Winning strategies for social media
- Build your business at the speed of social media
Millions of people every day use social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and blogs help connect people with shared interests. When they see something they like (or dislike), they share it with their friends, who share it with more friends, instantly.
Communicating with your customers and attracting new buyers on social media isn't difficult or costly–but it does require some knowledge and planning.
Here are some tips for putting the power of social media to work for your business.
- Consider your target audience and how you can build your relationship with it.
- Stay true to who you are as a seller and a person to build trust and credibility.
Consider your options
Think about what people use each social media channel for. Explore each carefully before deciding where to start.
Generally speaking, people use
- Facebook for staying in touch.
- Twitter for breaking news.
- Blogs for telling stories.
- YouTube for videos.
- Create a separate account for your business. Facebook requires you to create a separate page for your business. Post about your eBay listings on your business page instead of your personal Facebook profile. Create separate business accounts for Twitter and Pinterest, too!
- Start small. Start with one channel and build up your presence. Focus your efforts on activities that are most likely going to give a good return on your time investment.
- Listen and engage. Contribute the conversation by creating fresh, genuine content throughout the week. Take time to listen to what your followers and followers are saying about you on social channels. Respond to your customers promptly to take advantage social media power to cultivate loyal customers.
- Cross-promote your channels. Post your YouTube videos on your blog, or update Facebook when you have a new blog post, including the link. Point Twitter followers to your blog. Be creative.
- Don't expect instant results. It takes time to build a presence on any channel. As long as you regularly post interesting content, yours will grow.
- Tips and best practices for Facebook
People use Facebook to connect with friends, build relationships, and stay in touch. People "like" businesses on Facebook and share what they like with friends.
How Facebook can help your business
- Your Facebook followers see what you post and can set alerts for themselves when you post.
- You can learn what your customers are looking for by asking them to respond to polls.
- Your customer base will grow when your Facebook followers share with your friends what you post.
- Consider using Facebook ads to get your content to appear in more fans' feeds.
How to get started on Facebook
- Create a Facebook page (separate from your personal Facebook page).
- Invite your customers and friends to like your Facebook page. Mention your Facebook page in customer emails and other touch-points like as your blog. Encourage your buyers to Like your page to stay in touch and get the latest updates about your eBay listings and deals.
- Create engaging and compelling content.
- Encourage followers to respond and share your content.
Tips for using Facebook
- Create and share a unique coupon code for your customers on Facebook.
- Treat your Facebook page like a mini-blog. For example, if you sell sports equipment, post interesting sports news, and occasionally link to your inventory.
- Ask your followers questions to engage them and help you understand them better.
- Reply to questions or posts on your wall with a quick, friendly comment. Engaging well goes a long way toward enhancing your online reputation.
- Strategize your posts. Post a few times a week, and make it count. We don't recommend posting more than once or twice a day. Post too frequently and people may unfollow you.
What not to do
- Don't spam your fans. Offer interesting content that tells stories. Go beyond basic product information.
- Don't be controversial. Your business and personal Facebook pages are different for a reason. Stick to posting updates that have a broad appeal and wouldn't upset your customers.
- Don't appear unresponsive, indifferent, or rude. How you respond to your fans shapes your reputation on Facebook. Think about how fast news travels!
- Tips and best practices for Pinterest
People use Pinterest to discover and save ideas. Users see ideas based on interests, hobbies, or topics. These are people actively seeking inspiration–things to do, make, and buy. Plus, Pinterest users happily engage with brands and tastemakers–as long as they're being inspired.
How Pinterest can help your business on eBay
- Increase traffic to your listings, for more potential sales.
- Inform your decisions with built-in analytics.
- Give you a place to communicate the spirit of your brand.
- Reach new audiences through Repins.
How to get started on Pinterest
- Create a Pinterest business account for your business. If you already have a personal account, you can convert it to a business account.
- Invite your customers and friends to follow your account by linking through email, Facebook and other networks
- Research your audience. The most successful businesses on Pinterest have a deep understanding of what will inspire their customers.
- Create Boards and start Pinning.
Tips for using Pinterest
- Create a variety of Boards. It's better to have many Boards with specific categories than a few cluttered Boards that don't communicate a clear message. Popular themes include DIY, Gardening, Home Decor, Food, and Fashion, but the possibilities are endless.
- Decide what to Pin. Pins should be compelling and well thought out; never post just for the sake of it.
- When you Pin products, make sure they're photographed beautifully and Pinned directly from your eBay Store.
- Tell a visual story: for example, Pin a few images of breathtaking landscapes alongside a Pin featuring a camping product you sell.
- Pin regularly. Aim to post between 5-20 new Pins throughout the week to keep the Board active.
- Share high-quality images to grab the viewer's attention. Stick to a minimum of 600 pixels wide.
What not to do
- Don't spam. Don't oversaturate your feed.
