Go for the Gold with your Social Postings

We all know what the biggest social event during this week has been the Olympics! If you’re anything like me you’re glued to the TV or your smart phone. I just can’t seem to stop checking for updates and pictures of all the glory in London. Here at ShopTab our goal is to make sure you reach gold with your Facebook store. If you’re not successful then we aren’t successful. So this week we wanted to give you another tip to take your Facebook shop to the winner’s podium to provide the social commerce value that you expected.

Did you know you can alter your social sharing text? When anyone tweets or shares your products from your Facebook store a default text appears. You have control over the captions that appear when someone socially shares your items. The Twitter default text currently says “Take a look at this product on Facebook.” If you have something more personal or a catchy phrase associated with your products then by all means add it! We are always talking about your social personality and this is an extension of that. How about, “This product rocks” or “You have to see this” as your introduction?  Don’t let all your efforts that you put into your social channels end with a default text not determined by you. Just remember Twitter limits you to 140 characters so keep it short and sweet.

 

Another avenue to explore your social personality and brand building is the “Share with Friends” feature. According to Harrison Kratz “you have to find a focus in your messaging and then communicate that message effectively to your community.” Since Twitter and Facebook are different social venues you can make the text different but make your messaging the same. Carry over your brand imaging while staying true to your social personality.

To edit your social text you will need to login to your ShopTab admin if you have an existing account. Once logged in click on your Settings tab then the Translate link. Now you can update your social text to what you see fit for your brand and store. If you don’t have an existing account be sure to check out our Plans and Pricing page to see what plan works best for you.

Our last tip of the week for your Facebook page is your application icon for your Facebook store. With the new Facebook timeline you can customize your application thumbnails. If you’ve spent a lot of time designing your timeline cover image and profile picture, then let the theme flow with your applications. In order to change your application thumbnail in Facebook you’ll want login to your Facebook account and click on your Business/Fan page. You will then see a dropdown box beside your applications; click on it and this will now activate a pencil icon when you hover over your application image. Click on the pencil icon and select Edit Settings. Bam you are now able to change your image.

Send us your creative application images as well as your creative Facebook stores! We’d love to see them and show them off in our upcoming posts.

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Holiday Shopping tips for your Facebook Shop

As July starts coming to a close the last thing on your mind is the holiday season. It’s still 100 degrees outside – how can anyone get in the seasonal spirit? Well as merchants you all know the value of getting your store fronts and products prepared early since what’s planned in July and August impacts sales in October, November, and December. This principal applies to social selling in your Facebook Shop as well.

Here is a quick rundown of things to think about to prevent your holidays from turning into a holidaze!

-          PRODUCTS: Start thinking about the products you want to place in your holiday store. Do you want to offer discounted products only or offer your products at full price with special impact? During the holiday season people start to go discount crazy, they expect sales and they’ll want sales. Now let’s look at the psychological aspect of a sale, it gives them instant gratification that they purchased something with just cause. It was on sale! You as a merchant don’t want to offer instant gratification you want to offer lifetime gratification for being a long-term customer. To achieve this you need to give your shopper a surprise impact, something that is meaningful to them or out of the ordinary. Andrianes Pinantoan a guest writer for FutureBuzz, offers a few ways to create the surprise:

  • Send a card wishing them a Happy Holidays with their shipment.
  • Give them a gift in their shipment, something that isn’t on your website or Facebook store.
  • Provide the product and don’t charge for shipping.
  • Upgrade their products if they can be upgraded.

-          PLACE: Think about where you want to present your products. Do you want to place them on multiple platforms or just offer specific products in your Facebook store or website only? Where is your audience at and what will draw the most attention?  Highlight products in your Facebook Shop that are oriented toward social sharing and conversation. Set up your social conversations prior to the holidays about these products to create awareness to a broader set of prospects.

-          PRESENTATION: Once your platform is chosen make sure you add a little festive flair to your Facebook Shop. Help people get in the holiday spirit, place holiday imagery and colors in your graphics. In your Facebook store you can change the coloring for your Buy Now buttons, and update your store banner. New social sellers that don’t have an existing website can use a Facebook Shop with an integrated PayPal checkout or even Cash on Delivery (COD) option to provide additional visibility to your products.

