Originally published on November 1, 2017, updated May 14, 2020
Can social media help your business? Absolutely. But what if you’re a seller on the Amazon marketplace? Can it help you then? Steph Nissen from Atomic Revenue, digital marketing guru and social media specialist, joins Liz Fickenscher for a discussion about social media and the Amazon seller. Topics covered:
You can watch the webinar above or check out the show notes below for the recap and a full transcript.
Jumping into the social media side of marketing can be intimidating, but it’s also essential in today’s modern marketplace. We use these platforms to connect with friends and family, but their use for business and marketing cannot be denied.
Liz Fickenscher recently hosted a webinar called Social Media for Amazon Sellers with Steph Nissen of Atomic Revenue. She shared some incredible tips and insight for using social media to build your brand and create a positive online presence.
A decade ago, “social media” was not a term that was used in most circles, but now it feels like there are a million social networks with more cropping up every day. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to figure out which ones are worth the effort.
Nissen said that it’s best to work smarter, not harder while focusing on six specific social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat. How you use these platforms will largely depend on your audience. The webinar goes into great detail about maximizing your efforts.
For example, Facebook, with its two billion users and robust ads program, is great for reaching the general public and older customers. However, establishing a presence on Instagram and Snapchat is essential if you’re targeting millennials and teens. Meanwhile, many sellers don’t know that Pinterest is a relatively untapped, underutilized resource that can lead to sales for years to come if it’s used properly.
Now that you know where to post, what should you say? It might take time to find your mojo but one thing you should avoid is spamming your followers with sales pitches. Not only is it an ineffective strategy but it could also turn away existing customers and hurt your reputation.
While you will have to fine-tune any approach to meet your specific needs, Nissen shared a formula for success. She called this the Golden Ratio:
During the webinar, Nissen went into detail about how this all works together to create one cohesive experience for your followers and customers.
There are so many sellers on the Amazon marketplace that it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. In order to be successful, you will need to find ways to stand out by building your brand in a positive and purposeful way.
You might want to conquer the world in one day, but this will only lead to burn out. Instead, take a realistic approach to developing a strong online presence. Build an attractive, user-friendly website, fully utilize the space provided in your social profiles and be consistent in your visual image, message and tone across all platforms.
Most of all, offer great customer service. People will remember whether they had a positive experience and in this age of social media, negative comments will spread quickly. Protect your brand by being part of these conversations and addressing issues as they arise.
Of course, you can’t be expected to sit in front of a computer screen waiting with your tabs open all day fighting fires. There are several tools out there that can help you stay on top of your social media strategy.
Liz: Hi everyone. Welcome to today's webinar. I have Steph Nissen of Atomic Revenue with me today to talk about social media for the Amazon seller. We're going to get started and don't forget to submit your questions into the GoToWebinar questions field. We'll be pausing to answer questions throughout the webinar, so make sure you get those in there. I'm Liz Fickenscher, business development lead at eComEngine. I work with industry partners and our customers like you who are sellers on the Amazon marketplace to bring relevant and actionable information to the industry. I'm really excited that Steph could join us today. Steph is a social media guru who's done a lot of work with sellers like you guys. Steph, why don't you tell the folks at home about your awesome digital marketing skills?
Steph: Thanks Liz, I'd be happy to. I love that word guru. I never use it to describe myself but it always feels good. As far as my experience in digital marketing, I've been working with the Amazon seller community for about two years now. If you're on the call or excuse me on the webinar and you've heard me speak before, we've probably crossed paths at Midwest e-Com, the Amazon sellers group up in New York or a Feedvisor event, I've spoken at all those various events. My focus in digital marketing usually centers around social media. That's kind of where my heart and my passion is. I'm excited to talk about that specifically for Amazon sellers today.
Liz: Thanks Steph. So glad you're here. Like I said, I'm with eComEngine. You guys probably have heard of us too. We are the inventors of feedback management and our flagship tool is FeedbackFive. We're also the makers of Restock Pro, which is an inventory and supply chain management software and MarketScout, which is a product lookup tool that's really easy to use. We've been around since about 2007 and we've been working with merchants on the Amazon marketplace, helping them manage their seller reputation and try to bring new features and tools to the industry. And we try to educate sellers via informational webinars like this one. And we do blog posts, white papers, and more. At Amazon, they tell you to be customer obsessed. And here we're seller obsessed. We want to do everything we can to help you accelerate your eCommerce business. And that's why even though we don't offer a tool for social media I really wanted to talk about it with Steph and bring some information to you guys.
Liz: I see a lot of you out there participating in seller groups, but I don't see a lot of you marketing your Amazon stores. Maybe I'm missing those posts or maybe you need a little help knowing what to post. Steph's here to teach us all a thing or two about using social media as a seller on Amazon. We're going to get started. And the agenda for today, we're going to talk about the top social media networks for eCommerce. We're going to talk about what to say on social to drive sales. Steph's going to go over some great brand building basics and we're going to talk about managing your online reputation in total. Steph, are you ready to get started?
Steph: I am ready. Let's do it. All right, let me see here. All right, we just went through our agenda here. We're going to jump right in to talk about the top social media networks for you guys. Showing on your screen now are the top six social networks when it comes to eCommerce. And many of you probably use some or all of these in a personal capacity, but do you know how and why to use them in a professional capacity? And that's what we're going to talk about today. First one, Facebook. We all know Facebook, it's the largest social media platform on the planet. It's the most active. It has the widest demographic pool. And when you consider what social networks to focus on for business, consider who your audience is, who's going to buy what you're selling. And if your focus is the 40 and over crowd, Facebook is probably where you need to spend your time.
