Social Media for Ecommerce is a Waste of Time

Are you focusing a lot of your efforts on promoting your site via social media?

If so, you may want to STOP DOING THAT!

Don’t Waste Your Time on Social Media for eCommerce Sales

According to IBM’s recent Black Friday 2013(pdf) report, online sales originating from social media sites resulted in just 1% of total eCommerce sales for the week leading up to, and including, Black Friday.

Now I know there are exceptions, and if you are one of those exceptions I would love to hear from you! (add a comment below)  But in general, what this study suggests is that if you’re spending a significant percentage of your time, effort or dollars on social media for eCommerce, you may very well be wasting you time.  It is likely not resulting in enough immediate sales to justify the effort.

I am not suggesting that you completely ditch social media.  In fact, I’m not suggesting that you make any changes to your current social activity at all.  I just want you to be aware of the realities.  Social gets so much attention, but it’s effectiveness is often over valued.  Or at the very least, misinterpreted.

There are however, fringe benefits of social media involvement.  For instance, it helps to keep your brand top of mind to interested prospects. It can be a great way to get involved with, and interact with customers…answering questions, addressing issues and concerns.  It’s also a somewhat effective means of promoting content…content that can educate, inform and help your customers.  All of these things have something great in common.

They help to build trust and loyalty in your brand.  And what do trust and loyalty contribute to over time?


Wait a minute Ryan, didn’t you just say that I shouldn’t waste my time on social media?

No.  Seriously, no, I didn’t say that! Okay, well kind of eluded to it with my catchy title.  But here’s the truth about social media for eCommerce.

Social media can be a very valuable tool, and it can help to drive sales. But I would argue that the true benefit, and real sales results, of social media activity are more accurately realized in the long-term. Over time you build up followers, and awareness, and trust, and loyalty.  And then, my friend, is when the real sales start coming in!

9 thoughts on “Social Media for Ecommerce is a Waste of Time”

  1. Pingback: Social Media for Ecommerce is a Waste of Time | Gallery.Clipapic

  2. Good article Ryan. I feel like something that’s really hard to do today from a marketing/ROI perspective is multi-touch attribution. Many times social media doesn’t directly lead to sales (i.e. the last referral that leads to the conversion isn’t the social media channel); however, it plays a large role in getting in front of your customer multiple times so that when they’re ready to buy via the email newsletter, ad or organic search, they’ve already been sold little by little via facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.

  3. I’ve ALWAYS wondered about this. Never had any experience per se, but whenever I saw it, it always seemed really taxing with minimal effort. The tone of the article was also really refreshing, you have a cool voice throughout your writing. Thanks for the read!

  4. Great post! This is a hot topic at my company. While the conversions are not there, it’s a great way to build shop awareness with our brand, especially for wholesalers moving into retail. It increases exposure and can drive traffic. We’re actually looking move to use it for a bit of lead generation and email engagement too. Let’s see how that goes.

    1. Hi Carmella. I appreciate your feedback. I agree that social can be a good way to build awareness and potentially drive traffic. It’s also proven to be a good method for lead get, so good luck with that!

    1. I’m not saying it should be stopped altogether. I’m just saying that a different approach and mindset needs to be adopted. Social is simply not the most effective driver of traffic, leads or sales. I did check out your article. Good stuff! Thanks for sharing Alvaro.

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