Learn easy tips and strategies to inspire your customers, market your business, and sell your products.
Also see our three part series for in-store business operators, "The Ultimate Guide to Knock-Out Merchandising"
Part 1: Showcasing: A Shopping Experience Worth Leaving the Couch for
Part 2: Window Display: How to Build an Engaging Window Display
Part 3: Store Floor Layout: How to Set (or Re-set) the Floor
Businesses are transitioning more and more toward e-commerce for their sales as more people are buying online. Social media has become a vital force in the new rise to online shopping. Customers follow social media pages to gain inspiration, understand more about the brand, and buy products directly from the posts themselves. This makes social media valuable to not only market your business's brand but as a merchandising tool and avenue to sell your products.
Social media and merchandising are constantly evolving, making it hard to keep up. We have pulled together key strategies to effectively merchandise your products and use social media to your advantage. Increase your sales and customer relationships by following these four simple tips.
1.) Use More than one Platform
It is easy to throw all your attention and energy into one channel, but be careful about putting all your eggs into one basket. It is crucial to use multiple platforms to market your product and brand effectively.
House of Nomad on Instagram: Featuring KAZI Baskets
Instagram and Facebook
Instagram is an effective channel to market your brand. Instagram reports that “90% of people on Instagram follow a business”. It is a great social media platform to build relationships with current customers, increase your brand awareness, gain new followers, and sell products directly from posts. House of Nomad does a beautiful job at capturing their products and letting customers know about new arrivals via Instagram, as shown in the example above.
Facebook is also helpful for promoting brands and products and should be linked to your Instagram. By linking the two platforms you can easily post on both platforms at the same time creating consistency. In addition, your friends on Facebook will be more likely to follow your Instagram account and vise versa. Instagram and Facebook are great for organic advertising, where your link is found by users through search engines without the use of sales pitches, as well as paid advertisements. If you use paid advertisements, try dedicating one channel to organic search and another platform to paid ads.
For both Instagram and Facebook, you should use a business profile and open up the shopping feature. In every post that features a product, make sure you link the product to your biography.
Learn how to set up your shop on both Facebook and Instagram.
Link your product catalog to Instagram and Facebook to tag the products you feature. West Elm promotes their brand and new catalogs via Facebook, as shown above. Remember — the fewer clicks it takes for a potential customer to buy your product, the more likely they will proceed to checkout.
Pinterest is an effective platform to reach and grow your customers. Pinterest is mainly used for buying inspiration and the discovery of new products and ideas. Pinterest reports that 89% of Pinterest users, also known as Pinners, use Pinterest for purchase inspiration. Therefore, it is essential to post high-quality visual images of your products and design ideas to inspire future customers. Neil Patel, top marketer and New York Times best selling author, reports that “over 400 million people visit Pinterest each month, and 90% of those users make buying decisions on the platform.” When used correctly, Pinterest is a valuable tool to visually market your products and gain brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, increasing sales. Don’t forget to link your other social media platforms to your Pinterest account!
Set up a business account on Pinterest. A business account gives you access to educational marketing materials such as webinars and blogs, as well as Pinterest analytics all to help improve your marketing.
Post, also known as pin, high quality photos and captions containing keywords to ensure your pins are searchable. Do your due diligence researching the most popular categories Pinners are searching for to strategically select the best content to post.
Create different boards on Pinterest based on popular categories such as “DIY crafts”. Boards can help give Pinners inspiration on popular trends or items in a certain category or the best way to use or wear your product. We love how our partner Salt & Sundry separates their pins into various inspirational boards shown in the image above.
Learn how to effectively use Pinterest for marketing and brand growth
Twitter has the potential to boost your business’s sales, increase your brand recognition, and improve your customer service. Twitter is an effective platform to communicate with your customers on both public and personal levels. Businesses can use Twitter to respond to customer service issues using direct messaging, answer customer questions, and give customer shoutouts both directly and publicly. Companies can also use Twitter for announcements such as sales, promotions, products that are back in stock, etc. Twitter is a great way to disseminate information regarding your company and engage your customers. Instead of marketing specific products on Twitter, focus on using the platform for operational and general announcements.
