Archive | Useful Tips RSS feed for this section

Store of the Month: October

4 Oct

Freewebstore’s Store of the month time 😁😁. This month’s accolade goes to KitUK – premier supplier of kits and equipment for sports clubs in the UK. Jason, the store owner, took time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’ve worked in marketing for over 25 years. I’ve also played football to a semi-

image005professional standard, I’m a level 2 football & goalkeeper coach, a voluntary football manager and I’ve been involved (and still am), in amateur football for nearly 40 years! I say I’ve got two full-time jobs – my marketing career and my website! I’m also a season ticket holder at a premier league club and lifelong supporter, though I won’t say who! My wife has pretty much given up now on trying to get me interested in anything other than football!

Where did you get the inspiration for KitUK?

Sounds a bit odd now but I used to spend my time as a kid re-painting Subbuteo players kits, organizing football leagues, in between playing and watching football! So I suppose I always had an eye for design and a bit of an odd interest in football kits, which to this day, my friends and family don’t quite understand! There were only 3 TV channels back when I was a kid and most of what was on was absolute rubbish or repeats, so I did my own thing – and that pretty much meant something related to football 24/7! Even now I hate sitting around watching TV.

image004

I’ve always had an eye for design – all my kits on my website I’ve designed myself from scratch and bring them to life in a 360 degree customized kit builder. And I do all the marketing stuff myself which helps keep costs down a bit. When I left university I got into marketing – it was the one thing I really enjoyed (apart from football!) and I was never going to be an accountant! I now sell football kit and equipment to clubs across the UK – everywhere from Cornwall to Aberdeen and also Ireland. I have basically made a business out of a passion. I’ve also worked in marketing football teamwear for PUMA for pro and amateur clubs.

As a football coach myself, I could see how difficult is can be sometimes to buy kit and equipment. It’s quite a complex purchase and can be frustrating and time consuming – so I’ve set up to make life easier and more fun for clubs / teams / coaches to purchase football kit. I’ve been there as a customer myself and I understand the football kit industry inside out, because I’ve been involved in it all my life! I’ve got a bit of a habit of thinking I can do things better, then give it a go. But I’ve lived and breathed what I do for most of my life, so my inspiration comes from doing what I enjoy to the best of my ability!

What is the best thing about owning your own business/online store?

You’re only as good as the effort you put into it. For me, it’s a passion – a hobby of mine. I’m part the way down the road now making this a viable business I can take a salary from and make a living, but I’ve a well paid, responsible full time marketing job that means I don’t have to rely on that while I build the business up and earn a living from.

I work really hard full time and I work as hard again on my website business! I like the fact that I’m in control and I don’t have to report to anyone and can make all my own decisions, right or wrong – and learn from them!

How do you market your product? Do you supply your kits to schools?

I’ve built up a marketing database, so most of my advertising is on email, Facebook and Google Adwords. I supply amateur football clubs and teams across the UK including schools, although I’m planning to do more with colleges and schools very soon! My biggest cost is marketing and you know what – I’ve had more business come from word of mouth and recommendations – but my business simply wouldn’t exist without marketing and lucky for me, I’m blessed with lots of experience there.

image006

If you could have a celebrity employee, who would it be and why?

Ha! I wouldn’t! Why? Because I know from experience they are expensive to hire and retain and can be high maintenance (not all of them I might add!) I’ve been involved in lots of photo shoots with pro footballers and with other celebrities outside of football and it’s a high cost / high risk strategy. Plus while I’m building up my business, there’s not enough budget. But you never know!

Your web store really does stand out. What tips would you give new store owners? Why do you feel good quality product images is key?

