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eCommerce - Facebook and Twitter - 10 ways to drive traffic

There is a lot of hype around Social media for ecommerce i.e Social Commerce, specifically Facebook and Twitter and it's use for eCommerce site marketers to drive qualified traffic to their website. And rightly so because users on Facebook and Twitter are growing at an amazing rate. Facebook just reported getting to 500 million active users.

There are many ways in which eCommerce marketers are experimenting to help drive some of this traffic back to their eCommerce stores. We explored the efficiency and hype specific to eCommerce and rated them based on our experience in terms of effectiveness.
1) Facebook store - Effectiveness: 2/10 Hype: 8/10
This is one that has the largest hype around it. The lethal facebook store they call it. 1-800-flowers launched the first one where you could complete the purchase right on facebook and admitted 7 months later that the store was not working too well for them because it meant people had to first find their fan page, then click on the shop tab and then complete that purchase which was not really working. Yet, the hype index around the facebook store remains high. Our take on effectiveness: don't bother.
2) Facebook page - Effectiveness: 4/10 Hype: 10/10
Almost every ecommerce site has created it and links to it from their site – most often from the footer on every page on their site. Such valuable real estate to drive people to your facebook page? Why? Has anyone explored the conversion factor of people getting lost in facebook once they leave your site. How many of these people stay back and like you – and how many of those convert later? This one by far has the most hype and is extremely low in terms of effectiveness. The reason people do it is because it is the easiest thing to do.
3) Twitter page - Effectiveness: 4/10 Hype: 10/10
This one fares no better than it’s cousin – the facebook page. In our mind, it’s no different than what we’ve already said above.
4) Get your site visitors to become your evangelists on Facebook and Twitter - Effectiveness: 8/10 Hype: 3/10
This is by far the one we are most excited about. Partly because we've seen this work the best ourselves and is where we are spending most of our time on. The big idea here is that people don't have the intention of listening to brands or eCommerce sites on social networks. They are there to communicate with their friends. So the goal here is to make their friends your evangelists - especially the ones that have a high degree of influence. And how do you do that - contact us to find out.
5) Facebook ads - Effectiveness: 6/10 Hype: 6/10
Facebook ads have lived up to its hype for some retailers at least. For them to be effective, you would need to use it in the context of when your products are most likely to be purchased. So think gifts during valentines and mothers day. Out of context ads generally do not fare well. Broad product ads also do not fare well. This one though is worth testing for yourself to see if your products lend itself well for it.
6) Facebook app - Effectiveness: 2/10 Hype: 7/10
Yes, yet another app! Name one app by a leading retailer that has done well for them in terms of sales. 50% of users on facebook spend time on game related apps. They are not there with the mindset of making a purchase. If they wanted to buy from you, they would go to your site, why would they install an app in the first place. This one is an absolute no-no unless you are being forced into doing this from a branding perspective and have a ton of dollars lying around to be wasted only to get 2000 followers from this exercise and loose a lot of time in the process.
7) Twitter in-stream ads Effectiveness: ?/10 Hype: ?/10
If you have not heard of these yet – click here to read this.
This is still new and upcoming and so has not proven itself yet. We’ll refrain from providing any statistics and judgment on this one ahead of time. Look out for a future post to cover this in more detail as it pans out.
8) Share button - Effectiveness: 3/10 Hype: 10/10
Almost every ecommerce site has this now. So much so that it’s become synonymous with the product detail page for an ecommerce site. But statistics show it performs terribly. No one shares anything – why would they? It goes back to the point of there being no reason for them to do so. We put the hype factor high here but many many people are now aware of these stats and are reconsidering even having this on their sites.
9) Facebook Like and Facebook connect - Effectiveness: 3/10 Hype: 9/10
This is the new “share button”. This time people feel it will make an impact more than the share button. Interestingly, our take on this is the same as as the share button. In a year from now, it will meet the same fate unless Facebook does something drastic with it. The problem remains the same – why would consumers like you or that product – what is the reason for them to do so at that very point in time?
10) Sweepstakes – Effectiveness: 6/10 Hype: 3/10
Some people have done this effectively. Like American Eagle below. You can use a platform like Wildfire to do a quick and easy sweepstake on Facebook. If you have enough likes, this may actually be a great way to go to market to your current engaged audience.

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