- Don't just post product images. This point cannot be reiterated enough. People visit Pinterest to be inspired, so save the product shots with the white background for your create visual stories.
- Don't stop learning. Use Pinterest Analytics to gain insight on what your customers are responding to.
- Tips and best practices for Twitter
With only 140 characters per Tweet, Twitter attracts people who want fast updates. They follow their favorite brands, share others' content through retweeting, and add hashtags (#) to keywords (e.g. #baseball) to help users search by topic.
How can Twitter help your business?
- Learn what potential customers are talking about by searching hashtags for products you sell.
- Followers may retweet your news about promotions and listings.
- Build up a reputation for great customer service.
- Learn from 'thought leaders' about latest trends in your areas of interest.
How to get started on Twitter
- Create a Twitter business handle separate from your personal Twitter handle.
- Invite your customers to follow you on Twitter by linking through email, Facebook and other networks.
- Engage with people who regularly tweet about topics related to your business.
- Make your posts interesting so that your followers will want to retweet your posts.
Tips for using Twitter
- Twitter's great for announcing new items, promotion, post on your blog, or news about the type of products you're selling.
- Give discounts for retweets. They can grow your business! For example: 'Check out the new items in our eBay Store. 5% off to the first 10 people who RT this post.'
- Retweet others' posts to raises your standing in the Twitter-sphere.
- Tweet often, but tweet strategically. Twitter has more of a 'breaking news' feel. Three to five tweets a day is a good start.
What not to do
- Don't spam.
- Don’t oversaturate your feed.
- Tips and best practices for blogging
People rely on bloggers to help them stay informed on news, tips, and events in areas they're interested in.
How a blog can help your business
- Blogging consistently and knowledgeably can establish you as an expert in your area.
- Blogging raises your visibility in search engines, so more people can find your eBay Store and listings.
- A blog also helps you provide more detailed information about your products, your policies, and your customer support.
What to do
- Set up a blog through a free blogging service, such as WordPress or Blogger.
- Start blogging regularly. Develop your own engaging style of writing–make your blog posts friendly, welcoming, and informative about the area you're blogging about.
- Cross-promote your blog through Facebook and Twitter.
What works best
- Build your reputation consistently blogging about news and product in your areas of expertise.
- Devote each post to a specific topic. Blogging is an ongoing expression of your opinion. You don't have to cram everything you know about a subject into one blog post. Craft each post to one (or a few) aspects of the area you're blogging about. Ideal length is under 600 words.
- Develop an engaging style. Good blogs have a distinctive voice of their own you may have to invest some time discovering your "blogging style."
- Follow etiquette. Blogging has its own unwritten rules, like giving credit when you quote information sources, responding to comments from readers, and more. Learn about blogging basics.
- Use keywords wisely. One of the most powerful aspects of blogging is the ability to raise your visibility in search engines. Make sure you include the right mix of keywords related to your eBay business in your blog posts, but using them inappropriately could result in search engines giving you lower visibility for "keyword spamming."
How often do I post?
- To start, post at least once a week.
- Over time, ramp it up to two or three times a week and make each post count. Posting consistently gets your blog noticed by search engines.
What not to do
- Don't spam. Don't sell your products in every post, and don't write too many posts about the same topic.
- Don't start a blog if you don't like writing. Stick to Facebook or Twitter if writing isn't your thing.
- Tips and best practices for YouTube
YouTube videos can let you provide your customers with more information about your products. People visit YouTube to get a visual experience–such as how-to product demos, video tutorials, and product assembly and usage instructions. Consider creating YouTube videos if you sell complex items and your customers could benefit from getting more information via video.
How YouTube can help your business
YouTube works best when you have the resources, skill, and time to shoot and edit high-quality videos. Before you start shooting video, consider the following:
- Does your area of selling justify a video channel?
- While shooting and uploading videos to YouTube with an ordinary camera is getting easier, not everyone can create professional quality videos easily.
What to do
- Set up a YouTube channel for your business. It's free and easy.
- Research for tips on shooting low-cost, effective video, including tips on technique, lighting, editing, captioning, and music.
- Consider investing in video editing software to give your finished videos a professional look.
- Plan your video before you start shooting. Do pre-production planning, such as figuring out camera movements and angles, lighting, backgrounds, and, of course, knowing the "story" you're going to tell through the video and the voiceover.
What works best
- How-to demos. If the items you're selling are complex and require assembly, win customers with video demonstrations on assembling or using your products. For example, if you're selling camping equipment, create videos on putting up a tent, starting a campfire, even cooking s'mores.
- Cross-promote your videos. Promote your videos on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter channels to maximize reach to all your followers.
How often do I post?
- You can keep your videos up on your YouTube channel for an extended period. Create new videos only when you have new content.
What not to do
- Don't create low-quality videos. Videos are another extension of your brand, and your customers should get the same level of professionalism on your YouTube channel as they would if they met you face-to-face.