Will Social Networking Increase Sales?
As people across the nation (and the world) become more and more infatuated by social networking many ecommerce owners are wondering if this an appropriate venue to consider as a way to increase traffic and sales. So, is it a good idea? That apparently depends on who you ask.
Social networking – larger and more influential than anyone anticipated
A recent survey conducted by the American Marketing Association (AMA) indicates that social networking sites may be positioned to play a larger and more influential role in ecommerce than anyone anticipated. Almost half (49%) of respondents in the survey complained they would seek out shopping information, including information about sales and discounts, at social networking if the sites offered such information. “Social networking sites provide some of the most powerful word-of-mouth marketing opportunities than there have ever been,” said Nancy Costopulos of the AMA. “It’s past fad and into the reality zone.” So yes, social networking can increase sales… absolutely.
Does social networking steal the thunder from etailers sites?
According to AMA, social networking could, in some cases steal the thunder from etailers sites. In the AMA survey, 74% of those surveyed said they would visit a social networking site to search for a gift and 29% said, if the opportunity was there, they would buy products on the sites. According to this survey, when people ask, “Can social networking increase sales?”, the answer is an astounding and absolute yes!
Data collected in a recent Jupiter internet research survey indicated that, while social networking and ecommerce may be closely linked at some point “the jury is still out” on how effective this tool will be at boosting sales. “Sometimes social networking sites can drive a huge amount of traffic to the site all at once, but they are not necessarily people who are in buying moods. Even 2,000 views to a particular item coming from stumbleupon.com resulted in only one sale. However, getting that many eyeballs into the store can certainly help when those same people want to make a purchase later on.”
According to a Hitwise study, the shopping and classifieds sites that benefited the most from Facebook in recent years were eBay, Amazon, Gateway, Walmart and the Craiglist. “With the growth of Facebook and others, online retailers should seriously consider social networking as a source of additional traffic.”
Social shopping sites
Some online marketers have attempted to harness the power of social networking by creating “social shopping sites” that combine the networking power of Facebook with the data-crunching muscle of Google, and in the process adding a little more humanity to the act of shopping online.
Difference of social networking and social media
When you ask “Can social networking increase sales?”, although the answer is absolutely Yes, many ask what is different than social networking and social media? This is an entirely new discussion, so we have addressed this question in a different blog post. Take a moment to investigate the different types of social advertising so that you can decide which is best for your business and which media deserves the most resources – time.
What’s different about social shopping? For all its power, Google can’t tell shoppers what’s cool or what their friends or like-minded consumers recommend. Social shopping sites, on the other hand, do just that, which provides new opportunities for small online retailers to reach consumers. A search for “men’s shoes” on a typical search engine yields the most prominent brands and retailers within the first few pages of results. The same search on a social shopping site not only displays a wider array of smaller, and arguably cooler, brands, it points the users toward the store that is recommended by the site’s most fashion-conscious and influential users.
Can Social networking increase sales? Yes, but use caution!
There is one important “watch out” here. These sites are geared to consumers, not marketers, so you have to tread carefully. Still a single recommendation from a well-connected and influential user can generate considerably more visibility than many marketers could achieve on Google or Yahoo! and even better, it’s free. “On the major search engines it can be all but impossible for small retailers to percolate to the top of the search process,” said Sucharita Mulupuru, a senior retail analyst at Forester Research. “There’s no question that social shopping could be hugely beneficial to small businesses with limited marketing resources.”
Your Web Host Can Help
Talk to your website hosting provider about the possibility of using social networking to boost sales. Your host can help you gather the data you need to decide if this is the right venue for you.