-          TIMING:  Research indicates that the online holiday shopping season is growing longer and retailers needs to focus on key peak buying periods. Bluekia has noted some very important days when holiday shoppers are making a majority of purchases.  Additionally, according to Internet Retailer, in 2011 over 50% of consumers said they would do their holiday shopping online.  The lesson for social sellers is that you need to manage your social activities, product focus, and conversations for extended periods of time this coming holiday season. Make sure you focus on those key dates when shoppers are highly motivated to buy.  Remember, social conversations are key elements in search engine algorithms. By engaging in those conversations early on you will benefit from ultimate search rankings.

-          AUDIENCE: This is an opportunity to build your long-term brand advocates. How you handle your holiday selling can impact your long-term sales. If you deliver great products coupled with great service that feeling will stick with your consumer. They will come back for the same experience again and again. To impact your brand building think of unique ways to market to the human nature of altruism.  According to Pinantoan, he suggests that instead of offering holiday discounts let the consumer know that a certain percentage of the proceeds will go to a charity. Or let them know that for every dollar spent a dollar will be donated to a specific cause.

Even though the summer season hasn’t even come to a close finalizing your holiday plan is critical. The earlier you tackle it the more time you will have to execute it. Let us know some of your favorite holiday promotions for our next blog post! Sound off below in the comment section or visit us on Facebook.

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Unique Sells in your Facebook Shop

Your job as a merchant and a marketer is to create a unique and engaging experience on all of your social media sites, you’re probably sitting there asking what does that mean? A unique experience is one that will “stick” with your customers, it’s memorable and out of the ordinary for them. In return, they won’t forget the experience and will create a lifetime advocate promoting your company and products to their friends and followers.

If you have an existing website then your social sites may be the place to let your hair down, relax, and be yourself. Your goal in social networks is all about the two-way communication and engagement. It’s your chance to let your personality come through. You don’t sell to your friends do you? Most of the time no! You listen to them and communicate with them. They tell you their funny stories and vise versa. So why would you want to sell to your “Friends/Fans” on Facebook? They don’t want to be sold to, they want a social experience. Sure you can remind them from time to time that you are selling on Facebook as well but the more you interact with them the better chance you will have at turning them into real fans. I’m reminded of a friend’s recent casual discussion while playing golf with a business associate that led to a purchase of a piece of real estate. The intent of the game was social and fun. However, the discussion provided context for an opportunity that he wasn’t aware of but was highly interested in. The context for the purchase was driven by a conversation, interesting product and a relationship that already validated their commitment through their purchase. 

So how do you create a unique experience? Do you have an interesting hobby or job, if so share it. Are you funny? Yes, then create a daily joke that’s tasteful and appropriate for all audiences. Into fashion or food then share your passion. Have cute animals? Share your pictures and stories, everyone loves adorable animal pictures. These personal things make you relatable to your audience; they are now communicating with a human, not a computer.

Now that you have their attention you want to integrate your products into the mix to remind your audience that you have a social shop, key word is “social.” If you started to engage your fans by introducing pictures of cute, furry animals then use that to your advantage with your products. For example, if you sell jeans then post pictures of dogs wearing your jeans or just wearing jeans with a caption that says “Think these look good on him, imagine what they could do for you! Shop today in our Facebook store by clicking on your Shop app icon.” You have now successfully been engaging, sociable, and a marketer all at one time. Get creative this is the fun part figuring out how to share your products with your personality thrown in.

You are now creating a unique experience that customers will remember. Many times your products aren’t highly unique so you have to stand out from the crowd.  If people associate you with the dog jean pictures then you have successfully stuck with them. And they are more likely to share it with their friends who share those interests.  It’s time to build on the experience, branch out and post things that are relatable to your unique content. Start to build your niche.

Once you have built your experience make sure you maintain it, you don’t want to drop off the face of the earth. All your efforts will have been wasted. Stay consistent and reliable your fans will reward you for it. Do you have a favorite brand you like to follow because they’re out of the ordinary? If so let us know in the comments below.

