Content Marketing

Social Media For eCommerce W/ Jen Sheahan

by Ezra Firestone

 


Visit Jen’s Website

Video Highlights
00:30 Introducing Jen Sheahan
01:45 How to leverage social media for your eCommerce business
04:00 A big factor to your success is repeat business
05:25 Jen will do it for you or do it with you or train your whole team!
06:45 Content creation and syndication 101
09:55 How can I optimize my content for conversions and reuse it?
12:40 Facebook groups can be very powerful for your business
15:30 If you run an Amazon business you need to be using package inserts!
17:45 Don’t worry if you think this is too much, you can schedule these posts
19:00 You can get a dramatic increase in conversion by staggering out your social media
20:30 A quick recap of the strategy so far
21:50 From a single post you can do so much!
23:20 Should I be afraid of making my customer’s annoyed?
26:00 People won’t rebuy from you if they don’t remember you
27:00 If you have a team you should use Jen!
27:20 This doesn’t take much more work, you just amplify it!

Click Here For Video Transcript

Ezra: Hey, there, Smart Marketers. Ezra Firestone here with you for a podcast, of all things, which we haven’t done in a while. I had a computer crash a while back and started putting out more video content, rather than audio. But it’s nice to get back to doing audio content. I’ve got a special guest with me today, who I’ve actually known for a very long time. Her name is Jen Sheahan, and she has been around, man, I would say, for quite . . . Jen, rather than me telling the story, why don’t you tell us the story of your story online?

Jen: Sure, sure. I got started mostly with paid traffic back in 2008 and started an agency in 2010 helping other business owners get more traffic from Facebook.

Ezra: Sure, so you sort of started with paid traffic and kinda have been in the paid traffic world, which by the way is my favorite part of this business is buying traffic.

Jen: Yeah, me too. It’s good because it’s very clear. It’s very clear cut, and so my work in Facebook was paid traffic has moved dramatically in the last year and a half over to more of a strategic, synchronized social platform.

Ezra: Sure. You also had some sort of an information business, right, of some kind?

Jen: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve been training people in how to run Facebook ads and how to implement, so that’s another big . . . I love to help people see, not just learn the theory behind something, but actually put it to work, instead of . . .

Ezra: Actually be able to use it?

Jen: Yeah.

Ezra: Setting things up so that people can actually use the information, rather than just understand it, is a big thing. Your focus has sort of switched over the last year or so, like you were telling me. So Jen and I were having this conversation about specifically eCommerce business owners because of my community and my subscriber base is all eCommerce business owners. And what happens is nobody that I talk to really understands how to leverage social media properly for their eCommerce business. Because eCommerce is tough, right? it’s like why sell a barbecue mitt? What should I talk about on social media, right?

Jen: Exactly, exactly. That’s exactly what happens, and you just sort of run out of things to say about your barbecue mitt. And you can only promote it once or twice, and then you’re spamming people. And so it’s really important to understand your market as a whole and what kinds of things are interesting for people who buy barbecue mitts.

Ezra: Sure. So how do you go about, “Okay. Hey, I’m a guy, and I sell barbecue shoes,” I guess. I don’t know if there are anything such as barbecue shoes. Maybe there’s special shoes you wear when you’re barbecuing. We’ll go with the barbecue mitts example. So I sell barbecue mitts. How do I figure out who my people are and what they’re going to be interested in?

Jen: Well, there’s a number of things. So you want to look at any data that you currently have about your customers. Who are they? Where do they come from? There’s a lot of data inside of Facebook that can help you learn. So if you know that most of the time your orders come from men, and most of the time your orders come from the U.S. And you can start to look at any data you currently have and plug that into Facebook, and you’ll find out what pages those people like, what other topics they’re interested in, what magazine . . .

Ezra: Totally, and you can do that right inside of the Audience Insights tool.

Jen: Exactly, exactly. And once you learn that, it’s amazing how many options open up to you. So let’s say that everybody loves Outdoor Cooking Magazine, for example, and then you can go to Outdoor Cooking Magazine, the page, and start looking up what they’re talking about. So what kinds of things are they doing? Are they posting recipes on a regular basis? Are they posting tips and tricks? Are they posting how to marinate your meat, so that it cooks in a way that everybody just loves it or stuff like that. And those are the kinds of things that we like to hone in on because that’s what gets shared.

