Dropshipping can be a profitable online business, and leveraging social media can increase your profits even more. In this article, learn how to formulate a social media strategy for your dropshipping site to attract more traffic, reach your target audience and encourage them to shop, and ultimately increase your sales.
Social media marketing is a great way to help you build an engaged audience by creating multiple sources of traffic that bring a constant flow of visitors, growing your dropshipping business.
But going into social media will require plenty of time and resources, and it can be scary, especially if you’re only starting out.
You’ll need to create a social media strategy for your dropshipping site that will keep your activities properly focused so that you get your target audience to see your content and the products you offer.
In this article, we’ll delve into the details of putting together a social media plan to engage with your followers, entice them to make a purchase on your site, and increase your sales.
If you have a dropshipping site and already have a mailing list, you may think you don’t need a social media strategy.
And sometimes, depending on your niche, your products, and target audience, you may not need one.
But for the majority of dropshippers, having a social media strategy will greatly benefit their business.
Here are some of the benefits of having a social media strategy in place:
Before you formulate your plan, it helps to have a framework of the tasks you need to do to formulate a successful social media strategy, as well as how to determine if your strategy is indeed a success.
The following is a basic framework to follow when you create your social media strategy.
Every social media post, comment, or interaction you do should be intentional; that is, they should all be tied to a larger business goal.
Thus, before you begin creating your social media strategy, you need to define what outcomes you want and how you’ll measure these outcomes.
Here are a number of goals to consider for your social media strategy.
A great technique for setting goals for your social media (or any kind of goal, really) is to let the SMART framework be your guide. SMART stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.”
Thus, you can’t simply say “I want to increase traffic to my site.”
Following a SMART framework, you can say: “I want to increase the average monthly visitors to my online store from Facebook by 100% in three months.”
Once you’ve established your core goals, you can then plan the rest of your strategy with your desired outcomes in mind.
Any type of marketing starts with knowing who your ideal customer is and understanding their motivations.
If you haven’t already determined your target audience when you started your blog or launched your dropshipping site, now’s the time to do it.
Research your target audience thoroughly. Look for data about them that will help you form a mental image of who will likely be interested in and will buy your products.
When you’re done with your research, you can put it all together to create an ideal customer or “buyer persona.”
Note that having a buyer persona doesn’t mean you want to exclude people who don’t fit that persona. Instead, drafting an ideal customer allows you to focus your marketing resources on a specific group of people who are more likely to buy from you than others.
Here are some demographic data you might want to take note of. Note that depending on your products, some of the data here may not be relevant to your business.
Leave room for change. You might have gone too broad or too narrow when you first drafted your buyer persona. Also, buyers’ tastes evolve. Those who like your products now may not like them tomorrow or next month or year.
As you continue with your social media strategy, you’ll have a better idea of who your typical buyers are and what their motivations are.
Knowing your goals and your target audience sets you up to create a unique blend of content to post on your social media.
Planning and creating your content mix in advance helps you conceptualize and produce your content such that you offer both a constant posting schedule and various content types.
Some content ideas you can incorporate in your mix include the following:
Here are some tips for coming up with the right mix of content to post on your social media.
You shouldn’t only be posting about your products, your brand, or your store. Otherwise, your audience will become bored and disengage. When engagement drops, your posts will be seen less by your followers, dropping engagement even further and flushing your resources down the drain.
Instead, always ask this question whenever you’re planning content: How can I consistently add value to my followers and target audience aside from my products?
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your followers. Think of a few content types you can easily create and balance these with content types that are a bit more difficult to produce.
For example, low-investment content types like Q&A posts, customer-sourced content, and sharing content from your blog can be mixed with higher investment content types like your product photo galleries or demonstration videos.
If the content mix doesn’t seem to be working, feel free to change up your selection so you can pinpoint which ones your audience is responding to. You can then experiment with how often you post to see if that improves engagement.
Being consistent is key to your social media strategy. Knowing what to expect inspires your followers to check back on social media regularly, if not every day.
A content calendar will help immensely in planning out your content accordingly. Scheduling posts in advance that will take time and resources to create gives you ample time to set them up.
When you prepare this calendar, it helps to have an idea of how frequently you plan to post on social media and which content types seem to draw engagement from your followers.
You can use scheduling software to not only give you an overview of your posts intended for certain days, but can even post content on scheduled times. That way, you can create your simple posts all in one go and schedule them to go out on certain days. This frees you up to create your more complicated posts.
User-generated content, as the name implies, is content that is created by your followers or customers. It can be photos your products being used, reviews and testimonials, or contest submissions.
