[intro] Before you begin this guide, you should ensure that you have installed the Social Plugins feature and created social media accounts to promote your EKM online shop. When you have completed this guide, you will have developed a plan for what content you need to create, how to publish it online and how to link your content to any applicable trending hashtags or events. [/intro]

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Your Social Media Strategy is your plan for what content you are going to create and how you are going to share it across your different social media accounts. Before you begin posting content it’s important to develop your strategy to ensure that your social media presence serves the purposes of:

  1. Making it easy for new customers to find you, your Products and your EKM online shop;
  2. Providing different routes for customers to contact you with any queries they have;
  3. Creating backlinks across lots of different platforms to gain weight with search engines, and in turn, display higher in search results;
  4. Creating a foundation of an online presence ideal for investing in paid advertising - such as Google Adwords - at a later date.

Essentially, you are trying to grow an awareness of your brand and Products organically. ‘Organically’ means that you will gain interest, follows, reviews, and interaction on the different social media platforms over time without investing any money into paid advertising; this will then naturally populate the internet with lots of links back to your EKM online shop.

Identifying your customers

Before you begin to sketch up your Social Media Strategy, it’s important that you identify your own customers - they’re the target market for your Products, and anything you publish on social media should appeal to them. Get yourself a pen and paper and you can begin to create your Social Media Strategy.

Look at the demographics of customers you have had at your EKM online shop so far. Are they old, young or middle-aged? Any specific gender? What are they interested in? What kind of lifestyle do you think they have? What other kinds of products will these people buy apart from the ones you sell? What will they watch on television? Where will they visit online? Where will they go on their holidays? Are they parents with children? What kind of education do they have? What kind of job will they have?

Once you’ve considered these questions, you should have a better idea of the kind of content you need to draw potential customers to your EKM online shop via your social media presence.

Your next step now you’ve identified the characteristics of your ideal customer is to use Google for suggestions as to the kind of things your ideal customer is looking for. Type the name or type of Product you sell into Google, but don’t press enter, instead, note the searches that other users have entered previously to look for the kind of topics your target customers are interested in and want to know about.

For example, if I own a website that sells argan oil, I type ‘argan oil’ into Google:

The results I see from my search could all potentially be blog posts, as people interested in argan oil are also interested using argan oil on their face, on their hair and quite a few people want to know the benefits of using argan oil. Replicate this exercise yourself with some of your most popular products and you should be able to make a list of potential blog topics to add to your existing notes.

You should now have a list of subjects that you can easily blog about which involve your Products and are of interest to your target customers. You next step is to create very rough drafts using this Guide, which will help you plan the title and content of each individual post. You then need to ascertain if there are any trending topics online which you can relate to your blog posts and Products and a good way of doing this is to work from a Social Media Calendar.

Social Media Calendars & Weekly Hashtags

Social Media Calendars can be found online for each year, and are a calendar of events that are celebrated on social media. Some events are UK only, whilst some of them are worldwide. Some events are simply for social media or charity purposes (Fair Trade Fortnight and Talk Like A Pirate Day), whilst others are legitimate holidays, such as Halloween and Christmas Day. If you click here, you can see the first in a series of blog posts on the EKM Blog where we've listed social media events expected to trend month by month. 

Social Media Calendars are used to plan content for a company or an individual based on a theme or trending event. The goal is to create quality content based on the event and publish it on social media to take advantage of the online traffic and steer potential customers towards your brand and your Products. 

Planning your Social Media

1. Find four topics using Google suggestions for you to blog about that month, which will give you a theme for each week.

2. See if you can relate the blog posts to any of the events on the Social Media Events Calendar. If you can, this will help you decide what order you should publish your blog posts in to relate them to the trending event that week.

3. Write your blog posts and schedule them to publish around 11am on Mondays. Ensure the post contains links to the relevant Product or Category Pages on your EKM online shop where possible.

4. Use the Weekly Hashtags list to find hashtags to use on your tweets. Bear in mind that some of your tweets can advertise to your blog post for that week. If your blog post is published on a Monday, you can tweet about the blog post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, rewording the tweet slightly each time. This is known as 'recycling'. 