Thanks. I look back at what I’ve achieved and how much time I’ve put into building my website and I’m really pleased with it so far. But there’s so much more I want to do to develop it further. I wish there was more time in the day! The best advice I would give any new start-up / store owner is to do something you are really passionate about and enjoy. Keep negative people well out of your life and just go for it – life really is too short! It’s better to give it a go and it not work out than spend the rest of your life regretting not trying. The world is full of negative people who don’t / can’t / won’t make decisions – and not one of them are successful, at least I’ve never met anyone who is.

image007

I would also say be persistent and never give up – you need to be really resilient as it’s tough, especially in the first 12 months (I’m still not quite a full year into my website). Your website is your shop window – I spend more on imagery, photography, graphics and banners than anything else, so I’m a little unique from that point of view. I also think you need to be quite selfish and driven, but not stupid enough to recognize sound advice when you see it!

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I prefer to work with local partners and suppliers and most are. Ones that aren’t I think it’s important there is a good relationship and honesty. That said, I chose freewebstore because customer service is something I value very highly in my life and freewebstore have been really good from day one. My site has quite a lot of technical add-ons and I’ve found the support ticket system really helpful. I like the layout and options freewebstore offers but my site feels like my own, not an off the shelf template. The other thing I would say the freewebstore platform is easy to manage and good value. I also like the fact that the people you speak to via the support tickets are based in the UK and not some overseas call centre who you can never get through to then wish you hadn’t when you eventually do!

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Easy one that! I’d slow time down so we could all do more every day!

Why is eCommerce important for your business?

ALL my sales are via e-commerce. It gets me in front of customers I would never otherwise reach or speak with. Many of my customers are like me – they work full time and buy football kit in their spare time! I wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for online. The Internet is the best invention of the 20th Century as far as I’m concerned.

Tell us your best joke.

Sorry to disappoint. I don’t know any jokes and tend to forget them anyway, good or bad! I find the most funny things are the stuff you see and hear in everyday life. Good comedians don’t tell jokes, they tell a great story we can all relate to!

And finally, do you have any celebrity customers using the products you sell?

Actually, I do! I’ve had a few ex-footballers who are now coaching and have bought kit or football equipment off me. They tend to be quite modest, but I’ve checked them out quietly and were definitely who they said they were! I won’t say who though and to be fair, they aren’t household names – but if you know your football, you’d know them! Do they count as celebrities? Otherwise, no I haven’t!

Jason is using the boundless design and he’s done a fantastic job, the customizable kit section definitely adds a real cutting edge to his web store. If you would like to be considered for the freewebstore store of the month get in touch with our success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

Happy Customers = Profitable Customers

14 Sep

There is no denying that customer service is a huge part of daily life in the eCommerce world; it’s what makes your customers happy and what makes your customers keep returning to your webstore.

Here are 5 quick tips on how to improve customer service on your webstore:

1.  Easy Navigation

If your customer has a problem or wants to return an item, then having “Contact” and “Returns” links in your main navigation helps your customer quickly find what they are looking for. In both cases your customer may already be quite irritated and making it easy for them to find these pages will increase usability and overall happiness.

2. Your Email Address

Some customers may want to contact you directly. It’s worth investing in your own domain email address such as support@yourdomain.com or info@yourdomain.com. Your customers may find  these more professional than a gmail, outlook or yahoo email address.

3. Email Correspondence

Keep your emails friendly and professional, it’s that simple:

  • Use customers names if available (Mr Smith, Miss Doe, etc).
  • Use your manners (Thank you, Please etc).
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Do not use slang or text-speak.
  • Do not use profanity.

4. Social Media
Social media is fantastic for connecting with your target audience. Use it! It’s a great way to promote new products, special offers and events. It’s also a great way to keep in contact with your customers and sometimes the easiest way a customer can get in contact with you. Again, be friendly and professional.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes a customer may have a quick question and having a Frequently Asked Questions page on your store can help a customer find that all important answer quickly. Having this page can also reduce the number of emails you get so why not create one?

For a more in-depth look at customer service read our walkthrough.

