A popular way to generate traffic to your e-commerce business is through social media networks. You can market your e-commerce website through places such as Digg.com, Twitter.com, Facebook and MySpace. The goal with social network marketing is twofold:
- You are trying to enhance your siteâ€™s community by establishing outposts on social networking sites so people who share your interests, or are interested in your products and services, find you and your site.
- Getting involved in social networking multiplies the number of places that your site and your products can be found by search engines, which is critically important to the success of your e-commerce business.
How To Leverage Social Media Networks To Our Advantage?
Simply, we are trying to spread the word about your e-commerce business. You can take your product reviews or blog posts and spread them as far as possible online enlisting the help of these sites. Itâ€™s important to make sure the content youâ€™re promoting is interesting and helpful to the audience youâ€™re trying to reach. Remember, people like to do business with their friends if theyâ€™ve never met you offline. By being reasonable and participating in social networking, youâ€™ll expand your credibility and potential customer base in many important and helpful ways.
Itâ€™s also important to recognize that these social media outlets were designed to serve as conversation platforms, and not as overt marketing channels. Sending messages that are overly promotional or commercial is often compared to shouting at a party where everyone else is chatting quietly, and the backlash can overwhelm the benefits of participation. As an ecommerce business owner I recommend taking a couple of weeks to monitor the various sites to get a sense of the patterns and informal rules before posting anything.
Which Sites Do You Need To Target?
Hereâ€™s a brief overview of the important sites you need to target:
Digg.com: Digg is a popular social news website in which community members vote articles up and down, with the most popular articles appearing on the front page. Users submit articles on topics including technology, world & business, science, gaming, lifestyle, entertainment, sports and offbeat. Having an article reach the home page can generate a tremendous amount of traffic to your e-commerce venture very quickly, but a Digg link can be helpful even if you donâ€™t make the front page. Your link will be archived and available to search engines, as well as being available to users who search within the Digg archives directly.
Twitter.com: Twitter is generating a ton of online buzz, and for good reason. The short messaging service is evolving into a communication and news platform that e-commerce ventures canâ€™t afford to ignore anymore. Twitter allows users to exchange short messages that are limited to 140 characters, which is roughly about 25 words or so. Many sites have found good success posting (â€œtweeting,â€ in Twitter lingo) short summaries of new blog posts or product reviews, highlighting interesting articles or trends in their area of expertise, or just reaching out and seeing who might be interested in the same things they are.
Twitterâ€™s â€˜hastagâ€™ (#) function, for instance, makes it very easy for users to search on specific events or topics other users have marked with hashtag function. Many attendees at popular conferences, for instance, use hashtag searches to find and meet each other. Check Twitterâ€™s search page (search.twitter.com) to see popular topics generating user interest.
Facebook.com: Facebook has long been popular with college-aged students, but since it opened its doors to a general audience, the site has been growing rapidly, with most new users coming from an adult audience thatâ€™s over 30. To reach this growing audience, e-commerce venture owners can create positive marketing relationships on Facebook in two ways. The first and most obvious way is to invite customers to â€œfriendâ€ you on the site. You may not want customers to share the same details or photos youâ€™re sharing with friends and family members, but you can create limited profiles that allow people to get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look into your business without revealing too many personal details.
In addition, while Facebook is best known for its personal â€œprofiles,â€ it does let organizations create pages that allow Facebook members to become fans of your e-commerce venture. While they may be more likely to become fans of a football team or a Bollywood star, Facebook fan pages give your venture another opportunity to highlight interesting content related to your business and, almost more importantly, provide search engines with another place to discover content about, and related to, your e-commerce venture and your market niche.
If you do not have a personal Facebook account, you can create a specific account for your business. According to Facebook, a business account can add information, photos or videos just as a personal account can, but canâ€™t see information about visitors and canâ€™t explore other areas of Facebook, so this might not be the best option for your e-commerce venture.
MySpace.com: Similarly, MySpace is a popular site especially with younger consumers, thatâ€™s becoming an important marketing tool for e-commerce businesses (and a critical outlet for bands to reach their audience). As with Facebook, you can reach this growing audience by forming relationships with customers and other people. In addition to setting up a profile, MySpace lets users join and create groups that attract people who share your interests or hobbies. If youâ€™re trying to sell guitar accessories online, joining groups that serve guitar players would give you great insights into their interests and equipment needs, and allows you to share content and create relationships with other members of the guitar-playing community.
Does Social Media Networks Really Help?
If you want your e-commerce business to stand out amongst the crowd it’s becoming necessary to have these tools on your website. Your business will not survive over the long term if you are not connected with the audiences within these networks. Furthermore you can achieve great success simply by offering something of value and your e-commerce business can go viral very quickly.
Take the time to understand how these social media outlets fit into your e-commerce business and over time you will start to see the benefits.
Social Media Participant