With social media predicted to be contributing to over $30 billion in web sales by 2015, it offers a vast opportunity for e-commerce businesses to increase their customer base. Also, more and more shoppers are citing the influence of social networks on their purchasing decisions. As cited in a 2013 study by Market Force, “81 percent of U.S. shoppers surveyed admitted to the strong influence that social network recommendations from friends play in their decision to make a new purchase.”
A well crafted and executed social media plan will go a long way towards introducing your products and services in front of more potential buyers. There are a number of reasons how social media marketing can give a boost to your business, including the cost effective nature of social media tools and strategies in comparison to huge ad spend necessary for traditional marketing and can deliver quick results. Moreover, social media marketing is the new face of word-of-mouth-marketing and ecommerce businesses strive to grow their audience through organic word-of-mouth marketing. But, it’s very important to know the biggest mistakes e-commerce businesses often make when aiming to quickly improve their bottom line using social media.
1. Acting Without a Plan
Planning is extremely important. Creating a solid plan can relieve you from a lot of stress & chaos which comes with managing multiple social media accounts. However, many e-commerce businesses start participating and promoting on social media without formulating a plan.
Social plays a important role in creating brand awareness. Most ecommerce businesses fail to realize this when formulating their social media strategy. Don’t forget that people who follow you on social media are normally people who are familiar with your brand. And, they expect interesting content from you to guide their purchasing decisions. One of the easiest ways to make them uninterested in your brand is to post unappealing & self-centric content. So, plan ahead of how you want to portray your brand and connect with your prospects. It’s very important to create a social media strategy.
For example, Luxury men’s online retailer Mr Porter.com, mastered the art of social media with a long term social media strategy of educating its prospects through its editorially-driven content. They combine engaging & informative content to build their social presence since its very start.
2. Ignoring Social Media Complaints
Dissatisfied consumers are using social media to vent their gripes, “24% of those who lost their temper about a product/service turned to social media to talk about their experience with that company” (via Shankman)
But, many studies have shown that brands have been ignoring their customers and treating social networks as a one way marketing channel. This is a huge mistake! Leaving complaints unattended on your social media channels can cause a serious harm to your reputation in a number of ways.
Firstly, people are giving you their valuable feedback and leaving it unattended will annoy them and you risk losing them forever. Secondly, there are high chances that these dissatisfied consumers will leave negative reviews about your product on other social media channels which will tarnish your company’s reputation in public eye. Thirdly, when complaints are posted on your social channels, all your followers can see it. And, if left unattended will decrease their trust in you which can prove harmful for your brand in longer run.
3. Promoting Your Products to Everyone
One of the most common mistake e-commerce businesses make while using social media is promoting their products to everyone. This is the most common mistake traditional marketers have been making. Social media marketing allows you to target people on the basis of their likes and dislikes, place of work and their friends etc.
While promoting your product ensure that you are targeting people who are directly or indirectly related to it. For example, if you are selling gizmos, target people who say they like gizmos and also liked related pages. Context is everything. Crafting compelling content for your targeted niche is the right way to drive higher conversions.
4. Posting Boring or Irrelevant Content
It’s a known fact that Social media is not a meaningful source of direct traffic to ecommerce websites. So, trying to sell directly doesn’t work on social media, that’s why businesses invest in content to attract & influence their targeted audience. There are no short cuts to create engaging & informative content, so craft compelling content that is able to solve your customers pain points and eduacte them about your niche rather than doing self promotion all the time. We have earlier discussed how to create viral content to drive organic traffic through word of mouth marketing.
Businesses often commit the mistake of merely posting their content on social media sites and wait for it to spread on its own. But, there is no point in posting content if that content is boring and irrelevant. Your content should encourage people to participate in your discussions. Social media is not only a medium to advertise, but it’s a great way to build a brand.
We have earlier talked about Burberry’s storytelling approach to engage its social media community.
5. Delay in Replying on social media
Customers expect a fast response when they address a brand through social media. “50 percent of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them”.