Ezra: Totally. And I’m going to get your viewpoints on when to post and what to post and that kind of stuff in a second. Now, what I want to say real quick, this has sort of inspired a thought, which is that in our community everyone is so focused on traffic and conversion. “How do I get more traffic? How do I get more people to convert?” I would say the biggest part of a successful business, in my opinion or at least in my experience, is that once you . . . okay, so you get traffic. You get people to find out about you. You engage them and convince them that they should take you up on the offer you’re making. And then there’s the third piece of the puzzle that is not talked about very often, which is repeat business. And that repeat business is how you grow an actual big, sustainable company, and repeat business happens when you engage your community of buyers with content.

Jen: Exactly.

Ezra: And it’s sort of overlooked, especially in eCommerce.

Jen: Exactly. So many people forget about that. They just want to get customers, make sales, get customers, make sales, without looking at their current customer base and what else they might need. And taking care of them, building that relationship, the sales increase exponentially.

Ezra: I agree 100%, by the way. Let’s talk about, okay, two things, right? Number one, so a little bit more on how you figure out what kind of content your people want and then number two, specifically how your process for syndication because, we can even just mention, you do this for companies, for politicians, for eCommerce businesses. You have like a fully done . . . you’ll actually create the content and syndicate it for people. Right?

Jen: Exactly, exactly. So we have two different aspects of our business. One aspect is where we’ll do it entirely for you, done for you, and we also have a done with you service, where we’ll train your team. And so there are two . . .

Ezra: And listener, by the way, I’ll give you information on how to get in touch with Jen if you want to talk about any of that stuff. But let’s talk about this train your team thing. Let’s say I’ve got a team. Now we’re great at content marketing. Let’s say that we weren’t, right? You would come in and show us how to create the content and how to syndicate it and how to market it?

Jen: Exactly. And so we work directly with . . . it’s like a boot camp sort of thing. For about 90 days, we get in there, and we work directly with your team and tell them exactly what to do for your market andin your industry and help them implement it. And then we’re there when the results come through. It’s fabulous for troubleshooting, problem-solving, and actually getting real results and building that skill set within your own team. So you’re not reliant on buying Facebook traffic all the way or reliant on paying somebody else to run your campaigns all the time.

Ezra: Totally. And not that there’s anything wrong with outsourcing your content marketing, by the way, but if you have a team and you want to train them, then that’s a great thing to do.

Jen: Absolutely.

Ezra: Okay, so you’ve got a product to sell. How do I figure out what people are interested in? Let’s dig a little deeper in that, and then we’ll talk about how to post it and syndicate it.

Jen: Absolutely. So the first step is to look at your current customers and find out any information, any demographic information you can about them. The next step is to look at your email list and find out which email subject lines and topics get the most opens, the most clicks, or in the most engagement. That is also going to give you a lot of data.

Ezra: Do you have some kind of schedule for how much you post?

Jen: Yes, absolutely. This changes all the time, so if you guys are listening to this months and months and months from now, it might have changed slightly. But for a platform like Twitter, it’s much more like a news ticker on the bottom of your TV. We recommend at least 5 to 10 tweets per day.

Ezra: Wow.

Jen: Facebook is one to three depending on the volume of your Facebook page, if you’re . . .

Ezra: This is per day we’re talking about?

Jen: Per day.

Ezra: Okay. We definitely don’t do that much.

Jen: It depends. Again, we’re not talking about posting, “Buy my oven mitts.” “Buy my oven mitts.” “Here’s a nice ‘nother photo of our oven mitts.” There’s a variety of content that you can post. So you definitely want to mix it up with photos and images, videos, info graphics, relevant articles, blog posts, questions, quizzes, all that kind of stuff.

Ezra: And you guys are finding them, and I know we find this on a smaller scale, I imagine, than what you find. But that all this content that you’re promoting and syndicating, which by the way, are you creating all yourself? Are you curating some of that?

