‘Optimized’, ‘seamless’, ‘at your fingertips’, ‘instant’ – these are all buzzwords that companies have been beating us over the head with for the better part of a decade to describe their services. It’s no longer good enough for a product to stand on its own or speak for itself through quality – the whole buying process is now considered an “experience” now that people do so much shopping online.
The emergence of e-commerce has set the bar high. Our expectations have changed and buying a product needs to take about the same amount of time it takes to flush the toilet.
The same thing can be said about researching a brand. If you Google a product that you saw advertised on the side of a bus, and a plethora of ads, reviews, buying options and supplementary social media accounts that represent the brand don’t pop-up, the prevalent attitude among the general populous (including you, probably) is that that brand is illegitimate.
People have been conditioned not to trust brands that are underrepresented online. Trust is the key to gaining customers, and 88 percent of consumers do extensive online research before they make a purchase.
This fact is twice as important if you’re an e-commerce company.
Whether you’re running a full-blown e-commerce brand that does business exclusively online or your company originated as a brick-and-mortar operation and you’re looking to boost online sales, one thing is certain – the key to e-commerce success is a strong online presence across the board.
The scary thing about doing business online – especially for business owners who aren’t native to the web – is the uncertainty of it all. It’s easy to hem and haw about the importance of social media marketing but when you’re at the reigns and doing everything yourself, it can feel like you’re just throwing stones into an endless body of water hoping to strike a mackerel.
While growing your online business online is not as ‘optimized’, ‘seamless’, ‘at your fingertips’, and ‘instant’ as you might hope – it’s also not as daunting a task than it may seem. Here’s how you can leverage social media to grow your online business.
Speak to customers online how they like to be spoken to.
Or, as cool online people might say, talk the talk, bruh.
The fact is, all of your competitors (plus Amazon, where you can purchase literally anything) are selling products just like yours, online. This means that the market is saturated and it’s nearly impossible not to find a product you’re looking for if you’re a customer.
This causes people to judge brands on more than just their products and customer service – they want to buy stuff from brands with personality and likeability.
This means that you should be informal and let the fun sides of your brand shine on your social media pages. Post photos of your employees having fun, create polls for customers and start impromptu conversations with them.
This will tip the scales in your favor and make folks who are on the fence about who they want to make a purchase from go with the good guys.
Embrace all of the reviews you get on social media – even negative ones
And answer them as soon as possible! It’s naturally counter-intuitive for business owners to accept, let alone embrace the fact that some person who they’re completely unaware of can pop-out of the woodwork and tell the world that everything they’ve worked so hard for is not up to snuff.
But if you want to get a good reputation online and ultimately make sales, you’ve got to treat unsatisfied customers thoughtfully – after all, the entire Internet is watching.
On a lighter note, it’s also important to answer and share all the great things that your customers say about your business online. If you don’t, no one will!
Give customers a reason to connect with you online by sharing something valuable with them
If your customers see that you’re just going through the motions online, reposting stale memes and promoting Sloppy Joes at Regular Price Wednesdays constantly, they’re going to forget about you and eventually give up on your brand. After all, they don’t have anything to lose by ignoring you – you haven’t given them anything.
Before you throw up your arms and start ignoring this article, understand that by “give” we don’t necessarily mean discounts (although, they certainly help).
We’re talking about something of substance you can present your customers with that they can’t find anywhere else. This includes blog posts, podcasts, videos and any other relatively easy-to-make assets that your customers can consume digitally and that they might find interesting or valuable.
Increasing e-commerce sales is all about brand self-awareness. You know what your business is all about and so do your existing customers – it’s time you’ve put it on-display using social media.
Just because the way in which people do business has changed, old-fashioned business acumen, great customer service, and stick-to-itiveness is undeniable. Demonstrate that your brand is the epitome of these three traits online and your e-commerce sales will naturally grow.