Facebook to grow your ecommerce business?

This article is by Natalie Wardle, our marketing assistant

Since Facebook’s inception in February 2004, it now boasts 60 million ‘active’ users, with 250, 000 new users joining each day. Right now it’s the ultimate networking destination à la mode, offering businesses free, transparent opportunities to show themselves off to the world (not dissimilar to the irresistible appeal of kebabs to drunken revellers at 4 am on a Saturday night).

It’s a well – known fact that Facebook has enormous potential for pulling in big fish traffic wise. So it’s a fool proof plan for achieving ecommerce success for your brand, right?

Well we hate to break it to you guys but not quite…you see this is the bit where we go all Watch Dog on you, investigating how much of the time you spend on your site actually feeds back into a tangible R.O.I, and casting a spotlight on the dangerous Facebook black hole of marketing which many fashion brands are naïvely stumbling into…

 

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Non-Integrated Marketing 

After years of hearing about how great Facebook is, today’s etailers often use the site as a key part of their marketing energies. Spending time and effort crafting the perfect wall posts and updates, they remain bleary eyed to one obvious fact – Facebook is only one part of a huge omnipresent channel: social media, and an even smaller piece of another puzzle: digital media. Brands are beginning to forget this and are placing way too much emphasis on Facebook as the first port of call to target customers (along with Twitter).

 

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Making a Big ol’ Racket

Facebook is pretty much squeezed to the max with brand’s status updates, resulting in information overload for engaged users as their home pages are cluttered with numerous amounts of sales incentives and associated discount jargon. Many businesses think they can relentlessly post away all day and that this magical formula will win the fickle hearts of their consumers and drive them to buy.

Er once again sorry, but this is totally not the case. As more and more brands blast out these posts and buy paid advertising, the actual value of the message decreases. Users become blinded to branded posts and simply pass over them. This means it’s even more important for brands to integrate their messaging into other outlets to increase the likelihood users will take notice.

Additionally, some brands over – post to the point users unlike their Facebook pages or hide their updates. This is the exact opposite of what the brand was hoping to do.

Addiction to Number Crunching 

When it comes to the stats, all too many ecommerce businesses have become addicted. And they’re addicted to the bad stuff, the buzz of number crunching, the fickle factors of engagement, in other words the ‘vanity metrics’. You know the type of thing i.e. ‘How many likes have we got today?’, ‘Why is no one responding to our status update 15 mins ago?’, or ‘How come everyone isn’t telling us how handsome we are?!’

Seriously such individuals have some serious manning up to do – just stop taking it all so personally! Think about it this way, do the most successful power players concentrate their attention on such trivial matters? Exactly. This point is also particularly of significance to smaller ecommerce companies. Make sure you’re thinking about the bottom line.

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Right Audience, Wrong Campaign

Closely related to their addiction to numbers, brands have forgotten that marketing results on a marketing channel are only as good as the marketing message. You could be on exactly the right channel, one that holds your entire target audience, and still completely miss the mark because you’re promoting the wrong message. Many businesses launch a marketing effort (such as a promotion, sale, or campaign) and blame ‘performance’ on Facebook. They will ask ‘why is nobody taking up our offer?’ or ‘why is our engagement down for this campaign?’ They expect to hear that they are doing something wrong on Facebook – posting at the wrong time, posting the wrong number of times, or not getting enough exposure on Facebook.

Perhaps, however, it is something else. It is the offer. It is the promotion. It is the campaign. All too often businesses get so focused on the small details in performance that they fail to see the bigger picture. Test your campaign. Will there be a high response to it? Are you running on other channels? Are these channels seeing low responses as well? Are these channels targeting the same audience? These are questions brands need to be asking. They cannot neglect the impact of an incorrect message.

What the Facebook Problem Means

Before you start thinking this means Facebook is now dead for businesses – stop. That’s not what we’re saying. What we suggest is it’s place now needs to be re-considered within marketing plans. It is a tremendously effective tool. Brands have seen huge success from it. However, Facebook should not be the gold in all marketing plans for no reason. Smart marketing strategies still need to be developed. Businesses need to see the bigger picture in their marketing efforts and remain consistent with these, as once they do this they will eventually overcome the teething errors with Facebook, resulting in financial gain.

Does Facebook add value to your company?

As successful as it’s been so far, Facebook is still something of a tenuous experiment. It’s an enormous business built on the theory that it is possible to collect, store, and mine information about everyone’s lives – and to delight both consumers and advertisers in the process. Facebook’s financial disclosures prove that the experiment has paid off handsomely. But does it have as much value for companies? Brands are seeing page views dropping, shares decreasing, ‘likes’ falling off a cliff. If you haven’t seen the current controversy over Facebook’s pricey Promote fees, it’s time to catch up.

Some hold the ‘it’s a free country’ perspective maintaining that the new Promote “option” isn’t extortion, merely a reflection of the capitalist world we now live in, and furthermore an increasing amount of Facebook businesses have the simple option to seek out other other means of free promotion such as Twitter, Google+ and of course Linkedin. And that is important.

How to go cold turkey on Facebook

  • Don’t build your business on ground that someone else owns. Host content on your own website and use social media to drive traffic.
  • Don’t just measure vanity metrics – track the effect on sales
  • Experiment with other social networks and find out which works best for you.

 

 Facebook Facts

The sixth – most trafficked site in the U.S. (according to comScore) has the following:

• More than 64 million active users

• An average of 250,000 new users registered each day

• 700 billion minutes per month spent on the site

• More than 14 million photos uploaded daily

• More than 65 billion page views per month

• 400 million active users logged in during the past month.

• The fastest growing demographic of 25 and older

The U.S. has the most users, followed by the U.K. with more than 8 million active users, and then Canada with more than 7 million active users.

* Statistics from www.facebook.com in mid-February.