With Chandru from Around.io
Written by Franco Varriano.
Last week marketing chat was a great success. We talked about the benefit of email marketing and customer success strategy. This week, we are happy to welcome Chandru from Around.io, an ecommerce focused software that helps online stores increase traffic to their web store by leveraging social media channel. We’ll talk about everything social media for ecommerce.
2. The Interview
Ned: Thank you for joining us Chandru. Before we dive into social media, can you please introduce yourself and Around.io?
Chandru: Thank you for having me on the Marketing Chat series, Ned. I am a writer, researcher and a community guy at Around.io – we are a small startup that helps online sellers automate social media marketing in order to make them productive and save time to do other things. We do this through our app, Around.io, which is basically a social media scheduling tool + social content resource.
Ned: Social media was initially used for customer service and brand awareness. When did brands started leveraging social platforms for sale purposes?
Chandru: I think the idea that social platforms can be used for sales has existed in some form back in the days when brands started posting their product photos on Facebook. The only problem was you couldn’t have a ‘Buy now’ button back then. (now we do – albeit in ads).
But what really set the ecommerce social media thing in motion was Pinterest and more recently, Instagram. Pinterest turned out to be a very nifty bookmarking tool for buyers who would pin photos from online shops for reference or to buy later.
Once online sellers understood that there is a ‘buying intent’, social media turned out to be a great place to get sales from. But it’s kind of surprising (or may be not) to find that only a handful of online sellers are truly leveraging social media as a direct sales channel. Most brands are only able to use social media as a branding and community tool.
Ned: The vast majority of our readers own or work for an ecommerce company. Can you give us a “Social Media 101” for ecommerce?
Chandru: Sure! Your ecommerce company needs a social presence. This is because 64% of your customers (and potential customers) now view social media as the hub of connectivity – not just with friends but with the companies they interact with. But social media is not a display ad you place on a highway and start getting clients. Think of it as more of a community-building exercise. The best brands that do great social media are the ones that make their social profiles interesting to follow – with great content and immense interaction. Someone comments on their posts, they reply to it. Social media is all about connecting with your fans, would-be fans, customers and would-be customers.
There are two things to always remember: 1) share what connects with your customers / potentials. 2) be very consistent. You have to allocate a little bit of time every day / week to social media if you want to reap some of the great benefits social media has to offer. And one more thing: put on your creative hat every time you think about social media. Whether you’re thinking of getting more fans or what to share next or how to increase your organic reach (the hardest part!)… always think of creative ways to do it.
Ned: How can a store optimize social media engagement to grow their business?
Chandru: First off, optimize your social profile so every person who visits your page wants to click-through to your shop. Think of your social profile as a landing page.
Set a reasonable goal (increase engagement by X% or increase fans by Y). And then create a plan to get to this goal in time. Find out – using Page Insights or other tools – when your posts maximum number of your fans and consistently post around those times.
Run contests, giveaways or interesting games often. This always hikes the engagement levels and that helps in many ways (including organic reach). Have an insane amount of focus on sharing great content. Instead of promoting just your products, share great content related to your niche. Humor, inspiration, love… work up these emotions into your posts. You might not win a lot of likes or comments but your post sticks in people’s minds and that helps your brand.
Ned: Based on what you’ve learned at Around.io, how can online stores improve their conversion once the lead reaches the web store?
Chandra: Here are some few useful techniques.
- Personalized store: data says nothing beats the conversion rate spikes seen when you personalize a landing page. Personalize based on where the person comes from, if he has purchased already, or if he has visited already, or based on the demographic / time / season etc. It’s hard but if you set this right, you’ll see amazing results.
- Top-notch photography showing the product in fine detail: The photo is the closest thing to the real product. Convincing descriptions that play on the benefits (instead of just product features). Again, evoke the right emotion. Don’t try to do anything else – just kindle and evoke the right emotion.
- Last but not least, make it incredibly easy to purchase something from your web store. This includes everything from a clean, simple design to a very streamlined and easy checkout process. One key idea that I’ve seen work great is reducing the number of distractions and click-able entities on the page once a buyer enters the checkout process.
Ned: Snapchat is one of the hottest social media platforms right now. How can online stores leverage the platform without becoming a Dj Khaled copy cat?
Chandru: Haha @DJKhaled copycat! Unfortunately, while I’ve heard a bit about DJ Khaled’s Snapchat popularity, I haven’t any ideas on how to leverage Snapchat for ecommerce.
Ned: Assume you were tasked to create the ideal social media platform for ecommerce. How would you describe your invention?
The biggest problem users have with popular social media networks is discovery – especially given the amount of noise. The next one is search. So if I created a social media platform for ecommerce, those are two areas I’d want to focus on and create something where you are able to discover products in a visually appealing way faster, with fewer taps and lot less information overload / noise.
Ned: Alright you guys know a lot about social media. Many online stores struggle to initially grow their twitter following. Is there a secret to grow Twitter followers?
Chandru: Think growth hacks (and not just traditional ways of building your followers). The conventional route says: follow other people, tweet consistently, mention/reply/favorite etc.
The growth hack says: get creative with hashtags (and think of how you can leverage trending hashtags), figure out ways to make people follow you (incentives, giveaways, contests, discounts), plug in your Twitter handle in all communication in a prominent way, and focus on getting noticed by influencers in your market. (by retweeting their tweets with comments, or mentioning them… basically, borderline stalking).
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