Image link: http://donnainjapan.blogspot.com/2012/06/dog-child.html#!/2012/06/dog-child.html

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ShopTab’s Facebook Store Releases Option for Cash Transactions

Social Commerce typically implies online commerce. However, this doesn’t work for all merchants, products or worldwide economies.  Consider that you may be a merchant that creates custom items for your clients so a Facebook store with a Buy Now button with PayPal Checkout won’t work well for you. You would rather contact them first to find out what they would like you to make then bill them for your work. Or you’re a merchant in a country where cash is still the dominant commerce option and your clients don’t have credit cards or PayPal accounts. How do you participate in the amazing marketing and revenue opportunity offered by Social Commerce? Until today, you couldn’t very easily. That changed today with ShopTab’s new Cash on Delivery (COD) option.

Instead of taking payments through PayPal or directing your customers back to an e-commerce website, you can set up a solution for your clients to engage with your products via the valuable social tools such as a (Like, Share, Tweet & Pin) AND let them tell you what they want before they make a purchase. Once your customers click on the COD button located on your Facebook store they will be taken to a COD form page. This form provides them the opportunity to outline the products that they intend to buy via cash upon your delivery.  You have the opportunity to immediately contact them and complete the details for finalizing the purchase.

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The COD form is fully translatable into any language as well as customizable. Once the customer completes the form you will receive an e-mail that lets you know someone has submitted a COD form. The order information will also be displayed in your Sales Report that can be found under your COD tab in your ShopTab admin. It will provide details for the desired product as well as all contact and delivery information for you to complete the transaction.

 

Once the COD form is submitted by the customer they will receive a confirmation e-mail that lets them know their order has been received and will be contacted in regards to payment and delivery. They will also be provided with your contact information should they ever need to get in touch with you.

This feature is available in all store subscription options from ShopTab.  For a full technical document on how to set up the COD option for your Facebook shop please visit our support page for COD Installation and Application. 

One of our early users is the Garden Crate. They custom build each garden for their clients. An online checkout option, like PayPal or a website, didn’t make sense for them since they need to discuss the unique color, sizing requirements, and delivery needs prior to finalizing the order.

“We love Shoptab! The ability to easily add this to our Facebook page and create a Cash on Delivery purchase is perfect for us since our orders are highly customized and local, plus, we need to  work with our clients on the appropriate delivery or pick-up option. Shoptab is a easy and cost effective way to get business from Facebook consumers.” - Dean M. Owner of The Garden Crate

Selling online doesn’t always mean finishing the sale with a credit card or PayPal payment. Can you think of instances where this can help merchants that typically can’t sell online but could use the Facebook store to increase the engagement with their clients?

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Top 5 Ways to Merchandise your Facebook Store

 

Are you showcasing your products the best way possible, or at least think you are? A Facebook store is a lot like an eCommerce site so when it comes down to highlighting and merchandising your products there are a few rules of the road we suggest to increase your sales.

1) Make sure you have turned on your social buttons. You are on a social network for crying out loud so allow your fans to share your products! Encourage them to share or tweet about your products.

2) Choose the best layout for your products. Your website or Facebook store’s job is to make sure your products look the best they possibly can. For some ShopTab stores that may be a timeline grid layout, for others a timeline stacked layout. Greg Beldam from Shopify.com in an interview with Mashable states, that it is best to use features that “complement and balance the product.”

3) One of the most important parts of your store is your imagery, this is the visual snapshot for your customers to determine if they like or love your products. With your Facebook shop the one image that is displayed in your store has to make a statement. Hint: you want to double check that you are actually pulling an image before you’re done editing your product. We have recently released a new feature that allows the user to hover over your image and it becomes larger, keep this in mind especially for the image size upload. Now that the images can appear larger you have a chance to get creative with your imagery. For example, you can create a picture that has multiple shots of your product.

 

 

4) We have talked in the past about using your Buy Now button for different calls to action for your fans. Nothing is worse than having someone click on a link and it sends them either nowhere or to the wrong place. Check your URL’s to make sure you are sending your customers to the correct place. Also think about changing the coloring of your call to action buttons, according to Beldam “Make call-to-action buttons stand out by being bright and colorful.”

