Social Media and eCommerce
What is the Best Social Media to Attract More Visitors to your eCommerce site?
So, you have an eCommerce website. Regardless of whether you have just set up shop or if you have been in the business for a while, one of your biggest concerns is always going to be driving customers to your website.
You have most likely taken steps towards marketing yourself, from e-mail marketing to Google Adwords, there is a lot that you can do. But any marketer worth their salt knows that if you want to get into the public space you need to make your presence felt in the digital realms of Social Media.
What is social media?
The technical answer, according to Wikipedia: Social media are computer-mediated technologies that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.
That sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. You probably already use at least one Social Media platform. Things like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are all examples of Social Media channels.
Social media and eCommerce
Why is Social Media important to you as an eCommerce entrepreneur? Simply put, Social media is the place where your potential customers are. In days gone by you would have had a brick and mortar store and you may have had a television advert to reach your customers and tell them about your product. It’s now 2017 and TV is rapidly being phased out as an advertising medium.
Before we look at which Social Media channels are best suited to promoting your business, you must understand how Social Media advertising differs from traditional above the line advertising.
Social Media is more than just an alternative to traditional Television entertainment, it has changed the way that the public interacts with companies and brands. It’s no longer enough to simple deliver a set message to your customers. They want to interact with you and they want you to respond. Social Media marketing is about interacting with your customer. Appointing someone to assist with your Social Media efforts on a full time basis is a very worthwhile consideration. This person plays the part that your traditional rep or salesman would have played before. The advantage is you don’t have to have multiple sales people in every city that your customers live in. Your efforts can be centralised and streamlined. Social Media also works as a variation on Word-of-mouth marketing.
When someone “likes” or “follows” you on Social Media they are not only allowing you to advertise to them, they are also acting as an advocate for your brand. They are endorsing you to their friends and connections – a very worthwhile form of advertising. The ROI on this kind of customer interaction can be clearly measured by the traffic it generates for your website.
Which social media platform is the best for eCommerce?
The truth is the best Social Media platform for driving traffic to your website depends on what industry you’re in, who your target market is and what your company is all about. Each platform performs slightly differently, and they are all frequented by different kinds of people, looking for different kinds of experiences.
A company selling adventure outdoor clothing may do well to launch an Instagram account and team up with key influencers in the Instagram / outdoor adventure market. A company that sells professional services would probably do better on LinkedIn.
Social media: platform by platform
Let’s look at some different platforms to see what they are great for and how they can help you. The “big six” of Social Media Marketing: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
By far the Social Media giant, Facebook has more than 1.5 billion active users. 802 million of those people log in every day. 1 billion people access Facebook through their mobile devices every month. It’s also important to note that the majority of these people are between the ages of 25 and 35, and just more than half are women.
If you are a business you have to have a Facebook account. It is as expected as having an e-mail address or phone number (maybe even more so). Without it you essentially don’t exist online.
A well planned Facebook campaign can do wonders for your business. It allows you communicate in a meaningful way with your customers, improving your public image with every interaction. It’s important to take even negative feedback and turn it in your favour.
It also allows you to provide links directly to the products you are selling, from right where your customers are.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, which is why paid marketing and advertising on the two platforms is linked. Although the number of users is nowhere near Facebook’s size (yet), it is still a valuable platform, with more than 400 million active users.
Instagram is a completely visual platform, where users post photos and videos. It offers photo editing tools to make users images look professional. Instagram is entirely mobile, and doesn’t have a web-interface which can post or edit photos. This platform is best suited to industries like food, fashion, lifestyle, art, and travel.
If your eCommerce store is selling fashion you would want to create an Instagram account to show off outfits and clothing items. You might also consider teaming up with an Instagram influencer and let them take photos of your products.
Bear in mind that you can’t link back to your website as easily with Instagram, with the only real place to add a link being in the about section of your profile. Your webstore must also be entirely interactive because people who find you through Instagram will be on their mobile phones.
Twitter is a fast moving and high intensity platform. The birth-place of the (Social media) #hashtag, Twitter has 320 million active users and is one of the top ten US websites.
Twitter allows videos, links, polls and images to be posted, but no more than 140 characters are allowed per message so you have to keep your message to the point.
Twitter is a highly effective platform for attracting customers for your business, and it’s a great place to handle customer service. If you want to spread information fast, Twitter is the place to do it.
The biggest drawback with this platform for small businesses is that users expect really quick responses and you need to be highly active if you want your marketing efforts to work here.
People forget that YouTube is a Social Media channel because information is not displayed in quite the usual “news feed” we have come to expect. It can be very effective tool for marketers – just take a look at the success of the dollar shave club – an eCommerce company that went from launch to 12 000 customers in two days using nothing more than a video that went viral.
YouTube uses video content and is the advertising method most closely linked to traditional TV. Over 4 billion YouTube videos are viewed every day. Used well it can be a powerful tool. It is a highly competitive space for marketers – viewers will not sit through a boring video. Typically people come onto YouTube looking for something specific, then there is a five second intro where advertisers can try to capture the interest of the viewer before they have the option to “skip ad”.
If you choose to use YouTube make sure that you have a well-produced video and that your message is clear and engaging.
Pinterest has over 100 million active users, more than 70% of whom are female. Like Instagram, Pinterest uses visual content, but it differs a little. Pinterest is more web-based, with “pin-boards” of images where users can display and save content they like as “pins”. These can be categorised into “boards” based on interest. Although Pinterest is more niche than Facebook, it is valuable for certain types of business because it is where many people go in search of ideas for things to make, cook and create. If you have the time to create valuable content such as a blog that promotes your product, Pinterest can be great place to get into people’s hands.
The last big contender is linked in. LinkedIn is a professional platform where people show-case their skills and their businesses. Because if this it tends to be more geared towards business to business interactions. Linked in has 467 million users.
LinkedIn is more likely to be helpful from the point of view of improving your vendor relations and making business connections than actually selling, unless you are selling a B2B product.