Social Media may be the best thing since bakers started using knives. Like knives, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them. This post explores common eCommerce Social Media mistakes and how to avoid them.
The primary e-commerce social media mistake among companies is over-promotion. Social Media isn’t an advertising platform to be exploited first and foremost. It isn’t like TV, where you can broadcast to the masses, a captive audience just waiting to see your marketing messages.
Social Media is about being Social. First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to engage with an audience, to build relationships and the reputation of your brand and to create desire. From that engagement, sales will come.
No one buys a newspaper for the ads. Customers rarely follow you on Social Media for yours.
How Much Time Should eCommerce Stores Invest in Social Media
eCommerce stores often fail to commit enough time and attention to Social Media. A strong E-Commerce Social Media strategy with measurable, valuable returns doesn’t take a few minutes per day or an hour per week.
Campaigns that produce the greatest engagement and brand value demand at least an hour per day and for larger brands with bigger audiences to reach and engage with, it’s a full-time job.
Choose The Right Platform to Reach and Engage Your Audience
You have to have Facebook. And Twitter. And YouTube. And Pinterest. And Instagram. And Tumblr. And Google+.
Your eCommerce store doesn’t need all of those channels. It needs as many as you can manage and do an awesome job on. If you can’t be awesome on everyone, pick just one Social Media platform, or maybe two, but never, ever dilute your effort and be average at any of them. (See: Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?)
Choose and commit fully to the Social Media platforms where your demographic audience is most present, a platform where you can compete for attention (the biggest isn’t always the best) and one which you enjoy using – it’s likely that you’ll be spending a lot of time there.
Failing to Listen and Respond
The first rule for eCommerce stores on Social Media is to Listen, engage and respond. Whether your eCommerce store is active on Social Media or not, your customers are and they’re either singing your praises or complaining about you.
It’s easy to set up listening dashboards to monitor channels for mentions of your product or brand, whether it is tagged in the post or comment or not – there’s no excuse for failing to reply to comments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other Social Media platforms and if people are talking about your eCommerce store, why wouldn’t you want to be part of that conversation?
Focusing Only On Their Own Brand
eCommerce stores frequently make the mistake of failing to embrace the community spirit of simply being Social.
Knowing your audience well also means that you’re part of that community, that you understand and appreciate their interests and their pain and that you’re part of those conversations too. If your audience is parents and your products fit, yes, you should be creating and curating content about parenting. If your products are used in sports, health, and fitness, yes, you should be curating and creating content about those subjects, about upcoming events and commenting on relevant issues in that space.
Absolutely, promote your eCommerce store too, but avoid the mistake of failing to achieve a sensible balance that doesn’t focus only on your products. Engage first. Be relevant and helpful second. Sell third.
Focusing on the Wrong Metrics
A critical E-Commerce Social Media mistake that many stores make is focusing on the wrong metrics.
As we’ve already covered, Social Media is first about engagement and the reach of your brand and not usually about how many sales are driven directly from your Facebook page or your Pinterest board.
Social Media activity creates “brand equity”. Increased reach and awareness. It’s not so good for interrupting people and making immediate sales, no matter how strong your brand or offer might be.
Social Media Automation Over Engagement
It’s impossible to be truly social without being present. Many eCommerce stores make the Social Media mistake of automating responses, automating retweets and worse still, automated private messages on platforms such as Twitter.
We know from Twitter user research how impersonal automation makes them feel about a brand – at best they bear it, some just ignore it and a large proportion of users instantly unfollow. For those that stay, your brand takes a hit on the perception meter.
You’re on Social. Be social. Be present.
Common Manners and Decency
When someone shares your content, particularly on Twitter, say thanks. It doesn’t take much. Many eCommerce stores miss the opportunity to create deeper relationships and ambassadors for their brand, a strategy well worth investing in to increase the reach of your brand and your content on Social Media.
Failing to Track and Attribute Social Media Traffic
Some platforms provide Source and Medium data when they refer a visitor to your website and/or Google Analytics, for example. Some don’t.
By simply adding Google Analytics tags to your social shares, you’ll be able to more accurately measure traffic from your social media efforts, how much traffic you generate to your eCommerce store and how many times those visits influence immediate or future sales.
Failing to Take Advantage of Video
Video is huge right now, but many eCommerce stores are failing to take advantage of the opportunities to create engaging content.
Facebook is getting deep into video, Twitter is too, not forgetting live streaming services such as Periscope, Google Hangouts On Air, Blab, Meerkat, Instagram and Vine. Short videos can be produced quickly and easily with a smartphone for product reviews, descriptions or behind the scenes access that will increase engagement with your eCommerce audience.