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April 16, 2016

Never before has the ecommerce field been more exciting. Having a shop that never closes, has little need for operational overhead (as in a brick and mortar business) and potentially open to sell to any person on the planet (and maybe on the moon in fifty years!) sounds like the perfect recipe for success.

However as most of you already know, more channels for selling mean more channels to look out for, reply to and service customers with.

social media management
In the past, if you sold washing machines in your town, all a customer had to do to get a washing machine repaired was to drive up or call your store to set a service appointment. Maybe if a certain special part wasn’t in your inventory, you’d call in the manufacturer’s hotline and wait several weeks to have it sent over.

For the longest time in history the face-to-face model of buying and selling was the norm. It was pretty hard—and sometimes still is, to get out of the traditional mindset when it comes to watching your store.

Having an ecommerce shop as many of you have experienced, requires eyes in the back of your head just to keep up with multiple channels of consumer engagement.

So how do you stay on top of Twitter, facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and whatever else may come up in the future? Will the original promise of the ecommerce business model prove to be ultimately superior to the regular mom-and-pop stores we’ve set aside?

management social media
Social media management refers to how a business owner keeps up with their multiple channels of consumer engagement. Many businesses now have a dedicated social media manager whose job is to reply to customer questions and feedback, pass it on to their other colleagues back in the business, and maintain a seamless transition from website to social media platform.

In many ways social media management intersects with marketing, customer service as well as a general familiarity with the ins and outs of the business.

Together with that, a strong knowledge of various tools such as Hootsuite for managing Twitter accounts and organizational ability will ensure all social media channels are taken care of on an ongoing basis.

Use your social media analytics to determine when the best time is to post a new blog, for instance. And then build your weekly schedule around the data. Once in a while tweak your engagement. Throw a curve ball and see if deviating from what the data suggests makes a difference or not.

A good rule of thumb to use is that the shorter the number of characters involved in the social media channel, the sooner your customer expects a response. Twitter rules this arena. Tweets are exchanged on an almost-real time scenario. Witness how many celebrities send out tweets that are hastily deleted!

Depending on your ecommerce niche, you might not actually need to have multiple social media channels. Going back to the washing machine analogy, if you sold washing machine parts online, having a facebook account or a Pinterest page might be a diversion of your business resources better used elsewhere.
Before jumping on the bandwagon and setting up social media accounts for your business, the question we all need to ask first is: Do I need this for my business?

Take Pinterest. The best pages that are repinned and shared multiple times are the pictureworthy posts. Again if you sell washing machine parts, spending hundreds of dollars to make a spare motor look sexy with professional photography and lighting would be out of the question.

If on the other hand you sell good looking items, having an Instagram account may bring in 25% of your sales. Decide which social media channels bring in the most bang for buck and devote resources to each accordingly.

As your feel for your market matures, you might even want to remove one social media channel if it doesn’t perform as well as you’d like. Don’t be afraid to deactivate your business’ facebook account for instance, if it’s been a year of posting already and nobody has really gotten on to like it beyond your employees and immediate family.

Stay smart, use data as a guide and keep it lean. If you only have time for one social media platform and can’t hire a dedicated social media manager, then keep it focused for the time being on the single platform, rather than risking spreading yourself too thin just to capture all channels.

About the Author:

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Catherine is president & executive director of 20four7va, a global eCommerce virtual assistance service provider. She is into strategic planning, product development, brand management, and digital marketing. http://20four7va.com
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    Furniture Ecommerce Software

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