E-commerce is on the rise and it's clear that social media has a developing role in the modern business world. No matter what the size of your company is, all businesses can benefit from using social media as a way of both maintaining relationships with current consumers and expanding their customer base at the same time. As of April 2012, 94 per cent of companies with marketing departments were using social media, and it's likely that this percentage has risen since then to correspond with the ever increasing number of people using social networking sites. It's clear that social media is not a passing fad, it's here to stay, and it's becoming one of the best ways to reach the greatest number of consumers. Now that your company has a page on several of the top social networking sites, here's four key ways of transforming those âlikes' or âfollows' into a profit:
1) Offer incentives at check-out to customers who use social media.
After consumers have already made a purchase, confirming their interest in your products, give them the opportunity to receive discounts if they refer their friends to your website. By offering the customers 15 per cent off their next purchase with the referral of five friends to your website you're increasing your potential customer base while developing brand loyalty from the original consumer, enticing them to come back and shop again from your site.
2) Give special offers to your consumers through social media sites.
For instance, instead of just taking out a Facebook ad why not check out Facebook Offers? Facebook Offers gives you the unique opportunity to hyper-target your company towards particular users and then give them the opportunity to "claim" an offer. It's a marketing tactic that will allow the ad for your company to be right on top of the consumer's newsfeed (as opposed to in their sidebar). Furthermore, if a Facebook user collects one of your offers (like $5 off a $25 purchase) they’re sent an email directly to their personal email account, with a link to your company, and you're hitting them in two different ways. Facebook Offers could also be used to attract users to attend free events or to build the mailing list of the company, ensuring that the consumers you're reaching out to have genuine interest in the product.
3) Host exclusive contests and promotions for consumers who have connected with you through social media channels.
This could be anything from asking users to take photos of your product and share the image on Instagram to having fans submit an entry form on Facebook (with the opportunity to share your company's page with their friends to increase their number of entries – an additional entry for every friend who enters! ) Just be mindful when creating these contests to double check the legality of your contest!
4) Connect with your followers/fans.
Social media is a two-way channel – you can't just create a page and expect consumers to stumble across it and "like" or "follow" it. Reach out directly to your customers and interact with them. Remind them that you're more than an anonymous, faceless company. Here's a real life example: after spend four months abroad I was going out to dinner with some friends to Outback Steakhouse and tweeted at the chain restaurant saying, "Reuniting with my one true love, Outback Steakhouse. @Outback" Twenty minutes later they tweeted back at me saying, "we've missed you." This simple three word response made my day. So, I quickly took a screenshot of the interaction on my phone and shared it with my Facebook friends, receiving nearly 40 likes. That simple response from the company raised their awareness amongst my entire social circle that night. Consumers like to feel a connection with a company, and to feel that someone real exists behind the avatar of the company. By responding in a timely fashion to customer comments, questions, or concerns companies can show both their interest in the customer and make them feel important.
What do you think of these four social media marketing techniques?
Do you think that connecting with consumers socially is a necessity for a successful e-commerce marketing campaign?rutty – Flickr]