5) Lastly you want to make a lasting impression with your images while leaving them wanting more with your product description. For ShopTab clients that have an existing eCommerce site the product description can continue on to their website after 400 characters for the timeline grid layout and 500 characters for the timeline stacked layout. But if you are using PayPal for payments then you don’t really have a place for your customers to go when your product description ends. Also, follow some words of wisdom from Beldam and create a hierarchy for the information that is most important, sometimes less is more.

This simple checklist will help you to optimize your selling opportunities. We look forward to hearing what you think so let us know if you have any ideas that we should add.

 

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Taking your Facebook Store to the Finish Line at Daytona

 

Daytona International Speedway has been using ShopTab’s Facebook Shop since March of 2011. During that short period of time, they have seen their social interactions and Facebook Shop visits grow dramatically. Not only are they a well-known national brand that draws in the highly passionate racing audience to their page but they also do a fantastic job of getting to know their fans through continued engagement. They understand the unique value for participating in social networks and creating new experiences based on the nature of this channel.

Great marketing organizations realize that social media efforts will require a clear strategy and measured success in hard ROI. Daytona’s team has been very focused on driving up overall website visits and using Facebook as a quality source for this traffic.  Since 2009, their referrals from Facebook alone to their website for race information, merchandise purchases and ticket sales have exploded, as noted below.

 

Tell us a little bit about your company:

Daytona International Speedway is the home of “The Great American Race” — the Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 is the biggest, richest and most prestigious race in America and annually kicks off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Although the Daytona 500 garners most of the attention, the enormous 480-acre motorsports complex boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe — earning it the title of “World Center of Racing.”

Why do you feel clients buy from you?

Clients buy from Daytona International Speedway because the track is incredibly rich in history and coming here to watch a race is an experience unlike any other in the world.

What do you feel sets you apart from your competitors?

The variety of races held at Daytona International Speedway appeal to a diverse group of race fans and sports enthusiasts all over the world. There is something for everyone and events are held year-round. From NASCAR and GRAND-AM racing in February and July to motorcycle racing in October and March there is never a dull moment.

When did you start engaging with clients in social networks like Facebook and Twitter?

We launched our twitter account on 5/13/2009 and while we had a Facebook account with a small following prior to 2009 we didn’t have an active plan for engagement until about the same time we launched our twitter account in May of 2009.

How has your thinking changed in terms of using social marketing?

While our social marketing approach continues to evolve, one idea remains the same. We continue to maintain a strong focus on being where our fans are, and currently our fans are on social media. Using social media as a marketing tool has given us a new way to connect with fans on a more personal level.

What are your biggest lessons and success stories

It is important to provide consistent reminders to a growing social audience that tickets can be purchased using the ShopTab Store so they are aware that this user-friendly feature is available throughout the year for all of the race events held at Daytona International Speedway.

Why did you decide to deploy a Facebook store with your social marketing?

Our main goal is to sell tickets. It seemed like a huge miss not to include that side of our business on the social front.

What have you learned about engaging your fans with you Facebook store?

Fans are buying. If they are not buying, they are at the very least clicking and gathering information about our events.

How do you gauge success with social commerce and your overall social marketing?

We refer back to the following goals: Are we engaging our fans? Are we making connections? Are we providing them something of value that only we can deliver? If we can answer yes to these questions then I think we are experiencing success.

Is there one program, campaign or tactic that provides a good story for the impact of social marketing for your organization that you can share?

Car Town, a game that allows users to race at DIS and build their own customized garage, has resulted in a steady stream of traffic to the DIS Facebook page due to the inclusion of a like button within the gaming platform.

 

      

Are there any brands, companies or experts that you follow to help you improve your strategies and tactics? If yes, why do you focus on them?

From what I’ve read, a lot of big brands have pulled out of social eCommerce stores because they weren’t seeing any results. We’re seeing results with minimal effort on our end. Shop Tab makes the process easy for both the business and the consumer. It’s a win/win for us.

We really appreciate the opportunity to learn from Joann Mantovani, the Senior Manager of Advertising and Promotions, and Lane Gauntt, Interactive Marketing Specialist at Daytona International Speedway. How can you learn from their successful focus of making sure they are where their customers are?

