27 Feb How to Leverage The Changes Social Media Has Made to the eCommerce Landscape
Has your eCommerce business taken advantage of the selling power of social media, or has it merely “adapted” to these changes?
Leveraging social media to increase leads and sales isn’t just a staple of marketing for eCommerce businesses: it’s quickly becoming a requirement.
The numbers don’t lie.
At Design Ninjaz, we like to think we know a thing or two about social media and its significant impact on marketing.
At the time of this writing, there are an estimated 217 million digital shoppers in the United States. If we compare this number to the amount of people with a social media profile, we can see a lot of overlap: an approximate 185 million U.S. residents have social media profiles.
If we extrapolate these numbers a bit, we can determine that 85% of digital shoppers also have social media profiles.eCommerce business owners, listen up: 85% of digital shoppers also have social media profiles. Are you REALLY doing the most you can with #SocialMedia? Click To Tweet
85% is a pretty huge portion of your target audience, wouldn’t you say?
Let’s take a moment to explore how “adapting” to these changes is perhaps the wrong mindset to adopt. Don’t adapt because of these changes, but instead recognize how you can actually thrive because of them.
Adapting to Social Media vs. Maximizing the Opportunity
Novice eCommerce operators often think of platforms like Facebook or Twitter as merely a place to say, “Hey, look what we sell, come buy some!”
…And while on a very basic level that is true, there are countless other reasons to implement social media into your overall marketing strategy.
For example, social media provides eCommerce businesses with…
- …A ridiculous amount of customer data. Just to give you an idea of the scale of how much customer insight a business could potentially gather, consider that roughly 6,000 Tweets are posted to Twitter per second. On Facebook, approximately 800 million “likes” occur per day. Photo-sharing behemoth Instagram hosts around 40 million photos per day. The point here is that an eCommerce business that understands how to engage and interact with this kind of information flow can not only sell more products, but learn a lot about their target audience while doing so.
- …A powerful way to improve CX (customer experience). We’ve established through hard numbers that your customers are on social media, so why wouldn’t you want to be where your customers are, too? In an increasingly “24/7” business landscape, customers expect support at all hours of the day and quick response times. Social media is the modern way of keeping up with these needs—and if you do it right, you’ll be far ahead of your competition
- …A cost-effective brand awareness solution. Businesses spend unspeakable amounts of money on brand awareness. Social media allows you to build brand awareness while directly interacting with your target audience for a substantially lower price tag.
Social media isn’t about making “lucky” one-time sales—it’s about developing and growing a relationship with your target audience.
Your audience has a direct line of communication to tell you what they want. This kind of from-the-horse’s-mouth information was unthinkably valuable and much harder to obtain even just a couple of decades ago, and now any business, ranging from startup to enterprise, has access to it for free or at most pennies on the dollar.
The benefits we’ve discussed here are really just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Many eCommerce business owners would argue that learning how to leverage social media isn’t just a way to “get an edge” over your competition—it’s a requirement if you want to keep up.
How Facebook and Others are Implementing eCommerce Into Their Platforms
Social media platforms haven’t just noticed eCommerce, they’ve practically put a spotlight on it. For example, Facebook’s “Facebook Pixel” is the starting point for tracking and understanding your customers and potential customers, enabling advertisers to do things like showing dynamic ads that can display products from their entire catalog based on user-met criteria.
Furthermore, customer retargeting has become an incredibly popular advertising trend on Facebook and other platforms, allowing businesses to create a list of customers who visited their website or other online assets and “retarget” them with relevant advertisements on other sites, such as a social media platform. This can mitigate customer loss and shopping cart abandonment among other benefits.
So… simplified, what does all that mean?
Let’s take a look at retargeting. Imagine that you operate an eCommerce website that sells camping gear. If you’re much of a trailblazer, you know that certain kinds of camping gear can get pretty expensive (some styles of high-quality tent can easily run over $1,000).
Most shoppers do quite a lot of thinking before buying bigger-ticket items. Maybe they read reviews, consider other brands, or look for bargains. That tent might sit in the shopping cart for a few days or even weeks before they decide to buy it (or not). Since you’re retargeting, you’re able to advertise that same tent to them even if they’re browsing a different website.
Maybe they think about it. They look at your social media and see that you post great content about tents. You shared a well-received case study or a brand comparison with your audience. Maybe you’re selling that tent for a little bit more than your competition, but the customer notices the care and attention you put into your social media.
With this in mind, they feel like you’ll probably offer better customer service in the event that something goes wrong, so they decide that they do want to buy that tent after all and return to that previously-abandoned shopping cart and click “buy now.”
This is a simple example, but it happens all the time.
Social Media is a Good Thing for Businesses (A Very Good Thing)
Unfortunately, a lot of small business owners assume the wrong kind of mindset with regard to social media whether they’re involved in eCommerce or not.
We could easily sit and debate the more philosophical points about social media for hours on end. It’s interesting to consider whether or not these new technologies have brought us closer together as people or simply wedged a screen between us, but like it or not, social media is here and it isn’t going anywhere.
Just as the telephone changed the way customer service and customer outreach is conducted, so has social media.
From a business standpoint, we could probably argue pretty easily that social media has brought companies closer to their target audiences than ever before. There was a time not so long ago in our history that the only way to correspond with someone from a company you were doing business with was to hand write them a letter. Like, with a pen and paper.
The wrong mindset to have is that social media is this newfangled thing that you “have to” participate in, like it’s yet another menial entry on your endless to-do list…
Just Another Task on an Endless List?
“Well, I guess I have to make a few social media accounts, because everyone else does it…”
If you’ve ever had a thought similar to that, you’re completely under-utilizing a wonderful tool at your disposal.
In our experience, a large part of the reason why so many small businesses don’t succeed with social media is because they view it as something they have to do, not something they should want to do.A large part of the reason why so many #SmallBusinesses don’t succeed with #SocialMedia is because they view it as something they have to do, not something they should want to do. Click To Tweet
Strangely enough, this “have to” mindset plagues even forward-thinking, digitally-focused companies who engage in eCommerce. And you know what? It ends up costing them.
The “have to” companies are blasting out automated posts with unimaginative 10% off links to their 42 followers.
The “want to” companies are engaging with thousands of rabidly loyal customers because it’s clear that they care. They produce hand-written, meaningful posts… and believe it or not, not every single post is trying to sell something—some of them are there to provide pure value to their audience.
The “want to” companies are developing relationships. When they pull the trigger on a discount link or a more salesy post, their audience listens.
The “have to” companies are only on social media because, well, everyone else is doing it. And it shows.
Which one are you?
Don’t let the opportunity to grow your business with social media pass you by.
Learn More About Social Media Marketing for eCommerce in 2018
Successfully using social media to boost eCommerce sales isn’t as simple as firing off a few Tweets every day.
It takes work, consistency, and the ability to say the right things at the right time.
The businesses who thrive in the modern marketplace and truly leverage these platforms have a strategic, methodical approach to engaging with their target audience and maximizing the benefits of doing so. If you’d like to discuss how your eCommerce business can start using social media the right way, we’d love to start a conversation with you.