Do you have any great tips on customer service to share? Comment below 🙂

Store of the Month: July

10 Jul

Our store of the month for July is Rainbows and Sprinkles. Lucy took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions – take a look!

july-store-of-the-month

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I am full-time Mum to my son Oliver who will be 2 in September, it was during the first 6 months of his life that I was spending a lot of time at home during the cold winter months and was looking for something that I could start doing at home to make myself a bit of pocket money. I experimented with various different baby products until I decided to develop a handmade children’s clothing range from newborn – 4-5years. I found a lovely lady in Exmouth to work with me to develop these products and we started working together very quickly after that!

 

IMG_2263

Lucy and her family

 

2. Do you make the clothes yourself or do you have a team to produce these?

We all have our own part to play in making every garment. I now have a team of 4 ladies who all work extremely hard to make each piece. Everything is cut out, sewn and assembled by hand all in sunny Devon.

 

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

We advertise through Facebook and then customers order through my freewebstore. I’ve done a few stalls in the past when the business was very young however, I can reach so many more customers via Facebook and my website that it’s not worth selling at stalls. However, I would love to have a physical flagship store one day.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I would love Jo Malone to come and work with us! I love her work ethic and the reason so started her business is quite similar to mine. My aim is to be as successful as her – you’ve got to aim high!

jo malone

Jo Malone would be Lucy’s ideal celebrity employee!

 

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you have an idea just go for it! I thought about launching Rainbows & Sprinkles one evening and was so driven to make it work even though I had no background in textiles or clothing. It’s very cliche but you have to believe you will succeed. I was absolutely determined that Rainbows & Sprinkles was going to work, there was no other option.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I think freewebstore is a fantastic platform. Almost all of my sales are placed on smartphones and my website adapts to smartphones so well and makes it so simple to use and navigate. I love the way my orders are set out and it makes them so simple to manage which is a massive bonus for me and If I ever have a concern or question, my emails are answered almost immediately which I think is just fantastic.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would love to teleport! I adore traveling and would love to see as much of the world as possible so definitely teleportation!

8. And finally, where do you see rainbows and sprinkles in 5 years time?

I have so many plans for Rainbows & Sprinkles in the next 5 years. We are always developing new products and introducing new prints – we are launching dresses in July and are discussing developing an older children’s range from 6-12y. I am also talking to a number of wholesalers at the moment to discuss various shops stocking out products and we are also working on moving from a made to order basis to an ‘in stock’ system to dramatically reduce lead times – we all know how fast babies and toddlers grow!

Rainbows and Sprinkles (1)
Check out Rainbows and Sprinkles here. Interested in making a fantastic store like Rainbows and Sprinkles? Learn more here.

Store of the Month: June 2017

15 Jun

Our store of the month for June is the very imaginative thebiggerpictureart.co.uk. We spoke to the store owner, Aimee, who told us how sibling rivalry drove her to excel in arts and crafts how traveling the world helped to inspire Aimee’s fantastic business!

june-store-of-the-month-still

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I graduated from University with a degree in Photography back in 2011. Having begun to collate a portfolio of work I decided to go traveling to expand on this further. Outside of my studies I’ve always had a passion for design and can recall many a weekend building and inventing things in my Granddad’s workshop as a child.

profile.jpg

My studio, The Bigger Picture, is a combination of these passions for art and design. I hope that my work conveys some of the inspirational things I’ve been lucky to see and explore. Combined with a bit of imagination, people can take home a product that is unique and brings some of the wider worlds right into their homes

What made you get into this line of work?

Both my sister and I grew up with a love of arts and crafts, and I think the competition element of sibling rivalry drove me to try and excel in this! We both have careers within the creative industry now which is great to bounce ideas off of one another.

profile2.jpg

Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

Although I have years of experience with customers, retail, and design, I am relatively new to the world of business and would like to establish myself as an artist with an online presence before contemplating a store. Marketing is an ongoing process using social media.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I think Dawn French would be fantastic to work with, it’s essential to surround yourself with fun and vibrant people if you want to keep the creative juices flowing. Dawn is also really active on twitter so I could put her in charge of social media!

 

dawn french

Aimee thinks Dawn French would be fantastic to work with!