5. Use your Weekly Hashtags list to plan your Instagram posts for the week. If you have a blog post out on a Monday, you should create an image related to this blog post on Monday with related hashtags listed beneath it. You could create different images related to your blog post and publish these on Wednesday and Friday, however make sure that the images differ and do not consist of too much text, otherwise this could be regarded as 'spammy'. See Recycling Your Posts below.

6. Post a link to the blog post itself on your Facebook Page, and pin it to the top of the Page for the week, until you have published your next blog post - this ensures that Facebook users will see the link to the post when they visit your page and the original status update will not get lost in the newsfeed.

7. As well as blog posts, see if you can link other aspects of your EKM online shop to trending hashtags and social media events to promote more than just blog posts; new product lines, behind-behind-the-scenes, offers and discounts all work well.

Social Media Best Practices

DO:

  1. Prepare your tweets and posts in advance to ensure you have a clear theme for what you’re posting each month
  2. Create images for your tweets and Facebook Page status updates - updates with images make a bigger impact! For Twitter, shared images need to be 440 pixels wide by 220 pixels high and for your Facebook Page, shared images need to be 1200 pixels wide by 627 pixels high - although these will be shrunken down for some viewers, so if you use text make sure it’s not too small.
  3. Remember quality over quantity - don’t publish updates without purpose! It is best to post fewer quality updates which are related to hashtags and events strongly, rather than try and attach your brand tenuously to lots of different hashtags and events all at once.
  4. Use your social media to promote new Products, new services, offers, promotions and discounts as well as your blog post for the week.
  5. Take some time to get to know the communities on each platform. Ensure you regularly log into each social media platform and follow accounts within your physical locality, as well as accounts who run businesses which are complementary to your own. Retweet, Like and comment as much as possible to encourage others to come and visit you.
  6. Spell check everything before it is posted - bad punctuation and grammar can put off potential customers.

DON’T:

  1. Use any forms of cursing or profanity within your content.
  2. Get involved with posting or commenting on political or controversial subjects. Your voice on social media is there to promote your Products and your brand.
  3. Just post links to your Products with basic 'buy me' text. This doesn't engage potential customers.
  4. Get involved in online arguments. If you have a customer who has an issue, try and deal with them privately in direct messages, or even better, ask for their number to call them and speak to them personally; this will quickly negate any hostility and encourage them to leave positive feedback.

Recycling Your Posts

‘Recycling’ is where you reword a tweet or an update to advertise the same link more than once. For example, if I write a blog post called ‘Everything you need to know about Argan Oil’, I could link to the blog post in a tweet, like this:

  • ‘New blog out today! Everything you need to know about #arganoil - in the world of beauty, it’s the new black! [www.linktomyblogpost.co.uk] #happymonday’

I could then write more tweets, which all link to the same blog post, but which I publish at different times:

  • ‘It’s #mothersday this Sunday, why not treat that amazing lady in your life with a sumptuous Argan Oil set? #sundaytreat [www.linktomyblogpost.co.uk]
  • ‘Blotchy skin and tired eyes? Argan oil can resolve this and much more too! Check out our blog [www.linktomyblogpost.co.uk] #sundayblogshare’
  • ‘What are the benefits of using Argan Oil? There’s tons of reasons for getting yourself a bottle of this year’s beauty must-have! [linktomyblogpost.co.uk] #arganoil #twitterbeauty’

All of the tweets are written differently and contain different hashtags while all promoting the same blog post. Recycling tweets like this ensures maximum exposure for my blog post as each hashtag reaches out to different audiences on Twitter.

