This is a guest post by Liam Ahern. Liam is an Online Business Specialist at I-COM (www.i-com.net), an award winning online marketing agency in Manchester. I-COM offers a full range of online marketing services, including web design, social media marketing, PPC, web development and SEO.
There’s a lot of buzz about social media at the moment.
With big brands well and truly committed to social, increased media coverage and rumblings from search engines indicating that social networks are set to play an important part in rankings in the near future, more and more UK businesses are considering social media as a means of promotion.
With such a big buzz surrounding social, it can be easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm of ‘social media experts’ without really understanding what you can actually do with social and how it will benefit your business.
F-commerce, and social commerce in general, is still in the very early stages of development, but it’s safe to say this is no passing fad. With in excess of 750 million active users, retailers just can’t resist the lure of setting up their own Facebook shop.
Massive high street stores like Tesco and Starbucks, alongside prominent online retailers like ASOS, already have Facebook shops set up and incorporated into their Facebook page, and smaller brands are following their lead.
There are some ready-made applications you can use to set up an F-commerce store, but at I-COM we chose to create our own, allowing our clients to manage their ecommerce site and their Facebook shop from one CMS.
F-commerce allows you to sell directly to your Facebook fans which, as well as making it easier to track the financial value of social media marketing, has the potential to open up the mobile market, assuming you don’t already have a mobile site or shopping app.
2. Blogger Outreach
There are bloggers for every consumer niche, from fashion to gadgets, software to outdoor gear. Some of these bloggers are very influential within their niche and a mention of your brand or a product review on their site has the potential to boost your sales and your search engine rankings.
Use your social media accounts to follow, like and interact with these bloggers. Leave meaningful, relevant comments on their posts and before you know it they’ll be coming to you for products to review, mentioning you in their tweets and acting as ambassadors for your brand.
3. Customer Service
Great customer service is one of the most important methods the retail industry has of building a dedicated customer base.
The immediacy of Twitter and Facebook is a fantastic way to provide a high level of customer service, providing your customers with an alternative to waiting on hold when they have an enquiry.
Just remember, if you’re going to use social media for customer service make sure your accounts are manned during business hours so that customer enquiries are answered quickly and efficiently. Issues raised on social media and ignored can quickly turn into a PR nightmare.
As your brand grows, you might consider manning the accounts 24/7. Customers don’t necessarily expect you to get back to them on Saturday, so when you do they’ll be pleasantly surprised and be far more likely to tell friends and family about how great your ecommerce site is!