On-site social: The key to social media e-commerce success

Social media can be frustrating and time consuming for a small business so get your customers and site visitors to look after it for you. Marketing expert Chloe Thomas explains how.

Social media can be hugely useful for e-commerce businesses – it enables you to talk to, and build a relationship with customers. And it has a positive impact on the volume of traffic you’ll get from the search engines. But it can be a time-sapping black hole.

Very few small e-commerce businesses can directly attribute enough sales back to social media to justify the time and effort they put into it. That’s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, just that you need to be smart about it.

You need to be doing some social media otherwise you’re going to miss out on all the great customer service, customer relationship, and SEO benefits that social media brings. But, to commit to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest et al takes forever! And inevitably leads to your efforts being spread too thinly to show any quick results.

So what should you do? Of course take a look at your web analytics and see what’s already driving you sales and traffic and focus there – but there is one thing that’s universally applicable to all e-commerce businesses.

What is it? It’s on-site social media. AKA, getting your customers to do your social media for you.

Mainly that’s putting social sharing buttons on all your web pages, but it can also mean getting your customers to write blog posts for you, send in pictures of your products and more.

Let’s focus on social sharing buttons in this article. These are the little ‘tweet this’, ‘like this’ buttons that you see on blog posts and newspaper websites. And they are brilliant. Brilliant for three reasons:

1. They’re really easy to set up

2. It’s a social media job you do once, and it’s all done (well until someone brings out another social media tool anyway!)

3. It gets your customers and site visitors to do your social media for you (really).

Really easy to set up? Yes – just go to AddThis.com, create the set of buttons you want, copy the code and send it to your website team to put in place. You want it prominently displayed on every product on your site, and every blog post you write too. Once it’s in place it will magically appear on all your products and blogs = job done!

I suggest you have buttons for (at least) Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Once it’s in place you don’t need to do anything else with it – visitors will see the buttons and use them.

The aim of all social media is to get people talking about you. Doing that via your own social media limits that conversation to those who are connected to you. So if you can get your customers and visitors talking about you then it’s going to spread your message/your products a lot further to all their connections whether connected to you or not. The easiest way to encourage people to talk about your products on social media is to make it easy for them to do that. What could be easier than a button saying (and doing) ‘Like it on Facebook’ that’s right there on the product page?

If you’re being talked about on social media your website is more likely to appear in the search results. That’s because Google gathers data direct from Twitter and Facebook to help it work out what the most relevant results are, and they own Google+, pulling those shares directly into the search results. If people are talking about you it’s rather like them linking to you – so Google interprets that as a good thing.

To help grow your search traffic you need people talking about you and sharing links to your site – that’s just what social sharing buttons can do for you.


– Get your social sharing buttons code

– Get your website team to put it on the site

– Watch your stats, for the next three months, to see which social media you should be using (and keep reviewing it).

To speed it all up, why not encourage your customers to share your products by emailing them?

Run a prize draw for everyone who pins this month, or tweets next month – I’d do a different engine each week/month. Don’t forget to be careful of the Facebook rules on competitions.

Let me know how you get on.

Further reading on social media

Related Topics

Social Media

Leave a comment