 

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you really want it, you will make it work.There will be days when you question is it worth it? Will I ever get there?

The main thing to remember is ‘don’t give up!!’ And if you do, it’s never too late to start again. Cultural trends are constantly changing, so what didn’t work the first time might work better on another occasion.

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

Freewebstore has such a vast range of designs, and with the ability to make alterations you can have your website set up in a matter of days which is great when you want to show potential consumers the latest products available to them.

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would like the ability to speak every language in the world fluently! Imagine being able to communicate with anyone and everyone, I bet you’d hear some amazing tales from around the globe. Of course, this would come handy if I go traveling again too.

And finally, tell us your best joke!

My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.

 

Postage Rules

26 May

It may seem like a minefield when you start out with your eCommerce website, weighing your products, getting quotes from shipping providers and then deciding what to charge for postage and packaging.

Let me stop you right there.

pexels-photo-194094

Here at freewebstore we recommend keeping it simple! Choose one price and stick to it. Better still, offer free postage and include your postage fees in the cost of the item on your eCommerce website. If your business model is to undercut your competitor then be sure to see what they are selling at though. Customers like pricing to be simple.

Your customers will thank you for it and you will thank me for increasing your sales!

Guest Blog: Let’s Take a Closer Look at Discount Coupons

3 May

Hi, it’s Myu again (real identity Laura) the proud owner of Collect and Play. This time the subject will be discount coupons which are very helpful to all stores out there. Once again I hope this article will be helpful to beginners and experienced sellers alike. Now let’s get started!

Creating discount coupons with a theme

You probably have seen discount codes out there – numbers and letters etc. But do you see any creative ones or ones that suit/fit the store and it’s products? I myself rarely encounter those and that is why I did a little experiment. I used character and series names and noticed that some coupons were more popular than others. So in other words, customers appreciate coupon codes that are related to the products they like and that is something store owners should make good use of. After all, it can make shopping a little more fun and you will see which code gets used the most.

Keep them guessing or not?

When you have coupon codes like Pichu, Pikachu, and Raichu, you may notice Pikachu gets used the most out of the 3. That is great but as a store owner, you decide how much discount each code gives. Pichu could, for example, give 5% off while Pikachu gives 10% off but only a few customers may find out that Raichu gives 15% or 20% off. So the question is, should you keep the big discounts a mystery or should you add the % to the coupon name? It really depends on how you handle the coupon rules. Do customers have to pay a certain amount to unlock a code or are the codes usable on all total amounts? If you don’t put up amount restrictions then you can keep the codes as they are and make it a bit of a fun discovery for customers. But if you set Pichu to the minimum amount of 5 euro or any currency then it would be good to give customers a hint by adding the % to the name so it becomes Pichu5%. Of course, you can decide for yourself what you prefer to do but a little testing and experimenting won’t hurt a bit.

A short article this time around but I hope it helped a bit. Be sure to stay creative with your store and I will bring you a new article someday. Also, any feedback is welcome on my articles.

Store of the Month: April 2017

11 Apr

store-of-the-month-April

Our store of the month for April is the fantastic ‘Childrens Outdoor Toys‘. Andrew had a dream to become his own boss. He didn’t let poor health stop him from realizing his dream and, using skills and contacts built up over time, has built up a successful business.

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

Well, I’m Andrew originally from Shropshire in England, now living with my partner Sarah on the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire border with my 2 step son’s and our daughter who was 3 this week (the real cheeky monkey) and our little 11-month-old tea-cup chihuahua called Lucy.

17264480_10206407429142861_1586229700130907442_n (1)

The real cheeky monkeys of the business!

I did spend 10 years in the army and after that, I worked in mental health. After 3 years I decided to be my own boss and started up a private medical company to cover children’s events and sporting events. Things went downhill with my health as I was treating a patient I could not get back up so I visited the doctors and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and severe arthritis and back problems. I thought it time to give up but found doing nothing was too boring.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

With all the contacts I picked up over a few years I decided to sell sports equipment and children’s outdoor toys. We decided to go for active toys and sports to get children away from the T.V and Game Station and get out in the garden and be active!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have played lots of sports in my time so the choice selection had to be around something I knew a lot about to help in making sales. Also, I set up at home at first as I cannot get out much then we hired an office address.

