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If you are running an online store, social media should be about more than socializing. In addition to educating and serving your customers, social media can be a great way to drive sales. Promotional posts can help your bottom line while engaging your audience. But that doesn’t mean you should spam your audience. Think of social promos as a new way to reward loyal customers and incentive new buyers and you’ll get great results.
Before you jump in, remember to ask yourself why you are running a social promotion. Do you need to clear our inventory? Are you trying to increase sales? Is your focus expanding your community? You can achieve each of these goals with help from social media, but they require different types of promotions to yield your desired results.
To help get you started, we outline three types of social media promotions, each with tons of specific examples from Bigcommerce clients.
Create buzz with pre-orders or flash sales
You don’t need to wait for press coverage or an event to generate buzz. Plan an exclusive pre-order or flash sale to create a sense of urgency around your products. These events require careful planning, but they can also generate a ton of traffic for your site and move a lot of merchandise in one fell swoop.
First, pick a specific product you want to focus on. Limited editions and pre-orders work well for new products that you sell at full price. Flash sales are great for excess inventory you might be able to move at a lower price. Just keep it focused on one or the other so you can really pinpoint your messaging and social marketing efforts.
Once you’ve picked a product, choose a specific day and time for your event. If you need guidance on when to launch your sale, base it on when your store or social pages typically see the most activity. And give yourself plenty of time to build up buzz. Create unique branded images that fans can easily share with their networks. This might not be possible with unexpected special events, but ideally you give yourself a week or two to build the anticipation.
Lac Attack combined restocking old colors with clearance prices for a unique flash sale announced across their social profiles.
Another indie nail polish brand, Delush Polish, announced their new Valentine’s Day line with a pre-order on Facebook.
Yeti Coolers created a limited edition Florida State cooler and promoted it on Twitter and Facebook following the BCS Championship game.
Increase sales with a social discount
Your social following, especially on Facebook and Twitter, will expect useful as well as entertaining content. And perhaps nothing is more useful to customers than a discount. The occasional discount will keep your audience hooked, increasing the perceived value of all your promotional posts.
You can start building excitement before the promo code is launched by sharing hints about the upcoming discounts. Once you launch the deal, ensure the details of crystal clear, easy to find and easy to share.
If you are offering a general promo code, make sure you feature the code and provide a link to your homepage. If the discount is for a specific product, make sure the link lands on that product page. On Twitter and Instagram, you can include a short, memorable hashtag for your promo. It should also be unique and related to the product or event so you can easily track its reach once the campaign is over.
And remember, it is ok to post the same message multiple times while the offer is valid. On fast moving networks like Twitter, it is likely your audience will miss your first tweet. You want to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of your awesome deal.
When Cashmere Hair appeared on Shark Tank, they created a special promo code to take advantage of the hype. This deal was especially popular on Instagram, where the brand has a highly engaged following.
Holidays are always a great excuse for a promo, especially when they relate to your product. Hot Clove Garlic Co did a special Thanksgiving sale with the discount code “spicy holiday.”
Social media can be its own excuse for a great discount. Josie Maran Cosmetics sends new Facebook fan an exclusive coupon code just for liking their store.
Get new followers and improve engagement with a social contest
Sometimes you need to give a little to get what you want. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram contests are all the rage these days. And if you are looking to increase your followers or engagement, they can certainly be worth it.
Giveaways can be a great way to celebrate an event or increase engagement leading up to a holiday. They can also be an easy way to get rid of excess inventory. While this type of promotion doesn’t always drive immediate sales, it does establish a positive relationship with potential customers, making it more likely that they’ll pick your store when they are ready to buy.
If you are going to try a giveaway on Facebook, make sure you are in compliance with the social network’s new regulations. Check out these tips to make sure you are following Facebook guidelines.
Grace and Lace celebrated their store’s grand opening with daily giveaways for comments and share on Instagram. This campaign helped them raise awareness and shift sales from Etsy to their own store.
If you are working on building your Pinterest network, a re-pin campaign is a great way to spread brand awareness. Kore Essentials did a holiday re-pin to win giveaway with their flagship Trakline belts.
And remember, contests don’t have to be just about giving away free products. They can also be a creative way to source new products. Kiss My Southern Sass ran a campaign based on Facebook likes to pick three sororities that would appear on a KMSS tank.
Have you run any successful social media promotions for your store? We would love to hear about your experience. Share your story in the comments section.
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