Do you know what Social Networking sites are? Did you know that they aren’t just for fun and are now considered an essential online marketing tool by many Internet marketing experts (just like good online shopping carts). And just like with a store, a healthy “client base” is also important in social networking.
The Lowdown On Social Networking
Social networking websites are made up of online communities of Internet users. These users are brought together by common interests – sports, religion, products, hobbies, etc. – and form groups to discuss these common interests. Some of these sites have become so immensely popular that Internet marketers have grown to realize the potential of social networking as a marketing tool.
In mid-June 2009, computer maker Dell announced that it earned $3 million in revenue from using Twitter, a popular micro-blogging facility. It took 18 months to make the first million but only six to earn the rest.
Find out how social networking can benefit your store as well…
It Takes Time, Not Money
The importance of social networking sites is reflected in survey results presented by Ad-ology Research. The ecommerce statistics indicate that 25% of the small businesses surveyed would increase marketing spending on social networking sites. But the beauty of social networking is that you do not need lots of money to get the results you desire. You just need some time to build a community following or a fan base.
So How Do I Use It?
Social networking sites can drive traffic to your store as well as increase sales. The thing is, it takes a bit of time to gather a sizable following (more than a year) but as Dell found out, it can be worth the wait. Many companies use Twitter, Facebook and even Flicker in tandem to successfully promote their products.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that only allows a limited number of characters (140) in its update box. Many companies use this facility to announce the sale of a particular item to good effect. Calls, email and messages come in almost immediately after an update is made. A direct link to the product page is usually left at the end of the message.
Tip: You may have to use a URL shortener like bit.ly or tinyurl to help fit your URL into the update box.
Facebook needs no further introduction. You can link your Twitter account to your Facebook account and have your Facebook status automatically update when you update your Twitter status. You can store product details (videos as well as photos) on Facebook and link them back to your store or product pages.
You can also include discount codes on both Twitter and Facebook for your “followers”. If you run a web store selling health or sports products, you could include useful bait links such as those that lead to BMI calculators, calorie estimators or running speed calculators – all of which should be located at your site.
Flicker is an online photo management and sharing application. You can upload your product photos to Flicker and don’t forget to make full use of the title, description and tag boxes. You can even place invitations in the photos themselves to help drive traffic to your site.
Once you’ve got your ecommerce shopping cart system setup the way you want it and you’ve done your SEO groundwork, get started on his tip. It does take some time for a respectable following to snowball but if you are in it for the long term, then it is truly worth it. The ecommerce statistics don’t lie.
Has your store benefited from social networking? Do tell us about your experiences.
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