Modern consumers are tech-savvy, mobile and social. They are found online: networking, scanning through content, indulging in multi-media or even shopping. As a result, social media has grown from just connecting friends to uniting brands and users across the platforms.
Studies indicate 9 out of 10 people are likely to go to social media for assistance before they make a buying decision, and about 75% of consumers purchase a product because they saw it on social media. This simply means, with a little effort any business can appeal to thousands of potential shoppers on online platforms sometimes without spending even a single cent.
As such, social media comes in handy in promoting your brand to your audience and generating new sales. You can post updates on products and keep followers informed on the next big thing about your company. Not only is it cheap, but also time-saving and adaptable to two-way communication between your business and the customers.
But with so many social media platforms out there, how will you know which one will work as an effective e-commerce store for your business? While this can be daunting, do not be frightened. You have made this kind of decision in the past, this one will be simple too.
Below are six proven social media sites that work as effective e-commerce stores:
You’ve probably heard it over and over again: You need to be on Facebook. Ever wondered why? With 1.32 billion daily active users and nearly 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the head hound of the big dogs.
It’s first in line when it comes to e-commerce. Other than promoting social activity, Facebook connects millions of businesses with customers throughout the world. In fact, more than 1 billion Facebook users are connected to a business and they often turn to Facebook feeds to find out what to buy for their loved ones or themselves.
A study by Facebook IQ maintains that users who engage in the network more than five times a day are more likely to be loyal to a specific brand and are bound to make repeat purchases.
The other thing to note here is that most web users find a brand’s Facebook page (dedicated pages that owners set up for their businesses) more useful than a company website and will actually visit the former first.
Once a potential customer visits your Facebook page, he/she can click on your Store Tab and actually buy a product directly from your store, without leaving Facebook.
Therefore, growing your Facebook audience should be a top priority in your marketing strategy. The more Facebook fans you have, the better. First, because it is easy to market to a community with similar interests. Secondly, customers can share your content and product information much easier here than anywhere else.
While it is not practical that all your Facebook fans will buy your product, the fraction that will do is still pretty impressive.
What about Twitter? Have you tried it? On average, Twitter users purchase online 6.9 times a month while non-users purchase online about 4.3 times a month.
The case is even more enticing for smaller businesses: Twitter analytics reveal that 60% of users buy from small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).
Just like Facebook, Twitter users are influenced by content when making purchase decisions. A Bigcommerce survey indicates that 17% of men would purchase something from a Tweet in their timeline.
The data tells it all. Twitter is a prime deal for brands that want to take their conversions and revenue to the next level. As a social platform, it can give your brand more social proof (customer reviews) than what you’d get on your regular e-commerce website.
One good reason why you should consider Twitter as your e-commerce platform is its objective-based campaigns. Your brand only gets to spend on actions that align with your goals and expand your reach. For instance, you can run campaigns to; drive leads, inspire engagements, gain new followers, get conversions, or boost app installations.
Conversions are for the most part effective for retailers. As a retailer, you can attract followers from Twitter audiences, just from a promoted post and earn a click-through back to your site.
All you need to do here is post inspirational quotes related to your industry, links to important videos and blog posts, as well as send alerts about new products, discounts, and sales.
Join the Twitter e-commerce dream today and envisage growth for your business.
Instagram’s massive daily audience of 500 million users puts this social site at the forefront of e-commerce and marketing too. Additionally, the site commands a larger monthly audience of close to 800 million users, 80% of whom live outside the United States. Therefore, it is a great platform to air your global marketing campaigns.
Currently, 68% of Instagram users engage with brands on a regular basis compared with 32% of users on other social sites like Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps this is attributed to the fact that Instagram is one of the most visually appealing social sites on the web.
Instagram focuses on the sharing of graphic content. Once you establish your brand’s presence on Instagram, focus on creating high-quality content for your followers as it is the only currency for grossing engagement from your target audience.
Consumer engagement on Instagram can go a long way in enabling you to create a loyal tribe around your brand, and your success rate will heavily depend on your creativity. Common ways you may use to engage your audience here include; hashtags, stories, contests, videos, and demonstrations.
