Social Media Networking, one of the latest aspects of online marketing strategies. Social media plays a vital role in building a company online presence, getting traffic, and creating leads. These social media marketing strategies can enhance an overall e-commerce development effort.
For better or worse, social media sites are becoming increasingly commercialized. They are no longer simply places for teens to vent their angst, but complex communities drawing from a wide cross-section of society. Part of that society is business, and marketing executives must decide how social media networking fits with their overall e-commerce development effort.
Indeed, the game is changing rapidly. Over 20 percent of display ad impressions now take place on social media sites. That doesn't mean that display advertising is right for every company, but it is one of several possible social media marketing approaches that should be considered.
Potential Benefits of Social Media for E-Commerce Development
Incorporating a social media approach into an e-commerce development effort has several potential benefits. Perhaps the most direct and obvious would be simply capturing part of the ever-growing social media audience with display ads, allowing users to click through to an e-commerce website where they can make a purchase.
While that kind of direct reaction might be the ideal case, a recent survey of social media marketers revealed that directly increasing online sales ranked far down the list of ways in which social media marketing is effective. Topping the list were influencing brand reputation and increasing brand awareness.
This type of benefit makes the most sense when social media Web sites are thought of as communities. For years, businesses have made community outreach efforts. While the impact cant be measured in direct sales results, these efforts are useful in raising awareness of a company and polishing its image. Now, some of that community outreach effort has to be directed to social media.
Social Media Strategies and E-Commerce Site Design
In this context, here are some strategies for using social media to enhance e-commerce development:
Display advertising. The downside of the explosion of social marketing display advertising is that it creates a somewhat cluttered landscape, but this can be mitigated through careful targeting. After all, display ads are much more than electronic billboards--they can be tailored for specific audiences, and include things like coupons to prompt immediate action.
Building brand awareness. Beyond advertising, using social media can be an opportunity to engage potential customers in discussions of a brand, and to demonstrate quality and expertise.
Spreading word-of-mouth. Raising a brands image does not have to depend solely on a company's marketing team. Social media Web sites can be very powerful incubators for grassroots campaigns. 46 percent of social network users report having posted something positive about at least one brand.
Companies which have a small but loyal following can increase that following by encouraging customers to spread the word on social media sites.
Developing a user community. This notion of spreading positive word-of-mouth can be further encouraged by using an e-commerce Web site to build a user community. E-commerce Web site design should include user forums that also link to relevant social media areas.
Influencing discussion of the brand. It is also important to actively monitor social media Web sites for mentions of the brand. This can allow for questions to be answered and misconceptions to be cleared up, and if nothing else it is an important window for customer feedback.
Ultimately, the greatest marketing potential of social media is that it increases the reach of e-commerce development beyond the bounds of a company's own e-commerce Web site.