Steph: We all think about social media as where all the teenagers are hanging out, but each of these networks grows older and the audience grows older with them. If you're looking for the senior citizen range, you're not going to find them as active on any of these other networks as you would on Facebook. When determining where you need to go, it always has to go to, who's going to buy my product and where are they spending their time. Let's look at Twitter for example. Twitter is a great platform, more in the B2B space or business to business versus business to consumer. It's a great place for dropping links, obviously for political discussions, for short and sweet posts. On Facebook where a business might post, one, two, maybe three times a day, max. Twitter, you can post 20 times a day and never be flagged for spam. If you want to drop links to your products and hashtag to your heart's content, you could probably spend your time there on Twitter to do that.
Steph: We've talked a little bit about those teenagers, Instagram, Snapchat, that's where you're going to find your Gen Z generation, your millennial market, they spend their most time on those two apps. Well, they don't have the most money to spend, if you're relying on influencers to build your brand, if you want to create advocates and if you really are selling things for that generation, you can't not appear on those platforms. We've come to a point in our society where a buyer, someone who's looking for products they expect to find you on social media, especially that gen Z and millennial era, they are looking for ways to brag about the things that they bought. They're looking for Instagram worthy products, things that they can share with their friends. Because that's why we post on social is we want everybody to know how happy we are and how good we're doing. And that's not even, it's even more prevalent, excuse me, in those two generations. And on those two social networks.
Steph: Pinterest is a huge eCommerce platform, which I feel is really under utilized by a lot of Amazon sellers that I work with and have worked with in the past. They don't even consider Pinterest, which just kind of breaks my heart a little bit. Pinterest is full of women planning weddings and people who are obsessed with fashion and travel and moms and home decorators and literally there is content for everybody on Pinterest and all Pinterest does is link out to other sites. All it does is drive traffic and one of the great things to consider about Pinterest is that traffic comes from Pinterest for months, if not years. I have content and my clients have content that we put on Pinterest more than two years ago that still drives traffic and sales back to their site. Because Pinterest operates like a search engine instead of a social network where Facebook, one might see posts from a couple hours ago and maybe yesterday, but I'm not going to see stuff from years and years ago. I'm only going to see pretty relevant, now content.
Steph: Twitter, the average shelf life of a tweet is 18 minutes on average. But really it's even faster than that depending on how large your network is. Pinterest will continue to drive sales for you back to Amazon, back to your eCommerce site for years if you use it correctly. And then YouTube, we all know YouTube is just full of videos, but did you know that the most searched phrase on YouTube is the words how to. Users on there are looking for answers, they're looking to learn, they're looking to troubleshoot. And you should use that to your advantage in an eCommerce space. YouTube is the number two search engine on the planet behind Google. That Google, the one thing that we all go to, I don't know the answer, Google it. If you want to rank for your product and have a little bit more power within a search engine, use YouTube to your advantage. YouTube and Google Play are really well together. That's a massive thing to consider.
Steph: If you haven't looked to creating videos for your products, if you're not using videos just in your social, on your listings, I highly recommend that you take a hard look at that. If you take nothing else away from this webinar is start using video. And I know this is a lot, we've only touched on six of the major platforms and there's literally hundreds of social networks. Yeah, hundreds, I know. But I want you to work smarter, not harder when it comes to social media for selling. Because it's really easy to get lost in all of it because there are so many options. There's so many things you could do. And like I said, we've only talked about six. I want to talk about now is where to start even with these six alone. Facebook hands down winner's Facebook. If you remember at the beginning I said it's the largest network. There are more than two billion, yes, billion users on Facebook. It's the hands down winner with the most users, the largest range of demographics, they have a very robust ads platform.
Steph: If you haven't looked at Facebook ads to drive traffic to your listings, to drive traffic to your eCommerce store, you now, I would consider almost a little bit behind and we need to have a chat to get you started. Facebook's constantly innovating. There's the marketplace, a lot of people who are selling on Amazon or are selling in any of the different platforms online have also started looking at the Facebook marketplace to put their listings. There's also the new watch tab that's Facebook's... If you've noticed that on your app on Facebook, the watch tab is videos. Facebook's taken a run at YouTube. They know that YouTube is number two up there and they want to take a stab at them. Again, videos are going to be important for content. It's really easy to see with all these things in the way that they're innovating, that Facebook is dominating social networks for all industries, is regardless what you're trying to sell.
Steph: But something I really want to touch on is the importance of the Facebook ads platform. I want to go back to that, but when it comes to your own website, your website, where not just your Amazon listings, but your eCommerce store, can be used in Facebook ads to re-target your past visitors. Remind people to finish their checkout. Those great pair of shoes that you found on Zappos that now follow you around the internet, you can do that with Facebook ads. You can provide discounts to your frequent customers. And while that remarketing and that retargeting ads that we see around Facebook or just around the internet period as a user can be obnoxious. I'm sure that we all kind of get frustrated that man, I can't get away from these ads, but the hard truth of it is that they work. And as a marketer and as a business owner, you should be in love with retargeting ads. I really want you to explore that on Facebook.
Steph: Another kind of biggie to keep in mind with Facebook in their dominance in the marketplace, is that two of the other big social platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp, which we didn't even talk about on the last slide, they're both owned by Facebook. And since they were purchased by Facebook have grown exponentially. If we're going to use Facebook, if we're going to run ads on Facebook, you can also just flip the switch and run the same ads on Instagram because Facebook owns it, they integrate beautifully. You can run ads on multiple platforms at the same time and control everything from one account, which is really, really nice.
Steph: Now we kind of know which social network I really want you to start with, regardless, if you don't know your audience, Facebook is just where we're going to start. From there you can start to add on new platforms. A lot of people go in and go, all right, here's six platforms and here's nine other ones. I'm sure I've got an audience on and you get completely overwhelmed or you spend all your time on social media and you neglect to the rest of your business. We don't have that kind of time. You don't have that kind of time. You need to work smarter, not harder. That's why we're going to start with Facebook. Liz, do we have any questions that have popped up so far?