Jen: Almost all of it comes from our customers, like our clients have a lot of content. And most people do have a lot of content. They just don’t realize it. Most people have blog posts or articles or product descriptions or images or videos that they’ve created. There’s a lot of content on most eCommerce websites that is currently going unused and under-utilized and ignored.

Ezra: Especially a lot of the folks in my community, who are running things like social promotions, getting people to take selfies with their product, and doing some of the other things that we talk about, have a lot of content in that way.

Jen: Because they’re so powerful, very, very powerful. Yes, exactly.

Ezra: So you’re posting daily on Twitter, daily on Facebook.

Jen: Yes. Pinterest and Instagram are, again, it depends on your market,but three to four times per day, and LinkedIn is at least once, so a good blog post or something on LinkedIn. If you are a leader in your field, if you’re well-known, if you’re the CEO or you are the business owner who’s looking to connect with other business owners, LinkedIn is wonderful for B2B sales. So if that’s relevant for your business, you should be on there, too.

Ezra: Right. So let’s say I’ve got a blog post. I wrote a blog post. A lot of people sell supplements. Let’s say I sell a supplement, and I wrote a blog post, Five Juices to Detox Your System. Now can I reuse that piece of content? What’s the strategy with like, let’s say I’ve got one piece of content. How much rehashing can I do?

Jen: There’s a million different ways you can do it, so that first thing you want to do is post it on your blog. We suggest you wait a day or two. Sorry, before I even go in there, you’ve got to make sure your blog post is optimized for conversion. I’m assuming that your customers all have their blog posts optimized for conversion.

Ezra: Maybe or maybe not, and so let’s talk about what that means.

Jen: Well, you want to make sure there’s very clear calls to action.

Ezra: So we’re talking about soft selling through the post?

Jen: Exactly. Soft selling through the post, some clickable links in the post that lead to your top-selling products, anything that refers to anything that you recommend that they purchase should definitely be hyperlinked and go straight to the sales page. In your side bar, you want to have nice, big, bold ad units there that encourage people to buy your oven mitts, so that when I’m reading the blog post, I’m well aware of several different opportunities to buy.

Ezra: Right, right. So you’re engaged in the piece of content, but you are also aware this is an eCommerce store and there’s things for sale here.

Jen: Exactly. And you want to make sure, one thing that we find a lot is when we first start working with people, that they don’t have their contact information readily available. And it’s very frustrating for a customer if you don’t have the name, the address, the phone number, and a chat box or some way that I can contact customer service. Because if I’m having trouble ordering or if something isn’t working on your website and I want to buy from you, I want to be able to get in touch with you as quickly as possible.

Ezra: Totally. And better if you have a messaging system, where they can just message you with live chat or something.

Jen: Exactly. It’s amazing how many people overlook that, but it’s essential for social conversion.

Ezra: Agreed.

Jen: Because a lot of people will come to your site straight from social media. They don’t know anything else about you, and they might not come to your home page where you list your phone number. So if you have it on every page, that’s so much better.

Ezra: Totally. Okay, so we’ve got a nice, optimized for conversion blog, got a post on there.

Jen: Great, and then some hyperlinks inside the blog. So you post it on your website, and then that very day, you can tweet it. So we recommend you tweet it right away. Then the next day, you post the link to that blog post on your business page on Facebook. We also recommend Facebook groups. If your product is something that customers can engage with on a regular basis, like let’s say you sell books or training programs or any sort of subscription service, like Stitch Fix or something like that, Facebook Group is a wonderful thing to consider.

Ezra: That’s a really, really fascinating and brilliant idea right there. That’s gold for us because I have a really, really active . . . let’s take my business BOOM by Cindy Joseph. It’s a skin care company. I’ve got a lot of repeat customers. Our business is almost solely driven through content marketing. I hadn’t even considered putting a Facebook group together, but that’s genius because now when we run sales, when we run posts, it’s just another place. And of course we’re going to post it to our fan page and promote it to the people who like our page, but Facebook groups, they’re all going to get an alert.

Jen: Exactly.

Ezra: Do you have a percentage? Let’s say you’ve got a business. Are you seeing 15%, 20% joining the group?

