Why Social Media is Essential For Dropshipping Success
Are you one of the many entrepreneurs out there gearing up to start a dropshipping business?
If so, there’s something you need to know.
Social media marketing can’t be simply left as an after-thought if you’re going to succeed in a world where everything we do is tweeted, liked, and shared.
Yet the truth, however, is that many home-based business owners do just that – creating a Facebook page or setting up Pinterest boards only after they’ve launched their business, then diving into a desperate scramble to build a following and make social media work for them.
Needless to say, it rarely does. At least not when this approach is taken. For most business owners, it’s a case of too little, too late.
If you’re really going to make money dropshipping and actually be successful at it, social media needs to be integrated into everything you do, right from the word go.
Look, I know what you’re thinking:
Surely the process of setting up your website -or finding an existing online business for sale and buying that- adding products and attracting your first customers is far more important than playing around on Facebook?
Sure, all those things should take priority over ‘playing around,’ but as a serious entrepreneur, you’re not here to play. You’re to here to create effective sources of passive income that can lead to greater freedom in terms of both your time and your finances.
With that in mind, social media is every bit as important as your products, your domain name, and all those other essential elements that you’ll need to create a successful home-based business.
In fact, platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (among countless others) can prove to be invaluable tools long before you even get your new business off the ground.
Not sure how?
Let me explain:
Early Research and Identifying Your Niche
Of all the social media tools at a home-based business owner’s disposal, the ones that are often overlooked the most are trending topics and search features.
Long before you even start a dropshipping business, these tools can prove exceptionally useful in helping you discover a niche market that will be profitable, identify who your key customers are, and how you can best give those customers what they want.
As the company that arguably invented the concept of trending topics, Twitter is the ideal platform for listening in to the conversations people are having about the niche you’re planning to market to.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re thinking of starting an online clothing business. Twitter’s trending topics, moments, and search features can help you discover the kind of styles and garments that are most in-demand. Naturally, this kind of information can prove invaluable when it comes to making decisions about which dropship wholesalers to partner with, and which lines to stock when you do eventually set up your online boutique.
You can also use these tools to discover what customers are saying about similar businesses.
When listening into Twitter conversations about your niche, be sure to ask critical questions such as:
What do customers like about the stores they currently shop at?
How can I emulate those likeable factors in my own business to help me make money dropshipping?
What is it that customers don’t like? What do I need to avoid?
What are customers not getting from existing online stores that I can provide for them, therefore developing my own niche market and carving out a unique, marketable identify in what may already be a heavily-competitive space?
Of course, you’re not just limited to Twitter. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube and scores of other social media marketing tools all have search functions that can be used to help you create a winning strategy for your new store.
Start Building a Brand Before You Launch
With your early research and planning all taken care of, you’re now ready to get stuck into the hard work of actually starting your dropshipping business.
Unless you’re going down the route of purchasing an online business for sale and hitting the ground running, this typically means spending no inconsiderable amount of time building your online store and taking care of all the countless tasks that go into starting an online store.
Trust me, there are few things worse than investing all that hard work, time, and money only to launch your new business on a world which -quite frankly- either doesn’t know -or simply doesn’t care- that you exist.
Yet without at least some level of pre-launch marketing, that’s essentially when you’ll end up.
Social media plays a vital role here, empowering you with the tools you need to start building a brand long before you go-live with your dropshipping website so that when you do finally launch, your customers don’t just know about it, they’re actually excited about it.
Again, let’s use the example of starting an online clothing business.
To borrow an old cliche, the only limit to the possibilities is your own imagination, and the best part of all, is that most of them won’t cost you anything.
You could start by building Pinterest boards to show off the kind of collections you’ll be selling in your online boutique, using appropriate keywords to get them noticed, and well-written accompanying text inviting potential customers to follow you for details about when their favourite items from your Pinterest boards are available for sale.
You could reveal ‘exclusive’ previews of new products on Instagram, again using relevant keywords to start building an audience. Using this approach to pre-launch marketing actually has another hidden benefit besides showcasing your upcoming lines.
It helps you gauge reaction to your products and get some idea as to which products are likely to prove the most popular when you launch your new business.
If, for example, you have one outfit with 200 Instagram likes and a second with only half that amount, then that’s a clear indication that the outfit with 200 likes should be promoted more prominently than the other one in order to drive sales.
Another handy tip for Instagram is to include a link to a landing page from each of your posts. On this landing page, place a form so that visitors can subscribe to a newsletter and get alerted when you launch your store.
Social media marketing can also be used to develop a loyal following with Facebook and Twitter.
In the weeks leading up to your big launch day, share ‘countdown’ posts with an attractive visual, and perhaps even offer people a 10% discount when they like and share your posts and/or subscribe to your newsletter.
That way, your existing audience do a lot of the hard work for you, sharing your content among their own social networks and reaching a far greater audience than you could on your own.
Losing 10% of every sale in the early days of your business might not seem ideal, but compared to other marketing methods, its’ a very low-cost way to build up an initial customer base who are likely to come back to you time and time again, meaning you’ll ultimately recoup that small loss many times over.
Building a Brand and Driving Traffic Post-Launch
Of course, it’s all well and good talking about using social media to build an audience when you’re first getting started, but what if you’re already well past that stage?
