It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the name Marsha Collier pop up if you Google ‘Social Media Guru’. Marsha is a very well-known author and blogger who specializes in helping small to medium sized businesses develop social media marketing strategies and improve customer engagement. We were lucky enough to ask Marsha a few questions about social media in the eCommerce world which are answered at the end of this post. But first, more about Marsha.
Marsha’s recent book, Social Media Commerce For Dummies, teaches online business owners how to expand their customer base and improve customer service by using social media.
She’s authored other best sellers including the eBay for Dummies series and The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with your Customers to Sell More. Her years of experience using social media to increase profits and customer bases for businesses, both big and small, certainly qualify her as an expert.
Marsha posts regularly on her blog Marsha Collier’s Musings where she offers advice to online business owners on not only social media commerce, but also a wide variety of topics focused on improving businesses.
When we learned we had the opportunity to ask Marsha some questions we jumped at it. We decided to ask her a few questions we thought our blog audience would like to have answered.
Q & A With Marsha Collier
Q: Where should an online business owner new to the social media scene start? Facebook, Twitter, Google+?
A: Start small and start where you are comfortable. If you enjoy Facebook, that gives you a leg up on others; start by building out your business page. The best advice I can really give is “Fish where the fish are” (where the customer is)! Although it sounds glib, each social network is strong in a specific demographic. I would never recommend a financial advisor to make their first online foray into Pinterest. It just doesn’t make sense.
Q: How long should online business owners spend managing a social media marketing campaign?
A: Once you are fluent in a site and comfortable communicating, a busy online business need only spend less than an hour a day For Twitter, check in and
- Thank those who RT’d you (and make note of them in a Twitter-list)
- Respond to mentions, and @ replies
- Connect with online friends, make comments and RT things that will resonate with your own audience.
- Use keyword search to find discussions to which you can add value and comment
When re-tweeting or when sharing news and articles you’ve found on the web, Don’t barrage your audience with an avalanche of tweets. Save some to share by using a tool like buffer which enables you to spread out your posts over time the next day.
Don’t forget that social media isn’t just about marketing. It can be a valuable tool for online customer service. Solving a customer’s issues on the spot goes a long way to building trust and loyalty.
Q: How do I know whether my social media marketing campaign is worth the time and effort?
A: When you’re just starting out, there will be a learning curve that may take time, with each network. Better be expert level on one, than be mediocre on many. Learn through engaging (and studying) trends in your outreach. I worked out some solid shortcuts in my Social Media Commerce book – I might refer your reader there.
Truth is, you won’t know right away. Small business may be able to move faster than big business, but reaping the rewards of social media outreach builds over time. Watch then numbers. Every week check the data points; each will give you a overview of what interests your audience. If the strategy is wrong, at the very least it may do nothing. Once the sweet-spot is hit, you’ve got a clear view of what to do
Sponsored posts on Facebook will give you immediate data as to engagement, a little money spent there will give you quick insight.
Q: How is social media influencing the eCommerce industry?
A: In a huge way. Social media represents the democratization of the internet and allows small business to stand up right next to big brands. Even a one-man-show can (with enough effort) influence customers and build a loyal following.
Feel free to post any other questions you have in the comments below. Marsha will be answering any questions you have.