Social media is often regarded as one of the best ways to attract visitors and to grow the audience of a website or blogging. Social media and blogging work very well together, but typically social media and e-commerce do not complement each other as well. Getting users to share products that are for sale is much more of a challenge than getting blog readers to share an interesting post with their friends and followers.
However, that doesn’t mean that if you run an e-commerce site you should just give up on using social media to grow your business. In fact, there are a number of ways that e-commerce sites can integrate with social media, and the more integrated you are, the better your chances will be for getting exposure through social media.
In this article we’ll look at 10 different ways that e-commerce sites can integrate with social media. Since we often recommend Shopify as an excellent e-commerce platform, this article will reference many Shopify apps that can be used to get this functionality at your site. We’ll also mention some other popular platforms like Bigcommerce and WooCommerce, as well as some apps and plugins.
1. Allow Social Logins
One basic thing that you can do to integrate with social media is to allow visitors and customers to login to your site using their social networking profiles. This may seem like a minor issue, but many visitors will prefer not being forced into creating a separate account at your site, and logging in becomes much easier for them. You can also benefit because if they are logged in to their favorite social network while they are on your site, that is one less step they would need to take if they want to share one of your products with their friends and followers.
Sites powered by Shopify can use the Social Login app (free – $9.00 per month) to allow visitors to login using their profiles at Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and more. WooCommerce users can get the WooCommerce Social Login plugin ($49) to allow visitors to login using more than 2 dozen different social networks.
2. Add Social Photos
One unique way that you can leverage social media to boost your sales is to allows visitors to share and post photos. This is especially useful for certain types of industries, like clothing and fashion. You can integrate photos from Instagram or other social networks in order to get your users involved socially.
Shopify users have a few different apps that will add this type of functionality. Social Photos ($9.99 per month) allows you to create galleries on your product pages that will be populated by customer photos and videos from Instagram. You can also place custom galleries anywhere on your site. You’ll create a hashtag, and then customers can use the hashtag to add photos to your galleries. You have manual control to approve or delete photos.
Instragration ($10 per month) is another similar app for Shopify. TagTray (free – $79 per month) is another Shopify app that integrates with social images, but it also integrates with Facebook and Twitter in addition to Instagram. Visitors can also directly upload photos with TagTray.
WooCommerce Instagram ($29) is a very similar plugin for WooCommerce users.
3. Encourage Social Sharing
Although social sharing isn’t as common on product pages as it is on blog posts, it still can have a purpose for e-commerce websites. When your visitors and customers share your product pages through their social media profiles it not only gives you exposure to a new audience, but they are also essentially giving your products their endorsement.
For simple social sharing buttons and widgets, Shopify users can install the AddThis app (free). There are also several other apps that incorporate some type of social sharing. The Curebit Referral System (free) encourages your customers to share an offer after they have made a purchase. After completing a checkout the customer will be presented with an offer that will give him/her and a friend a discount if another friend makes a purchase. The customer can share this discount offer through social media and it may lead to more sales for you, and discounts for your customers.
The Friendbuy Customer Referral Platform (free – $250 per month) for Shopify gives referral incentives to your customers. The Beetailer Social Widget (free) for Shopify allows visitors to comment and share your products at Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networks.
Bigcommerce users have access to Friendbuy Social Sharing Optimization ($25 per month). WooCommerce users can have the AddShoppers plugin incentivize social shares with coupons, free gifts, and contests.
If your site is powered by Bigcommerce you can use the Want Button app (free) to allow visitors to post products to Facebook by clicking the “want” button.
4. Share/Promote Your Products
While it is great to have customers and visitors sharing your products through social media, it’s also important that you are sharing your products through your own company social profiles. Building a strong, loyal following on major social networks can have a big impact on sales.
Sites powered by Shopify can use ShopifySocial ($9.99 per month) to put social sharing on autopilot. The app will automatically promote your new products and gives live feedback on which products are generating clicks. Autotweet ($4.99 per month) is another Shopify app that will automatically share your new products via Twitter. It integrates with Bit.ly to show you how many clicks your tweets are generating.
5. Attract Fans and Followers
In order to maximize your impact with social media you will need to attract new fans and followers to your social profiles. You don’t need to focus on every social network, there are simply too many. But focus on the major ones, especially those that are popular with your target audience. For example, if your site sells crafts you will want to be active at Pinterest and work to build your following there.