You can also encourage shoppers to post images of themselves wearing or using your products, sometimes in exchange for coupon codes or mutual self-promotion. There’s really no limit to what you can do.
Pinterest also provides a great opportunity for you to get closer to your customers, boost engagement as well as increase your sales. If you have been overlooking Pinterest, here are amazing statistics you should consider:
- Pinterest has well over 75 million users and is still growing
- Pinterest comes third, after Facebook and Twitter, in regard to generating daily referral traffic
- About 80% of Pinterest users are female
- Pinterest referrals are 10% more likely to buy your products
Like Instagram, Pinterest is designed for visual content. So, it’s perfect for stores that can pin product-focused images. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
But that’s not the only advantage of Pinterest. This social network also eliminates a number of cumbersome stages in the buying cycle, by allowing a buyer to see and buy a product without diverting to other routes.
So, how does it work? Pinterest supports e-commerce through buyable pins. A buyable pin is a pin that leads to a purchase. Think of it as a buy button, because that’s just what it is.
By using buyable pins, your customers can buy your product without ever leaving Pinterest. These pins are accessible from anywhere in the social platform including search results and related pins.
To achieve maximum results, remember to build a strong case for your products on your e-commerce website, prior to promoting them on Pinterest. Also, use sharing widgets such as DiggDigg and AddThis to add the relevant social sharing buttons. Announcing various competitions or special offers for Pinterest users on your website can also help in boosting your sales.
Whether you’re running a B2B, a social media agency, a local mom & pop or SaaS, Pinterest might just be the piece you’re missing in your conversion puzzle.
Perhaps it’s the thought of creating images and videos that will disappear every 24 hours that give businesses the chills.
But no matter how fast you run, you can’t get away from the ghost. Snapchat hit the 10-billion-video-views-per-day mark two years ago and it doesn’t seem to be going downhill anytime soon.
The total number of daily active Snapchat users is currently at 187 million and it’s estimated that each user spends at least 30 minutes on the social network every day.
Yes, Snapchat may seem bizarre when it comes to e-commerce, but you can’t afford to ignore it. In fact, if you’re targeting prime, digitally savvy populations of 18-35 years old, you are likely to find them in Snapchat. And given that Snapchat e-commerce is a relatively new scene, brands that establish a loyal audience are -guaranteed to enjoy the mover’s advantage.
So, go ahead and give your viewers a quick look at “the behind-the-scenes” of your business; share teasers for upcoming promotions and product releases, offer promo codes, and leverage on influencer marketing.
Last but not least, YouTube gives you the chance to showcase videos of your products in an informative and entertaining way. And it does so in a way that your regular e-commerce website wouldn’t achieve.
This is simply because YouTube is the most popular video platform on the internet, with more than 1 billion users. Viewers consume over 5 billion videos per day and 3.25 billion hours of video per month.
As you can rightly guess, that makes it the second-largest search engine in existence and one of the most efficient e-commerce tools at your disposal.
Unfortunately, less than 10% of businesses use it. If you’re among the 90% that are not tapping into this open market, start today.
Try posting videos that are both informative and entertaining such as short tutorials and funny self-parodies. Make sure that your content is compelling and that it uses different strategies such as explainer videos, smart cross-promotion, and product reviews.
Through the right branding, persuasive call-to-action, and consistent content stream, you can build your brand and generate leads for your e-commerce business.
Just like it is important to use a time tracking tool to make timekeeping accurate and payroll simple, social media is now enmeshed in our daily business routines, and we cannot afford to ignore its potential benefits. Today businesses can use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube as e-commerce stores for marketing and selling their products.
Here are the final tips to enable you to use your social media sites as effective e-commerce stores:
- Social media is about creating significant connections with your prospects. Therefore, you need to keep conversations going irrespective of your chosen platform.
- Always use a friendly tone. A serious tone will do nothing but keep people away. Social media users need to know they’re actually communicating with the human behind your Twitter or Facebook account and not just the company itself.
- Offer your connections a value proposition and follow your customers. Also, don’t forget to integrate social media into your site.
Have you used social media to boost your sales? Share your insights in the comments section.