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Thu Oct 15 2015 21:37:52

Are Social Networking Sites Helping or Hurting Online Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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Are social networking sites helping online sellers sell more? Some services at least seem to have the potential to allow merchants to connect with customers and market their wares. But keeping up with them all is a Herculean task these days.

At one time, eBay provided a similar experience - buyers and sellers, collectors and aficionados of all kinds would gather in eBay chat room and discussion boards and share their interests.

How times have changed - many people are connecting with mobile phones and tablets and are using multiple social sites, from Facebook to Tumbler, from Pinterest to Twitter, from Instagram to Reddit.

In Friday's Newsflash, I take a look at another site called Snapchat that's looking to monetize its traffic of young people. 

What's your philosophy on social networking site? Do you see them as a way to market your shop? Do they provide any research value? Or do you find they simply waste your time?

And do you have any stories to share about good or bad experiences as a seller (or as a buyer)?



Comments (30) | Permalink

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 16 04:47:04 2015

Aside from facebook and their insane fees just to reach followers, social media can really be a good thing with instant buy buttons, there is no reason not to have them, and even groups for specific types of items.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Oct 16 08:36:54 2015

I don't have time for all those things. I'm bust running a business and making clients happy. Nose to the Grindstone.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Oct 16 08:37:20 2015

"Busy"...tired...

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 16 10:12:14 2015

I prefer to use Chrome on my phone to access Etsy. Anything that I can't do there, I'll do on my laptop.

Guess I'll *have* to use the Etsy Seller's App for the new Shop Updates ... if I get into that.  

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by: queenfloraday This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 16 12:36:20 2015

I just started using FB to sell by joining groups that focus on a certain venue and I am very impressed. I have been online selling for 10 years and social networking is showing to be the wave of the future IF the social sites do not go down the path of micro managing and fee gouging.
I will enjoy the sales while they are happening....

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 16 12:40:33 2015

@queenfloraday - I've been selling in FB groups for almost 6 years now. I sold $900 the first month I was in a group (just 1 group!), and then everyone and their sister decided to open a group and watered down the buyers ... now there are hundreds, if not thousands, of groups for what I sell (antiques & primitives). I concentrate on 2 or 3 groups at a time, as long as they're producing for me ... when sales slow down, I try different groups! Oh, and AUCTION groups can be really fun if you haven't tried those yet!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Fri Oct 16 14:47:19 2015

my guess is billion$$ are being dropped in FB groups :-) This would be why FB wants to get a piece of the pie.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 16 16:30:13 2015

I'm sure any of you who are on FB, and in FB groups, have seen the option to ''Sell Something'' which appeared earlier this year. Since FB is ALLLLL about ''data,'' I'm SURE information about items listed for sale using that tool is being tallied by FB.  

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by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 17 14:20:21 2015

I'll provide links on Twitter and Pinterest to my items on Amazon and eBay but I really don't think it helps much, especially since eBay limits the # of items I sell each day (though they won't admit to it). I really hate Facebook but my daughter sells there and seams to do pretty well.

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by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 00:46:48 2015

I have never noticed posting on social media sites to generate either views or sales in my shops.  I do it because it is available but I not seen a benefit.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 00:53:56 2015

I have been posting my ebay items on PINTEREST using  the ebay link feature but as far as I can tell I have not gotten one sale I can directly attribute to that.  Might be because I am a small seller but who knows.  I DO wish there was some way to link EVERY listing when I make it TO Pinterest instead of having to go and do each one by hand.  

Have had little to no success finding any way to sell using FB--I looked for "groups"  selling used clothing--had one response that "Allowed me in"  but the group was inactive and still unsure HOW to go about this.  To far away from the madding crowd to make Craigs useful for this stuff.  

Frustrating for us who are not that savvy to SEE people talk about $900 in sales when we sit here cold and lonely!!!!!

Tutorials PLEASE!!!!!

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by: margo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 01:26:39 2015

Check to see if you have Varagesale in your community. Some of my friends and myself sell on there and do quite well. No fees.

