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So you’ve used socialmedia to generate a whole new fan base, with strategic monitoring of the Twitter chatter, the implementation of your own Facebook page and a well directed campaign to get your fans interacting with you in new and exciting ways. How does all that translate to the place you make your money – the sales desk?
You can now add a store to your Facebook page or MySpace page, allowing fans to browse your merchandise directly and click a button to put them in a cart. This kind of direct selling works when there is already a big fan base for your brand – not as a short cut to generating sales through a new area of the internet.
Socialmedia is more useful as a tool for your sales assistants to interact with your customers. A sales assistant can tweet news of special offers, for example (this works particularly well when the offer is time limited, because it drives a large wedge of fan based traffic to your site at a predictable time; and of course you can control the products on offer, which means you can prepare stock to match expected demand). Or you can encourage your customers to talk directly to people in your sales team by running socialmedia surgeries (advertised on your website and your fan pages), where they can ask questions about products and services.
If you use ecommerce facilities directly on your socialmedia fanpage, be prepared to bear the brunt of potentially poor publicity. In the inevitable occurrence (it happens to all of us, no matter how hard we try) that a buying experience for one customer is bad, they’ll be able to advertise it in seconds to the whole of their social network – which includes all the other fans linked to your Facebook or other social media page.
The way socialmedia works, in general, makes it more useful as a tool for creating a buzz around your brand, rather than for encouraging direct sales. If you do use it as a sales mechanism, be extra careful to polish your customer experience.
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