Social media marketing and eCommerce – do they really go together?
Although social media is no new thing and companies have been implementing social media in their marketing campaigns for quite a while now there is still some question on whether those strategies are really effective. Some argue that the conversion rate of social media traffic is repetitively low. But I stand to the philosophy that social media does in fact have its place in any online marketing sales funnel, and a very important place at that.
JC Penny and GAP both currently have very active communities on Facebook. As they were experimenting with the effectiveness of selling through social media they both started something called F-commerce (Facebook commerce).
Despite their valiant efforts in this brave new territory the strategy didn’t really take off. They eventually shut these projects down due to a low sales volume claiming that people did not feel comfortable shopping through Facebook.
But I think that the real reason these ventures were not successful was due to the nature of social media. There are specific reasons why people spend time on social media sites. Those reasons are: to communicate with one another, to express themselves, entertain themselves, and simply pass the time. Since social media provides a special space for users to post their own content they may feel annoyed by advertisements and consumer behavior invading their space on social media.
Social media is a tool that needs to be used correctly in marketing
But that is not to say that social media is an ineffective means of marketing. Social media marketing should be seen as a type of tool and like any tool, it needs to be used correctly. A study from Datalogic showed that “people who saw a brands tweet spend 8% more than those that didn’t.” This report also observed that “people who responded to sponsored tweets helped increase sales by 12%”. This is done simply by updating customers on the latest news and also engaging in conversations with customers, something that Twitter is particularly useful for.
It should be noted that social media marketing is an essential tool to have within your sales funnel (usually near the top). By creating a fan page on Facebook and Twitter to share your latest updates you create a place for people interested in your products to become engaged in conversation, and somewhat engaged in the production of future products as well. It creates an active community which you build a relationship with your brand and your customers, and consider customer feedback. Subscribers to these pages may not be buyers from the moment they like or subscribe, but they certainly have a greater chance of becoming buyers in the future. Essentially, social media marketing is an exciting new form of brand building and that seems to be it’s main role in the sales funnel.
Make sure you are using your social media outlets correctly
Do not make the same mistake as JC Penny and GAP. Social media is not a place to advertise directly, but rather to engage in conversation with people who are already interested in your products. Think of your group pages as sort of social “clubs” where all your fans come to hang out. They are already interested in your products so try to make them feel like they are apart of the decision making process. After all, it is their feedback that will fuel your success. As a business you’ll want to know what they think of your products so that you can make them better. The bottom line is, on social media you have to keep things fun and entertaining.