Too many Internet retailers rely too heavily on Google to reach their audience. For example, one of our clients faced sinking sales with the recent changes to Google’s algorithms. His strategy over 15 years of selling products online centered completely on search engine optimization, and he neglected integrating social media, with disastrous results.

If you are a retailer who is facing a similar problem, you may be tempted to close down or give up. Before you do that, I recommend that you take a closer look at how social media can become a major driver of customers to your site. By integrating social media into your marketing efforts, you will likely see an abrupt turnaround in your traffic and sales.

When what you’re doing isn’t working, try something new.  You may be reluctant to dive into using social media to market your business. Maybe you’re intimated by the tools, or you don’t want to make an investment of time and money in a new solution. Yes, trying something new might feel risky and expensive. Consider the alternative: closing your business for good. Before you do that, try something new.

Look at the assets you already own. Our client had an e-mail database of more than 10,000 past customers. Apart from communication at the point of sale, he had never sent a single e-mail message to encourage repeat sales. What assets does your company have that could be activated to reinvigorate marketing?

Stop waiting for customers to come to you — meet them where they are. Search engine optimization is a passive strategy. You are waiting for people to search for and find you. When you use social media marketing, you become more proactive in finding customers and creating interest in your products.

Choose one high-impact platform for your investment. If you can’t find the time to build a presence on all the major social media sites, figure out where your target demographic spends time online and invest your time and money there. If you’re not sure, Facebook is a safe place to start. Facebook ads, targeted to your audience, are an excellent and cost effective way to find new customers.

Be human. Make your marketing more about stories and human connection than sales. People connect to people. People like buying from people, especially authentic and approachable people. Share your story with potential customers using social media and remove the mystery from shopping online by giving people a point of connection to the person creating the products.

Our client implemented a comprehensive social media strategy over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. His sales increased, compared to the same four-day period last year, more than 275%, with Black Friday sales of five times that of last year. Cyber Monday sales increased 400%.

Rather than lamenting Google’s changes, consider implementing a social media strategy, and watch your sales turn around.

Becky is the founder and CEO of Weaving Influence, a social media marketing consulting and implementation company.

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One Response to “Why retailers need to wake up to the power of social media”

  1. Great article! I love it when a client can see almost instant results.

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