Why is Social Media Important for E-commerce Businesses?

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Social media began simply as a way to poke and throw digital sheep at those within your personal network. But from what wasn’t exactly the most hallowed of beginnings, it has grown into perhaps the most influential technology of the 21st century. Over a third of this planet’s people (2.56 billion or 34%) are now on social media, with over 2 billion being on Facebook alone; an incredible number that would’ve been unimaginable just a decade ago.

So you’re an e-commerce business, who has heard a lot about this social media marketing malarkey, but are new to the whole concept. The first question on most newcomers’ lips is “what’s the big deal?” Why exactly does social media marketing matter so much these days?

To understand why social media is such a key to your e-commerce business’ success, we first need to understand why it has become such a marketing powerhouse in the first place.

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An unmatched marketing experience

Over 2 billion people have happily handed over their vital information to Facebook upon sign-up, with many more millions doing the same to Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. This is combined with the fact that by engaging with these platforms, each user is handing in more and more information about themselves every single day. Their habits and their hobbies, their (very literal) likes and dislikes, even their exact location!

All this information allows social media platforms to offer the sort of hyper-targeted marketing experience that no other marketing method can match. Users can be separated into an innumerable amount of different segments, divisions and categories, and thus the message that your business sends will only ever be put in front of the exact eyes that you want it to be.

Compare and contrast this with more traditional methods of marketing, such as television, radio and print. Sure, these methods allow for some form of targeting; putting your TV ad on during a 3pm soap opera will obviously hit a largely female and older demographic, and a flyer drop can hit a very clearly demarcated area. But no traditional marketing method, nor indeed any other digital marketing method, can even come close to the level of targeting that social media can offer up.

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What does that mean for your e-commerce business?

E-commerce is in a unique situation, in that traditional marketing methods almost don’t apply. Digital businesses understandably need a digital marketing focus in order to direct customers efficiently and effectively their way. This makes social media marketing – along with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) – far more important to e-commerce businesses than it does to others who have a presence outside of the World Wide Web.

Part of the fascination with social media marketing lies in its mystery. It’s a discipline that’s still very much in its infancy, and most social platforms are still fine-tuning their marketing products in an effort to make them as effective (and profitable) as possible. As such there’s no go-to guide on how best to approach it – e-commerce businesses must be pragmatic and flexible with their social media marketing, and be willing to throw caution to the wind.

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Get on board now, or be left behind

Sure, you may no longer be able to throw a sheep, but social media has managed to become something even more useful.

With the ability to hyper-target your audience, faithfully tell your brand’s story and be in control of exactly how much you spend, social media is a – if not the – vital marketing cog for your e-commerce business.

And it’s high time your e-commerce business gave it a poke.

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