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Cross-Channel Engagement Part 1: Social Media For Small Business

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By Jen Whelan, Senior Vice President Marketing at Criteo

Social media has proven to be one of the most reliable channels for reaching shoppers on any device.

A shopper's social media experience is roughly the same on a laptop as it is on a smartphone: shopper scrolls her feed and pauses when she sees an interesting post, whether it's "sponsored" from a brand or a picture of her friend's baby. Her social media accounts are associated with the same unique identifier (like her email address) that ensures you can reach her on the platform, however she uses it—via app, mobile web, or laptop.

This equivalence of reach and experience across devices is one of the reasons social media is one of three highest priorities for marketers. For small businesses, social media has traditionally offered just as much opportunity to build a close following and form powerful connections with shoppers as big brands. At a fraction of the spend.

Get the full scoop on connecting with shoppers more efficiently with our Small Business Guide to Cross-Channel Engagement.

That's changing. If Facebook used to drive a ton of traffic to your site, you've likely felt the effects of Facebook's renewed focus on baby pictures squeezing your organic posts out of shoppers' feeds. Connecting with customers on social media platforms means advertising now. Businesses have little choice for connecting with shoppers than setting aside a marketing budget and shrewdly managing it to drive sales efficiently.

Here's how you can start to make the most of your social advertising and set yourself up for successful interactions in other channels.

Choose Clarity Over Playfulness

Your goal as a small business is to get shoppers to pause as they scroll down their feed, just long enough to check out what you have to offer.

You can have fun with your social copy and offer up witty sentiments, but when it comes to what you actually sell, leave nothing to the imagination. Give shoppers clear, compelling visual information centered on your product.

One of the best uses of your marketing budget is on high-quality photography of your products. If you sell a service, highlight reviews from real-life customers happy.

Consider these expenditures investments that will deliver in more than one channel, too.

Use Direct CTAs

Most social media ads let you customize a call-to-action (CTA) button near the top or bottom of your ad. The CTA is arguably the most important component of your ad. It must tell shoppers exactly what they need to do to get the reward your ad promises.

For ecommerce companies trying to get shoppers to visit a product page, some variation of "Shop Now" or "Buy Now" is a common CTA. Be sure to test different CTAs for your social media campaigns until you discover one your shoppers respond to most.

Set Your Retargeting for Social

Retargeting is useful for re-engaging with shoppers who've been to your site but haven't made a purchase. It's an efficient way to maximize sales.

Once upon a time, the most popular place you'd see a retargeting ad was in a web banner on a news site or blog. Now it's just as common to see ads these ads in your Facebook feed, and as we've established, that helps you reach shoppers on both mobile devices and their laptops just as easily. And unlike a lot of web banners, social media ads look just as good on a small mobile screen as they do on a big desktop, too.

If you've ever visited a website and then noticed ads from that business popping up in your Facebook and Instagram feed shortly thereafter, that's precisely what's happening. That business "retargeted" you with an ad it thought might be relevant to what you were looking for.

Getting started with retargeting is easy enough. All you have to do is add little snippets of code to important areas of your site, like product pages, and the technology will take care of the rest.

Learn about using Facebook and Instagram Dynamic Ads.

Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly and Conversion-Worthy

Your social ads are only as effective as your site is conversion-worthy.

That starts with being mindful of the mobile experience. As of last holiday season, nearly 50% of online purchases happen on a mobile device. That's a marked shift from only a few years ago, when people were more likely to use to their phone as a shopping assistant, a way to quickly research a product, read reviews, do price comparisons, or simply take a picture.

Too often, though, shoppers get a frustrating mobile experience that detracts from going through with their impulse. One of the biggest killers is site speed. Half of all mobile sites lose visitors because the site takes too long to load, either due to huge image files and videos on the page, or any of the other 19 factors that can slow your website down. That's 19 reasons your social marketing spend won't be as efficient as it could be.

Making your site as mobile-friendly as possible starts with understanding how it performs now and which specific areas you can improve. If you're not sure how mobile-friendly your site is, you can always consult a few free tools to check site speed on different networks and overall mobile usability.

Want to learn more about connecting with shoppers, on any device, any time? Download our Small Business Guide to Cross-Channel Engagement today.

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