Liz: Not yet. And I do want to remind everybody that we are taking questions and you can just pop them into the questions section of GoToWebinar and I will get them to Steph. So fire away folks.
Steph: Yes, absolutely. While we're here and we're doing this live, you have the greatest opportunity to get feedback on social media for selling and for eCommerce. Definitely take advantage of that while we're here. Next I want you to think about how do you start on social as far as the types of content. There's four general formats for posts. We talked a little bit about video already. Images is next, links and text. For many eCommerce marketers, we immediately jump on that link style because we want to get clicks back to our listing back to our site. We want people to buy, we want sales, but this is a massive, massive mistake. When's the last time, think about it, that you were browsing around on social media and saw a link for some random product, Oh, clicked the link and bought it? Most likely close to never. We don't go to social media to start buying right away. I don't go there looking for your sales pitch. Social media is where we go to be social with our family and our friends first and foremost. And as a business, you're intruding on that space.
Steph: You need to find a way to be part of the conversation without shoving your billboard in anybody's face. Using a variety of post types is the very first step in that. Don't always try to get the clicks back. Ultimately, yes, that's what we want. I mean, my company that I work for is Atomic Revenue. Everything we do is tied back to revenue, but we also know that social media doesn't work if you're only trying to shove link clicks in people's faces. We're trying to build communities of advocates and raving fans, people that when they purchase your product, they love it and now they're going to recommend it to their friends, that they're going to share, your content and your posts and get you in front of other people that don't even know you exist yet. We're trying to increase brand awareness so that when someone does need what you're offering, they'll think of you first.
Steph: And talking about post types, I do put a heavy focus on visual so video and images. You don't have to be a graphic designer, well versed in photoshop and illustrator to create amazingly visual and appealing posts on social media. We want to be visual because we're a visual race. Just as humans we process images 60,000 times faster than text. In addition to that, social networks like Facebook that are algorithm based, meaning that Facebook decides what posts are shown to users. It's not just based on who was the last person to post, that's the last thing you see. They give prioritization to images and more importantly videos like we talked about previously.
Steph: But like I said, you don't have to be a graphic designer to be able to do those. You don't even have to outsource it if you've got the time to do it, there are tools to help you make those videos and graphics and some are free, or an insanely small investment. Things like Canva, which is C-A-N-V-A.com. That's a website, super simple to create graphics. You can create your cover photos for your social networks. You can create flyers and all kinds of different things for free inside this website. Other tools like Adobe Spark and Adobe Video, Word Swag, these are apps that you can use on your phone and you can make videos with Adobe video for free. They've got music in there, you can drop slides in there, you can drop text. Makes it super easy to make, to tell a story about your product and post it on social media and like I said, well, YouTube is massive for that. Facebook's taken a run at YouTube with Facebook watch. They're going to give priority to your visual posts and video will win out every single time. I don't want you to lose that. Liz, did you want to jump in and talk about what you guys are doing at eComEngine?
Liz: Oh yeah. We like this little tool called PromoRepublic, that's sort of Canva meets Buffer so you can schedule posts with it, but not only can you create visual posts yourself, but they also come up with a bunch of templates and stuff that's event based or it's National Doughnut Day or something like that and you can just pop your logo in it. That's really easy to use and it's not really expensive.
Steph: Nice. Yeah, those are the kind of reasons I love Canva too, is that ability that all the templates that are built in, I don't have to be a designer and I can just drop my logo on stuff and change some colors and it's ready to go.
Liz: Yeah. We do have some questions.
Steph: Yes. Awesome. I love questions.
Liz: The first one is, I am a beginner and I sell home goods. I've always wanted to advertise on Pinterest. However, I do not know how to get started. What's the best way to start on Pinterest?
Steph: You've always wanted to get started on Pinterest. First thing, if you're just starting, you need to go set up an account on Pinterest, if you haven't done that already. Fill out the profile as much as possible. Put in your URL, fill out the description and start adding in content to your boards. On Pinterest, everything, boards are organized by topics. If you're doing, you said your home goods, you might do a board that's about dream kitchen. And this one's like, my ideal living room and you start adding in pictures of your products, but mix in other people's content too. You don't want it to come across, if somebody searches in here that this is all just somebody trying to sell me their products.
Steph: I want to see your products in conjunction with how this would work in my home. Obviously everything in my home is not from one particular brand, but I want to see that it works cohesively and flows well with my style. First set up the profile, get it filled in. And then Pinterest promoted pins are a great way to go. And Pinterest has a really great support system, that you can walk through or if you want to have a chat, I'm happy to do. I'm giving away actually at the end of this free 30 minute chat. If you want to set up a time with me we can chat to your heart's content, just about Pinterest for you.
Liz: And I'll make sure I include your contact information stuff when I email everybody the recording of this webinar. We had another follow up question about Pinterest, about posting products in a group or engaging an industry and open up groups related to the industry or do you just need to set up your boards and tag them appropriately?
Steph: I think it's both. If you have other brands and other sellers that you can collaborate with and do group boards and get in front of each other's audiences, then absolutely do that. Look for group boards and reach out to the person who started that board, if you think your products make sense. And reach out to them, say, Hey, I've got some stuff that I think would be valuable for your community that I'd like to share. Not just, Hey, I want to post my products in your feed. But explain to them that this is beneficial for you, beneficial for your audience. I think a mix of both is always good, especially if you want to grow and get in front of people that don't know you exist yet.
Liz: That's awesome. And then there's a Facebook advertising question. This person says, we use Facebook ads to drive traffic to our Amazon product listings, but Amazon does not yet provide pixels links or links that we can use to optimize Facebook ads they do for brand pages, but not for individual product listings. Is this something that you think Amazon will be addressing in the future?
