With social media usage becoming more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, it is no surprise that social media is vital to a business’s overall success (or failure). Businesses, be it a startup, a year older, or ten years older needs to have a strong social media presence to stay relevant to connect and interact with customers. Businesses that choose not to embrace the social media culture will likely be outpaced by their competitors, and are more likely to be unsuccessful overall.
This is where the concept of social shopping comes into play. Social shopping put simply, is when people use social media to seek out recommendations, scour reviews, and find new products. These reviews and discussions found through the social media sites will then (ideally) lead to users purchasing the product in question, if the reviews aren’t all that great, could lead to the user being turned off by the product offered and not buying.
Since dialogue about a company’s products and services is happening online whether the company chooses to participate in the conversation or not, it is extremely worthwhile for the business to choose to engage. By not engaging, the business could very well be losing customers and sales. If the business in question is already on social media, getting involved with this concept of social media should not prove to be all that difficult. These are 4 tips on how businesses can use social shopping effectively.
1. Have a Strong Social Media Strategy
Once a business establishes an online presence-that is, creates social media accounts on all the desired popular platform(s) such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter-it becomes the right time to think about the goals of the business. Some key information that the business in question need to decide on are the target demographic that they intend to target-along with deciding which social platform this target demographic will likely be the most. For example, if the target demographic is young adults between the ages of 18 to 24, the best bet in reaching them will likely be on Instagram over Facebook.
Another piece of information that the business needs to decide on is what exactly they are setting out to achieve on the social media platform, such as increased engagement (which will likely lead to increased sales over time).
An important way to work towards more engagement on any given social media platform is posting regularly and striving for a certain number of comments or likes on each post. More than likely, this will include some trial and error, and experimenting with different kinds of posts to see what your audience likes and does not like.
2. Engage with Audience
Engagement is an extremely important part of social shopping; It is paramount to the overall success of any business. Customers, and potential customers, are likely to be constantly making comments and asking questions on any social media platform, that a business has this makes sense, considering many will not buy a product without knowing all of the information involved with the purchase
By ignoring a potential customer’s questions or concerns about the product or service being offered, the business could more than likely be missing out on sales. Even if the conversations aren’t happening on the official social media platform of the business, they are likely to be happening elsewhere online. A great way for a business to find out what is being said about them is by simply searching online on sites like Twitter or Google.
By answering any questions or responding to inquiries or concerns potential customers may have, the business is building a sense of trust and camaraderie with the customers. The business is showing that they are willing to go the extra mile by engaging directly with the customers, and this is likely to please the buyers. As we know, consumers like to be heard, and this is a great way for the business to prove to them that they care about their input.
3. Offer Great Support
Once the business is aware of any questions, concerns, or problems that the customers may have with the product or service offered, now is the time to step up and offer exceptional (and quick) support. Many businesses have separate social media accounts dedicated just to responding to inquiries or problems, such as a Twitter account just for support. That way, this Twitter account is separated from the main, official Twitter account and can easily go through the problems or issues customers have and respond to them quickly and concisely.
Facebook live chat is another great mode to ensure that customer inquiries are being responded to in the quickest way possible.
Whichever way a business chooses to respond to customer questions or problems, the most important aspect is that the response comes in a timely manner and that no messages accidentally go unanswered. Unanswered messages can lead to customers becoming frustrated and leaving nasty reviews about the product or service, which can turn other potential buyers away from a purchase.
4. Offer Lower Priced Products
As we know, competition is fierce for any business, which is why offering products at a lower price compared to the prices set by top competitors is a great way to drive more customers and sales. Customers are likely to value businesses that care about offering high quality and yet affordable-products and services over businesses that offer similar products or services at inflated prices. So, businesses who are trying to maintain a competitive edge over others should look into pricing lower-which, in turn, will also ideally lead to increased positive reviews, comments, and discussions online, and lead to more sales.
In short, social shopping is an essential part of business, and will not be diminishing in importance anytime soon. For businesses who wish to remain relevant and successful in the period we are currently in, maintaining a strong social media presence and learning more about how to get involved with social shopping is a vital part of the online business world. By choosing to not get involved with social shopping, these businesses are risking losing potential customers-and potential money.