Prefacing on Growth of Social Media and Online Retail
Noted statistical research site Statista mentions that the global retail E-Commerce sales amounted to US$ 1,336 billion in 2014. It grew to US$ 2,982 billion in 2018. The projection is that the sales value will increase to US$ 3,535 billion in 2019. The growth trajectory will continue to reach US$ 6,542 billion by 2023.
With such enticing growth prospects, competition in the E-Commerce marketplace is growing on a daily basis. India as a country is not lagging behind much.The projection for the Indian E-Commerce marketplace is that it will reach US$ 150 billion by 2020.
Social Media Consumption as grown to basically drown the conventional media outlets – thanks to the big shift to digital and quick adoption of the internet. It shouldn’t take long to connect the two – with digital media and Social media spends increasing taking up a big part of Marketing Spends as the continue to rise exponentially though these years.
To make the best of this growth opportunity, E-Commerce practitioners and aspirants need to learn every business trick possible to gain a competitive edge. That applies to all forms of E-Commerce: B2B, B2C, C2C, B2A, and so on.
At Shoppr, we are committed to helping you with a wide range of information relevant for the growth of your E-Commerce initiative. This article is about the effective and efficient use of social media for brand building and business growth in E-Commerce.
How Social Media Can Help
We usually think of social media as platforms for social interactions. However, in today’s globalized digital marketplace, the line between social and business interactions have been considerably blurred. Social media platforms present several unique opportunities to build awareness about your brand and products. They also allow you to engage with your existing and prospective customers and work towards creating a community of loyal consumers.
Social media platforms assist business promotion by directing traffic to your E-Commerce website and sharing information about new products or special deals. Market research by several leading agencies reflect that as high as 77% of online consumers prefer brands that have a strong social media presence. Some social media websites even facilitate direct sales, especially of the B2C and C2C varieties.
Let us start with social media giant Facebook to gain a deeper understanding of how social media can help you to grow your online business.
Noted business journal Forbes mentions that 32% of Facebook users are American women in the age band of 25 to 54. Their male counterparts constitute 29% of Facebook users. If your product is anything of interest to people of this age-group, Facebook is certainly of value to you as a promotional platform. Facebook is not in itself an E-Commerce platform. It is a great forum to promote products and services to a wide range of consumers.
According to the Facebook Newsroom, this social media platform had 2.41 billion active users every month. Of these users, 7.2% are women in the age group of 35-44, 4.9% are women in the 45-54 age band, and 3.1% are women aged between 55 and 64, according to Statista’s July 2019 figures. We are talking huge numbers here, as you can see.
The beauty of Facebook is that it is entirely free from restrictions on the number of posts you want to upload. You can attract potential customers’ attention by making your Facebook page varied and interesting.
If you are smart, you can find ways of promoting your B2C E-Commerce business free through a Facebook page. Not for nothing do all major B2C companies have Facebook pages. For a deeper understanding, read this amazing guide to Facebook advertising by an 11-year old.
Tools and Utilities for Shopify
The fast-growing E-Commerce platform Shopify recognizes the importance of social media platforms for business growth in the digital world. Inviting customers to use social media platforms to promote their business, Shopify offers several tips and several social media apps to link up with your Shopify store.
Many of these apps like marketing through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram are available free on Shopify. There are different applications to be linked to these platforms, catering to different business needs – We have an entire list of tools dedicated to help you Market your store.
Plugins for WooCommerce
WooCommerce is one of the largest E-Commerce platforms at the moment. If you run your business online on WordPress, you are almost inevitably using this platform. It is not surprising at all that. WooCommerce offers several social media extensions to promote your online business using its platform.
Interestingly, the official WooCommerce plugin for Facebook is free, but the Instagram plugin is charged. So is Pinterest. However, this platform does not offer too many social media plugin options.
However, given the near omnipresence of WooCommerce in the online marketplace, some social media platforms focused on E-Commerce have special plugins specifically for this platform. Only two of them are connected with social media platforms that we readily think of: Facebook and Instagram.
There is a special plugin offered by StoreYa that allows featuring your WooCommerce shop on Facebook. It comes free, but there are paid premium plans as well. There is also an Instagram plugin specially for WooCommerce, which comes at a price.
Extensions for Magento
Social media platforms are obviously critical for business growth in the digital marketplace for any important E-Commerce platform or application to ignore them. That becomes clear when we look at the Megento blog, which has an entire section devoted to social media marketing. It offers a whole range of topics from best practices to technical tips.
The Magento Marketplace offers a detailed feature on a special social media plugin for Magento 1 and 2 based stores. Called the Social Media Bundle, this plugin includes links to Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Twitter. The extension has a one time purchase fee associated with it at the time of writing.
Social Media Marketing is Here to Stay
The world has a population of 7.7 billion and 3.5 billion among them are online. That makes one in every three persons have a social media presence. Two-thirds of all internet users are on one or more social media platforms. We are talking of huge numbers and a space that would be foolish to ignore.
If you are an E-Commerce entrepreneur, you definitely need to hone up your social media skills & use them efficiently and effectively for your business growth. Consider the following stats for reference –
- The largest social media platform is still Facebook, with 2.26 billion users in 2018.
- YouTube is second with 1.9 billion users in 2018.
- Instagram and WeChat both had 1 billion users last year.
- India has now crossed the US and all other countries of the globe in the number of Facebook users, with 241 million users currently.
- LinkedIn and Instagram are also extremely popular social media platforms in India.
Cultivate your social media presence carefully. Which platforms to focus on has a lot to do with the kind of products you offer and the consumer segment that you target. Also, learn to be active on different social media platforms for different focus areas. Use Google Analytics to determine your strategies.
Once you create your social media profiles, make sure that you keep them active. You need to engage with your existing and potential customers to persuade them to become loyal to your brand. Remember that your customers are as savvy as you are and a disinterested seller is someone they will reject forthwith.
Make your presence attractive and interesting. Do not be blatant about hawking your product. Social media selling is more about subtle persuasion than direct sales. Share information and links not just to your E-Commerce store, but also to relevant news and articles. Let your followers know that you are an expert in your field.
Establish a link between your E-Commerce store and your social media platforms and do not make that one way. This is where social media plugins for E-Commerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce are useful. They allow you the two-way movement of bringing your store on to your social media platforms and vice-versa.
It is best to start with free plugin options and then move on to the more sophisticated ones that come at a price. Spend for it only when you are a pro at using social media for your E-Commerce business growth.