Is social media really worth all that effort for ecommerce businesses?
It’s hard work, time consuming and changes constantly. And in terms of direct sales the results are absolutely dreadful. Yes – it’s the secret that all those social media gurus don’t tell you:
Social Media is terrible at generating sales for your ecommerce business.
While Followers, Likes and Engagement look good, they only rarely translate into hard cash.
Let’s go back 30 years to the days before even the internet, let alone social media. Marketing experts used to talk about above the line and below the line advertising. Above the line meant mass broadcasting – TV, billboards – with the key motive of building brand awareness. Hard to measure but deemed essential for big brands.
Below the line was targeted – e.g. direct mail, telemarketing – and aimed at offering your product or service directly to potential customers.
For small businesses below the line was definitely the way to go – above the line was too expensive and unreliable.
So much small business social media activity definitely falls into the “above” category. (For more on this debate check this article from Marketing Donut)
But before you breathe a sigh of relief, delete your Facebook account and wave goodbye to Instagram, there are lots of ways social media can help you grow your ecommerce business.
You just need to have realistic expectations and develop a social media strategy that’s integrated into your other marketing activities rather than expecting it to be a primary sales channel. Like using social media to grow your email marketing database and taking advantage of targeted advertising and remarketing opportunities. Making use of those social options which do fall firmly “below the line”.
Customers will pretty much expect you to be active on social media these days – especially if you sell lifestyle products like fashion, homewares and weddings. And it’s great for creating awareness, building loyalty and getting feedback.
But don’t try to build your ecommerce business on social media alone.