How Does Social Media Reduce Your Sales?

With the success of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, a lot of business owners are adding social widgets to their sites and spending a lot of time with their audience on social media. Although this can be a great way to engage your “tribe”,  it can also distract your audience from making a purchase.

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This can be a touchy subject because for many small businesses, social media can be a lifeline to cheap traffic. However, problems can occur when you want to direct that traffic further down your sales funnel in order to achieve the goals that matter to you. In this article, we will show you a few examples of when social media can get in the way of sales.

 

Should “Share This” compete with checking out your products?

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On many websites, social-sharing buttons are placed on the top-right side. This can take away important space which could be used for a phone number or another high-priority action. It can also stop visitors from taking more important actions on your website.

That is not to say that social-media icons can not provide value to a sales page. Having two thousand fans on Facebook can provide social proof that you have a solid offering. However, even if you are that lucky, your social proof should play second fiddle to the main action you want your prospective customers to focus on.

Do you want me to share before I buy?

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On many product pages it is very common to have social-media buttons right underneath the buying button. It is understandable that you want visitors to talk about your products and share them with your friends; however, putting these actions next to one another can cause confusion and get them to leave before they buy.

Another problem with placing social buttons next to buying buttons is that the steps in the user journey are not laid out. What should you do first? What should you do second? The product pages can become swamped with so many options of low importance that the main option, buying, gets lost.

 

Is social sharing more important than checking out?

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On many e-Commerce websites millions are lost on crappy checkouts. Why? Quite simply because this is the final stage before buying takes place and the visitor’s motivations and fears get put to the test. Can I trust this page? Where should I go? Do I really need this? So these pages are critical. It is also often filled with links taking visitors away from buying!

Social-sharing widgets may have been installed on the site automatically, and the owner might not have even considered turning them off on the checkout pages. With additional menu options on the top and the bottom of the page, you might be able to find 20–30 distractions on a checkout page. The reward for that can be a high cart-abandonment rate.

 

Conclusion

Social media can distract visitors from buying throughout the website’s sales funnel. On the homepage, it can distract visitors from checking out your products. On product pages, it can distract visitors from adding products to their carts. And, finally, on the cart pages, it can distract visitors from checking out with their credit cards.

That being said, used correctly, social media proof, for example Facebook likes, can add credibility to offerings and help increase conversion.

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