4 keys to using social media to sell on eBay

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Chris Taylor is VP of Marketing at Page Mage and today talks about how to use social media to sell more on eBay. Page Mage, a recipient of eBay’s 2011 Ecosystem Champion Award, offers Billboards, a “Top 10 Most Popular” application for free custom eBay listing templates for eBay sellers looking to stand out from the competition.

It wasn’t too many years ago that none of us outside the college world had heard of Facebook. (As full disclosure I must tell you I’m not bitter they didn’t hire me at the beginning. Yes my dreams of becoming a billionaire have been forever squashed but that’s for another article.)

Social media has literally changed the world. And it’s changed me and you. Most of us meld social media visits and updates into our daily lives. And it makes perfect sense. With dozens of new social platforms seemingly showing up every month (Pinterest anyone?), there are more ways then ever to connect with people who have similar interests as you. And yes, sometimes hear about the party I didn’t get invited to or the vacation I can’t afford!

These social networking sites have also changed the business world and created a huge opportunity for eBay sellers. Our eyes get big when we think about thousands and millions of people in groups with like interests who we can fairly easily reach. What better way to promote your listing then with a large group of connected, targeted users? But before you get started (or even if you already have), you’ll want to make sure you’re doing the right things to grow your business and not ultimately hurting it. Consider these 4 keys:

1. Make the time investment

Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as joining a social network and setting up a profile. In order to actually succeed on any social network, you need to be active! Social media is so frustrating for so many people because they can’t understand how to actually get people to talk to them. The number one problem I typically notice is that they aren’t putting in nearly the same time engaging with their audience as their audience is with each other. Doing “drop ins” irregularly isn’t going to get you engaged in the conversation. Follow the conversation so you can thoughtfully add to it.

2. Understand your value-add

What is it exactly that makes you and your brand special? Why should someone spend his or her time listening to what you say? Are you an expert in a particular niche of your target audience? Are you always in the know of the latest industry trends or breaking news? You need to position yourself in a way that people will learn/gain something by following you. Have you figured out what that is?

3. Participate on the right social networks

There is more to social media than Twitter and Facebook. In fact, there are forums and social networks for just about every niche you can imagine. Don’t think that just because your target audience is on Facebook (like everyone’s is) that they want to communicate with you through that channel. By finding the right social network or forum (yes, they are social networks too!) you’ll get yourself and your listings in front of people in the right mindset.

For example, if you sell a lot of baby-related products, consider focusing your participation on a site like Café Mom. You know your target audience is there by the name alone, and you know that when they go to that site they are already thinking about parenting needs and advice; a perfect target audience for you.

4. Don’t talk AT your audience, talk WITH your audience

This is the cardinal rule of social media marketing: be part of the conversation. No one wants to follow a Twitter account that simply pushes updates about a new product listing. They want to follow someone who actually talks about the products, reviews them, comments on what people say about them and even asks and answers questions about them. As Anne Zarraonandia of eBay Ink points out in her eBay social media guide, it’s SOCIAL media not ME media.

Final thoughts…

Using social media as a channel for promoting your eBay listings isn’t easy, but the time investment can definitely pay off. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box, either. Have you considered creating a Pinterest board that features your product photos? Whenever someone clicks through to view the product photo it will actually take them directly to your eBay listing. How’s that for capitalizing on a visitor’s intent? But again here, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Don’t just push your products, bring other images and information to your Pinterest boards. Bring value to the people you’re trying to attract in a variety of ways.

Good luck!

5 Responses

  1. were not convinced
    social media works for the small business,
    by the time you spend hours blithering and dribbling on social media sites trying to drum up business you could starve to death

  2. social media might be great to get your blog or software or service noticed, though if its phsyical goods we think you might be working for ebay or amazon , as many will check it out on ebay to see what else is available or cheaper

  3. Interesting article, thank you! I’ve found that social media does work for me, particularly on the forum front – I have a lot of regular customers who like to know what’s going on. It’s true that it can take quite a bit of time and input to get going, but it doesn’t have to on an ongoing basis.

  4. It’s actually great to see more sellers involved in social media now. Aside from sales, the best part of connecting with buyers is knowing more about them, discovering more of their needs, and being able to offer better products and services 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your tips Chris!

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