Steph: I think they will. I truly believe that they will. I think they're behind and not allowing it yet. But it's something I've been watching pretty closely as well. I'm sure there'll be a post on my own pages with a hallelujah when that happens. But I do believe it's coming and fingers crossed that, that's right.
Liz: Great. And then, somebody said they do almost five million on Amazon and Wayfair, but they do nothing on social or their website. And to them I say that's awesome. And then a couple of people have asked in the work smarter not harder area of things and business owners who are currently wearing a lot of hats, do you recommend that they take the time to learn social or should they outsource it to a third party?
Steph: I'm a firm believer that if it's something that you don't need to know, then you should outsource it, either bring someone onto your team or outsource it to another company that can do this for you, that understands it in a way that we're doing this for eCommerce and we're doing this to drive sales. Unfortunately, there's a lot of marketers out there who will just do the, here's the best practice kind of thing. You do have to do your homework to know when you're not being swindled. Unfortunately, it's like that with every industry, but I'm not going to spend my time with our company doing the financials. I'm going to hire an accounting firm to handle that stuff because I don't need to have my hands in that. That's not where my expertise lies. You don't need to have your hands on social media other than getting reports and knowing that it's working and making sure that that marketer proves to you that this is affecting the bottom line and actually providing an ROI. But if you can hand that off to somebody, I would definitely recommend that. You guys, like you said you're wearing lots of hats. Let's not add more things to your plate.
Liz: Okay, great.
Steph: All right, any other questions before we move on?
Liz: There are a few, but why don't we get a little bit further in and then we'll open back up in a couple of minutes.
Steph: All right. Sounds good. All right, now we've talked about where to post and how to post and now we need to know what as in, what do you say on social media? Let's talk about that. This right here on the screen is 22 ideas to get you started. There's plenty of topics that you could write that would surprise and kind of delight your audience and that'll serve multiple purposes including generating sales, creating brand awareness, increasing referrals, activating brand ambassadors. These are all the reasons we should use social media and many businesses, however, struggle with what do I say outside of, Hey, buy my stuff. Hey, buy my stuff. This will get you started and I want you to use these as kind of jumping off points to kind of spark some creativity on your end.
Steph: Of course, you're going to post about your product. You're going to post new things that you've added, you're going to post about discounts and sales of what's going on. But also post things like use cases like how to use your product outside of you should buy it because it does this. I remember attending an event last year where, the speakers suggested to go to your reviews to find unique ways that people are using your product that you didn't even realize. And pull those out and then share them on social media to see, did anybody else think of that? Would anybody else find value in using it that way? Those how to videos, again, I keep talking about videos because I really want to emphasize that. Asking questions of your community and those questions don't always have to tie back to your product. It can be really, really simple questions that are just to kind of stimulate your audience and get them talking and let you get to know them a little bit more.
Steph: If you are selling in the food category and maybe you're doing coffees and teas and that kind of thing, you can literally just post a question on social media that says, how do you take your coffee in the morning? There's no link. You can drop a photo on it if you want to, but you're just trying to stimulate your audience to get them to respond and the easier the question you ask, the more likely you are to get a response back to them. If you ask them like a short essay question, no one's ever going to engage with you and respond because nobody's got that kind of time, but answer something that you almost feel compelled to answer. And then there's two sides of that, one, yes, we're stimulating our audience, we're getting to know them a little bit more, getting ideas of where our products can go and what things we want to offer to them based on their responses.
Steph: But also when things like Facebook, for example, Facebook we all know is killing our organic reach that you get next to none. If you got 5,000 likes on your page, maybe a hundred people are seeing your posts. It's hard and it keeps a lot of us up at night. But when we ask questions like these that we get in the feet of someone and they engage with us, they're more likely now to see our posts later where we're posting a product link or we're posting something that, a sale or a discount or a contest that we're running that we're trying to boost our sales forward. Those simple questions with no links. The just kind of inspirational and funny things that we post are not just there because we're trying to increase engagement. They're also there because we want the other posts, the sales posts to show up in their feed. And that's not going to happen organically unless they've already engaged with you.
Steph: You're going to get a copy of this webinar, you'll have this whole list of things or take a screenshot so you have this list with you. And then, like I mentioned before, we're going to do some consultations later with anybody. If you want some more ideas specific to your category, to your brand, then we can definitely talk about those things. Do we have any questions kind of around topics and what to say on social, Liz?
Liz: Not so much on what to say on social. We've got some questions, kind of tactical questions about different network, different platforms and that kind of stuff. If we want to go on we will answer in a minute, we can do that.
Steph: Yeah, let's do that. All right. Now I want to talk about, we've talked about the different kinds of posts but there's something you need to understand and that's that perfect balance. And I've kind of touched on it a little bit, that you can't just shove your sales posts down somebody's throat on social because it will not work. There's something called the golden ratio in social media, which is 60% curated content, 30% owned content and 10% promotional. And that's true with some caveats. Let's talk about what you own and can curate in what constitutes a promotional post. You own your blog, your product photos, your videos, your Amazon listings. Well you and Amazon share those, but they don't get mad at all if you share them on social. People say you should only post 30% of your own content because it's boring to talk about yourself all day. And other people find it annoying too.
Steph: If you're in a conversation with somebody and all they do is talk about themselves, you pretty much tune them out, it's the same idea on social media. And the other side of that too is it can take time to create content other than your listings. Do you have time to blog? We were talking about earlier, the multiple hats we're wearing, probably not. That might be something else that you look to outsource. Curated content, is usually defined as links to things you think your audience will like, but it can be more. And we'll talk about that in just a minute. Promotional content is when you promote your products or your business. Your owned content, owned and promotional can kind of sound like the same thing. But owned, we're not directly saying, absolutely buy this. We're trying to show kind of lifestyle images. We're showing a little bit more of how this works and why you need it. Hitting into the pain points of what this product might solve.
