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Can Social Media Actually Grow Your E-Commerce Business?

Most businesses believe that social media will help to grow their business.

This is usually because they have been told this, either by marketing executives or search engine optimisation (SEO) consultants, or because they have developed this understanding implicitly through the activity of other companies and competitors. In E-Commerce this experience is heightened because the business functions entirely online.

However, it’s clear that a significant percentage of businesses are failing to generate any tangible reward from investing time and energy into their social media channels.

This raises a number of questions for us. What factors influence the effectiveness of a social media campaign? How does social media contribute to SEO results? Is social media actually worth the hassle; is it ultimately going to help grow the business?

Here are 4 questions and processes to work through which will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your social media strategy.

1. Have you identified the most appropriate social media platforms?

It goes without saying that every business will need to contextualise their message. A key part of this process is working out which social media platforms are going to work. Facebook is clearly a dominant force, but after that it gets a little tricky.

Have you got the creativity, energy and user engagement to create a Youtube channel which generates significant traffic and builds a loyal following? Have you thought through how you’re going to use Google+? If you’re a highly visual brand with highly visual customers, are you capitalising on the rapid growth of Pinterest? Is your Twitter account building trust and authority with your users, or are you simply churning out dull company updates, or, worse still, leaving it to collect dust?

A first consideration has to be whether you’re swimming in the right lanes. If you’re not, don’t be afraid to reconsider which social media channels you’re investing time in.

2. Is your content compelling and easy to share?

The quickest way to build authority, grow your audience and increase your SEO clout is for your audience to share your content.

However, this presupposes that i. your content is interesting/entertaining/helpful enough to warrant sharing; and ii. that you have made it easy to share your content.

If you’re producing content on your website, you need to ensure that your web design is conducive to social media engagement. This means that social media buttons need to be available on most pages, particularly those where you’re hosting new content.

3. Is your content original and innovative?

The best business approaches to social media tend to be the most innovative. This means that your social media channels should be visually engaging and contain original and fresh content. This might be video, photography, sharing news (either from your sector or the national media) – anything that makes it easy for new visitors to connect with you. This might involve trends which don’t ‘feel’ professional – memes, for example – but which make people laugh and encourage them to share your content.

4. Are you channelling business through social media?

Your social media channels should be where customers find your latest deals, promotional offers and news. If you’re sending an email marketing campaign to your subscribers, make sure that there is an attractive ‘call to action’ directing them to your social media pages. Invite people to enter a competition by ‘liking’ your page.

Try something new, find out what works and be persistent.