The S Loyalty Suite can integrate with several different e-commerce platforms, and they have a Shopify app and a Bigcommerce app. With S Loyalty you can give visitors a welcome offer that encourages them to follow your social profiles. You can also create a customer loyalty program that will reward customers for specific actions.
F-Commerce is e-commerce on Facebook. With Facebook having such a massive user base, and with many companies and brands having large followings on Facebook, selling from your Facebook page can be well worth the effort. There are ways to set up F-Commerce with many different e-commerce platforms.
Sites powered by Shopify can use the Beetailer Social Commerce Platform (free) or the Facebook Store app (free) to sell on Facebook. These apps make it easy to set up, and this approach makes it more likely that your followers will share your products with their friends.
7. Social Reviews and Testimonials
One of the best ways to leverage social media is to integrate social reviews and testimonials into your site. Reviews and testimonials are powerful for any e-commerce site, but when social networks are integrated it can become even more powerful. Having friends and followers of your customers seeing a positive review or a testimonial is a great endorsement that can lead to more sales.
The Kudobuzz Testimonials and Reviews app (free) for Shopify will collect and display testimonials from your social media pages. Customers will be automatically prompted to leave a review after a purchase, and it includes Google rich snippets coding to display review information on the search engine results pages.
Another option for Shopify is Social Interface ($19.95 per month). Customers will be automatically emailed to remind them to leave a review. Other visitors can then ask questions to reviewers (if they have opted in) about your product, which gives it a social twist.
Yotpo is another great Shopify app (free) that prompts customers to leave reviews of your products. Yotpo Premium ($30 per month) includes functionality to share reviews via social networks.
8. Embed Your Latest Tweets
It’s a rather simple thing, but embedding recent tweets somewhere on your site can help to increase the exposure of your Twitter profile and help you to attract more followers. Having more followers obviously means more eyeballs on your tweets in the future, which could lead to more sales of your products.
Sites powered by Shopify can use the Twitify app ($1.99 per month) allows you to easily embed and customize your tweets.
9. Facebook Ads
One of the best ways for many e-commerce sites to increase sales is to advertise on Facebook. Facebook offers several different advertising options, and there are all kinds of tools and resources that can help you to manage ads on Facebook. If you’re looking to learn more about how to set up an effective Facebook ad campaign, please see The Complete Guide to Getting Started with Facebook Ads.
Shopify users have access to a few apps that deal with Facebook advertising. Facebook Ads by Yahoo ($99 per month) helps you to set up campaigns and keeps your ads fresh to make them compelling. It also includes detailed reports and analytics. Facebook Ads by Yahoo is also available for Bigcommerce.
Funnely ($20 per month) is another Shopify app that can help you with Facebook advertising. Funnely optimizes your ad campaigns and handles the targeting of your ads.
10. Contests and Promotions
The last option that we’ll look at in this article is to run contests and promotions. These contests and promotions can be promoted through your social media profiles, and sometimes heavily integrated with specific social media sites. The result can be a viral effect that generates a lot of buzz and new fans/followers. Of course, the results of the contest or promotion will vary, but generally the better prize that you can offer, the better your results will be. A contest with an amazing prize is much more likely to entice people to participate, and it will also be shared more often.
Shopify users have the option of using the Promify app (cost per use) to create professional promotions. You select a prize, design an entry form, and share it with your fans and followers. They also provide a marketing guide that can help you to maximize the exposure of your promotion.
Regardless of what e-commerce platform you are using, there are countless apps and services that will allow you to easily set up social campaigns and promotions. WildFire is one of the industry leaders, and they have powered more than 250,000 campaigns. Their promotion formats include sweepstakes, coupons, user-generated content, quizzes, and trivia. WildFire makes it easy to set up your promotion with their drag-and-drop interface and guided process.
Gleam is another interesting option. With Gleam you can embed your contest anywhere and people can enter by taking specific actions, for example, liking your Facebook page. Gleam will verify the actions of entrants. It includes built-in sharing functionality to make it easier for your contest to go viral. There are a lot of other useful features, like 3rd party integrations, analytics, and more.
And that is just the start. There are plenty of other apps and companies that can help with social promotions. If you want to do a little bit of research, here are some to check out: GroSocial, PageModo, OfferPop, Heyo, Woobox, and Easypromos.
What’s Your Experience?
If you run an e-commerce site of your own or for a client, how do you integrate it with social media? Do you have any tips about methods that have worked well for you?