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Online Shopping Growth Makes Engaging Customers on Social Networks Vital to Small Business

Shopping online has boomed in recent years and statistics have shown that as many as 85% of internet users have made online purchases in the past six months and that 13% of new internet users have made a purchase in their first year of being online1. Coupled with the fact that social networking is one of the most popular things for people to do online, with Facebook currently ranking as the fourth most visited site online2, it is important now for businesses to develop a strong presence in the world of Web 2.0 social network sites.

Advantages to Using Social Networking for Marketing
With 800 million2 people already signed up to Facebook, equivalent to the population of the third largest country on the planet, and other similar sites having massive memberships, the first advantage that marketing on them has is the potential audience reach that any advertising has. These figures are far larger than with other mass media options, and make social networks a more cost effective way of using your company’s marketing budget, as online advertising is among the least expensive marketing methods available.

Building an Organic Following
The importance of building relationships in order to leverage social networks for promotional purposes is the reason why so many small businesses have failed with their social network marketing campaigns, but for those companies that start by creating a sound organic following on these sites the potential of their promotions on social network sites becomes immense. By carefully targeting your niche market on these sites, which collect a lot of valuable personal profile information from many members, it is possible to hone right in on your niche market very effectively and find people that will want to make a connection with you, because they share an interest in the same things as you do.

By funneling these social network customers through your company’s website, it is possible to build lists of people that are genuinely interested in your e-mail promotions and so are likely to have a higher conversion rate than people that click through from an ad on a random web page will. Another advantage is that you can encourage people to ‘like’ your web page, which will then show up in the News Feeds of all of their friends and potentially attract a new stream of customers as people that are friends will often share the same tastes and interests.

By using social network sites to effectively target as much of your specific demographic as possible, the time and money that you spend on promoting your business will dramatically increase your chance of sharing in the $49.7 billion3 that is now being spent online annually, while generating long term marketing opportunities for the future at the same time. The key to succeeding in this new avenue of advertising for your business is to put the effort into building relationships with your social network customers in order to engage their interest in your business and the products and services that you are offering.



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