Deborah says, "Some interesting tips, here, from our columnist, John., and his expertise in the business."
Now, on to the article...
There are so many ecommerce enterprises these days, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. If your business has a big market presence already, it’s probably because of high quality products, a high standard of customer service and a lot of money spent on advertising. You won’t build up a successful business without great products and a strong customer-focussed ethos, but even with a small advertising budget, you can attract new clientele, build a better relationship with your existing customer base and improve your service through astute use of social media.
Which social media should I use?
The platforms you choose should be dictated by the kind of person interested in your product. Facebook has the largest membership and currently provides the highest percentage of business referrals of all social media sites, whilst Twitter has gained popularity over the last year, and this trend seems set to continue. Both sites have very broad user profiles, including all ages likely to be accessing ecommerce sites independently, as well as being international. If you are trying to attract younger clients, Tumblr and Bebo are great sites, commonly used for posting visual media, including video.
How will social media help me?
As well as increasing exposure, social media can be an additional pathway for feedback. Most ecommerce sites have a system for reporting problems or to allow customers to review products, but via social media, you can find out what else people want. If there is a specific style or colour of item that isn’t available via your business, but is clearly becoming a ‘must-have’ object, you will find out earlier through Facebook or Pinterest and can order accordingly. You can also get feedback on elements that don’t relate to your own staff, for example, you can find out if customers are happy with the courier company you use: whether the deliveries arrive when they should, if the staff are polite and friendly. Use social media to tell customers of new offers and find out what offers they would like to see, or whether there are features they want on the site that would make it more user-friendly.
What type of things should I post?
Research shows that, when companies use social media, potential customers prefer to build a relationship with the account that is not based exclusively on ‘business talk’. On Facebook, for example, if you post pictures, links and comments that are likely to amuse, inform and engage, but are also connected to the product, then you will attract more traffic to the site and web traffic is the first step to new custom. Check what’s popular on the social media you use; on Twitter, find a good hashtag and play a weekly game to attract followers; if you sell shoes, offer a prize for the best #ShoeFilm tweet, such as ‘Lady Chatterley’s Loafer’ or ‘All’s welly that ends welly’! You’ll soon build a group of people recommending you to others and spreading your brand name on the site.
It should go without saying, that if you are engaging with customers or potential customers through social media, even though you want to present a friendly face, your relationships must remain completely professional. Pitfalls can be avoided with common sense, for example, don’t comment on controversial issues or post pictures you wouldn’t want your mother to see. There are more things to avoid in this helpful blog. If you are prepared to make a consistent effort and act on the feedback, social media can take your company to new heights.
This post was generously provided by John Keillor.