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4 ways social media can benefit your online business

 

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, the chances are you will have a presence on social media. It allows us to connect with others, share interests and ideas and enjoy an unlimited amount of cat pictures. But did you realise just how much having a social presence could enhance your eCommerce business? 

Here are our 4 top ways social media can benefit your online business:

MILLIONS OF POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS

 

Every eCommerce business wants to expand its reach - that way they can develop a larger base of loyal customers who will purchase their product or services again and again. There is an endless potential for buyers all over the globe and 2.3 billion of them are on some form of social media platform (Slideshare).

Most businesses have jumped on the social bandwagon and 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels (Adweek) to communicate with and sell to their customers. Not only does a presence on these platforms increase your exposure, but also helps build meaningful relationships with your buyers.

If you can provide customers with a helpful, informative experience through a Twitter account and they feel they can trust what you tell them, you’ve done well, especially since 78% of Twitter users expect a response to a complaint within an hour (Lithium). Happy customers will share your page, encourage likes and interactions from their friends, they’ll leave satisfied and positive feedback, all of which will help coax other new consumers to your company.

Facebook alone has 1.71 billion users (The Guardian) - that’s a lot of potential customers, especially if you utilise media such as videos to help promote your business (there are 8 billion average daily video views from over 500 million users on Facebook alone).

 

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FREE PLATFORMS

 

Probably the best feature of social media platforms is that a vast majority of them are completely free to use. Any young or established business can register an account and immediately begin networking. It’s become a marketer’s tool of the trade - for example, 68% of US companies use Twitter for marketing purposes (eMarketer) and social selling.

Each platform has it’s own particular benefits and can be used to target consumers of all industries. 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos are watched on the platform every single day - that’s a lot of scope for advertising and promoting your business. The gaming industry thrives off Youtube -64% of gamers downloaded a game after seeing an ad for it on the platform (Think with Google).

Another platform, mostly used by professionals, LinkedIn, drives more than half of all social traffic to B2B blogs and sites. Pinterest, a mood board and inspiration platform is used by 45% of its membership for inspiration when they’re shopping. Every single one of these platforms allows users to publish content and promote it completely for free, giving every business a chance.

PAID ADS 

If there is a slightly higher budget available for your marketing department, you may want to consider paid advertisements. 38% of organisations plan to spend more than 20% of their advertising budgets on social media advertising this year. Most click through ads operate on a pay-per-click system. Only 2 million (Facebook) of the 40 million small business pages on Facebook engage in paid advertising (TechCrunch), which can be considered a large loss of potential conversions.

Instagram has the highest ad click rate of the regular social media platforms, as due to it's image-based format, its users are 2.5 times more likely to click on advertisements than any other platform (Fortune). On all platforms, you can pay to promote an underperforming post, or in some cases, you could video advertise on Youtube (though this is an expensive method).

This is both an effective means of advertising on both desktop and mobile devices. With the growing popularity of m-commerce, it’s a well worth tool to buy into.

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PRIVATE MESSAGING 

Private messaging has been an integral part of social media for many years now. The ability to have a text conversation away from the prying eyes of followers and other users gave people a sense of security and privacy. But now it’s becoming a tool for delivering exceptional customer service.

Facebook Messenger is the most popular social media based tool for direct messaging, closely followed by Whatsapp. Between the two of them, they handle 60 billion messages a day (The Guardian). Many companies are now using these mobile messengers as a means to communicate privately with customers, whether solving a grievance, conducting a sales talk or giving information. 

Another perk of private messaging is the employment of Chatbots. Chatbots are automated replies that are integrated into a messaging service and interact through text with customers, whilst responding like a human. This is particularly useful as 49.4% of customers would rather contact a business through a messaging service than by phone and51% of people believe a business needs to be available 24/7, this can easily be achieved with Chatbots.

You don’t need to have a customer service team available around the clock, and people are receiving a service that they want.

CLOSING THOUGHTS 

Choosing which social platforms to promote through can be difficult - there are now so many that it could be tempting to stretch yourself too thin trying to remain active on every single one. Carefully consider which platforms will work best for your business and then select one or two and really focus on building your online community. Utilising additional features (such as the ones mentioned above) can really help drive your message and gain you attention. However, it’s near impossible to deny the importance of a social presence in 2017 and it can only do positive things for your business.

 

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