While social media can be a great platform to talk about your new products, it is important not to make it the be all end all. As an avid Facebook user, it is almost hard to write that! This is becoming especially apparent in the fashion industry where large companies who invested a lot of time and money into their social media platforms, are not reaping the rewards.
In 2011, retailers began to think that Facebook and other social media platforms would become flagship stores in their business strategies. Alex Bolen of Oscar de la Renta (a very high-end fashion label, for those of you out there who are not fashion obsessed), even stated, “We expect Facebook will become a major channel of commerce”. Unfortunately, this did not happen. They found that while a lot of people were viewing their Facebook page, not a lot of people were then clicking over to make purchases. This is mostly because, anyone can hit 'like' on Facebook; it barely involves any effort, which means that you may have millions of 'likes' but none that are quality.
A study by Custora showed that Social Media platforms were being significantly out-performed by search and email marketing. One of the ideas behind this is: if people are actively searching for your website, they are either looking for information, or looking to buy/enquire. However on Facebook, people are often just looking for inspiration, or to feel part of a brand they like.
The study, which examined data from 86 US retailers across 14 industries, found organic search to be the largest source of e-commerce customers (15.8% of all customers acquired), followed by cost-per-click (9.8%). Since 2009, customer acquisition via email has quadrupled, growing to 6.8%. Affiliate referral traffic has also grown significantly, and now accounts for 6.3% of customers acquired.
In contrast, Facebook accounted for just .17% of all e-commerce customers acquired, and Twitter was responsible for less than .01%.
E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot, Custora, June,2013
Instead of using Facebook or Twitter as your silver bullet marketing strategy, use it more as a two-way communication tool for your brand, and start a conversation with your likers. This can easily be done by linking articles or pictures you think represent your brand, or asking your followers their opinions. Facebook has recently changed its rules on promotions and contests, so now you even have the option to run a contest on your Facebook. While this may seem less impressive, getting your own voice out there is important. You want a personality behind your company, to humanise yourself so that people are better able to relate to your business.
The best thing about Facebook is that you can interact with your audience. So make the most of this and listen to what they have to say!