Steph: And then promotional is, Hey, we're running a special or a Black Friday deal, or Hey, it's Mother's Day, don't forget this for your mom. And then that curated content, that's going to come in when you're sharing the current events stuff that might tie into what your customers might actually be interested in. And actually I want to touch on that a little bit more. I was working with an Amazon seller who did supplements and they had a massive online social media presence, almost a million followers and likes on Facebook, tens of thousands on Twitter and they had massive presence. But they could not tie one single thing on social media back to a sale because they were using all curated content, which mean 101, you should actually post your own links. But they were posting things that did not make sense to their audience. While they had a massive amount of likes and followers that they probably paid for, none of them were engaging with their content.
Steph: Like I said, they were a supplements company but they're posting things like, here's what Kim Kardashian was wearing last week at this award show and here's what's going on politically. That has nothing to do with your audience. If I'm, let's say supplements, my curated content that I might share is something about health and wellness, maybe workout routines. I might be sharing cross promoting maybe with another company that I'm friendly with that they can share my supplements and I can share their workout gear. That's what I'm looking for in that curated space. Again, I'm not always talking about myself, but I'm providing value to the community. Liz, let's go ahead and take some other social media questions before we get into brand building.
Liz: Okay. I think that's a good idea. Someone said, I don't want to advertise my seller account under my personal name. What should I do?
Steph: If you don't want to advertise it under your personal account, you should be building a Facebook business page. I do want to say this. A lot of people I've seen on Amazon sellers are using their personal account to share products and things. You are actually violating Facebook's terms of service when you use your personal account to promote things for your business. The likelihood that someone's going to report you and that you're going to get flagged and get in trouble for it is pretty slim to none because Facebook of course has bigger fish to fry. But let's not set you up for failure. Set up a business account. And set up that business account and if it's a matter of I don't get as much reach of course on that business page on Facebook or on my business listing on Instagram, that kind of thing and I want to use who I have connected with on your personal account, then you share to that. And then you can kind of just connect yourself. This doesn't have to be that this is yours. You might share it as, Oh, this product looks cool versus buy my product.
Liz: Super. A couple of people asked about that tool that I mentioned. It's called PromoRepublic and I'll include that in the email that you guys will get after the webinar that also will have the recording and all the good information about Steph. But it's a cool little tool and I think they've got a free trial. Steph, someone says, currently I only have an Amazon store, am I able to take advantage of these social media platforms or should I work on my own website first? And we actually have a couple of people who have asked that question. In addition to, should I work on my own website before I utilize social media other than Amazon sponsored ads, what can I do to increase FBA, Amazon sales? How can I use these social media tools if I don't have a website and I still want to get my information out there?
Steph: If you don't to use social media and you don't have a website, I am a firm believer that you should own your own retail space online. My suggestion would be you need to go and build a website so you can build a brand. If you're here to talk about social media, you most likely, and I hope most of you, not all of you have a brand that you're trying to build. If that's the case, you need to go and sign up for a business account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and claim them, even if you don't have a site built yet, to whatever your brand name is so you have them in place when you're ready to go. But I would prioritize building your own site first.
Steph: There's a lot more opportunity to get sales and build that brand through your own personal realism online versus, borrowed space on Amazon. Amazon is going to continue to function and is not going anywhere. But you'll also always get a bigger piece of the pie right when it's coming to your site and you're processing it versus when Amazon takes their piece of what you're doing. Amazon will always rank amazingly and you're always going to get sales from there. But again, I'm a firm believer that you need to have your own space online. I would start with a website and then add social later.
Liz: But if they're totally not going to do a website, they're technically allowed to just add an Amazon listing on Facebook, but it's probably not going to do much.
Steph: Honestly, if you're not going to build a brand, then I see social media is more of a waste of time for you. That's not going to be the magic pill that you're looking for. You can drop your listings, you can participate in groups personally, but to run ads on Facebook, if you're going to run ads back to your Amazon listing you have to have a business account to tie it to, you still have to set up a business page, to be able to run those ads.
Liz: Great. This person says, I work at a company that does wholesale products and they have Facebook pages for certain brands, but we don't get many new products. How do you keep a Facebook page active when you don't have new products rolling in all the time?
Steph: Kind of going back to that last slide of all the different things you can say. You may not have new products, but you have different times a year and maybe different ways that that product is used at different times of the year. You have holidays that come up and that you might push on how this ties into this holiday. You're going to still promote sales and discounts or anything that you're running in that department. You might run contests, we're talking about earlier that PromoRepublic and Canva both tell you it's National Doughnut Day or whatever it is. You can use those things to your advantage. Remember that social again is social and not just sales. You're going to find, you're not always just going to post about your products. You've got to find other things to say.
Liz: That's great, thanks Steph. Somebody has asked the age old, what do you say to old Google SEO marketing? Why didn't you talk about Google marketing?
Steph Can you repeat that question for me?
Liz: What do you say to old Google SEO marketing? I guess the implied question here, is social media marketing going to be more effective for an Amazon seller than trying to do Google SEO?
Steph: I think they are two different veins altogether. Social plays into SEO when your products and your website is shared on social media, it definitely has an effect on SEO. We could do a whole webinar just talking about SEO. It's another tool in your toolbox for marketing and increasing your sales. But I still think that SEO is important. If you're going to run your own business and run your own website, your site has to be optimized. You have to be adding new content. You have to make sure that tags are in place, your header tags and your meta descriptions and your focus keywords and that you're creating backlinks. That's a whole other job in and of itself, separate from social media. As far as one being more important than the other. If you are not going to build your own site and build your own brand, then neither one is going to be somewhere you're going to spend any time. But if you're going to build your own brand, you're going to need both.
