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7 things you need to beware of with social media eCommerce

7 things you need to beware of with social media eCommerce

Social media changed the way we interact with each other and the way we do business. Nothing beats social media to connect with your audience and grow your brand as a small business. It’s the number one tool, and often the only tool, small businesses have in their arsenal when it comes to running their business. But as with everything, there is a dark side to doing business on social media. 

Here are seven things you need to beware of.

What is social media eCommerce?

Social medial e-commerce uses social media to market an eCommerce store. You may have already seen shopping features installed on both Instagram and Facebook. It’s been around for some time, and you may also have already bought a product or two from a Facebook shop – I know I have!

Why is social media the best for eCommerce?

For many small businesses, social media is the best, if not their only way of reaching their customers. It’s free; it’s simple to set up and requires very little technical knowledge. And because almost everyone is on social media, you can potentially get unlimited engagement if you play your cards right.

It also offers impressive social proof when a customer purchases and posts positive reviews of the product or service, which immediately becomes seen by their followers and yours.

Perhaps the most significant appeal of social media eCommerce for small businesses is that it costs a lot less than a traditional brick and mortar store, all while achieving phenomenal reach – you not only reach your local audience but international audiences as well.

Here’s why social media may not be the best for eCommerce

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.It is, therefore, a no-brainer that social media gives small businesses with small budgets many advantages and opportunities. But once your business grows, it could be more detrimental. Why?

1. You lose control of your customers

You can lose control of your customers. Social media, especially Facebook, is increasingly becoming powerful. And the more power they have over the buying process, the more they take power away from businesses big and small.

When a customer checks out on Instagram, their customer details are recorded by the platform, not the retailer or business themselves. This presents a problem for businesses, as they lose out on valuable customer information that can help them tailor their services to their customer’s preferences. The business’ customer data goes to the platform, and the social media platform can use this data for their purposes, including directing your customers to your competitors!

2. You lose control of your profits

There’s also the danger that social media platforms can control the pricing. For example, some business owners fear that as Amazon starts to integrate aspects of social media into its business model, it will have the ability to change products’ prices without the business owner’s consent. Amazon itself does not need to make a profit on products sold, it only needs to sell, and it wouldn’t matter if the business owner makes a profit margin or not.

3. You lose control of your posts

Social media eCommerce is not advisable for small businesses just starting out. This is because anyone can comment, like, and share on a post, and you have no control over what people comment on your posts. Anyone with an ax to grind can easily leave a negative comment on your post and can damage your brand image before you even have the chance to gain momentum as a business. 

Also, small business owners just starting out may not necessarily have the experience to deal with negative comments and may make it worse by either not responding or responding inadequately. 

4. Customers don’t trust social media

Social media use can be overestimated. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while there was an upsurge in social media use, there was no increase in unique social media users. This means that if someone is not already on social media, they will likely never start using it. 

Consumers, in general, do not trust social media with their data. A Malwarebytes survey found that 95% of respondents do not trust social media to keep their personal data safe, which was necessary to hand over to the social media site when making a purchase. 

Facebook, in fact is not a social networking platform anymore but a data analytics firm. This is the reason why a lot of phishing and data mining attempts regularly occur on social media because hackers know it is a rich mine of personal information.

5. Social media is full of hackers

It is well-known that personal data held by social media platforms are often accessible by third parties, and hackers love to target this rich data store. How many of your friends have been targeted by hackers? I bet you know a few! I know people in my Facebook friends list who have had their accounts hacked. 

report by found that more than 250,000 social media users may have had their information fully exposed by a deep web hacking forum, exposing names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses, and in some cases, dates of birth and physical descriptions such as eye colour and skin tone. This is the terrifying reality of the times we live in and the ubiquitous use of social media in this day and age.

This is why many people are rightfully suspicious of handing over personal information, such as the type of information you hand over when making a transaction over social media.

6. The algorithms are not in your favour

Social media is entirely built for advertisements. If you’re a small business just starting out, you likely won’t have the budget to pay for ads, and without ad placement, it can be very hard for your business to gain visibility. Algorithms always change and no one ever knows what factors influence the algorithms. One day you might be on everyone’s newsfeed and the next nobody sees you at all. The algorithms have changed, and Facebook will never tell you that.

7. You won’t get much return on your investment

The ROI from social media is the lowest in online marketing strategies. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to make it work successfully. You also need to constantly be engaged with your audience. And because algorithms are constantly changing, you need to constantly stay on top of changes, otherwise you will easily lose relevance. Your time is not free – your time equals money so the notion that social media provides free exposure is not entirely true.

What’s better than social media for eCommerce?

I think there are better strategies and tools small businesses can use when trying to get their brand out there, such as: 

• leverage the power of search engines and invest in a well-designed website; 

• use the visual power of videos via YouTube; and 

• take advantage of the growing popularity of podcasts and either be featured on one or start your own.

Consumers consume information in 3 ways – through the written word (via your website), through videos, and audio. So make use of these techniques and don’t put all your eggs in one basket with social media.

The key take-away

Only once you’ve created awareness in these 3 ways and your business has gained enough momentum is it more advantageous to invest in social media marketing and eCommerce.

Contact me if you need help with creating website copy that shows up in search engines and attracts your target audience.