Jen: Well, it can be even higher. It depends on how you introduce them to the group. So if there’s a personal email directly when people join or when people purchase, a personal email that says, “We appreciate your investment in our book or in our product or whatever, to support you over the long-term, we’re here. And we would absolutely love for you to join our Facebook group,” and continue the conversation or continue the relationship. And people love it.

Ezra: That is genius.

Jen: Yeah.

Ezra: Wow.

Jen: Good. I’m glad that was helpful.

Ezra: That’s really smart. Yeah, I’m always looking for more. I know that my customers hang out on different platforms. Some people are hanging out on Twitter. Some people are on Facebook. Some people are on Instagram. Some people are on email. And I want to be able to reach them in all the different areas. And it’s funny because for my information businesses every single product that I release has its own dedicated Facebook group. I hadn’t considered that for the eCommerce business, that’s really smart.

Jen: Thank you. I’m glad you like it.

Ezra: Yeah, genius. Okay, so you post on the Facebook group on Day 3.

Jen: Correct.

Ezra: Or was that Day 2?

Jen: It’s on Day 2. So I’ve posted to Facebook on your Facebook page. The thing is if you have 10,000 fans on your Facebook page, they’re not all going to see it. Most eCommerce customers see that 10 people saw it, which is where the group comes in handy, because your group is a highly-targeted group of people who care enough to join the group. So when you post something, they’re much more likely to see it, engage with it, and buy whatever it is you have.

So Facebook page and Facebook group, that you just post it regularly and tweet it again. The next day, we recommend that you pin it.

Ezra: Let me just say something real quick. So for those of you who have an Amazon business, and I want to get back to our day three. Because right now, we had Day 1 blog, post it to your blog. Go to Twitter, post it to Twitter. Day 2, we had Facebook and Facebook group. For those of you who run an Amazon only business at the moment and have not yet moved out to having your own platform, what you can do is on your package insert, the post card. If you don’t have one of these, you need to get one quick, which is an insert that goes out with your product that people get that not only invites them to go to your website and opt in for a coupon, but also has a link to your Facebook group. And then obviously, when they opt in for the coupon on your website, you invite them to the Facebook group. So these are some ways that you can start getting Amazon customers over to your Facebook group. And you’re going to hear me talking a lot about this because we’re going to implement this.

Jen: [laughs] Cool.

Ezra: Okay, so now we’re on Day 3.

Jen: Day 3. So you want to pin it and tweet it again. So you can tweet the pin. You with me?

Ezra: Yeah, I’m with you. So we’re pinning it, we’re tweeting the pin, so that we’re twittering something a little bit different.

Jen: Exactly. And you can also, because you’re tweeting so often, you’re sending out so many tweets, we also recommend you tweet the Facebook post. But please don’t link your Twitter to automatically tweet whatever is on Facebook.

Ezra: Why are we not doing that?

Jen: Well, unless it’s absolutely necessary, but the problem is that the people who are on Twitter are quite different from the people who are on Facebook. You might have some crossover, but there’s nothing more frustrating for a die-hard Twitter user to click through something and they go straight to Facebook.

Ezra: Right. They’re like, “What are you doing to me?”. “You’re taking me out of my club.”

Jen: Well, exactly. So you can take them directly to your sales page. You can take them directly to an opt-in or a video or anything like that. Fine, but the majority of your tweets should be native.

Ezra: That makes a lot of sense, as I go and unlink them. Well, I actually don’t have my eCommerce businesses set up that way, but I think my information business is set up that way.

Jen: A lot of people are set up that way. We’re talking about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4. I know exactly what people are thinking. They’re thinking, “This is too much work and my head is spinning and Jennifer’s crazy.” But the power. Let me just explain why this is so important, and then there’s a solution. So you can schedule all of these things to happen automatically in advance. So there are plugins you can put on your blog that allow you to schedule tweets and Facebook . . .

Ezra: We talking Hootsuite or something?

Jen: Yeah, and you can go into Hootsuite. There’s a plugin that you can put into WordPress that allows you to do this as well. It says once the blog post is published, automatically on Day 1, it will do this. On Day 2, it will do that. On Day 3, it will do this. You can also use Hootsuite to automatically schedule things to go out many days in advance and you can change the wording of everything and you can choose the social platform it gets sent to. Hootsuite is wonderful.

