads be used as a solution to drive clicks to the website? We conducted a small experiment to test the hypothesis on the Clicks to Website Ads, for a glass manufacturing giant. Here’s how the results panned out:
The Clicks to Website Ad had a CTR of 3.09% versus a 4.32% from the Carousel Ad for website clicks
The CPC for the Clicks to Website Ad was 5.06 INR versus 3.49 INR from the Carousel Ad for website clicks
In our view, with a little bit of testing and optimization to avoid common mistakes, the effectiveness of the Carousel Ads in driving clicks to URL destinations, is very cost effective. Have you experimented with Carousel Ads as a way to drive clicks to your business? We love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below this post.
Brands/Businesses conduct events with an end goal in mind. Charity & institutional brands would want to raise funds for a specific cause or movement. Conferences/Summits/Conclaves want participants to network and learn, in turn spreading a vision which is believed by a brand. And then there are launch, sporting, or gaming events which brands want people to remember, delivering recognition for talent.
Social media has become an essential part of events and has transcended into a real-time platform to showcase the happenings of an event and build awareness for the brand.
The following are 4 key essential tips that can be followed while providing live social media news feeds for an event:
1. Promoting The Hashtag: Create a unique/synonymous hashtag that can be treated as a signature for your posts, during the event. Use this hashtag in your creative and posts, as a method for your audience to engage with you and other audience throughout the duration/phase of the event. For example: The 2015 edition of the Murugappa Kovai Quotient Quiz which was promoted with the hashtag #MKQ2015, present in every news feed or conversation that happened during the event.
The launch of The Madras Song also stirred up conversations in platforms like Twitter where we trended hashtags like #TheMadrasSongs & #Madras375, which helped us spread the word and prompted people to share the video.
2. Make Your Feeds Entertaining & Engaging: One should make sure that the social media news feeds are catchy, informative, carry the essence of the event and have a strong call-to-action aspect embedded in the post. During the Murugappa Kovai Quotient Quiz, we asked interesting questions inspired by the questions put forth by the quiz-master on the dais.
3. Informing People About What They Are Missing Out On: Giving a glimpse about the happenings of the event is vital. It helps your audience to experience the event even if they are not physically present in the venue. We covered the outdoor activities which took place at the Murugappa Kovai Quotient Quiz, showcasing enthusiastic students who clicked pictures at a photo booth which was placed outside the auditorium.
We were also able to engage with a huge cluster of audience through live feeds at the Global Alumni Meet of Don Bosco, held at Egmore, Chennai.
4. Follow Conversations & Engage With Audience Even After The Event: Live social media news feeds generate a high influx of conversations. A live feed helps create a buzz at the event, prompting the crowd to engage in a conversation. It is very important that these conversations are tracked and addressed. Continuing the conversations with the audience even after the event will build credibility and will boost engagements in the forthcoming events. Our posts for Murugappa, during the Aircel Chennai Open 2015 built conversations that lasted even after the event’s closure.
In a dilemma to integrate social media for your events? We highly recommend that you do!
India is a significant market for social media giants. We have 100m+ users on Facebook and over 33 million users on Twitter. Mobile web penetration has also been one of the main contributors in the active social media usage. Almost 84% of the 100 million users on Facebook access it through their mobile phones. Keeping all of the above mentioned facts in consideration, it is fair to conclude that the reach on social media is exponentially huge and for brands to tap on this opportunity would result in a vital growth for their businesses
Reputation Management, Thought Leadership & Recruitment have been added to the objectives to achieve alongside community building & brand engagement on social media.
Facebook continues to be the predominant social media platform for engagement. Google+ and LinkedIn evolved as social media platforms to reach out to professionals across the country (highly relevant for B2B industries). Apart from these two platforms, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest have also emerged as highly engaging & crucial platforms to spawn conversations with the TG.
Brands have become observant of the frequency of updates on social media channels & response time from the audiences. Most of the top social media savvy brands in India engage with their fans once a day through multiple platforms. The point worth noting here is that the average response time is 1-5 hours per engagement.
The study indicates that with the popularity and expanding reach of social media, around 90 per cent of Indian brands plan on dedicating 15% of their annual marketing spends to social media.
The study also highlighted that brands across various industries have realized the implication of tapping on social media channels and understood its peculiar demands.
How do brands in India function digitally?
Most of the Indian brands have their social media strategy & content aligned to meet their business goals. However, there are brands that have their social media strategy in place but do not have it linked to any specific goal.
Many companies have an internal team dedicated for curating social media content & strategy whereas there are few which outsource them from agencies. Mostly Indian brands work on a hybrid model where the internal core team is supplemented by social media agencies & consultants. However, when it comes to the execution part of a social media campaign/strategy the brands turn to social media agencies which run the campaign online.
Market trends and Customer Insights are the key drivers for the brands to formulate their strategies for social media.
Brands are looking at a 360 degree marketing approach and are including social media as a key channel for deploying campaigns along with traditional channels.