This content type warrants special mention because aside from helping you out with content creation (ready-made content without having to lift a finger! Sweet!), it also functions as social proof of your products’ quality and the overall experience of purchasing from your store.
Casual visitors may still have some doubts when you say your products are the shiz, but they’ll almost definitely listen to customers who’ve bought your products.
We’ve established that a social media presence is definitely beneficial to your business.
But it doesn’t mean that you have to be on ALL of them.
Remember that each channel you choose is another one that you have to manage. When you’re only beginning to formulate your strategy, it’s much more beneficial to focus on 1 or 2 channels based on where your target audience is and which channels can support your preferred content mix.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each social media channel can help you decide which ones you need to focus on. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most popular social media channels for eCommerce.
Still the largest social network, Facebook is a top pick for both online and physical stores.
Facebook page features that you can use for your benefit include your Facebook Shop, customer reviews, and Facebook Messaging for customer service. It’s also a good platform to have viral content in.
Its biggest weakness is in its latest algorithm updates. Facebook prioritizes social interactions with individuals instead of businesses. Thus, you’re fighting with other businesses for limited space in your followers’ news feeds.
You can increase your reach by taking out paid Facebook ads, but if you’re trying to get your costs down, consider leaving this for the future. Right now, what’s important is setting up your Facebook account with content so that when you do get new followers from your ads, they’ll have awesome content ready to browse.
If you want to know the world is talking about at the moment, Twitter is where you go. It’s unmatched in terms of breaking news and trending people, events, and places.
Another advantage of Twitter is that your followers can just reply to your tweets, or ask you questions and give you feedback while mentioning your Twitter name. This ability to communicate real-time gives you the opportunity for social customer service.
A huge limitation of Twitter is how short the lifespan of a tweet is. Depending on the number of followers you have and how many of them engage with the tweet (either by liking or retweeting), the average lifespan of a tweet ranges from a few minutes to half an hour.
Of course, you can always just tweet frequently and engage with your followers more. Just bear in mind that it takes more work to stand out on this platform.
Have gorgeous visuals and want people to engage with them? Instagram is where it’s at.
It allows you to post images and short videos on your account. As it’s now owned by Facebook, their algorithm also shows the same changes, namely, less posts by businesses visible on users’ news feeds, and more individuals.
However, when Instagram users engage with your business account, it signals to Instagram that people find your content interesting and will float your posts higher on your followers’ feeds. Thus, you’ll want to post nothing but the highest quality visuals along with compelling captions to boost your user engagement.
Bonus for posts with high numbers of (organic, not software-generated) likes and comments: they get the chance to be featured in the Explore tab and shown to Instagram users who aren’t following you yet but have the same interests as your followers. This is yet another opportunity to expand your reach.
Another feature that can be useful for your business include Instagram stories, or posts that are only available for 24 hours. It’s a good way to promote flash sales on your store or even post a poll for instant feedback.
Still, even a visually stunning app has a flaw: Instagram tends to keep users in the app. For instance, Instagram doesn’t allow you post clickable links in captions or comments.
You can work around this by taking out paid ads, which will allow you to post ads with CTAs linking out to your store. But as with Facebook, if you currently don’t have the budget for ads, don’t feel pressured. Focus on improving your existing content.
Of all the social media channels we have discussed, Pinterest appears to be the most shopper-friendly. Research suggests that most users who are on Pinterest already intend to buy something.
Similar to Instagram, visually appealing images go a long way toward attracting clicks and repins. But unlike Instagram, you can place a link toward your store or your blog, whichever is appropriate.
If your target audience includes women in their early to late twenties with disposable income, then Pinterest is most likely to be a good fit for your business.
However, if your target audience doesn’t Pinterest’s demographic, you may have to choose another social media channel that will give you more exposure to your ideal customer.
Make sure that your image posts are of the right size and shape for the social media channel you’re posting in. This seems like such a minor detail, but that attention to detail will immediately set you apart from all the other “amateur” or beginner dropshippers on social media.
You don’t want images that look obviously cropped out or haphazardly posted; you want to show your images in the best possible way, no matter which channels you plan to use. Take the trouble of knowing the ideal image dimensions of the social media channel you’re posting content to.
Don’t neglect your social media profile. Depending on how visitors find your social media, your social media profile is likely the first thing new followers see. Make a good first impression so you get followed.
Use the same username on every platform, if possible. Use your logo as your profile photo so it’s easily identifiable with your brand. If you don’t have a logo yet, consider having one made by a graphic designer.
Publish a clear, concise bio describing what your site is all about and include a unique, trackable link back to your store so that you know if your social media channels are really bringing you traffic.