You can also recycle your Instagram posts in the same way, but this requires for you to produce separate images for each different version of the post:

  • ‘The Argan tree (Argania spinosa) bears fruit which is where argan oil comes from. It can be used for your skin, hair, nails, face and has a whole host of benefits. If you’ve not discovered this must-have product yet, you need to! Read more on our blog, link in bio #arganoil #instagrambeauty #tuesdaytruth #tuesdaytreat #feelgoodtuesday


This first post includes text to indicate the name of the blog post and the domain name of the blog is of course listed in my Instagram bio. I can then create the following images:

  • ‘With hair this long and this thick, you need to give it some extra care. Argan oil can be used to tame unruly hair and is ideal for getting it all under control. Link in bio for this week’s post - Everything you ever needed to know about Argan Oil - to learn more and get that frizzy mane back on your side! #arganoil #instabeauty #instagood #wednesdaytreat’

  • ‘Although it’s miserable and wet outside, over in #Morocco, our Argan Trees are growing nicely! There’s plenty of benefits when using #arganoil on your hair and skin - our latest blog lists them all! See bio for link #arganoilserum #arganoilmorocco #instabeauty #thursdaytherapy #thursdaytruth #thursdaypic

  • ‘Not only can it be used to remove even the thickest makeup, but it makes an excellent face mask too! Read about the benefits of #arganoil in our blog, link in bio #pampered #facial #pampering #facialoil #pamperday #fridayoff #feelgoodfriday

Each of my posts all make reference to the blog within the caption, but I’ve ensured that just one image contains text referring to the name of the post. Each of the posts features a different image, but all are based on the theme of my blog post. I’ve then used different hashtags for each; you can use up to thirty hashtags within your caption, but this is not always necessary. It’s also worth mentioning too that you should not add exactly the same hashtags to each post as this can result in users not seeing all of your posts.

You can recycle your posts on all social media platforms if you space out the recycled posts with standard posts. This provides variety for your followers and ensures you’re not constantly trying to promote one item - the goal of social media is to promote the Products and the brand and not just a singular blog post.

Automating your Social Media

Obviously, as your EKM online shop gets busier, you won’t have a lot of time to spare logging into your social media accounts to promote your Products and your brand, so with that in mind, you should consider using third-party sites to automate your publishing. This is especially useful as you can write your Tweets and gather together your blog posts and Instagram images and upload these at the start of the calendar month, and if you get unexpectedly busy, or ‘life happens’ you can rest assured that your content will still be published online with minimal effort required.

Hootsuite - Here you can automate up to three social media profiles in the one place, with Analytics provided so you can see how well your published content is being received. 

Tailwind - You can use Tailwind to schedule your pins and with Tailwind Tribes you can quickly identify content and accounts in your niche that will help increase your reach on Pinterest.

Later - Here you can connect and schedule one social media profile for free without having to upgrade your account. With a free account, you can publish up to 30 Instagram posts per month, 50 tweets per month, 30 Facebook Page statuses or 30 pins on Pinterest, with basic analytics so you can gauge how well your content is doing. 

Dlvr.it - This platform allows you to automate one Social Media Profile for free. Choose from Facebook Pages, Twitter, Pinterest, G+ and LinkedIn. If you wish to connect and automate more than one social media profile, you will need to upgrade your account. There is a free seven-day trial to experience all of the features which you may want to experiment with.  

Twuffer - If you've opened a Twitter account, Twuffer will allow you to schedule one tweet per day for free. This is useful as you're getting started, and if you wish to automate more tweets to be published on a daily basis, you need to upgrade your account. 

Lightful - If your EKM online shop is for a charity or non-profit organisation, this platform will allow you to schedule Tweets, Facebook Page updates and LinkedIn Pages.

[tips] When you're getting started on social media, especially if you wish to automate some of your content, it's a good idea to keep a notebook specifically for this purpose. You can use it to plan topics and content, but more importantly, keep a note of which of your social media accounts are linked to each platform for automation. This ensures that you won't get lost in logins![/tips]

Further Support

Once you have begun to build an organic following around your social media profiles, you may want to consider investing in paid advertising online, which specifically targets potential customers who are not just using social media but that are also viewing other types of websites and search engines with the view to buying a product. 

If this is something you would like to get started with but you don't know where to begin, please get in contact with us! Our dedicated PPC Management Team can create and manage an advertising campaign, tailored to your products and your budget. Simply contact CusCustomer Support and ask to speak to the PPC Management Team. 

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]