There is no doubt that online shopping is here to stay. Online shopping is no longer the domain of young people; people of all ages are accustomed to researching goods and services online before purchasing anything, even if they plan on buying the items or booking the services later on in person. The Internet has made it easy for people to track down reviews and compare prices, but it has made it incredibly difficult for a business to stand out from its competitors. New businesses struggle to make themselves known and to prove themselves, and older businesses feel that they may never catch up to the modern mode of shopping.
Utilizing social media is arguably the best and easiest way to make an initial splash in the online marketplace. Millions of potential customers are already checking their Facebook and Instagram pages every day anyway, so it makes sense to connect with people through these platforms. Facebook is the easiest social site to navigate for people who do not have a lot of experience in this realm. A company page is very easy to set up, and it goes a long way toward establishing a solid online presence.
Facebook’s news feed is an invaluable resource. Every status update or new photo makes people feel a little bit closer to a company. If a business starts to run out of fresh things to add to the news feed, small contests, giveaways and promotions can fill that void. This will encourage people to read more about the company’s products and services, and it will also encourage them to look at the company Facebook page on a regular basis.
Twitter provides another way for a business to reach out to potential customers. Twitter’s popularity has waned a bit lately, but people still follow business pages in hopes of seeing exclusive deals and learning about special events.
Instagram is arguably the most profitable social medial platform at the moment. A stylized picture of merchandise does more for a company than a well-written status update would. People want to see what a company is actually selling. Clever use of hash tags places the pictures in front of people who would not have otherwise found out about the company. Many businesses hold contests in which customers are rewarded for posting pictures of themselves with the merchandise. It makes current customers feel engaged, and it exposes the company to everyone in the contestants’ networks.
Social media optimization is more than just opening various social media accounts. It is a tricky balance of consistently appearing in front of people without seeming too persistent. Search engine optimization and pay per click promotion are still the best ways to draw people to a standalone website and encourage them to make purchases, which is the ultimate goal of online marketing. Social media marketing does not replace older techniques that involve longer time investments. It is one component of a well-rounded campaign, and it is the most important in terms of initial branding.