Liz: Awesome. This is an Instagram question. How do you vary formats on Instagram since you can only post visuals? I guess, how can you mix it up and how can you promote yourself just in a purely visual space?
Steph: If you're on Instagram or in that network, I expect that your product is very visual. I expect that what you're trying, if that's the generation that demographic that you're trying to reach, that your product should be very visual. Look for opportunities of, let's say it's clothing, user generated content would be huge there. Encouraging people who buy your products to post pictures of themselves and tag you or use a specific hashtag and then repurpose those posts and post them to your own account. Do videos, do images, you can do using things like PromoRepublic or using Canva. It doesn't have to be even a picture of your product. It can be a quote or a lifestyle thing that ties into how someone feels about your product. It could be a product review that you drop on top of a graphic that you just want to highlight all the amazing things people are saying about your product. Instagram is a visual platform, you're not going to vary the types of posts on this platform. It's videos and images. That's what is expected and that's how that platform operates. You're not going to do text posts other than putting a text on a graphic.
Liz: Super. Somebody asked if we're not focusing on making sales directly from social media platforms, how can we evaluate whether or not our ads on social are working? And I think you touched on that before when you talked about your Amazon seller that was posting but they weren't actually seeing any sales coming from the posts. Do you want to?
Steph: Yeah, we're looking at how to determine that our ads are working other than conversions?
Steph: Okay. Of course, we're looking at the click through. I'm looking for relevant scores on Facebook. They provide relevant scores to tell you if your ad is even relevant to the audience you're trying to put it in front of, I would grade it there. I'd be looking at the cost per click. I keep dropping it if I can. I'm looking at possibly engagement on that post. Some ads do really well with engagement. You get lots of likes and comments. You get people tagging their friends they're like, Hey, check this out. If you're not tracking just the sales period, I'd be looking for that. Stimulating those brand ambassadors and advocates for your brand. Because that's the most powerful thing on social media other than of course the sale is when other people want to show their friends what you are.
Liz: The power of the young influencer, right?
Liz: My friend has asked, what is the best network and best approach for higher dollar B2B sales?
Steph: Higher dollar B2B sales, LinkedIn.
Steph: Hands down LinkedIn. All right, let's head onto our next piece here and talk about brand building.
Liz: Sounds good.
Steph: All right. Let's talk about building a brand. It's really easy to kind of get lost in the crowd as a seller on the Amazon marketplace. And just because most of your sales come from Amazon doesn't mean you can ignore any other channel. And we've kind of touched, talked about this a little bit with some of our questions. You need to have an external presence on the web too. And I'm going to assume, like I said before, that all of you know that since you're here on this webinar learning about an external presence on social media. There's a couple big things to remember in using social media to build your brand. And the very first one is to be consistent, be consistent in your image. Your logo and your colors and your fonts that the visual brand should be consistent across the board.
Steph: In your message, how do you talk to people? Are you a Wendy's where you can have lots of sass in the way that you talk to people or are you more professional B2B and you need to keep a more corporate staff speak, whatever that is. You need to keep it consistent from platform to platform. And then in your presence you have to be consistent. If you're going to do it, then do it, show up. It's okay if in the beginning, when you're just getting started, that if you can only commit to posting three times a week, then that's okay. You start there and you get more comfortable and then you increase it over time. But if you decide after watching this webinar tomorrow, I'm going to start posting 15 times a day on Facebook. One, you're going to annoy everybody on the planet, but two, you're going to get burned out insanely fast. Start consistently and start realistically as well.
Steph: Number two is fill out your profiles completely. This seems really, really simple and kind of a no brainer but don't waste any of the space that any of these social networks give you. If they give you a space to write a description, write it. If they allow you to use hashtags on their platform then use them. If they have a spot for you to drop other links to other profiles like Facebook does, then put them in there. The more you fill it out, the more impact it has. And number three for brand building is to claim your profiles on all your networks before somebody else does. Actually I can use myself as an example of this. When I started in this world of digital marketing, I had a Twitter account that I'm not even going to tell you what the username was because it was just terrible. I created it when I was 18 years old.
Steph: When I decided now that I'm going to use this for business, I waited a while, I still kept this silly username and then when I actually went back now to change it to my name, it wasn't available. And every variation of my name, Steph Nissen, was not available. Now, if you find me on Twitter or Instagram, it's @Steph Nissen. And then I have an underscore at the end because again, every variation of my name was taken by other people who had been more intelligent in the way that they set up their profiles. There's two billion users on Facebook and the rest of them are approaching, a billion, hundreds of millions of users. Usernames are going to run out in every variation thereof.
Steph: Even if you're not ready to start posting on Instagram tomorrow or on Pinterest tomorrow I'd still recommend you going out for those profiles and claiming them, set them up with the correct username that you want to be known for before somebody else takes it. And then once you build that presence on social, you can start funneling people from your Amazon marketplace profile to your website and vice versa. And the steps are to add value with user guides or manuals and foster trust by offering great customer service, of course, promoting your brand on social and protecting your brand with responses on social and with your seller feedback and product reviews. Liz, I know you have a resource for everybody on this, right?
Liz: Oh yeah. Matt Ellis wrote a great post for us about building your brand. He says that your brand is as important as the products you sell. I'll send a link to that out with the recording that will go out to everybody who registered for this webinar.
