Does E-Commerce Need Social Media?

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram each have millions of users, so it seems logical that E-commerce businesses would jump at the opportunity to utilize them for marketing purposes. Many companies have done just this, and have seen mixed results in their ROI in social media. This begs the question: Is using social media integral to the success of E-commerce businesses?

In my search for answers, I came across relatively few articles that were in favor of returning to the Dark Ages of advertising. Even the ones that featured negative reviews of using social media for marketing, came around by the conclusion and admitted that they were better off having attempted a foray into the world of Facebook than not taking the chance.

One such article focused mainly on the fact that social media might not be the best platform for smaller businesses, because it is harder to generate business when nobody has heard of you before. According to the article, “About 61% of small businesses don’t see any return on investment on their social-media activities, according to a survey released Tuesday from Manta, a social network for small businesses.”  Apparently, a lot of small businesses make the mistake of jumping on the trending wagon and attempt to use only social media, rather than stick to a marketing mix they know works for them.

Many of these people are not social media marketing pros, they just assume that since everyone else is doing it, it must work. They don’t necessarily have the know-how or skills to use the analytic software offered by these sites, to help them determine how effective this new method is for their business. Additionally, studies have shown that “despite the popularity of using social media for marketing purposes, less than 1% of traffic to the [E-commerce] sites came from social network sites.” If this is true, then why is the use of social media still so prevalent with E-commerce businesses? Let’s take a look at why it is still such a popular trend.


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