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by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 01:30:34 2015

@comet, I was using the Pinterest link from ebay but if you look at your item on Pinterest and click on the ebay link, it doesn't seem to bring you to your item on ebay.  Am I doing something wrong?

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 07:35:58 2015

I read recently that Snapchat is in financial trouble.
http://gawker.com/snapchat-lost-a-ton-of-money-last-year-1
706957414
So
that might be why it's stretching to bring in revenue.
None of these social media sites excite me.  If I want to buy something I go to the two top retailers- Walmart & AMZ, then EB, then I go directo to the seller site, ala Target.
I don't see where retail sellers on FB will benefit FB, et al.  I think they see themselves as the second coming of AMZ and it won't happen.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 07:43:09 2015

I have never noticed posting on social media sites to generate either views or sales in my shops.  I do it because it is available but I not seen a benefit.
^^
I agree with this.  Good luck with FB.  Everybody and their neighbor now has a FB group.  And what about Wallapop - that instant CL site where you can sell to your neighbor?
It's too much.  The big boys that do it right are still EB and AMZ, esp. AMZ which seems to have the magic touch for sales.

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by: DRA This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 09:37:13 2015

@connecticutgal   You probably know that you ave your page opened on the item  you are trying to promote, then click the Pinterest Share Button.  Also, for additional redirection, Open (Go into) your eBay Store and then copy the Address Line which is your Store URL and place it in each of your Pinterest descriptions.  As well, place that same eBay Store Link as part of your Pinterest Account Name Description.  

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by: DRA This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 09:39:41 2015

We DO see an increase in sales using FB, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.  When we receive calls we ask how they FIRST found us...what site or search engine they used that redirected them to our eBay Store.

The concern others have brought up in other Forums, which I had not really thought about, is the increased views which don't result in a sale, may actually hurt our ranking in the Cassini Search.  ? ? ?   Your thoughts?

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by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 10:57:40 2015

More accurately ''Etsy Makes it Easier for Sellers to spend all their free time acting as unpaid ad agencies as company shares hit the floor.''  

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by: Mr_Sheeny This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 11:22:18 2015

One thing these types of forums do not distinguish is selling for a living and selling as a hobby.  A business selling online or someone selling to make a living versus selling as a hobby are two different things.  And the success of social selling can have different results.  
Social Networking Sites do both, help online sellers and hurt online sellers.  I consider selling on a social network site as being an online seller.  If I am successful, then another online seller may be hurt from my success.

I can only speak for myself and Facebook groups.  I sell on a local yard sale group (22,000 members) and my own auction group (3,600 members).  Being retired it's a hobby and just getting rid of an accumulation from over the years of flea marketing, eBaying, Bonanzaing, etc.

I just completed a three day auction and cleared one hundred without packaging or shipping.  If something doesn't get a bid, I sell it on the yard sale group, asking more than my opening bid in case I need to drop the price.  Usually works to my advantage.

Being an admin on the large yard sale group I monitor postings closely and I can factually state, there are many successful sellers, but most are home based or hobby sellers like me.




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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Mon Oct 19 13:37:52 2015

My take on this (anyone can agree or disagree) is that social networking sites, especially Facebook, are poised and positioned to make a huge dent in the multi billion dollar ecommerce industry.

What is delaying this major shift away from ebay and Amazon is that the United States government needs these sites to have a method of determining sales income. This must be done so the IRS can collect taxes on sales, just as what is done now with established sites.

Also, lobbyists from both companies are probably bending the ears of the government. Yes, the same people who make ''back door deals''- like ebay, who does illegal things on their site (hiding listings, placing unlawful statements in their User Agreement, allowing shill bidding, the list goes on and on).

There is obviously graft and corruption behind the scenes here, why else are they getting away with these blatantly unlawful acts???

When the tax implications are straightened out, and a working search engine in place, there will be a social networking ecommerce revolution. No more exorbitant ebay fees and seller mistreatment, and sellers can manage their own businesses.

These social networking sites will make a fatal mistake, though, if they accept PayPal as payment (no explanation needed). They need to have their own secure payment system with low fees and no 6 month return policy.

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