What happened in 2014 that revolutionised marketing?
Well, it was the normalisation of online shopping using mobile devices. Didn’t that also happen in 2013 you’re probably wondering? Well, yes it did – to a lesser extent, but what made the difference was that in 2014 mobile online shopping became increasingly social. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter bought into the concept and introduced new commerce capabilities like the ‘buy’ button.
The normalisation of mobile online shopping opened up all sorts of opportunities for businesses, so it was not surprising when big companies started to invest heavily in social media marketing. They immediately spotted that this new way of shopping gave them the opportunity to offer potential customers a seamless, flexible, and more-personal shopping experience. The good news is that you don’t have to be a big player to benefit: smaller business can also leverage the new social trends to drive revenues and increase profits. All they need is a clear strategy, and a few useful pointers. As so many companies have started to use social media to boost small business sales, here are some of our tips on how to utilise it for yourself:
The personal touch.
Social media isn’t a platform for selling per se; it’s actually a place where you can meet and engage with consumers. It’s a platform for sharing, for dialogue, and for exchanging information. If you can build a relationship with these consumers you are often able to convert them into loyal, long-term customers. But social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are about more than just promoting products: they are about sharing non-product-related stories and news which users warm to and want to share. They also give businesses the opportunity to share customer stories and industry-related insights. This mutual exchanging and sharing of information makes consumers feel more connected to your brand and more likely to purchase from you in the future.
Customer service is key.
A company Facebook page or Twitter handle is generally the first customer-service resource that users encounter when interacting with a business. Therefore it’s important to keep that up-to-date and relevant. The one thing you don’t want on that page is criticism, or for unhappy customers to share their negative experiences with other followers. If you do receive criticism then it is best to deal with any complaint swiftly. Respond to queries quickly and effectively and you’ll limit any damage or negative impact on your brand. If you can’t spare the staff for that task, then consider investing in social media monitoring tools. If customers share favourable experiences, then make sure you share these across social channels.
There has been a revolution in the way retailers get their customers to shop online. Take #AmazonCart, for example, where Twitter users can add products from tweets with a link directly to their Amazon shopping cart so that they can purchase the item later. That might be high-end stuff, but a similar methodology can also work for smaller businesses. Using free media sharing tools like Hootsuite, business can schedule regular tweets about products, services or company insights. All that’s required is that each tweet should include a compelling visual or content, a promotion code, a direct link for purchase, and a hashtag.
Extend your online reach with direct shopping.
If you want to extend your businesses online reach further, then add a shopping cart directly onto your Facebook page. In this way your customers will be able to browse and buy without ever having to leave your Facebook page. You also can add a store to your WordPress blog or any other online site where you promote your products. These tools tend to be mobile-responsive and adapt to any device, so you can ensure a seamless shopping experience for customers.