Steph: Awesome. Cool. Like I mentioned before, protecting your brand is also important. Conversations are happening on social media with or without you. Do you want to be part of the conversation? And if you want to be part of what's being said online about you, about your products, your competitors, or anyone else, you have to actually be present. And if you're not present, you don't have a presence that you can control. And to really come show you what I mean by conversations happening online. I want you to look at this next slide. Pull it up and take a look. This is what happens in an internet minute as of this year. This is massive and I just want to highlight a few of these. There's 1.8 million snaps created every single minute. There's 900,000 logins to Facebook every single minute, 4.1 million videos are viewed on YouTube. There's 46,000 photos uploaded on Instagram. There's 15,000 GIFs sent or GIFs, however you like to say it, sent on Facebook messenger. The conversations are happening with or without you.
Steph: And I'm not saying this to overwhelm you, I just want you to really understand the importance of being present online in more than just a sales capacity. What happens on social media and what happens with your reputation is critical. And there are some tools though that help you manage all this. It's not that you need to keep 15 tabs open all the time just to see what's happening. There are and on the next slide I'm going to show you, these are a couple of my preferred social media management tools and other assets that I love and I use all the time. Managing your social reputation and mentions of your brand, super important. And the tools I use to do that, I use Sprout Social constantly, every single day I use Sprout Social. Other options for that in that same vein are Hootsuite and Agorapulse.
Steph: They all have varying price points. If you're looking for the cheapest version, Hootsuite is probably where you want to go. Sprout Social is a little more robust. But all of these, Sprout Social, Agorapulse, Hootsuite, allow you to one, manage all these social profiles in one place or monitor your brand and get notifications when someone mentions you outside of them, just tagging you. If someone tags @StephNissen I'll get a notification. But if someone just says my name Steph Nissen in a post but doesn't tag me, I want to get a notification for that. I can set that up in things like Sprout so that I know what's going on. Most of the mentions of a company and a brand don't happen with a tag, is somebody else talking about it with their friends is talking about it in a tweet. They're posting about it somewhere in a chat room, but they're not actually tagging the brand so they don't know that it's going on. Social listening is really important.
Steph: I use Google alerts and I've got the URL there, google.com/alerts to set up any news mentions of my brand. Sprout, HootSuite, Agora will tell us what's going on in the social media world but Google of course will let me know if that pop up anywhere else. For the brands we work with, we set it up for their brand name, we set up for the names of their products so we know what's going on. We set it up for their competitors to know what's going on in their world as well. Is there something that we can hop on and use to our advantage. The other thing I included on this screen is ManyChat, messenger bots is not something that's kind of tied into what we're talking about today, but it is really important and I kind of want to touch on it. Their messenger bots are not just a fan of online marketing, they're here to stay and they're growing exponentially.
Steph: Many companies and entrepreneurs that I talk to are totally lost by bot technology. But ManyChat is the answer for that. You don't need to know any coding, but you can build your own messenger bot to answer questions that come into your messenger, your DM inbox for Facebook Messenger, you can take users through a sales process. You can send them automated marketing messages. You can let them know about sales and discounts when they pop up. And the open rate for messages in Facebook Messenger is exponentially high right now. I think the last time I saw that, the average open rate was over 80%. People aren't seeing your posts on social media, but if you can get them to opt into messages, you can have a messenger bot like ManyChat, send them notifications and make sure that they actually see it.
Steph: We could have a whole webinar dedicated to messenger bots, we don't have that kind of time. But I did want to put that little thought in your head for you to write it down and check it out when you have some time and see if this is something that would help you automate some of your processes. Managing your online reputation, whether it's social media or reviews is insanely important. And I know that Liz actually has some support for you on the reviews angle, Liz.
Liz: All right, thank you Steph. We do have some questions in the hopper, but we're going to get those in just a second and we've got some special offers for you. It is really important to manage your reputation actually on Amazon as well. You've got social to think about. You've got all the different places in the corners of the internet where people can be talking about you, but the people who are talking about you on Amazon, that's really, really important to your seller health, your feedbacks and product reviews are a reflection of you as a seller on the Amazon marketplace. And I talked to a lot of sellers that are often surprised to learn that Amazon actually encourages sellers to send a... This is a quote from Amazon, "Send a polite request for feedback to the customer after the shipment has been received."
Liz: You heard that correctly. Amazon views the process of requesting seller feedback as a vital part of the buyer seller communication experience. And it shouldn't come as a surprise much of Amazon's success is a result of the five star rating system. The more honest ratings you have, the better. Of course, you have to stay within Amazon's terms of service, which we can definitely send you links to those in the email that we're going to send you. The cool thing about feedback five is that you can solicit feedback and product reviews, but you can also receive alerts on negative feedbacks and products or product views so that you can do the most important part of your job, which is to provide excellent customer service by monitoring your feedback and your product reviews, i.e your Amazon seller reputation. You can respond quickly when someone has a problem, which is super, super important for removing negative feedback, for avoiding negative product reviews and that kind of stuff. And you can gain insights, especially via our product review management feature into the ASINs that you sell.
Liz: And that's awesome because not only are you managing your reputation in one place, but you're also being smart about how you view your products, how you choose your products. And you can monitor ASINs that you're thinking about selling as well. You can see what their reviews are like and you can see a bunch of bad reviews and you're going to not go for that one. And you can even look at ASINs that your competitors are selling so that you can see what those reviews are like. So the PRM tool is really, really awesome and I'll send some information about that also in the email that we'll be sending you guys. But FeedbackFive is a really, really great easy to use tool that helps you manage your seller reputation. And that is my spiel on that. If we want to go look at our special offers. Let's just use the coupon code social on any of our tools, you can get an extended free trial, 30 days for FeedbackFive, 30 days for RestockPro, 150 free credits MarketScout and Steph you have a cool, really, really awesome offer.