I love selling active toys and sporting equipment knowing that I am helping another person’s life to be more active than my own right now.

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

At the minute we have an online store with a facebook store along with a pop-up store that my partner sets up either at fun days or a home shopping party. We are in talks to set up a retail unit but looking for the right location to be able to set up a good showroom.
At the minute I am enjoying taking the phone calls and processing the orders at home (if my partner is not in the office). I do a lot of blogging and Facebooking along with Twitter, just to help boost the sales.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

It would be Alan Carr! He is soooo amazing, funny and he would be the best of people to jump around on our trampolines or play table tennis!
alan carr

Alan Carr would be Andrew’s perfect employee!

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Never give up (as you have read above with my health). Giving up does cross your mind many times if you want something in life just grab it and be determined. If you fail, try again and again. I did…..

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I did purchase from a supplier when I was selling on facebook and saw the platform they used, freewebstore. I looked into it but saw another platform I went with. It turned out not to be what we were looking for – 7th place on Google was NOT what we wanted. Now we’re with freewebstore and we are 3rd with our keyword children’s outdoor toys and we’re looking at increasing this.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would like to have the power of healing – so I can see my daughters first day at nursery.

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

I have given up on telling jokes! My little girl always says I am cheating when I tell her jokes. Oh and I won £2k for my last joke, would you believe it? Not really, I’m only joking… 😉

 

You can visit Sarah and Andrew’s shop just in time for summer by clicking here.

cheeky monkeys

Store of the Month: March

16 Mar

march-store-of-the-month

Our store of the month for March is the delightful bellesheartsncrafts. Maxine, after learning from her father, has turned her passion and hobby into her very own creative business! We caught up with Maxine for a chat…

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I’m originally from England and before I moved to the USA I lived in a small village in North Lincolnshire with my 3 older children, dogs, cats, goats and chickens.

I met my American hubby in quite a bizarre way – playing a game called ‘Clash of Clans’ on my mobile phone. We traveled back and forth for a while, decided to get married and I moved over to Pennsylvania to live 4 years ago!

I was an English Language and Literature teacher in England, specializing in students with social and emotional barriers to learning.  To make any kind of difference, I had to be creative with teaching and learning – an anything goes kind of approach – learning through art, through building, making, drawing, painting – anything that interested my students and helped them to learn.

After I had my little boy, who is now 3, I wanted to combine being a stay at home mum with something to stimulate my mind and soul – bellesheartsncrafts was born.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

My father was an amazing artist, carpenter and all round DIY man, I spent hours as a young girl learning skills from him.  I love working with wood; in fact, I was the first girl ever in the history of my high school to take wood work and metal work as subjects rather than the only girl option of Home Economics.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I love working with my hands, with wood, painting, it soothes my soul; every single item I make at bellesheartsncrafts is made from my heart. I decided to have a ‘dabble’ with selling some things I had made – mainly photos transferred onto wood and wood burned Christmas ornaments, to begin with.  It soon evolved into wedding ring boxes, hand painted signs, ornaments, leather products to name but a few – all made by hand by me.  I just LOVE being able to make something special for someone to treasure;  to help people in times of grief with memorial ornaments; to capture precious moments and memories for people to hold on to;  knowing it was specially made just for them with my love poured into it.

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

I currently don’t have a physical store, it’s something I’d like to do in a few years maybe, but I’m enjoying working at home at crazy hours to fit around spending time with my family.

Handmade Memories (7)

I’m just really starting out with looking at marketing; I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, my shop, word of mouth at the moment and am really excited to be expanding into building my own website as an additional place to show and sell my products.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

Oooooo – this is a tough one! It would have to be my daughter who is 15 at the moment and is still living in England, she loves making things with me and we work really well together; but then I’d need my oldest son too who’s about to finish his Graphic Design degree – he’d be a great help! and my middle son too who has a great eye with aesthetics…what a team!