You’ve got your goals, your target audience, and your social media channels.
Now it’s time to draft a procedure to plan, create, schedule, and manage your social media accounts.
You should have a go-to application that allows you to collect your ideas for your content as you get them. Ideally, you should be able to access the application whenever and wherever you are, as inspiration can strike just about anywhere.
This application should also be as flexible as possible so you can be as detailed or as general in your planning as you want to be. Typically, you want to be able to flesh out a general idea right where you took note of it, while still retaining easy access to all of the random ideas you’ve had so you can develop them when the time is right.
It took an awful lot of research and learning to get to this point, but the actual creation of the content you’re going to be posting is going to be the most labor-intensive. This is why you should have incorporated content generated by other people or your customers.
Another way to make creating your posts easier is to design and build templates for content types that you post most frequently. For example, save your most used Instagram and Pinterest hashtags so you don’t have to type them out each time you post.
You can also save image settings or filters in your image manipulation software. For example, you can save templates for Facebook with the ideal dimensions so you don’t have to resize all your photos. You can also save filters you always use, especially on Instagram.
If you want to share the same post on different social media channels, keep in mind that you still need to optimize the posts to the specific social media channel you’re posting it to.
Once you’ve created content intended for posting, it’s time to schedule these posts so they go out automatically.
How often you post would depend on which social media channels you’ve chosen to focus on. Generally, aim to post less frequently at first, and then gradually turn it up when you’ve gotten into your routine and seen people engaging with your posts.
No matter how often you plan to post, always make time for actual interaction with your followers, such as reacting and replying to comments or Twitter mentions, sharing what they’ve posted about you, and commenting on their posts, if you’ve reached that level of familiarity with your customers.
Pay close attention to major holidays when you’re setting up your schedule, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, so you can create appropriately themed content. Aside from the major or legally recognized holidays, also research on fun, minor holidays, such as Siblings Day or National Donut Day.
You don’t want to leave your whole social media procedure to software, but you do want to automate what you can so you can make time for the tasks you can’t.
Here are some tools that you may find useful to manage your social media strategy.
You won’t magically create a successful social media strategy with your first attempt. It will take a great deal of time, learning, and adjustment to get sustained positive results.
As you develop your social media strategy, you need to specify how you’ll track your progress and what targets you need to meet to be able to say that your social media efforts are going toward achieving your objectives.
An additional challenge is that dropshipping, eCommerce, and especially social media are ever-changing. Audiences’ tastes change, eCommerce platforms scramble to bend to these new preferences. New social media channels crop up seemingly overnight.
Thus, when it comes to social media, the best-laid plans are written in chalk. You have to accept that what works today may not work tomorrow or next month; you’ll have to listen to what your audience is saying through your analytics data.
For example, your weekly Facebook contests may have worked for a while, but now you’re seeing decreased engagement. At this point, it might be wise to post different content on Facebook or focus on an entirely different channel.
You’ll also have to accept that not every new trend will become the norm. More often than not, shiny new trends fade into obscurity. Always gauge your audience’s reactions to each new thing that comes along and act accordingly.
If you’ve set up your social media channels as business accounts, each of the social media platforms I’ve mentioned (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) has its own analytics tool. Moreover, the social media management tools I’ve mentioned (Buffer, HootSuite, Sprout Social) have their own analytics tools as well.
When you run a dropshipping business, social media is a powerful tool to have. Use it prudently and you’ll accomplish your purpose; use it haphazardly and it’ll end up hurting your business.
Your objective is to get a positive return on the time, money, and effort you spend on social media. That is, you want to find your target audience and draw them into your site so you can put your products in front of them.
Here’s a summary of how to create a social media strategy for your dropshipping site:
You’re probably raring to go and strategize, but here are some more things to keep in mind:
I’ve said that when applying your social media strategy, every action should be deliberate, but it doesn’t mean that you need to hide behind a fake persona.
Your followers can sense if someone they follow isn’t being real, so don’t be afraid to show some personality and even add a dash of (tasteful!) humor to your social media posts.
People don’t go to social media to be bored; they scroll through posts to be entertained and find something to make their day a little brighter, even while gaining new knowledge.
As I’ve mentioned, you shouldn’t only be trying to sell your products to your followers. Share awesome, helpful content, even if it’s not yours (don’t forget to properly attribute the sources).
Your social media strategy, like everything else in a dropshipping business, is a long-term game plan.
Success can’t be achieved overnight. You’ll need to have the patience and be dedicated to continually updating and improving your strategy.
Are you already implementing a social media strategy for your dropshipping site? Was this framework helpful, or did I miss out on some important steps and tasks? Talk to me in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.