Mobile app development is an area that is being explored aggressively since it adds another advertising medium in the bag. Considering that a lot of users access social media channels through their smartphones & tablets, mobile advertising will emerge as a crucial channel for marketing.
Understanding customer perception of the brands, effective monitoring of the brand sentiment, efficient handling of customer queries and better customer insights are some of the benefits that the brands have secured by integrating social media marketing with social listening.
What’s the next big thing?
The study also states that Social CRM, Social Commerce & Gamification will be the future for the brands to explore and harness their growth on.
Facebook has announced that they will shortly be introducing product ads, wherein advertisers can showcase and promote multiple products and even entire product catalogs through ads on the social network. This seems to be great news for advertisers, especially for ecommerce companies as this will enable more products to be shown to a wider audience.
“Product ads can be customized for use throughout the customer journey, from discovery/awareness through purchase. Here are some options:
Advertisers can automatically reach people who visited their website/app (via Custom Audiences), or reach people based on specific interests, locations, etc.
Advertisers can curate ads as they see fit. For instance, they can highlight products that were viewed on their website/mobile app or showcase best selling products. Or they can create a multi-product ad that highlights the different benefits of a single product.”
For Spidey fans a trivia which says Andrew Garfield admitted to shedding tears the first time he wore the Spiderman costume shooting for The Amazing Spiderman, could be priceless. And for a startup that sells super hero merchandise, this exclusive trivia on their interactive blog could mean serious business. Stories told through videos and blogs are taking the place of advertisements for several startups that are using content to engage with customers.
“Every industry has a story to tell, if they look hard enough. And people continue to love interesting narrative,” said Lakshmanan Narayan, founder of Chennai-based Unmetric, a social media intelligence platform whose company has been serving clients like Toyota, American Airlines and Lowe’s. Most startups working in the online space find content-based marketing or content marketing as a medium to connect to the customer and prefer it over direct marketing. Without pitching brands directly, content marketing looks at generating relevant content that educates and creates awareness among customers.
“Content marketing allows us to engage the customers better by sharing information that is useful for them,” said Rishi Khaithan, cofounder of BuildMyEvent, a Mumbai-based platform, which connects its customers to venues for their events. It also provides platforms for its vendors to connect with the customers via their blog instead of individual marketing.
“Startups don’t have the money to compete with the big names,” said Vikas Chawla of Social Beat, a Chennai-based digital agency delivering social media marketing and ecommerce consulting. “They have to do things in a different way either around the product or around content. Content marketing helps them to do that.”
“People get sick of ads,” says Pradeep Rajadas of Sociall.in, a Chennai-based social media marketing company . “Diversity keeps you engaged. So you have to start spinning stories to which customers can connect to and through which you can promote your brand,” he added. Sociall has developed and marketed content for city-based real estate companies, focusing on the lifestyle, neighbourhood, appreciation of land and so on. The company has also produced content around “investment opportunities” in technology productivity hacks from tech, ROI from your latest smartphone purchase and so on for a gadget retailer.
For e-commerce companies, social media is a critical channel for driving sales. While Google and the display network is an effective medium to reach the target audience, social media networks, especially Facebook are being used to target the right consumers having relevant interests. While it’s important to engage with the audience within Facebook, we have found it to be more effective to drive traffic via Facebook Ads directly to the website or landing page and track results there.
For example, Planet Superheroes, which is into Superhero Merchandise has used FB to segment users who like specific superheroes and are online spenders in India. So superman t-shirt ads are targeted to users who like Superman and fit into the age & location demographic relevant to the brand. This level of granular targeting is possible only in social media. Moreover, organic posts are not enough anymore owing to the recent policy changes for Facebook Pages. This means advertising on Facebook and other channels becomes essential. With the advanced features of Facebook companies can even target their existing customers, friends of their customers and even audiences having similar interests and demographics to their existing customers.
Most importantly, the return on investment is measurable to the last rupee using analytics and conversion tracking tools. This also makes digital marketing more transparent in constantly improving the cost of acquisition for ecommerce brands.
Other Social Media Platforms that e-commerce companies can leverage
Social Media has been crucial to the brand building of e-commerce companies. Not just Facebook but even Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have enabled even smaller startups find a niche in the crowded e-commerce space. The younger generation is more inclined to using Instagram and Whatsapp and brands are starting to experiment with these networks depending on their target segment. Even usage of pinterest and professional network, Linkedin have grown remarkable and depending on the audience being targetted, different ecommerce companies are using different channels. An interesting case in scenario is Cherrytin, a premium e-gifting destination which has used Instagram & youtube to showcase the premiumness and fun identify of the brand and thereby driving sales in the long run.
We see Whatsapp, Instagram and YouTube playing a pivotal role in the growth of ecommerce brands as the younger generation is adapting to these platforms even faster than they adapted Facebook.
Increased focus on Conversion Rate Optimisation
With tools like Zarget, CrazyEgg and even Google Analytics allowing data points to help improve sales, revenue and conversions, this is going to be a focus area for every ecommerce company.