Social commerce presents the next generation of ecommerce business. Social commerce is the process of implementing ecommerce functionality through social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Traditionally, the ecommerce process took place within a company’s website such as Nike.com or Amazon.com. A customer would browse through products and then make a purchase using the companies’ built in shopping cart etc.
Today, however, social commerce has changed that process, and it is now possible to purchase goods and services through social networking sites, instead of direct shopping through the company’s website. Whilst social commerce is a fantastic form of ecommerce, many businesses make common mistakes when attempting to implement their own strategies. In the article below, we have outlined some of the common mistakes made when selling through social media.
Not defining your target audience
Most businesses think they can simply start selling through social media networks and they will magically receive thousands of enquiries and orders within a matter of days. Sadly, this is not the case. Due to the scope and reach of social network sites such as Facebook, it is absolutely vital to define your target audience and tailor your social commerce strategy to them.
Take Udemy, for example, one of the biggest online course websites in the world right now. Their target audience are young adults and students that want to pick up a new skill that they may need for a career change (or their existing career). People in such a situation are bound to be a bit low on funds, which is why the company frequently offers an attractive 90% off to make their courses more accessible to their target demographic – and of course, these deals get a lot of attention on their social media.
Define your target audience and demographic – create surveys, send out questionnaires, look at current sales figures. Gather as much information as possible so you can gain a clear picture of your ideal customer. Once you have this information to hand, you can then create a targeted social commerce plan that stands out from the crowd and appeals to your customer base.
Check out these useful statistics on social commerce here.
Not creating engaging content
As social media content is easy to create, businesses often make the mistake of creating generic unappealing content in large quantities. Quality is certainly king when considering social commerce. If your social media content is bland and generic, your customers will have little reason to read it and thus make a purchase. Just because social media posts can be created in a matter of seconds, that doesn’t mean that they should!
Your social commerce content should be engaging and interesting. You should not simply create a post that advertises one of your products and use a generic or stock image – what reason would a customer have to read this post? Provide content that has real value to your customers, give them a reason to make a purchase and become invested in your business. Use personal language, interesting unique photos, make use of hash tags etc. Be creative and make your content stand out.
Not listening to customer feedback
Social commerce has brought an unparalleled level of interaction with customers. We can now Tweet companies directly or post on their Facebook wall, for example. Furthermore, customer service is also being implemented into social commerce strategies, giving customers the chance to voice their opinions about your products and business immediately and to the world. If you engage in social commerce, you must be willing to listen to customer feedback and interact with them.
We see this time and time again – a business may have a Facebook marketplace, and it is littered with customer questions and complaints, all of which are unanswered. This just looks unprofessional and it breeds an air of discontent.
If you use social media as an ecommerce platform, you must interact with your customers. Simple things such as checking your Twitter notifications and responding to direct tweets can go a long way to show that your business is proactive and actually cares about its customer base.
Using the wrong type of social media platform
There are many different social media platforms available – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn to name a few. Some businesses make the mistake of creating profiles on every single social media platform available, and trying to sell their products to the largest audience possible. This can prove ineffective and often means that instead of concentrating on a couple of platforms, a business wastes its resources and time spreading themselves too thin.
Research the different types of social media beforehand and consider which platforms would suit your business. A recruitment agency, for example, would be advised to sell its services through LinkedIn as opposed to Instagram. Fashion retailers, on the other hand, would not spend time on LinkedIn, and would be better suited using a photo orientated platform such as Instagram.
Consider what your business does and who your ideal customer is, and concentrate on a couple of social media platforms. If your social commerce proves successful, then maybe in the future you can look at expanding on to other platforms.
Not making use of paid advertisements
Many businesses see social media paid advertisements as a cheap way out, or as an ineffective means of marketing. This is simply not true! If you research the different methods of social commerce marketing and choose your ad campaigns carefully, there is no reason why you cannot make them lucrative. As with other processes on social media sites, businesses often think that they do not require as much care or attention – this again is not true.
As with any form of marketing, research is required and your target customer should be considered. Paid advertisements through social media can be a fantastic way to boost your social commerce figures, providing that you put the time and effort in. Don’t simply dismiss this type of marketing as you feel it has a low potential ROI.
There you have it – 5 simple mistakes to avoid when creating your own social commerce strategy. If you learn from these mistakes and plan accordingly, there is no reason why your own social commerce strategy cannot take your business to the next level. Once you have started selling through social media platforms, you will understand just how powerful this type of ecommerce can be.
About the Author
Corinna Essa is known internationally as the go-to person when it comes to social media marketing.
Corinna owns a social media marketing company helping businesses around the world leverage the power of social media without doing any of the legwork. Her company has been featured in many media outlets including Sky Business news, Working Women magazine, Ymagazine, Tasmanian Times, Channel 7 and 101fm.
Corinna is also the author of 2 bestselling books “Money On Demand – The 16 Fastest Ways to Becoming a Millionaire Online” and “Reach: The SECRETS to converting your social media audience into your network marketing downline fast”