Social media has become the secret behind the world’s top eCommerce brands. Brands like MVMT, Allbirds, and Warby Parker have successfully built engaged audiences on social media platforms using UGC, influencer marketing, and sheer brilliance.
In this episode of our Host The Pro series, we sat down with the social media queen Dhariana Lozano to help get more clarity on exactly how eCommerce brands should use social media. She’s the co-founder of the social media agency Block & Ave located in NYC and has worked with numerous eCommerce brands over the years.
Let’s dive in.
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The Importance of Social Media for eCommerce Brands
Dhariana: “I've been doing social media marketing for a decade, and I always thought it was important to do social media. It's such a direct line of communication between your business and the consumer that I just find it to be integral for many different parts of your business, not just sales.
You can take feedback from your customers and use that to create more products in your business, or maybe fix a process that might not be working, like customers not getting your emails.
There are different applications of social media that are not limited to just sales. It could be customer service, operations, marketing, etc. The sooner you can get started posting content and engaging with your audience online, the better”.
When should I start advertising on social and what to expect?
Dhariana: “If you're able to build a strong brand organically, then you're not really spending any money (besides paying for someone to manage it for you). Your focus should be on building an engaged community organically first.
Then, if you have the budget, I always suggest running advertising campaigns on social media. With that comes another world of optimizing and testing and figuring out what works so that you can get your costs down.
Advertising is a process. Don't think just one ad is going to make all the difference for you. You're probably going to go through many versions until you can optimize your budget. But if you want to spend even less money then trying to build that brand organically is where you're going to see a win”.
How do you build an engaged audience?
Dhariana: “It changes so much from brand to brand. Every brand has different goals that they worked towards. And of course, those look different for everyone.
One brand might be working on expanding its reach while another one might be working on increasing its engagement or getting those click-throughs.
Getting people to actually hop off that network. Or maybe you created a shop on Instagram, and you're just trying to get people to click on the shop button there.
So goals are super important because they dictate where your strategy goes. And that's the other element is that you always need a strategy if you're just kind of posting here and there, then that's not gonna work.
Five years ago you could put a post up and it was almost guaranteed that people would see it. It's not like that anymore. We're in a world of algorithms and brands have to learn how each platform functions in order to appease the algorithms and get more people to see their content.
So having an engagement strategy as part of your overall strategy is really important and while it is time-consuming, it's something that needs to be done”.
Create the buzz before the launch
Dhariana: “What works really well is when you build a buzz before you launch a product. We see that one social media post, but it's not really that one post. It's that lead up until the product launches. I always tell my clients to start promoting their product four weeks before launch.
Educate your audience, tell them what’s coming. Show the benefits of your product and then actually launch. This way you get people to engage with your content and interact with your site. Organic reach is limited so you want to maximize that exposure. Also, talk about the customer’s pain points and show how your product is the solution.
I think having that process is important. If you're already a big brand, you can just post something and you'll get the traffic. Fut for small to medium-sized brands, they have to work a little bit more in order to create the revenue they want”.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Hook
Dhariana: “I think you have to take every opportunity you can to sell, but you have to balance that out with the value that you're giving your customer. Show them ways to use your product that they hadn't thought of before, besides the original function.
On the other hand, don't be afraid to sell. I see that a lot where brands think they just have to give value. But you also have to tell people what to do. So always use a call to action, increase that engagement. So have people answer questions, “swipe up” to buy, have clear CTA’s.
I think you can go either way, you can either be selling too much or not selling enough. And that's what I usually see. So if you don't have the fundamentals and that foundation, it doesn't matter how many growth hacks you try to do. It's not going to work”.
Stay consistent, but avoid burnout
Dhariana: “Consistency is where the magic happens. But there’s one misconception about that, that I want to talk about. Consistency doesn't mean showing up every single day.
I think that's too much for your brand.
Don't do it because you're just going to burn out. You're not going to want to do it anymore. It's not going to work. You're going to have the wrong energy behind it.
Learn your audience to know how much content you can put out and how much content your audience is willing to engage with. It makes more sense to say -‘I want to consistently post three times a week, and this is what we're going to talk about.
That's more powerful than trying to show up every single day because that doesn't necessarily mean you'll see results. So focus on the quality of what you're putting out, as opposed to just posting because you feel like you have to.
And you have to match your ability and capacity. Look at what you could actually do and how to maximize that. It gets you further than just consistency on its own would”.
Be open to testing & learn from failure
Dhariana: “You have to be open to testing new things. So don't get stuck in one, you know, just one cycle, if something's really, if you're doing something for three months and it's not working, just let it go and try something else. Sometimes your content is on point but your messaging isn't right. So always keep testing”.
Test one thing at a time
Dhariana: “Also, don't make too many changes at once. Change one thing at a time, because if you do too many changes at once, you're not going to know what worked and what didn't work. Look at your analytics and see what's already working. And then go and replicate that success.
It can be scary to run tests because you don't know things are going to work and sometimes you attach ego to it. You might be thinking - ‘if I put this out there and it doesn't work, what does that mean about me?’
And you can't do that. You have to detach yourself, especially if you’re part of a smaller team. That solopreneur that's just putting products out on their own, may definitely have that emotional connection.
And sometimes you have to step back from that. So it's okay to fail. It's all right. It's social media. You can delete it afterward. But it’s important to try different things”.
There’s no one magic social media hack
Dhariana: “I think we're always looking for that magic. We're always looking for that one thing and I'm guilty of it myself. You're always like, what is it? What is that one thing?
But social media is like a machine and you have to all the different parts have to move together as frustrating as it can be. But once you get it, you can just replicate it over and over and over.
The goal is to get to that point where you know what works for your audience. It just becomes so much easier when you get there. So keep going. It's not just one thing. It's going to be all the things you do working together”.