The Answer to 4 Burning Social Media Questions

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Social media is a hot topic for anyone marketing their products online. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, your ecommerce site should be in the social game. Check out the answers to these four burning questions to help guide your social media strategy.

Admit it. You’re afraid of social media.

Twitter butterflies are in your stomach and visions of Facebook fans haunt your dreams. Don’t fret – social media is a friend of your ecommerce site.

Last Thursday we held our webinar, “Social Commerce: How to Build a Successfully Sustainable Strategy,” where we covered the building blocks to creating your social presence. In case you missed the webinar, be sure to check out the recording.

With so much buzz about social commerce, we received tons of questions about the topic. So in the spirit of being social, here are four of the most burning questions about integrating social media with your online store.

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion

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1. Is a social shopping campaign right for my online business?

Social shopping tools like Groupon, LivingSocial and Tippr are rising in popularity thanks to the promise of big discounts on hot items. While it’s tempting to jump in, ask yourself some key questions before getting started:

  • On what product can I offer a deep discount that grabs the attention of users?
  • Will I have adequate inventory levels to meet the demand of this campaign?
  • What will I do with buyers after they make their purchase?
  • Can I afford to offer a discount that cuts so deeply into my margin?
  • What long-term gains will I get from this campaign?

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Remember that social shopping campaigns typically work best for local brick and mortar stores. This trend can easily be curbed, so long as you have a compelling offer that appeals to an audience that has likely never heard of your business.

In other words, if you offer an extremely niche product, you’ll need to think extra hard if social shopping is right for you.


2. I’ve been on social media for over a year with no growth. What’s up with that?

Social media isn’t always kind, that’s for sure.

First, I invite you to define “growth.” Are you referring to the number of followers, the amount of traffic received, or revenue growth? Once you have a clearer picture of your objective, you can better measure growth patterns.

Next, evaluate how you’re marketing your social channels. Start placing your social icons on your template and in each of your emails. Get creative and entice people to follow you by offering special promotions or contests. Just asking people to engage with you will help tons.

Finally, take a look at what you’re sharing via social. Is your content less than adequate? Are you pushing too many sales messages? Keep in mind that people interact with you online it enhances their lives. Just like any healthy relationship, you must provide content that enriches the other party.


3. What tools can I use to listen and monitor what’s being said on social?

Base your decision on the size of your business, budget and social presence.

If you’re running a large company with lots of social activities, research various paid tools that will streamline your social conversations and provide follow up actions to you and your team.

If you’re a smaller company with minimal social buzz, there are a number of free tools you can use. Two of my favorites are HootSuite and SocialMention. HootSuite allows you to create different streams for various keyword searches, which gives you a real-time glimpse into what people are talking about online. SocialMention provides a more comprehensive search of the same.

Also, be sure to set up Google Alerts for yourself, competitors and various keywords. This tool will track online mentions and send them directly to your email.

Whatever tools you prefer is fine, so long as you’re listening. Remember, people are talking about your brand whether you like it or not, so you might as well be in the know.


4. Why is there so much hype about social media?

Just like the new kid in school, everyone likes to talk about the unknown.

Social media is one of the latest technologies to impact online marketers, and with the sheer number of users on social, we’re salivating to take advantage of this new opportunity. I’m not saying that this hype isn’t rightfully deserved, but take it with a grain of salt.

Social media is nothing more than an extension of your business – it’s not the salvation that many people are hoping for.

Another reason for social media hype stems from the direct connection with customers. Never before have we had the chance to be so involved with our customers’ lives. Additionally, social media is easily sharable, which provides us the chance to extend our reach across the web.

Once we begin to see social media better align with business objectives, the buzz will die down so we can see the true power of this medium. Until then, plan your social efforts carefully.

About 

Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

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