In conversations with entrepreneurs about to start an online store I always aks them how they will get visitors to their online store. What strikes me is that many people think it is quite easy to attract people. Especially Facebook and Twitter are according to these new e-commerce entrepreneurs key in generating traffic.
I have bad news for everybody who sees social media as the Holy Grail… Social media DOESN’T WORK!
Twitter and Facebook are NOT going to be a tremendous advantage to you
We regularly post something on Twitter and Facebook with our own online stores. We post a couple of messages every week. These messages are generally received well and our social media accounts regulary receive a retweet and/or a like. Excellent!
In the statistics from Google Analytics we can exactly find out how many sales are generated through which channels. I can inform you that we generated a mere 3 sales through Twitter and Facebook during the last year.
When you do the maths and look at the investments we made during the past year on social media generating 3 sales – you get a terrifying outcome!
Other online stores have the same experience
I have the privilege to sometimes look into the statistics of other online stores. Also their numbers show that sales through social media are virtually non-existent!
Should we stop with social media then?
When we purely look at the measurable costs and profits it is wise to remove all your social media accounts now. Still, I would advise against that. Social media is good for two things:
When you have a Facebook account with a few hundred members this projects trust to potential customers. Through a widget you can load the amount of likes and the faces of people onto your site (see for example Hangmatgigant.nl) and this guarantees for sure a higher conversion!
You can through this site fairly cheaply buy 500 Facebook fans. Ok, you can’t do anything with these people, but it does look good when you put the Facebook widget on your site. Besides this site there are dozens of other sites than can supply Likes for you.
The same applies for Twitter, I wrote a blogpost before about how to get more
In case you want to make a real brand from your online store, social media is a great parnter in this effort. By starting the conversation with your target group you can get attention for the brand.
Unfortunately branding is not something the small online store owner can do much with. It costs a lot of time (and money) and that makes it impractical for 95% of online stores.
Spend an hour per week on your Facebook page and Twitter account.
Only check your account in the hours when you are least productive anyway. For example just after lunch, when you need some time to get back up to speed. But do close Facebook and Twitter right away after you are done.
You can also take care of your account through your smartphone. Waiting somewhere? Send a few Tweets and reply to your Facebook comments!
For more on Social Media, also see our Social Media page