Ezra: Love Hootsuite.

Jen: It’s fabulous.

Ezra: I feel like if you’re going to go through the effort to create a piece of content, then why not take the extra five minutes or whatever to set it up so that it can do the most work for you.

Jen: Right. We found a dramatic increase in click-throughs and opt-ins and sales by staggering what we post and what days we post it on and what we say about the post. So yes, you can go ahead and push one button and have it all go to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and everything all on the same day if that’s what you want to do. But I’m telling you now that our data shows again and again and again, there’s a dramatic increase on staggering and selectively . . .

Ezra: Well, it makes total sense because certain people are on it. Our feeds these days, they move so fast. So many different things are in them. So if you’re taking a blog post and you’re syndicating it over five days, you’re going to hit a much larger portion of your audience than you would if you just blasted it all out at once. It makes a lot of sense.

Jen: And the customers that we follow, who were doing this before . . . so what we do is when we get a new client, we follow them on their social media, and we see what they were doing in the past. And a lot of people get notifications on their phones. So if I get a notification that BOOM from Cindy Joseph just tweeted something and Facebook something and LinkedIn something and pinned something all at the same time, I’m not going to go look at those four things.

Ezra: Right. You’re just overwhelmed. It’s just madness.

Jen: Right. Obviously they were busy today, and they posted something. And I’ll just go to one of those platforms and look at it. But if you post something interesting today and something else interesting tomorrow, I’m much more likely to look at you every day.

Ezra: Totally. I love that. Okay, so here we are. Day 1, we blogged it and we tweeted it. Day 2, we Facebooked it and we Facebook grouped it, baby. Day 3, which is just . . . I am still not over that. I just love it. It’s just so smart. Day 3, we pinned it, we tweeted the pin, and we Instagrammed it. And we also tweeted the Facebook post. Was that Day 4?

Jen: And the next day, if you’re on LinkedIn, you can copy the whole blog post and post it as a separate post on LinkedIn.

Ezra: Nice.

Jen: If it’s relevant.

Ezra: If it’s relevant, right. If you’re not on LinkedIn, don’t worry about that.

Jen: Right. But in any business to business or any training or authors, there’s quite a lot of things that LinkedIn’s very relevant for. But by this time, Google has indexed your post. You also have a ton of social traffic going to the post and going to your Facebook page, so from Google’s perspective. There’s links going everywhere to your content, so by the time LinkedIn picks it up, then that just adds more fuel to the fire.

Ezra: Totally. Love it. So is there any other types of syndication people should be doing?

Jen: Yes, so that’s all the syndication, but then from that one post, you can pull out quotes, anything that is relevant or interesting that your customers might resonate with, you can pull that out as well.

Ezra: And by the way, short form content is even more effective, we’ve found than long form content. We got a business where we’re doing these daily quotes and we’re getting more engagement and shares and everything. Email opt-ins back to our site offer these daily quotes than we were off of daily blog posts. And I was just like, “Dang.”

Jen: It’s so easy to hit Share on that stuff, so what you want to do is go into your blog post, find two or three really cool points or tips or hints or quotes, pull them out. Use Kanva. I don’t know if I’m . . . for those who may not . . .

Ezra: I’m familiar with Kanva. It’s like a little web-based application that you can use to make cool pictures.

Jen: It’s great for people who are not artistic, and you can look like a fabulous graphic designer and add your own branding and everything into that and just create a template that you just change up and use that and plug in your images. And you can get all these awesome social images to use, and you can add those to your Twitter stream. So remember when I said to tweet 5 or 10 times a day, well, 5 or 6 of those could be your images. And when you tweet them, you want to include a full link to your blog post or to your opt-in or to your squeeze page or even to your sales page, depending on what your content is.

Ezra: And what about the people who are going to say, “Well, look, Jen”. . .well, you referred to yourself as Jennifer, so “Well, look, Jennifer, I don’t want to piss my subscriber base off. I feel like this is too much.” And what do you say about that?

