There is no one-size-fits-all solution in social media marketing. However, industry-level insights offer benchmarks and important best practices, based on the experiences of other companies. In a recent issue of SocialBakers.com’s Facebook Report: Ecommerce Industry, there are a number of important insights for SMB marketers, based on the trials and successes of large retailers.

The first part of the report focuses on the size of each brand’s following, though this isn't necessarily a great metric for small business marketers. Simply put, the quality of your following is head and shoulders above quantity in terms of relevance. Just a few years ago, marketers tripped over themselves to buy fans from companies with offers like, “500 Facebook fans for $5!” This quickly proved ineffective, as marketers failed to see additional sales as a result of this “investment.”

Attracting a targeted audience is key. A more important metric in the Facebook Report is the growth rate of brand Facebook Pages. Amazon.com, Netshoes and Amazon UK currently enjoy the fastest growing Facebook audiences. Look to their Pages to see why that might be. In Amazon’s case, they are masters at user experience and have used the same strategy on their Facebook Page as on their website. Here are a few things Amazon.com is doing right that SMBs can emulate to improve their own social strategy:

  • Use the Facebook features available to you to attract attention to your Page, catch the interest of readers, and engage fans. This includes a high quality cover image, photo albums, highlighted posts, and more.
  • Engage fans by asking questions. In one recent example, Amazon promoted their editor’s top 100 picks list on Facebook in a simple status update, with a link to the corresponding page on their website. However, they also asked, “What was the best book you read last year?” This resulted in over 380 responses, meaning each of those people shared their interaction with Amazon in the newsfeed of their friends. Engaging fans can result in massive exposure across the social web, outside of your company’s network.
  • Use humor and interesting content to catch the interest of fans. Stand out in their newsfeed with quality images paired with funny captions or descriptions, like this one from Amazon, which features a Darth Vader Potato Head picture with the caption, “Luke, I am your tater!”

Use humor like Amazon.com to engage Facebook fans.

Another important metric SocialBakers.com examines is engagement rate of individual posts by e-commerce brands. On that front, Appliances Online from the UK boasts a 2.68% engagement rate, exponentially better than the average 0.159% rate seen across Facebook.

Appliances Online isn't as massive a brand as Amazon, nor do they have millions of followers. Yet with just over 660,000 fans, they have mastered the art of engagement. How do they do it?

Check out this custom tab on the Appliances Online Facebook Page. They actively recruit fans to review their products and make it simple for them to apply to do so. They invest in making sure fans know how to provide feedback and that the time they take to do so is appreciated.

Appliances Online Join Our Review Team tab on Facebook.

The company also does something many others don’t: they have left their Facebook Page settings open so that posts from fans of the brand actually appear on the default view of the Page. People visiting the Page can see content posted by others, as well as the brand’s content. This gives their presence more of a community feel and makes it seem less a marketing profile. In this post, for example, you can see that a fan posted a comment on Appliance Online’s Page, which others then commented on, as well. A conversation started around the brand with no effort on the part of AO whatsoever. They did take the time to respond, however, further cementing their reputation as a responsive company who cares about engaging customers and fans.

Read the full SocialBaker’s.com report for more examples of big Ecommerce brands doing right by fans on Facebook. What other lessons have you learned from competitors or big brands that have helped your social media marketing strategy? Share your tips in the comments!