Guest post by Amanda O’Brien, Amazon and eBay Expert

The average person will spend 116 minutes on social media every day… That’s a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime! The same amount of time it would take you to walk your dog 93,000 times or walk the Great Wall of China three and a half times or run more than 10,000 marathons!

I think you’ll agree that in modern times social media is indeed a force to be reckoned with. The continuing rise of social networking sites is an unstoppable power and recent figures from Business Insider suggest the amount of times users spend on social media daily is increasing at a phenomenal rate:

  • YouTube: 40 minutes daily – everyone loves a video
  • Facebook: 35 minutes daily – so easy to scroll
  • Snapchat: 25 minutes daily – simple, quick and fun
  • Instagram: 15 minutes daily – super trendy
  • Twitter: 1 minute daily – good for business

Poor old Twitter appears to be lagging behind a bit here – personally, I believe that it’s simply because it’s more of a conversational platform and does indeed suit businesses rather than individuals – which means it is most definitely a viable option for social media marketing.

How to Use Social Media

All the social media platforms have realised that they must continually evolve their tools and options to attract and engage new audiences and it’s astonishing to realise that around 1 million new active mobile social users are added every single day. That’s a figure of 12 per second!

Yet, through my eSeller programmes, I still encounter people who are reluctant to address the fact that social media is this massively powerful marketing tool. A tool that no business – large or small – should really be ignoring – unless of course you have too many customers and can’t handle any more!

I believe that if you are not currently using social media to market your products, then you are without doubt missing out on a huge opportunity to drive traffic to your products, promote page views and ultimately increase your sales.

To illustrate how important social media is for you and your business, if you were opening a new shop on your local High Street, you wouldn’t fill the shelves with stock, place a ‘we are open’ sign on the door, sit behind the cash register and wait for customers to arrive.

You would, I hope, have a marketing plan. This might involve an open day, advertising locally, special opening offers and incentives, a free glass of Champers, goody bags and so on – all designed to kick start your store, lure shoppers in and help them spend their money.

And that’s just for starters – you would also, I hope, ensure you had an online presence – a website – which you would market – on social media!

For some reason though, when it comes to selling online, many people assume that it’s enough for their products to just ‘be’ there, wherever ‘there’ is, and that magically, sales will start happening with not an ounce of marketing, completely bypassing the fact that just because you’re already ‘online’ it doesn’t mean you are ‘online’ – if that makes sense!

Marketing is a Necessity for Success

An online business should be treated like any other business and marketing is a necessity for success. By advertising your products correctly platforms such as eBay and Amazon can bring you a certain amount of ready-made traffic, but why would you stop there and be content with a small percentage of the kind of traffic you could potentially experience with just a few really simple marketing strategies?

But what about who’s looking at you and seeing your personal information?

The most common objection I hear when it comes to social media is that the sites are ‘dangerous’.

Used the right way, social media is not dangerous and yes, hopefully, potential customers will be looking – not at you – but at your products!

I do agree that if used incorrectly, social media can give away information about you that you may wish to keep private. However, note my use of the word ‘incorrectly’.

If you want to get your message across, build a business and a brand, drive customers to your products and make sales then you will have to man up, come out from under your rock and announce to the world that you do actually exist.

On the personal side of things, privacy settings, blocking and the ability to choose who you connect with are there for a reason – to be used. On the other hand, using social media sites to market your business is unlikely to be detrimental to you or your well-being!

The other objection I commonly hear is this:

But, I don’t want my business plastered all over the internet for anyone to see…

Why not? When it comes to ‘business’, surely you want to promote your brand and your products? Surely you would like extra customers?

Don’t get confused here about business and personal social media marketing. Facebook and Twitter, for example, work perfectly well for both. You don’t have to announce to the world what you just ate for breakfast alongside a nicely filtered photo of your porridge or add pouting gym selfies every 5 minutes. It’s your page – your business page – and you choose what to post. In a business capacity, this will be information shared about relevant topics, your products and services – not cereals and weights.

Surely though, social media sites are just for ‘youngsters’?

Social media actually does a great job of reaching every demographic and so is the ideal platform for you to share information, product images and to define what your brand is all about. You just have to test and work out which is the best one for you and your business.

You simply cannot overlook the power of social media

It works. It’s powerful. You can reach a huge potential market with a few clicks of a mouse. And it works both ways. People can reach you too.

So, if you’re fearful of social media, or you don’t think it’s worth using because it won’t make any difference to your business and sales, then I urge you to understand that online marketing should very much be a key component of your marketing strategy.

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