What if you’ve come to this article after already getting your new drop shipping website off the ground? Of if you’re planning to go down the route of sourcing an online business for sale and starting there?
If that’s the case, you’re actually in a great position to start using social media to its full potential in driving traffic to your website and building up a loyal following of repeat customers.
There’s literally scores of ways to do this, but whichever one you choose, it pays to remember the one golden rule of social media:
Think about all the ads you see on a daily basis.
From television commercials to billboards, flyers, leaflets, and yes, a plethora of advertising on just about any website
you care to mention, we’re bombarded with advertising so much these days that most of us simply tune it out.
On social media, that ‘tuning out’ basically involves unfollowing, muting, or completely blocking your account, ultimately leaving all your efforts useless.
You don’t need me to tell you what a colossal waste of time and energy that can be.
So no, you’re not going to get very far if you simply blast your social media follows with one ad after another. Even
those ads are out-of-this-world amazing, they’re eventually going to become so repetitive that your audience just stops paying caring, especially when they’ve got so many other things competing for their attention.
If it’s not cute cat pictures, the latest viral video, or meme competing for their likes and shares, it’s news, posts from
celebrities, and even competing for eCommerce businesses.
So in order to make your drop shipping website stand out from the crowd, you’re going to have to create content which is so compelling that it stops users mid-scroll and makes them simply unable to resist interacting with you, be it via likes, shares, comments, retweets, or whatever the platform of your choice allows.
Users are far more likely to interact with your social media channels if you include pictures in your posts, but even this isn’t a guaranteed method for success if those posts don’t in some way add value to your readers.
Let’s go back to our example of starting an online clothing store. You could ask customers to share selfies with them
wearing the new outfits they purchased from you, which you then include in a video or gallery. You could post a blog or infographics with advice about this season’s fashion must-haves, or you could even use live streaming features on Facebook and Youtube to interact with your customers in real time, answering questions about your products, your business, or fashion in general.
Likewise, if you’re starting a dropshipping business selling gardening products, you could create graphics which provide tips on growing plants, How-Tos and tutorials, or testimonials from your customers about what a difference your products have made to their garden.
Again, the only limit is the extent of your own creativity. As long as you stick to the golden rule and remember to sell
less and engage more, social media can be the most powerful tool at your disposal for driving traffic to your website and building your brand.
As any experienced home-based business owner will tell you, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has an important role to play in ensuring that people searching for keywords related to your niche and your products can find your website on major search engines like Google and Bing.
Over the years, Google has reworked the algorithm it uses to determine how sites should rank in organic search results multiple times over, each one adjusting to meet the ever-evolving way that customers search the web.
Over time, that algorithm has been reworked to use social media as one of the deciding factors when deciding on a rank for a website. Meanwhile, Bing look at the ‘social authority‘ of a website or article’s author when deciding whether that page should be the very first search result shown, the very last, or somewhere in between.
For the most part, this ‘authority’ is made up of factors such as the number of social media followers, though other factors, including number of likes, retweets, and shares of any given piece of content are also taken into consideration.
So yes, social media marketing can make a big difference to SEO for your dropshipping business, helping to improve your search engine rankings and therefore the number of people that visit your website, but what if I told you that you could use social media to generate instant sales without using your website at all?
Sell Your Products Directly via Facebook Stores
Whether you find an existing dropshipping website for sale and buy it or build your own from scratch using any number of popular eCommerce platforms, there’s a handy (yet weirdly little-known) tool called the Facebook Store App which allows you to import your store onto your Facebook page and sell your products directly via that platform.
Though there is a small charge to use the app ($19 USD per month), though the small fee may well be worth the investment to increase sales by enabling customers to buy directly from you on a website that they already use rather than registering a new account and typing out their payment details again on your website.
Deliver Five-Star Customer Service
As the owner of an online store, it’s tempting to fall into the trap of believing that the most important aspect of your entire business is your product.
After all, that’s where the money comes from, right?
Sure, but the truth is, product itself is only one small part of a much bigger equation.
The other, even more important part of that equation?
Good customer service.
Studies have been carried out which show that the majority of customers value good service over the price of a product.
Because that service provides the trust and reassurance that a customer is dealing with a reputable business, one who will help if they have questions or if an order doesn’t turn out quite as they expected it to.
Good customer service also helps to build reputation.
Take a look on any review website and you’ll find scores of unhappy customers saying all kinds of negative things about companies they’ve had bad experiences with.
Those negative reviews do not go ignored by other potential customers. They’re read, taken into account, and used to help make a decision about which company to buy from.
So, even though it might not seem like the biggest deal to respond to every question personally, or to ensure there’s always a way customers can get in touch if an order goes wrong – it is absolutely critical if you’re to maintain the kind of solid reputation that keeps customers coming to you, rather than your competition.
The good news, is that social media makes providing customer easy and painless.
It enables customers instant access to someone who can help and when things go wrong, that instant access can make all the difference to an unhappy customer.
Using social media as a customer service tool is also a great way of personalising your service. You can skip the formulaic, automated email responses, skip the long, impersonal call-waiting messages, and get straight to making your customers feel valued by presenting them with a real human being they can interact with on a personal level.
Explore our collection of fully-developed online businesses today, each one ready to start generating profits immediately. Alternatively to find out more about unique drop shopping opportunities, contact us online.