With all the blogging, sharing, news articles and conferences that tout and exploit the uses of social media, you’d think the idea of using it to drive e-commerce sales would be a no-brainer. I mean everyone’s doing that, right? Anyone with an online storefront MUST be using their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Pinterest boards to drive traffic to product landing pages, right?
Turns out, not everyone understands that, especially in B2C. I was at a training session yesterday with one of our favorite retail clients, teaching them the amazing benefits of Sprout Social. This is a pretty great social media dashboard tool that allows you to manage all your social media presences from one location. As I was helping them hook it all up, I was also asking how these platforms were being used so far. Were they promoting items in the store? Sharing design ideas from their own people? Promoting designers and products outside of the store? Driving traffic to their online web store?
Turns out they were really only using their social platforms to promote things outside their store–designers, other Pinterest boards, other blogs. They weren’t really using the social tools to drive everyone back to their OWN store, either online or bricks and mortar.
I was very surprised, to say the least. But it made me think that maybe they weren’t alone, especially if they were a small business with limited time and resources. So here are some things you can do right now to help drive more sales using social tools.
- Set up a Facebook page and update it regularly. MOST people who buy things online have a Facebook presence of some sort. 67 percent of B2C companies and 42 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook (Hubspot, 2011). Use it to drive traffic to your blog, your Pinterest page, or better yet, specific product landing pages on your site. Facebook is a great way to stay in front of customers generally.
- Set up a Pinterest page to showcase your products. According to a recent BizRate Insights study, “sixty-nine percent of consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase.” In some studies, it’s even outpacing Facebook as a product purchase influencer. While both sites are used to connect with people who share common interests, “Pinterest is more of a product finder and decision influencer.”
- Set up a Twitter account for sharing thought leadership. Post content from your blog, and ideas from others, along with deals and ides on your OWN site. Twitter is less effective as a sales tool for consumer products, but it’s great for business solutions and products.
- YouTube is still one of the largest search engines, so you have to have a channel. This can really enhance SEO as well. Post weekly video tours of section of the store, specials, or events you might be hosting in your brick and mortar store, but link to corresponding product or category pages in the online store!
- Make sure to set up Google Analytics on your web store so you can see what links drive the best results. It’s pretty easy and Google already tracks the major social platforms. You’ll quickly get an idea of what each platform brings to the table in terms of traffic and sales. The key here is to be everywhere, targeting each platform to do what it’s good at. But don’t be afraid to drive traffic to your store, rather than just your blog.
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