Social media has all the makings of hype. That is not to label it as a passing fad. Instead, what I am saying is that the way ecommerce businesses seem to be approaching it leaves a lot to be desired. Professionals are approaching social media either as a "necessary evil" or as the elixir for all their problems. Here are 8 common sense tips to improve your presence on social media websites.
1. Keep It SimpleI have lost count of the number of times I have seen a social shopping cart on a Facebook that was excessively complicated. You want to streamline the process, such as making the cart link directly to your website. Or allow account sign in, and one-click purchasing, on the shopping tab itself.
2. Keep It AttractiveMuch like the design of your website, the design of your social media page is important. Whether you are creating a Pinterest account and want good looking board covers, or you are taking advantage of Facebook's Timeline to make something creative and fun, put real effort into it. You want to look professional and approachable.
3. Monitor the CompetitionAnother benefit of social media is the ability to keep an eye on your competitors. You can garner a lot of information about their strategy just by checking out their social pages. Look at what sites they are on (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, ...), what they are posting, their contests and promotions. Also make a note of how they communicate with their customer base.
4. Make It Easy to ShareSharing is what social interaction is all about. One quick and effective way of making sure your product descriptions are shared is by adding social networking buttons on each page. Many big businesses like Walmart and Amazon now have Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest buttons, along with the old "email this page" option, on each item description page.
5. Be Engaging, Not PushyOne of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use your social media account exclusively to sell products. You should be using it to get into a one-on-one dialogue with the consumer, and generate brand loyalty through being personable. The most successful social media campaigns are by companies that know how to make their customers laugh, smile, and respond. Even a 'like' will show up on their friend's user feed on Facebook. You should try and provide steady content and communication, while mixing in the product selling and advertisements.
6. Create a Solid Video CampaignOne of the best ways of capturing a consumer's attention is with a catchy video. Many people assume this has to be expensive, and in the days of television commercials this was generally the case. But thanks to sites like YouTube and Vimeo, it is now inexpensive and easy to use video campaigns. All you need is a good idea, and a bit of effort, and you have content that is immediately ripe for sharing.
7. Try InfographicsVisuals are another medium that is often shared through social networking sites, and we are not just talking about Pinterest where entire boards are dedicated to them. If you can make a good, visually appealing infographic that informs the consumer, or just makes them laugh, you are on the right track. Post it on your business page, and watch it shoot across the web.
8. Have a ContestThe most common bit of advice for social media campaigns is the use of contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways. These are a great way to engage consumers, and to encourage sharing. For a small ecommerce business, I would recommend conducting a contest once every three months.
Social media is a great tool for the ecommerce entrepreneur. Those who fail to take advantage of the platform will be doing themselves a great disservice. In effect they will be actively driving consumers into the waiting arms of the competition.