Jen: Well, absolutely. You don’t want to piss anybody off. That’s true.

Ezra: I mean, obviously my viewpoint is that you’re not going to piss people off by posting content. Anyways, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. You know where I stand.

Jen: So if you’re helping people and it’s free content, it’s content-focused, people tend to love it. If you’re not getting any interaction and nobody’s doing anything, nobody’s engaging, nobody’s hitting “Like”, nobody’s commenting, you’re going to have to look at what you’re posting. Is it really relevant? Am I on the right track? Am I resonating with my audience? And that’s where you go back to your customer data and go back to Audience Insights. And who are these people? What do they like? And then finding other relevant things for them to engage with.

Ezra: Totally. So you need to re-evaluate your content at that point.

Jen: I’ve never seen it, though.

Ezra: I know. Content, it doesn’t even have to be very good, the truth of the matter is.

Jen: Sale pitches, yes. People get sick and tired of “Opt-in, opt-in, opt-in”, but people don’t get tired of content. Tips and tricks are a fabulous way to start your engagement from scratch, by the way.

Ezra: For example, as a guy who just bought a charcoal barbecue because I like the taste of charcoal. I’m new to meat-eating. I was a vegan for six years. Now, I’m back to eating meat. I used to barbecue with charcoal, and so I bought this charcoal barbecue. And it is really difficult to get those coals to light properly, and I would love an article for, you, person who sells the barbecue mitt that we’re talking about, on some kind of strategy to make it easier for me to get good burning coals. And maybe I’d buy your barbecue mitt after that. I got banned from Home Depot. Carrie banned me from Home Depot because I was buying too much stuff that I wasn’t using.

Jen: So with your Facebook page and your Facebook group, you can start an email list that is for your current customers that’s purely just content, purely tips and tricks or posted just in your Facebook group. You’re a new charcoal barbecue owner, and we know that you want to make the most out of your barbecue. So here you go. If you want to get daily or weekly or whatever tips on exactly what we do, and you can provide your audience with just tiny little drips of awesome content over a whole year. And you know darn well that that’s going to turn into repeat sales.

Ezra: Totally. It’s funny how a lot of times people just don’t buy from you again because they don’t remember you, because you just don’t make them another offer. The people who make the most offers are the ones who tend to make the most sales, and one of the easiest ways to make offers is through content.

So before we wrap up here, because we’re getting close to the time limit of what I like to do on these podcasts, which has been great, by the way. Thank you so much. That Facebook group idea is just really gold. All of this has been really good, and it just shows me that we . . . I’m really into content marketing. I preach content marketing. I tell people they need to engage subscriber base, and I can see there’s just a whole other level, because we currently are really doing the big burst. We just dump it all out at once, and then we’re done with it. We do some advertising behind it, and we promote it to our fans. But we’re not doing anything near as smart as what you’ve just laid out for us.

Jen: Cool. Good. I’m glad it was helpful.

Ezra: So any last words? And I’m obviously going to put a link back to your website. I think those of you with teams who are listening to this, having Jen train your team on how to do this, how to create the right kind of content and how to syndicate it properly and market it properly would be well worth your time and energy. But anything else you want to say to these eCommerce business owners before we take off?

Jen: I think that the key message I want you guys to understand is that it doesn’t involve much more work for you, because you already have content. You already have podcasts or YouTube channel or product information.

Ezra: Facebook fan pages or whatever.

Jen: Exactly. You already have all this. So what we do is we’re just showing you how to amplify it, how to strategically reach your audience with the work you’ve already done. You’re really close, but just a couple more inches in the right direction. So that’s the feedback we get, is people think, “Oh, no. It’s too much work.”

Ezra: And it’s like you already have all the assets. You just don’t know how to use them.

Jen: Exactly.

Ezra: Love it.

Jen: That’s right.

Ezra: Cool. Well, thank you so much, Jen. I really appreciate it, and I know that my community does as well. And we’ll put a link back to your site here on the blog, and talk to you soon.

Jen: Thanks so much for having me. It’s been lovely chatting with you.

Ezra: Yeah.

Jen: Have a great day, guys.

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