The Big Three in Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

As our first official blog post, and as a first in a series of pieces focused around social media in the ecommerce landscape, we’d like to give a top-level overview of the three major players in social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

While many social media platforms require minimal monetary investments, opportunity costs and valuable time are necessary when developing a successful social media campaign.

At this point it is safe to say that the majority of online retail marketers are familiar with (if not very familiar with) these platforms. However, in order to earn back value from social media involvement, it is crucial to go beyond merely establishing a presence on each network.

The following is a list of preliminary tactics for online retailers to keep in mind as well as some common fall-outs for each of the top social media platforms.

Do: Jump on the F-Commerce bandwagon and offer your Facebook fans a socially tailored Shop application.

Don’t: Simply use Facebook as another venue to display the same catalog available on your website.

Do: Customize the Facebook Shop product offering to provide value beyond what your customers see on the existing ecommerce site. Generate buzz and allure by featuring special offers, flash sales, or exclusive access. Motivate and encourage your fans to share, Like, and be engaged at every possible opportunity.

Do: Keep in mind that engagement is at the core of social media, and the conversation should go two ways. Broadcast your own information and updates, but also respond to relevant comments made by those in your network, and interact with followers by asking enticing questions.

Don’t: Forget that your message can be easily diluted among the mass amount of information distributed rapidly on Twitter.

Do: Test and target the days and times your most active followers are likely to see your content.

Do: Embrace the conversion-driving force of video content–particularly for products with high price points. Users who view a video featuring a product are 85% more likely to purchase than users who don’t (Internet Retailer 2010).

Don’t: Silo your video content within a single social platform.

Do: Maximize views by leveraging your presence on other social channels by integrating video content on blogs and alerting Facebook and Twitter followers as new videos are created.

Universal Social Media Do’s:

Many of the best practices in social media can be attributed to simple common sense, but it is surprising how often the execution of the standards listed below falls short.

Smart integration with your website and between all social platforms.
As ecommerce and social media continue to merge into a single force, it’s important to harmonize all social efforts, between networks and within the retail website. Take advantage of opportunities for users to share socially and provide incentives for them to do so. Much of the content produced for one social media platform is complementary to the others, but keep in mind that your audience can change depending on the distribution channel.

Always keep content updated and fresh.
Social media followers expect new and relevant information. As a fast-paced arena, users will quickly lose interest in a stagnant social media representation.

Use social platforms as a tool for customer service and as a way to gather feedback from loyal customers.
For B2C companies, the decision to participate in social media can be a frightening step, as customers are given a public platform to voice negative opinions. Instead of viewing this possibility with fear, consider sites such as Facebook and Twitter as key sources to gather and address complaints in real time. Unhappy customers will find somewhere to complain regardless, so it is better to maintain control of the situation and mitigate negative responses as soon as possible. Customers will appreciate response efforts, and a bad situation may even turn into a good one.

Pay attention to what your competitors and industry leaders are doing.
The digital social landscape is constantly innovating. It is crucial to stay in tune with emerging trends and continually reevaluate your brand’s presence and involvement online.

Add value for your followers.
Create social content that your followers want to see and engage with. Does your audience want informative advice or exclusive updates on your brand? Do they want to participate in a contest or have the opportunity to share their own content? Do not use social media venues purely as a means to distribute promotional messages. Experiment with different tactics and pay attention to how your following reacts. Valued content will give your fans a reason to follow you and will motivate them to share within their own networks.

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