The past few years has seen a major trend for smaller retailers to sell their products via an online marketplace. An online marketplace is a place where buyers and sellers can interact and that fit seamlessly with a retailer’s existing brand. Amazon Marketplace is the biggest and best known, but many high street retailers now operate their own marketplace and two of the biggest e-commerce success stories in recent years are etsy and notonthehighstreet, both of which have a pure marketplace model.
Marketplaces offer a wonderful opportunity to reach a new audience, but the individual seller still needs to promote their marketplace store, just as they would if they had a physical store. Social media is perhaps the most effective way of doing this, but it’s not something that everyone is comfortable with. These is the best way of using social media to promote a store in an oline marketplace.
Don’t be scared
The first step is to put aside any trepidation you have and learn to embrace social media.The key is to simply be yourself and for your social media presence to reflect your store and the products you sell.
Select the social platforms that you think will work best for you – most likely Twitter or Facebook – and do a little background reading on each one first. Once you are ready to start, make sure you commit to regular updates, otherwise it is hard to communicate and engage. You shouldn’t be overly-promotional, just be welcoming, friendly and have fun.
Social content is your best friend
Shopping remains one of the most social activities, even online. People love to discuss purchases and get opinions from people they trust. The rise of social media has heralded a new era of social shopping, transposed from physical stores to online.
It’s something smaller retailers can deploy when promoting their marketplace stores, and at its heart is content. Do encourage customers to share photos, comments and more, extending the shopping experience by making it more collaborative and community-based.
SEO rules still apply
Most retailers are aware of at least the basic principles of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and those principals also apply to listing products on an online marketplace, and the promotion of those via social media.
For the marketplace listing, a seller should ask their marketplace account manager what would be an efficient title for SEO on their particular product category. For example, if looking for clothes a consumer would generally search by brand, so including that brand in the product title would be advantageous in getting picked up in searches. If you are tweeting or updating on Facebook or Instagram about a product, do the same.
Tie-in with the main retailer’s social media
If a retailer is serious about its marketplace it will offer on-going to all its sellers to help ensure their mutual on-going success. This includes via social media. But a smart seller will go beyond this and capitalise on any promotions that the retailer is doing. So in a rare UK heatwave, the retailer may do a social media push on beach accessories. When this happens, the seller should retweet and share updates, adding their own brief message. The retailer may well retweet that message, ensuring the seller reaches a much larger audience than just its own followers. Tagging the retailer’s social accounts in a seller’s own updates is also effective for generating retweets and new followers.
Social media is an effective and straight forward way of raising awareness of a marketplace store, and should be the first method of doing so, driving traffic and increasing sales.