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Never, never, never give up – if it’s your dream and you love it – just keep on going; be determined,  open-minded, tolerant, accepting and willing to try and fail and try again.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.31.54

Fantastic display on Maxine’s freewebstore homepage

Actually it was a place I follow on Instagram called Oakley Dokely – they’ve recently started a website with you and I thought I’d take a look – it looked great; easy to build, FAB customer support (and incredibly patient with me when I’ve asked a phenomenal amount of questions!) I can’t wait to get all my products listed, set up newsletters, blogs… – so exciting!

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Oh my! – Does being a unicorn, a faery or a dragon count as magic powers? If not, then I would choose the power of healing.

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

According to my hubby,  I don’t have a ‘best’ joke – but one of my favorites (and I apologise in advance…)

Why was the sand wet?
Because the sea-weed…..

Store of the Month: February

20 Feb

Our store of the month for February is fantastically elegant Pearls with Hanna!  We managed to grab a few words with Paul, the store owner about his and wife Hanna’s pearl business!

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-36-40

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself your business and where it all started

We are Hanna and Paul. We’re both 31 and have three children aged 13, 9, and 3.  The idea of Pearls with Hanna was born in the spring of 2016 when Hanna found a live feed of a lady in America selling similar items in the same format. She got chatting with various people about how they went about starting up their businesses and it looked to be a non-starter as everyone doing it was in America and their suppliers either didn’t cover the UK or had an 8 week lead time.

Not one to be deterred Hanna continued to scour the internet for quality suppliers and eventually stumbled across a lady called Liz from Northern Ireland, who had established suppliers in Japan and China and had the vision to become a UK wholesaler for sterling silver jewellery and saltwater Akoya oysters, soon after her company Les Bel Amour Global was born.
Naturally, we jumped on the bandwagon, pushed in our investment and used our already established network marketing to launch in October 2016. Pearls with Hanna was born!

2. The pearl craze seems to have taken off in recent months, can you tell us a bit more about this? How did you get into this?

The pearl craze has been somewhat of a global phenomenon! It has taken off like a rocket in the online marketplace with many distributors, using different suppliers on multiple continents. It’s a thoroughly addictive watch on the live feeds, the anticipation of the next colour pearl and if there will be twins or even triplets!

3. What kind of marketing do you to attract visitors to your store?

Our marketing is primarily Facebook. We add our videos into selling sites and encourage people to like and share the page and the feeds.
Word of mouth from our customers to their friends and families plays a large part to.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-40-184. Do you have a physical store or do you operate solely online?

We are solely online at this pint in time but it is our overall aim to have our own shop!

 

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-36-55

Pearls with Hanna – range of products

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Try to make your store as user-friendly, informative, and as eye-catching as possible! Don’t be afraid to try something new or change something to a different style – you can always put it back afterward!

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform

We use Freewebstore as it is the preferred site of the lovely lady who set up our store for us to begin with.

7. Please, sum up your freewebstore experience

So easy to use and maintain, fast response to tickets and really helpful staff. Everything is there for you, so logically placed and easy to fiddle about with to get it how you want it!

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

I dreamt of a beautiful walk on a sandy beach last night. I guess that explains the footprints in the cat litter this morning.

Take a look at the fantastic range of products at pearlswithhanna.co.uk

Let’s get social: Facebook

7 Feb

Digital media has massively changed the way businesses reach, inform and communicate with their audience, with social media being a ‘key player’ for businesses to engage with their audience. A massive 2.34bn people worldwide have a social media platform of some sort (Statista).

The first section of the ‘Let’s get social’ blog will briefly cover the benefits of having a general social media presence and will look more in-depth into one of the most popular social media platform, Facebook.

What are the benefits of social media?

I’m sure you’ll want to know the benefits of having a social media presence and how it may impact your business. Below are a few key benefits that social media can bring.

