5 Fun Ways to Drive Social Media Traffic to Your Online Shop

  •    Carrie is a designer and content marketer. She works promoting the Roanoke Region of Virginia and has more than 10 years of media and marketing experience.

Posting to social media shouldn't be a drag. It can actually be a fun way to drive traffic to your online shop. The more your product shows up in social media feeds, the more “touch points" a potential customer has with the items you are trying to sell. Also, shoppers will see products in their natural environments, and might feel inclined to buy something that their friends (or people they follow) are promoting.

Here are five ways to use social media traffic to capture a bigger audience for your online store.

1. Run a Contest

​A fun contest is a great way to drive users to take part on social media. From sharing photos of themselves with your products to participating in challenges to earn coupons codes or free swag, social media gives customers the ideal platform to interact with your products and share their experiences with their followers.

The contest can also serve as a way to help collect user information such as email addresses, so you can connect with customers long after the contest ends. You can run contests right on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram and monitor them yourself or use third-party software such as Woobox, Rafflecopter or Social Boost (available as a Weebly App).

Why it works: A contest helps drive mentions and promote images of your product during a specific timeframe with a certain hashtag. Remember to watch sales during that period to see if there is a noticeable bump.

2. Work With a Brand "Celebrity"

While Kim Kardashian probably isn't going to tweet about your line of candles or fitness bars anytime soon, you can still benefit from having a brand celebrity. Start with someone who is well-known in your niche market or turn one of your employees into a stellar spokesperson on social media.

The “celebrity" just needs to have some star power – think a member of a local sports team or a favorite DJ from a popular radio station. They also need a connection to your product.

Why it works: Brand celebrities can enhance the cool factor of your product, making it more desirable. They also tend to have more reach than other social media users in the community and can get your products in front of more people more quickly.

3. Make the Most of Instagram

While most online shops have a presence on Facebook, many tend to forget about Instagram. The photo-sharing social network doesn't make it as easy to share and track conversions – the only place a link appears is in the profile, but the platform can still be quite valuable.

To get the most out of Instagram as a sales tool, consider running a mix of sponsored (paid) posts and organic imagery. This will ensure more users see your products and provide the bonus of linking with paid posting.

Why it works: Instagram is a very visual channel with content that's highly compelling. A good picture really is worth 1,000 words when it comes to enticing online shoppers. Just remember to include a logo or caption that reinforces your sales message.

4. Come Up With a Mascot to Sell Your Brand

Some of the most well-known brands in the world have a mascot that helps sell – Tony the Tiger, Ronald McDonald and the Charmin bear, to name a few. Create your own mascot to serve as a spokesperson for your brand and product line.

Have fun with the character's personality and make sure the mascot is something that evokes emotion from your customer base. Why would they relate to the mascot? Does it explain how to use a product or make a potential customer remember your brand later?

Why it works: The almost child-like nature of a mascot is fun and lighthearted. It doesn't associate a product or brand with a specific type of person, particularly with a mascot that is cartoon- or animal-based. Rather, it creates a lasting impression so users remember your brand or product.

5. Create a Cheat Sheet of When and What to Post

You need a social media schedule. Posting is an art form and not just something you do randomly. Posting random things at random times will yield random results.

Create a cheat sheet that includes at least one post per day. Map it out a month in advance so you have plenty of content. Then schedule posts at once, creating a consistent campaign that's relatively worry free until you run out of social media material. With pre-scheduled content, you'll only have to think about messages or direct mentions as they come in, and not feel dizzied by the need to post all day long while trying to do other tasks.

Why it works: Consistency is the key to social media traffic. Users will want to hear from you, but not too much. Social network algorithms also reward users who post with some frequency and with somewhat predicable patterns. A schedule will help you remember to post and keep you organized.

Conclusion

Don't forget that the most important word in social media is "social." Plan to interact with users in a way that's interesting, engaging and fun. It will help drive a following, brand loyalty and hopefully sales. Good luck!