Set up a business Twitter account with a high quality simple profile photo and a short handle name.
Use hashtags — but not too many. According to Neil Patel's blog, tweets that contain hashtags receive twice as much engagement, but use of too many hashtags result in a 17% engagement drop. The sweet spot number — no more than 2.
Use direct messaging to handle customer service issues.
Actively engage with your followers by using photos, videos, GIFs, and polls. Anthropologie does a great job at engaging with followers by using fun polls such as their Super Bowl Sunday Tweet, as shown above.
Use action words to get your followers attention and influence them to go to your site, follow you, download your new catalog etc.
Learn marketing tips to boost your Twitter from Neil Patel.
2.) Tell Your Story - Content Matters
It is important to optimize your website and social media content for search engines. This helps them more easily understand who you are and how relevant your content will be for their searchers – and then to direct people your way.
Fair Trade Humankind on Instagram: Featuring KAZI Baskets and Artisan
Also, be sure you are tuning into the news and incorporating significant events such as holidays and social justice movements into your postings. We love HumanKind's Mother's Day instagram post, as shown above.
Create your brand image and be clear about the story you want to tell in a way that connects with the needs of your customers.
Post relevant content to your social media, and add to it over time. Freshness counts!
House of Nomad on Instagram: Featuring KAZI Bowls and Placemats
Cross-promote your marketing campaigns on your social media account. Try promoting and linking to your blog posts, articles, and other marketing campaigns. House of Nomad does an excellent job at cross promoting their blogs, make sure to put the link in your bio, as shown above!
Remember that it is more important to use a few relevant hashtags than using multiple irrelevant hashtags
Use social media as a channel to dispense information such as products that are back in stock or top-selling items for that month
Social media can also be an avenue to help educate your customers on ways to wear, display, and use your products
Human Kind Fair Trade on Instagram: Featuring KAZI Wall Plate
Do not be afraid to not only market your products but describe the story behind them, what makes them unique, and how to best use them. We love how House of Nomad features their artisan partners on Instagram as shown above.
3.) Be Efficient while still Keeping it Personal
Chat boxes are an effective way to create efficiency and improve your customer service. They are used to give out generated automatic responses that have a personal touch to common customer questions. It is vital to take your time and ensure the chat box properly represents your brand and establish marketing messaging rules. You do not want to break the trust between you and your customers from a chat box message that is off-brand. In addition, it is worth anticipating customer questions or needs to make sure you have relevant answers.
When your customers comment on your posts or tag you in a photo or story, try to reply and follow up. Sending a thank you by direct message goes a long way and establishes a personal relationship.
4.) Engage your Customers to Create a Personal Connection
Create an environment in which your customers feel part of your brand. Post and repost content that was created and featured to those who have bought and used your product, also known as User Generated Content (UGC). UGC allows your customers to feel connected and is an authentic organic marketing tool. People want to see real people loving and using a product. We love how our partner Clic posts and reposts real customers wearing their products as shown in the Instagram post above. Repost stories, photos, and videos that are relevant to your customers.
Trinity Mercantile and Design on Instagram: Featuring KAZI Pet Hunt
You can even create a competition or challenge to encourage people to post about and like your product. For instance, you might create a challenge asking followers to tag a photo of the most creative way to use a KAZI basket. You would award the winner a KAZI basket assortment. Or — try a giveaway competition, like Trinity Mercantile and Design did as shown in the image above. A giveaway is like a rally for a gift basket or gift card. There are strategic rules to enter, such as following your account, liking the giveaway posts, and tagging a certain number of friends in the comments. You give away one gift to the winner and, in return, gain exposure and more followers and engage with your customers in a fun, competitive way.
You can also engage with your audience by ending the post with an intriguing question and encourage them to comment on their answer below. We love how Anthropologie engages with its followers on Twitter by asking questions, as in the example above. You can also interact with your followers in real-time by going live on Facebook and Instagram. Going live is a real-time video to show your audience behind your company's office and/or product making.
As E-Commerce grows and fewer people are going into stores and interacting with employees, it is vital to create that personal connection with your customers. Being active and reaching out to customers on social media is an avenue that will help grow your business and make the intimate environment behind shopping.