 

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Google Product Search Changes Approach for Retailers

 

We want to provide an important notice to our Facebook shop retailers that have an online shopping website.  A few weeks ago, Google announced that they will be moving to a paid inclusion model of the current Google Product Search which will now become Google Shopping. So in English what does this mean for you? Simply stated you will now have to pay, for what has been free in the past, to have your products appear in the dedicated shopping search engine and Google Shopping boxes. Many merchants submit their product feed through Google Merchant Center in order for their products to be eligible for inclusion in Google Product Search. This can result in higher search rankings and sales.

According to a blog post released by Google, Sameer Samat states that this change will result in a better shopping experience for the shopper by providing these buyers the highest quality data that in turn will create quality traffic for the merchants. Well that just sounds dandy, especially for Google now that they are charging for the service, but is it worth a retailer paying for it is the big question.

“If your keyword search traffic on a particular product or type of products convert at a good ROI, then you can expect similar patterns in Google Shopping,” as stated by Kurt Krake president of Search-Werks. In order to understand the traffic that you currently get from the Google Product Search you will need to take a look at your analytics. Do you see any traffic coming from this area of Google, are they paying customers or just browsing? When you can answer those questions then you will know if it’s worth taking money out of your marketing budget to showcase your products in Google Shopping.

The transition won’t be complete until this fall so you have some time to figure out how you want to approach this situation. Google is also offering incentives:

          Merchants that create product listings by August 15th, 2012 will receive a monthly 10% credit for their total Product Listing Ads through 2012

          Existing Google Product Search Merchants will get $100 AdWords credit if they fill out a form before August 15th, 2012.

The good news is that this won’t impact your product listings in your Facebook store or overall selling in Facebook. Continued promotion of your products, increased engagement tactics and use of social sharing will help to improve your overall search engine rankings through increases in your social authority, potentially off-setting some of this impact.

Successful online retailers need to manage all elements of their traffic to drive sales and obtain a quality ROI on marketing activities for their website and Facebook shop. At ShopTab, we value your overall online success and don’t want to see our clients hit by an unexpected drop in quality referrals from Google. Many of us will see just how reliant we are on Google Shopping for traffic later this fall when they make the change.  Have you taken a look at your analytics to see if this will impact you?

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Five Important Tips to Increase your Brand Engagement in Facebook

 

When you started out developing your Facebook page I bet you didn’t think your main goal would be to build a community. You likely wanted to be on a social channel that everyone was talking about and telling you to be on. Now you realize that to be impactful with your clients and for your business results it takes more than just posting a few times a week. According to AdAge only 1% of Facebook fans engage with a brand page on any given month. We believe this is a reflection of focusing on the wrong metrics like page traffic or number of likes and NOT focusing on your overall brand engagement.

So how do you get your users to engage with your brand and ultimately come to your fan page, especially if you are working in a small niche where competition is fierce?  First off let’s define a community on a Facebook page? A community is a place where fans can go with similar interests to share thoughts and ideas while creating and building relationships. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? For most companies a fan page ends up being a one-sided conversation with a small audience – and that is where you get the 1% of visits. In the end, this doesn’t build a community.

How do you build a quality community for your brand? We asked some of our clients that have extremely active fans and stores. One of our most engaged client communities has over 36,000 fans serving a very narrow market niche. They continue to draw people into their brand and create an environment where they not only can authentically interact with their customers but their fans are increasingly engaging other fans.

Here are their top 5 tips for increasing your overall community engagement:

-       Some of the best engagement posts are unique and have a deadline. When you give someone something compelling to read, a reason to act and add on a timeframe you will get a higher response rate. Their high engagement has created an environment where their fans are seeing their promotions and have a reason to act.

-       They don’t like to do a lot of promotional posts because they don’t want to run the risk of their page looking “too spammy.” They understand that community comes first and there has to be a balance between community and selling activities.

-       They carefully monitor their Facebook page every day. If someone has interacted with their brand a timely response is required.

-       Their best-promoted posts are recipes, it offers engagement, may provide some inspiration, gives a reason to purchase their products, and the fan will come back later after they have used the recipe to tell others what they think.

-       One of the main keys to building a community is to work with other fan pages that may be similar to yours. You can’t be afraid of interacting with similar sites since your clients are likely already doing so. This will signal your fans that you respect their need for more information or products than you may be able to provide to them.

Tell us your best ideas on engaging your fans with your brand.

 

 

 

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