Black Friday sales broke records this year, both in the number of consumers shopping and the amount spent per person. Experts predict that the influx of sales will continue through December, both in brick-and-mortar locations and for online retailers.
With this flood of new business, e-commerce merchants must make sure that their order fulfillment services are up to the task. Customers want the products they order to arrive quickly and in good condition. When choosing between two retailers, efficient and fast delivery may be the deciding factor for many customers. But before you can worry about having sufficient order fulfillment services, you need to attract customers to your business.

A study from Experian Hitwise shows that social media networks are sending as much as 13 percent more internet traffic to online retailers this year than they did in 2009. Shoppers turn to social media networks to learn about good deals, receive updates about their favorite brands, and find out which retailers their friends and family recommend. With social media platforms, retailers are offering promotions, coupons, and information about the products they sell. And with so many businesses using social media, it is essential that your business stand out from the crowd. The more exposure your business receives on popular social media networks, the more customers you will attract and retain.

Harnessing the power of social media for your business

Approximately 17 percent of holiday shoppers say that they’ll be monitoring the social media posts of their favorite brands this year—and even more people will pay attention to their friend’s “likes” and posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. And if you’re using social media to advertise this holiday season, those posts can translate to sales for your business.

Effective social media marketing isn’t easy: social media users don’t want to be inundated with overt and repetitive advertising. Instead, your profiles and websites should be available to users without using spam tactics, like e-mails and browser pop-ups. Once you’ve attracted an audience, answer all inquiries from potential customers quickly and accurately. You can also link social media profiles to your company’s main website so that customers can visit and place their orders immediately.

Keeping customers beyond the holiday season

Social media can also be a great way to convert your current customers into advocates for your brand. When a customer makes positive posts about your company or products, he or she is advertising your brand to all the users connected to his or her profile. For your brick-and-mortar locations, social media networks that incorporate geographic data, such as Foursquare, can help to draw customers into your store. Users may see that your store is nearby and stop in, or they may come to join a friend who is already shopping there.

Other social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be used to update brick-and-mortar shoppers about your promotions, which increases the likelihood that they will visit the store.

When used creatively, social media can serve as an engine that drives your business. Design a social media plan that works for your company, and monitor it throughout the season. A great social media marketing campaign can give you the volume you need to make your business a success.