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Social Media and E-Commerce

Veterans of the marketing industry will tell you that the game hasn’t changed; what’s changed is how the message is delivered. One of the new ways the message gets to the customer is through social media. Now marketers need to get their messages to their target audiences without knocking the audiences over the head with the messages. That’s not to say that businesses need to stay away from social media marketing altogether. Some types of businesses, such as e-commerce, need to engage in social media marketing to let people know they exist even though there’s no brick-and-mortar location. Read on to learn more about the rise of social media as an avenue for e-commerce companies to market themselves.

Paid Advertising

There’s nothing new about paid advertising. This used to be done through ads on television, radio, and the newspaper. But there are far more eyes viewing social media than viewing traditional platforms. That’s not to say you need to abandon traditional media platforms. You just need to work social media advertising into your budget.

Social media advertising has its own set of challenges. Browsers can use ad blockers that prevent your ads from reaching visitors to your site. Many people use them because companies that serve up ads are known to send malicious code through their servers. And ads detract from the browsing experience for the user. You’re far better off gaining eyes by getting into the feeds of users. Let them come to you, or encourage them to follow your page in order to get discounts and special offers that aren’t available through other avenues. If this is something you’re not confident doing yourself, turn the job over to a social media manager¬†who is. You’re more assured of success when you work with a company that knows how to get followers on an organic level and not make them feel advertised to.

Image via Flickr by Jason A. Howie

In-App Purchasing

Retailers might not realize that there’s a hurdle preventing potential customers from turning into sales, and it’s a simple one. If it’s too hard to buy something, the customer is going to walk away. You want the customer to click through the social media post and buy when he or she sees an ad. The impulse to buy an item goes down the harder it is to make the sale. When a customer can’t click on “add to cart” and pay quickly or easily, he or she is not about to make the sale. This is especially true of buying on a phone through a social media app.

Entering in lots of information on a phone gets old fast. It’s time-consuming and prone to mistakes. If your app doesn’t have an auto-save feature that locks down and enters personal information so it’s only usable by the account holder, you’re far less likely to turn that browser into a customer. Or if you don’t link to a third party pay service that the customer can use for quick purchases, you’re also likely to not make a sale.

Another issue with buying through an app is not making it easy for the customer to put the item into the shopping cart in the first place. Shopping online is supposed to be a matter of putting the item into the cart and then clicking the purchase button. If there’s no button or obvious way to put the item into the shopping cart, the customer is going to move on. And he or she is very likely to go to another retailer advertising on social media to buy the same item because the retailer made it easy for them to do so.

Gain Trust of Customers

Companies have a reputation for being faceless ventures that don’t have much of an interest in social causes. They stay away from them because it’s seen as a cynical way of gaining customers. But it also hurts companies in that customers have no idea of the ethics of the company that made the product they bought. Social media is an excellent avenue for a company to take a stance on a hot button topic or to throw its weight behind an ongoing issue in the world.

While companies are wise to stay away from hot-button topics of the day, such as political ones, there’s nothing wrong with taking up a social cause like stopping the deforestation of the rainforests or donating a percentage of sales to a local charity. Customers like the feeling of buying from a company that cares about the impact it makes on the community or the world. And those statements of support for a cause can be made on social media accounts without feeling cynical about doing so.

Video Advertising

This is a bit of a tightrope to walk. People who browse the internet aren’t always appreciative of a video popping up in the middle of their reading. That risks annoying a potential customer base and turning them off the product. Yet videos are still one of the best ways to gain new customers. How is a company to go about making videos and getting people to see them and decide to make a purchase?

It’s a fine balance of not interrupting the viewer’s experience with an ad that jars. Let viewers decide if they want to watch the ad or not by turning off the autoplay feature. Do make the video prominent on the page, but don’t let it take over the entire page. The goal is to be obvious without being intrusive and encourage viewers to click on the ad after they’re done with their browsing. It’s a subtle way to get someone to take a look, but viewers are more likely to appreciate not being blasted out of their seats by an advertisement and more likely to become a customer as a result.

Dismissing social media as a way to advertise is an unwise move. Learn how to harness it instead and use it as a place to find new revenue streams that would otherwise get overlooked.

September 18, 2017

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