Ecommerce Sites and Social Media #ecomchat – Key Points

March 4, 2013

This week’s #ecomchat was on Ecommerce Sites and Social Media – looking at the role social media has to play in ecommerce site development and marketing.

The chat was based around 3 key question as usual and below is a summary of the key points and discussion threads.

There were lots of comments and some brilliant discussion threads, so thanks to everyone who took part and apologies we can’t include every single comment in this write-up!

Question 1 – Is ‘social media’ an essential focus for ecommerce sites or a big red herring?

    • @optimiseordie started with the assertion that it depends on the approach of the company – if you want to push your message at people it can be a red herring but if you’re prepared to start a conversation and listen, learn, respond etc then it’s an essential focus. Craig also raised the prospect of data wealth that comes from enabling social log-in.
    • @SEONorth made an interesting observation that for small businesses it can help put the Owners/creators at the forefront of their brand’s social presence.
    • @poakley pointed out that it’s more than just an ecommerce focus, it should be a general marketing focus as it’s an important communication channel for customers.
    • Great way of looking at it was tweeted by @therustybear – people are social, businesses are typically not. Make the business about its people – people are social.
    • @edwinbongo found it surprising that people think social media is essential to ecommerce when you can turn it off and the business doesn’t fail. However, @andrewgirdwood made a good observation that you can’t turn social media off – whether or not you participate, people can still talk about you.
    • @edwinbongo said that in his experience, on-site social sharing is more essential than what’s done through social media profiles.
    • @cranberrypanda suggested it’s definitely a benefit to companies that do it well. People will talk about your brand online anyway so its best to embrace it.
    • @danbarker asked the question about how do you decide how much time to dedicate to social media? @edwinbongo suggested that it’s easier to get as mnay people as possible doing a little instead of focusing on a dedicated team.
    • @ahmed_kahlifa suggested to start small with dedicated staff then grow and learn. Clear there isn’t a consensus on how to approach social media.
    • @andrewgirdwood suggested building social media considerations in to everything you do, that way you actually do a lot of social with limited extra effort.
    • zoe_boz recommends taking it step-by-step: expand if it’s working and learn from what does and doesn’t work. Has to be related to the company, not generic one size fits all.
    • @aattias said that in B2B social media helps gauge the effectiveness of content marketing efforts and the conversations these generate.
    • @nuttakorn discussed the need to analyse attribution data to understand the impact of social media on commerce transactions.

Question 2 – How can smaller ecommerce sites use social media to assist their growth?

    • @andrewgirdwood suggested that smaller sites should use OpenGraph to facilitate social interactions and enable people to share their content easily e.g. RSS for new products.
    • @sharlie_angel recommends finding advocates who will speak for you and help spread your brand awareness in a non-pushy way.
    • @_ednash_ suggested small companies should use social to deal with enquiries and provide excellent customer support – provide the personal touch that many big businesses struggle to achieve.
    • mark_macdonald suggested a good starting point is to use social monitoring to track keywords related to your business and engage with people when you can.
    • @danielytruman talked about generating conversations around your products, or finding and developing an audience for research.
    • @schilbach pointed out that with social, small brands get the same crack of the whip as big brands – really opportunity to get it right and add value.
    • @lakey recommends focusing on content and audiences because social is a good way to amplify the reach of quality content.

@danbarker asked for examples of small companies that has intelligently used social media to help grow. Examples included:

Wiggly Wigglers and Accessories Online from @jamesgurd
Warby Parker and Naked Wines from @danbarker
Keynotopia from @optimiseordie
Black Milk and Illamasqua from @kristalsmile.
Threadless, Etsy and ThinkGeek from @andrewgirdwood
JackWills from @sharlie_angel.

Question 3 – What should the main priorities be for larger ecommerce organisations around social media?

    • @andrewgirdwood suggested that the first thing a large business needs to do is get quicker (and more accurate) at making responses/comments
    • @kieronhughes said consistent voice, prompt customer service.
    • @_ednash_ suggested being responsive and informative – a lot of companies are already doing well with this. No/very late reply = fury!
    • @schilbach recommended that companies don’t just sell – give content – give people a reason to engage – don’t use it just as a traditional ad spot.
    • @danieljtruman advised listening to customers and employees. It’s a vehicle for opinion not selling. Market research, feedback, implementation etc.
    • @aattias advises breaking down the internal silos to ensure social is as effective as it can be.
    • @zoe_boz recommends ensuring offline is matching up with online in terms of customer response (speed, voice etc).

Thanks again to everyone for joining in, we hope to see you next week.
James & Dan

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