People have lots of different opinions on social media, but it’s impossible to deny how popular it has become, especially during the pandemic. When people were stuck inside, social media presented opportunities to connect with the outside world.
Because so many people spend a lot of time on social media, it provides opportunities for e-commerce businesses. Advertising, paid partnerships, brand awareness—the possibilities are endless!
Unfortunately, there are also lots of possibilities for e-commerce businesses to lose money on social media. If you don’t choose the right platform and waste marketing dollars on activities that are unlikely to boost sales, you’ll quickly run into problems. Here’s what you need to know about what different social media platforms have to offer online businesses.
What Consumers Expect from Brands on Social Media
In the early days of social media, brands didn’t have to do much to compete on social media. Advertising on these platforms hadn’t taken off and social media was pretty much for friends to connect with one another.
Today, however, things are very different. People expect more from brands on social media. They want to support brands that share their values. They want interesting and engaging content.
They’re also looking for a connection with their favorite brands. Sixty-four percent of people want brands to connect with them, according to a 2018 survey from Sprout Social. When they feel connected, they are more loyal, likely to choose the brand over competitors, and are more likely to recommend a brand to their friends and family.
Brand loyalty, unique value, and word-of-mouth marketing are three of the top ways brands grow and thrive. Social media can deliver them all—if brands are willing to meet consumers’ expectations.
The Benefits of Facebook & Instagram for Businesses
Facebook and Instagram are two of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Many e-commerce business owners assume that they are the best option for generating more revenue through social media, but that’s not always the case. As with any platform, there are pros and cons.
Although it is the most popular social network in the world, many brands struggle with Facebook because it’s very difficult to get organic results from the platform. If you want to use advertising, however, it can be an incredible tool. Other businesses use it as more of a customer service platform to provide time-sensitive business updates and answer questions.
Instagram is almost purely visual, focusing on photos and videos. It’s also an influencer-heavy platform, with many brands finding success in leveraging existing audiences. It can be a great choice for brands offering consumer products that have a heavy visual component.
Pinterest Pros and Cons
Pinterest gets less attention than some of the other heavy hitters in social media, but it can be an effective tool for the right e-commerce businesses. Essentially a digital bulletin board or “mood board” the platform allows users to create virtual boards based on a topic and “pin” content and photos to it for sharing with others.
Millions of people do research on Pinterest before making a purchase, so it’s a great place for some brands to get ROI. You can add the option to pin on your product pages and share different kinds of content to generate interest in your brand. However, it can be hard to get noticed on the platform and you can’t offer users much in direct customer service.
Using YouTube & Influencers
YouTube is a great option for e-commerce brands that want to leverage the power of video. In addition to creating content for your company’s own channel, this is another platform with a large influencer presence. Unboxing, reviews, and more can all be great options for sponsored content.
How to Identify Trends & Expand Your Company’s Reach on Social Media
Whenever you start a new marketing campaign, especially on social media, you need to collect as much data as possible. You won’t know if your initiatives have succeeded if you don’t track your efforts! Set goals and use the data to adjust as necessary. That way, you can expand your reach over time.
You should also keep up with trends and see what other e-commerce brands are doing. Look at the most successful accounts and try to figure out what they’re doing right. Social media is always changing and you have to keep up!
E-commerce Accounting Strategies for Entrepreneurs
For a social media strategy to work, a clear strategy is necessary. Because so many brands focus on building brand awareness alone, it’s easy for entrepreneurs and e-commerce companies to lose money on social media campaigns.
If you are leveraging a social platform, you need to understand the potential return on investment (ROI) of your strategy. You need to stay on top of your accounting and ensure that your social strategies aren’t costing too much and jeopardizing your business.
Know Your Audience
In the end, there’s no single platform that will offer all businesses the most value. It all comes down to knowing your audience. Where do they spend their time? What do they expect?
Meeting your audience where they are and living up to their expectations is the best way to get results. There are no shortcuts, but there are great benefits and rewards if you approach social media with patience and determination.