Web & Social Analytics

Harnessing the power of social media for marketplace management

Most marketplace managers apply for the position considering their background or experience in inventory management, fulfilment, analytics, catalogue creation, or supply chain management. After all, the job involves ensuring that the products are listed across multiple marketplaces, that the SKUs are aligned with the latest and most topical or trending keywords, that orders are flowing smoothly across systems and APIs, and fulfilment is top-notch.

But there is one crucial piece of the puzzle that is missing in this understanding of marketplace management: discovery. How are customers to find your product(s) and brand(s)? How are they to be made aware of the features and benefits? How does one ensure that awareness is converted to interest and then to a purchase on a relevant marketplace? The answer of course is in social media.

The world over, social media usage continues to gain pace: in 2023, a whopping 4.9 billion people are using social media, with Facebook leading the virtual charge at 2.9 billion users monthly. Analysts expect the numbers to go to 5.85 billion by 2027.

Undeniably, marketplace management leaders must go where the users are: social media. It is therefore essential for them to understand social media marketing. Here are the five things to understand about social media for marketplace management:

  1. The type of social media network:
  2. From Facebook to TikTok, analysts count 128 different social media platforms globally, although the ‘top’ platforms, by user numbers, are less than 20. Every network has a unique culture – it is imperative to understand the platform your users and buyers frequent. Instagram is a video and photo sharing platform that is popular among fashion e-commerce users, for example. Twitter has a reputation for being a more cerebral platform where the world’s celebrities and techies gather to share tweet-storms and threads. Many B2B sectors have proprietary networks and communities.

  3. Going from 0 to running:
  4. As a marketplace manager, you cannot start promotions from day 1. Take the time to understand the platform (or platforms), and assess what your competitors are doing there. Deploy a ‘keep warm’ brand awareness campaign that is on-brand before you plan the big promotions.

  5. Planning a campaign:
  6. Plan out your campaigns based on your product roadmap. Is it an engaging brand awareness campaign to build follower counts? Will you use viral content to attract eyeballs? Is it an influencer marketing campaign to build interest before a product launch? Campaigns must be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based - to yield desired results. The monies spent may be large: planning, tracking, tweaking and reporting are essential.

  7. Sustaining user interest:
  8. Initially, users may be attracted to your brand based on a quirk: a new product in the marketplace, unique new features or benefits and so on. But what will keep them returning (and the user base growing) is to serve engaging content consistently. Some of the biggest brands online run massive campaigns to curate, create and publish content that could rival any media house. The campaigns may involve influencers, thought leaders, celebrities or new talent. If you’re in it for the long run, study the giants and get inspired.

  9. From nurture to convert:
  10. Ultimately, the name of the game is conversion: getting the followers to buy and use your product, as well as spreading the word about it in their social media posts. Here, authenticity always wins the game. Use the combination of tools, people and technology at your disposal to showcase your product’s unique selling points, as well as the benefits of buying it. Tracking your users’ digital behaviour, you can design omnichannel marketing campaigns that ensure they interact with your brand enough times for sustained brand recall. When they do make the buy decision, brand recall helps to ensure the click on the ‘buy’ button that lands your product into the shopping cart.

Social media marketing tools and technologies that can help plan, build and sustain these campaigns abound. Evaluate the tools on their merits, as well as on the parameter of how they integrate with the marketplace(s) where your products are listed. Consider whether you must build or buy any specific tool for your brand or product line. Assess whether a content marketing team must be hired to help you execute your plans, or whether you have agency and/or freelancer support to get it done.

Social media can form a crucial part of marketplace managers’ toolkit for success. Marketplace management teams are well served to understand the nuances of social media platforms and design campaigns that will help their products win in the marketplace.

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