The social revolution which has swept through the Internet in the last decade has created a paradigm shift in the way that we all interact and behave online. The new paradigm has created a reality where using social media for the purposes of branding, communication and marketing is no longer a question. One of the biggest challenges that online store owners face when deciding to take the jump into social media is deciding where to focus their time and energy. In this post I will cover three popular social networks and discuss in depth which networks you should focus on and why.
Facebook: A must for most stores
Facebook is the largest social network and this fact alone should make you think long and hard before considering to not establish a presence on the world’s most popular website. Facebook has over 1 billion people using it with over 50% logging in every day. Every online brand* should have a Facebook page which they use to create their own Facebook community.
Creating a Facebook page takes a matter of minutes and is very easy to learn. Facebook even brought out a mobile application to help you manage your pages. There are numerous guides and strategies to grow your community which you can read here and here.
I will cover 3 topics which I consider fundamental and crucial for the long term growth of your community.
- Frequency – Make sure that you are active on your page. Try and post daily content, news, media and even quotes from those in your industry to keep engagement levels as high as possible and to guarantee continued growth of the community.
- It’s all about giving – Most business make the mistake of thinking that their Facebook page is another marketing channel which can be used to push promotions and sales material down people’s throats. Using Facebook to spam your fans won’t work. Try and provide value to your growing community and once in a while you can ask them to check out a new promotion or give-away.
- No engagement left behind – Make sure that you are responding to comments, messages and posts on your Facebook page. Creating dialog with your fans is very useful for gathering feedback and ideas from your community. Don’t leave them hanging.
Facebook is my favorite social network for businesses and has been used by many companies to do great things. If your brand does not yet have a presence on Facebook then close this post and go set it up now!
*There are always exceptions to the rule. If you aren’t sure if your business should be on Facebook, read the following article.
Twitter – Direct marketing re-imagined
Twitter is very different in nature to Facebook but still remains a very popular and powerful social network which can be used for numerous marketing, business development and support related activities. What makes Twitter special is the fact that at any time you can run a search and see what regular people are saying about everything and anything. Ever wondered what people think of your competition? Spend some time at Twitter search and a whole world of information will open up to you.
Twitter is used most effectively when your aim is to communicate and provide value to those who fall within your target market. I’ll give you one good example to help clarify what I mean. Imagine you are the owner of a online store which sells hiking equipment. You could use Twitter to find people who are going on trips in your area and provide them with some insider information on hiking trails and other attractions. These people will be thankful and may even start following you. The more you can give the more people will start to identify you as a source of useful information and overtime will become loyal followers. Social media is all about providing value to a mass audience and Twitter is one of the best tools for doing this.
Pinterest – The store owners best friend
Pinterest is a social network which exploded onto the scene early last year and has continued to impress. The social network has a reported 48+ million users. What is very interesting about Pinterest is how the social network performs for e-commerce sites. Not only does Pinterest bring sites an impressive amount of referral traffic but reports have shown that visitors that come from Pinterest are more likely to buy. Online store owners which have very visual orientated products like clothing, home goods or jewelry should be using Pinterest to show off their products and leverage the mostly female user base.
Some popular brands which have really made an impact with Pinterest are Whole Foods, Babble, Etsy, Peapod and West Elm
For Pinterest best practices check out the following guide.
I hope that this post has show some light on the different social networks available to the online shop owner. If you have any follow up questions or comments then please share them with us in the comments section below.