Testing the Waters using Email and Social Media //php get_posflags()?>
Posted on | October 21, 2010
Written by | admin
If your retail store is brand new to the internet and you’re unsure about what kind of return you would get from being online, social media tools are a great way to test the waters and put your name out there. On the other hand, if you’re an established online retailer looking to grow, social media could be just the key to expanding your customer base.
But what is social media and how exactly can it help you? There are a number of things that fall into the category of social media, but a select few stand out above the rest. Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are great social media tools that can help you to build things like your email list. They help to directly contact your customers in an interactive way.
Facebook pages offer a good option to connect with the people who already know about you, but it also gives you the potential to reach new customers as well. The key to using Facebook is it’s much more interactive than email. Emails are used to deliver pitches to customers about promotions and you often receive no feedback from the customer. Facebook, however, is more about the interaction and conversation. The more you’re able to get people involved in your Facebook activities by asking them questions or posting non-pitch related content, the more potential you have to grow your following. When there is more involvement on your page, Facebook also gives you higher priority in the news feed, which gains more viewers and potential supporters of your page.
Where Facebook could be seen as the middle ground between pitching and conversation, Twitter is almost all about conversation. Because conversation is paramount, it does take some time to build a presence and create a following. Once you (or someone at your store well suited to using these tools) put in the time on Facebook and Twitter, you should begin seeing returns rather quickly. Twitter allows sharing much easier than Facebook, but it will likely also take a few more hours a week to manage and work at than Facebook. Connections can be made (and lost) quickly, but as long as your conversation keeps going with the other people on the social network that you meet, you’ll find yourself gaining a following by just being personable and open.
Email campaign tools are still the backbone of your internet marketing strategy but you can use Facebook and Twitter to help build your list of contacts. Emails give you a way to stay in touch with the people that already know you and have given you permission to pitch to them. In the email platform, it’s okay to approach it that way but with social media tools, the approach needs to be much different.
For example, say you’re at an event. You wouldn’t go up to a person you don’t know and start talking about a sale going on in your store, would you? Social media is more like that event and less like an ad in the paper. Try to engage people differently than you would through the emails that you send out. Often, you can grow your email list through social media by suggesting, on occasion, that if people want to hear about your latest deals, that they sign up for your emails. If you update about signing up for your email list too often (like once a day, or even once a week) people could see you as a pushy sales person and disconnect from you all together, hurting your chances of growing your list at all.
There are many other ways to creatively use social media to boost your current level of sales but these strategies offer a solid foundation to build on as you become more comfortable. Using social media and email is a great way to start build your brand online selling using the internet. Why not test the waters before making a larger investment in your business online.