4 Ways to Use Social Media to Enable E-Commerce
Data reported by Pew Research Group reveals that as of 2015, more than 70 percent of American adults who use the Internet use social media daily. What’s more, the experts at Adweek report that four out of 10 social media users make purchase decisions based on what they see on social media.
Social media is a low-cost, highly customizable marketing tool that all businesses can leverage to drive traffic to e-commerce sites. Here’s how:
1. Understand who you want to reach. There are a variety of social media channels small to midsized business marketers can leverage to boost awareness of an e-commerce site, but the user base of each varies. To ensure you’re speaking to the audience most likely to buy what you sell, understand who is most active among each distinct social media site. For example, Pew Research Group’s data indicates that Facebook’s audience includes male and female users — primarily those who are white and Hispanic — between ages 18 and 49 with household incomes of more than $75,000. Though far fewer people use Pinterest than Facebook, the audience skews heavily to females (84 percent compared to 16 percent of men) between the ages of 18 to 49. Define the target audience for your e-commerce site to establish a social media strategy. By understanding who you most want to reach, you can identify the social networks most likely to connect you with the desired audience.
2. Market the right product on the right channel. People use different social media channels for different reasons. Therefore, what you sell on social media should be customized by network, too. For example, Adweek’s data indicates that tech-related marketing messages tend to perform better on Twitter than those related to a domestic hobby, like gardening. By contrast, Pinterest may be a prime selling venue for e-commerce sites that sell fashion, health, beauty, food and decorating items.
3. Know which channels are most conducive to purchases. Though Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest users are most likely to be receptive to learning more about your e-commerce product or service, according to data reported by Invesp, the path from product awareness to purchase must be seamless if your goal is to turn interested social media users into e-commerce customers. Leverage tools provided by social media sites including “buy now” buttons that take users directly to your checkout page, using their social media credentials. With that in mind, be patient. Adweek’s data indicates 80 percent of social media purchases take place within three weeks from the time the user “likes” or “favorites” an item.
4. Post products that encourage sharing. Nearly 40 percent of Facebook users buy something they saw on social media because someone else they knew referred it (by way of a like, share or favorite). Your social media posts should feature products supported by engaging copy, appealing images and motivation for those who see it to like or share the post. Posts may include some form of motivation, such as a social media fan discount or entry into a sweepstakes or special promotion. Monitor social media post engagement to gain a sense for the creative approaches users respond to most.
Social media is a low-cost marketing channel you can leverage to drive e-commerce sales. However, selling on social media demands a strategy tailored to your product and social media site’s audience. Research your website’s current user base and the one you hope to reach to design a social media strategy that's most likely to contribute to sales.
Kendall Reed is a key contributor in planning and executing marketing initiatives for NCR CounterPoint’s Retail SMB solutions. Her experience includes creating digital strategies to benefit e-commerce and retail merchants.