According to a research by Lithium Technologies, “more than 70 percent of users expect to hear back from the brand they’re interacting with on Twitter, and 53 percent want a response within the hour.”
Social media is known to be one of the fastest marketing channel with a quick response time. If you delay in responding to your customers here, you will lose them. “When social media is concerned, 42% of consumers said they expect a 60-minute response time, with 32% expecting responses within 30 minutes” . Businesses can build a loyal following by frequently responding to individual customer comments on the social media channels. Replying quickly is very important, no body likes to be ignored. Also, a quick turnaround time will help businesses in building a good image by showing that they are engaging with customers and looking to solve their problems.
6. Focusing More on Numbers
The amount of followers you have on your social media channels doesn’t matter. You may be having thousands of followers. But, if they don’t have the need and capacity to buy your product or service they will be of no use to you. Targeting those people is like targeting an empty crowd. So, instead of focusing on numbers focus on people who matters and who are really interested in your products or services.
7. Leaving Opportunities to Capture Leads
Many e-commerce businessess forget that social media is not only used to create buzz and brand awareness, but you can also optimize your lead generation with social media. If you are using social media without a lead generation strategy you’re wasting your valuable time and resources.
Social media is a cost-efficient alternative to pervasive and expensive marketing strategies used by big brands to capture leads.
8. Hitting Your Customers With Products They are Not Looking for
Promoting your products through social media is a good idea, but make sure you aren’t overdoing promoting old stock time and again. These days, your consumers are spoilt for choices. Also, many e-commerce businesses make mistake of assuming that what they are selling is actually what their consumers are looking for.
It’s extremely important for every e-commerce business to provide products to their customers that they are looking for. Be beneficial to your audience and focus your efforts on their choice rather than trying to sell things they don’t want.
9. Posting Too Less or Too Often
Formulate a plan before you start posting on social media. Once you’re active on social media, it’s very important to keep all your accounts updated regularly. If you’re not posting regularly people will drive away from you. Out of sight is out of mind.
Also, the frequency of your updates plays an important role in engaging your audience. Too many updates done too frequently will do you more harm than good. People think posting too often will make them more visible. But, in reality it annoys people and force them to unlike your page or unfollow you. Plan your social updates through services like Buffer & HootSuite to make sure you deliver when your audience is listening.
10. Chasing Every Channel
Focusing on all the social media platforms at a time isn’t a good idea, as it requires lots of efforts and resources. Instead focus on the ones which are most utilized by your customers.
For effective e-commerce traffic, it’s necessary that you focus on right social media channel. Like if you are a lifestyle brand focusing more on Pinterest is advisable. In fact, Pinterest is listed as one of the top three social media sites for eCommerce.
11. Forgetting That Social Media is a Two-Way Street
Majority of businesses think that social media is a good place to build their brand. While it’s important to build your brand, but don’t forget to interact. Businesses forget that social media is entirely different from traditional marketing channels like print, banner ads and TV which are entirely one-way. But social media channels such as, Facebook and Twitter is a two-way street where you can talk to your customers and they also have a way to talk back. You need to focus on building a long term relationship to win their trust before you start promoting your products or services across social platforms. So, create a strong social media community than merely treating them with a sales pitch.
12. Having the Same Design for Desktop and Smartphone
One very important thing to keep in mind while designing your e-commerce strategy is that nowadays we spend more time on our phones and more people are browsing social media on their smartphones. Pew Research says that 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phones.
As per Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey “71% of People Use Mobile to Access Social Media”. Using a smartphone to browse is different from using a desktop, so your social media pages should be responsive for a better user experience.
Mcommerce is becoming more and more important for the online retailers. As per Forrester report, “Mobile commerce will account for 24.4% of overall ecommerce revenues by the end of 2017”.
13. Ignoring Your Competitors
Take a good look at your competitors. It’s very important to be well aware of your competitors’ social media strategy. This can be done by frequently visiting their social media sites, reading their press releases on a regular basis, and frequenting their website. It will help you in finding betters ways and options which you haven’t explored earlier to interact with your social media community.