Steph: Yeah. I am giving away for anybody on this webinar is, go to my Calendly, which the link is there and I know that will be emailed out to you, is calendly.com/steph-nissen and you can book a free 30 minute meeting with me and we'll do a marketing assessment. I actually have a process that I'll take you through and we'll kind of analyze what you are doing in marketing, where the gaps are, what you need to fill in. And we can talk about how to fill those in. Whether that's helping you find the right person to add to your team, whether that's maybe working with us and we may not be the best one, but I can connect you to the right person. I've been in this space long enough that I know that not everybody's the right fit for everybody, but I can always get you help started in the right direction. You can go to that link and schedule time with me or you can just shoot me an email straight out and send it to Steph, S-T-E-P-H@atomicrevenue.com. That's the easiest way to reach me. I'm happy to chat with anybody who's been here today.
Liz: That's super. Thank you for that Steph. I know a lot of people are going to be taking you up on that. We have a couple more questions and we have a couple of minutes. That works out really well. This one's an interesting one. We have a lot of brands we sell on Amazon for, they sell a lot of different brands on Amazon. Is there something, maybe a plugin of sorts to pull in the feed from Amazon. What would you recommend for these brands that this seller is selling?
Steph: Pull in the feed where? To social media, to the website?
Steph: I am not a massive fan of things like plugins to just drop posts all the time because you're not actually there on live. You're not actually having a conversation, you're just dropping a link. There are ways to add tabs to your Facebook page and you can add a store and those kinds of things within your Facebook profile. But as far as posts, I don't recommend doing it that way. If you don't have the time to do it yourself or to have somebody on your team or outsource somebody, a team to make those posts for you, it's okay to schedule, but a plugin to just drop links is never going to personalize the content.
Liz: I agree with that. Someone has asked, should I pay for ads on Facebook and Instagram or only do free posts? And I think I could probably answer that, but I'll let you do it.
Steph: Yeah. If you're going to be on Facebook, it's definitely moved to a pay to play kind of platform. You're using it for business, it's an investment in your business and you'll be able to track it and make sure that you're actually getting your money back and earning money in that regard. I always recommend that if we're going to do Facebook for somebody, you need to have an ads budget so that we can actually make some impact here. Organic is always great and we optimize and try to do as much as we can. But even in the last month, organic reach has dropped again on Facebook and they're actually getting, they're testing out a brand new feed on Facebook where all business posts won't even show in the main feed. User will have to go to a separate feed altogether to see posts from business pages. Ads have never been more important.
Liz: And someone has asked, what is a good ad budget?
Steph: An ad budget, you can start anywhere. If you are brand, brand new and you're just kind of side hustling Amazon and you've got 100 bucks, all right, then use 100 bucks. If you are larger brain and you can put in several thousand then do so. You can track exactly, you are able to see all the stats inside there and you'll know what's working, what's not. As far as there's no magic number budget, it's what can you dedicate to it and who can you dedicate to that, to make sure that you're getting your return on investment. You're actually generating sales and revenue.
Liz: Awesome. There's a followup question to the LinkedIn answer. If you can just go a little more in depth on that, what tactics are best, how much paid content, that kind of stuff. Just real quick.
Steph: Yeah. When it comes to like, this is the B2B person who's doing more high end I personally, the ads we run for clients on LinkedIn they're expensive to run on LinkedIn. They're much more expensive than Facebook ads. We actually take a more organic approach to using LinkedIn. You should have a business page, but actually more of your work is going to come from using your personal profile on LinkedIn. When you can't do that on Facebook against terms of service, LinkedIn you can. LinkedIn is a business and professional network. So you need to set up a system of pay for the premium version so you can do searches and find the right people to get connected to and then set up a system of sending them a connection request and then what does that first message look like?
Steph: If it's high end B2B, then you're most likely are going to have, there's more time built into your sales cycle than any B2C product would be. I would build in some time to have conversations, set up calls, whatever it is you need to do. Get them to talk about themselves. What are their pain points, what are they searching for out in the world, so that you know how to sell to that person. To that person who asking questions about LinkedIn I would recommend you set up a time for us to chat in that free 30 minute call. We can go more in depth specifically to what you are trying to sell.
Liz: Awesome. Thanks Steph. This is a cool one, if I'm using Instagram influencers or YouTube vloggers, what should I look for and should I spend more money for someone who has a larger reach?
Steph: I wouldn't, excuse me. When you're looking at influencers, don't just look at the number of followers they have or the reach that they have. I would look at their engagement rate because anybody can purchase thousands, hundreds of thousands of followers. But if nobody actually engages with their content or if everybody who likes their content is spam because you can also pay for likes and comments. You need to do some homework on their sponsored ad posts and see how that performed. Look at some of the brands that they've run ads for in the past and reach out to them and say, Hey, how did this work out for you when you used this particular influencer? I would definitely, you have to spend a little bit of time to do your homework on these people because it's really easy to fake being an influencer.
Liz: Yes, it is. We're almost out of time. There are some questions about using dynamic product ads to tie in Amazon listings or retargeting or remarketing, your Amazon listing back to Facebook. Is that something that you could cover in a half hour session with somebody?
Steph: Yeah, absolutely. Anybody who else had questions that didn't get answered, definitely reach out to me or if you even just kind of want to set up the time and just shoot me an email we can just chat that way too. I'm pretty flexible.
Liz: That's awesome. Thank you so much Steph. That was a lot of information and this is the girl who woke up without a voice today and I think she rocked it.
Steph: Yes, I've been nursing my throat with tea this morning and now I'm going to stop talking for the rest of the day.
Liz: We're really glad that you talked to us today. Thank you so much. Everybody, if you did have a question that didn't get answered, make sure you use that Calendly link that's going to come to you in the email with the recording and all the other stuff I promised you to set up your free 30 minutes with Steph, who is extremely generous and everybody have a great day, thanks a lot.
Steph Thank you.
Originally published on November 1, 2017, updated May 14, 2020
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.