Increased Brand Awareness: Social media is a great way of increasing your presence in one single click. Getting a few shares on your post will share your brand to potentially thousands of new customers and allow you to easily monitor the engagement.

Real-time content vs pre-planned, scheduled content:  Unlike traditional marketing methods such as print, you can share and create real-time content and easily adapt your marketing efforts as and when you choose.

Learn about your users: You’ll be able to learn about your customer’s online habits and possibly find out new things about your main demographic. You can target specific demographics with new imaginative content that’s relevant to the right audience.

Feedback: Social media allows for instant dialogue with customers in real-time and helps promote customer service. Again, unlike traditional methods, you’re open to a two- way conversation and not just a one-way conversation.

A lil’ bit of spying: It’s more than likely that your major competitors will have a social media presence, this is a perfect way to monitor your competition and stay ahead of the game. You may notice something that your competition are doing well that may improve your own business or something that they’ve not done quite so well – something you can exploit. You can engage with your rivals audience through targeted ad campaigns to let them know that you’re the better choice!

Gather leads: Connect with your audience on social media and then move the conversation on. Gather email addresses by offering newsletters, contests etc. You can use the email addresses to lead your potential new customers to your website

This is just a snippet of the benefits that social media can offer your business, sounds great, right?!

Facebook

We start our ‘let’s get social’ series with Facebook. According to PEW research, 79% of online adults use Facebook (US) – a huge number! It’s a great platform to connect with new customers and help retain existing relationships.

What can I post on Facebook?

Build up brand loyalty by producing and sharing helpful and entertaining articles to help educate the user, the soft sell approach works best! If you’re seen as being active and engaging with users, you’ll increase your chances of getting custom over someone who has a limited/no presence.  You can also drive users to your web-store and increase your chances of another customer. Post content that has a link back to your site, such as:

  • Informative blog articles.
  • How-to guides.
  • New product launches (as seen below).
  • Entertaining and visual content.
screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-35-45

Your Facebook page is a great way to promote product launches to new and exisiting users.

However, it’s important to know that it’s not all about attracting new custom, retaining current customers is equally, if not more, important. Interact with your users, get involved in discussions and show them that you value their custom! A simple reply to a comment goes a long way to achieving this, as seen below:

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-35-01

Actively engage with your users & show them that they’re valued.

Encourage users to share their experience on Facebook page by comments, reviews and photos and interact with the posts! 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over advertising, so this is important to consider. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your store:

  • Offer an incentive for users to leave their feedback on Facebook, money off for example. (this is a freewebstore premium feature).
  • Inform your customers that you’re active on social media.
  • Encourage previous customers to share their product pictures.

Paid Facebook adverts are becoming the norm with most successful businesses utilising this feature. Now I know you’re thinking ‘what’s the point of spending money when I can post for free?’. The truth is, only 2% of organic posts reach their intended audience (Rob Peterson). So be prepared to splash a little cash to reap the full benefits. However, the costs are much cheaper than traditional marketing channels, such as print or adverts.

With information gained from Google analytics, Facebook analytics you can see who interacts with your content the most – then target Facebook users who fall under this demographic. Build up an audience that’s relevant to your business and are likely to interact and engage with your posts.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-56-19

An example of the Facebook custom audience page.

You can create custom adverts via the ‘Adverts Manager’ tab. From there, it’s possible to create a custom audience (so that you know the posts are hitting your intended audience), select your objectives and set the budget you want to stick to.

If you need help on setting up the perfect Facebook business page, have a read of this helpful blog article here.

 A great opportunity

Social media is a great opportunity for businesses to interact online. I’m sure that the majority of you have a social media presence. However, of freewebstore 40,000+ active store’s – only 5.6% (!) have utilised the FREE feature and connected their store to social media platforms. It’s a big opportunity lost in terms of customer engagement. Head over to your freewebstore control panel > Marketing > Social Media and connect your store now and get social!

The next blog in the series will cover Twitter.