Online commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace (20-30% per year depending on which research you read) and is partially to blame for the UK’s declining high streets. Small independent retailers can no longer compete and many will only be saved if they successfully transition their business to both sell both online and offline. As with traditional retail, however, it is hard for a small retailing website to attract visitors and make sales when competing with large scale operations such as Amazon.
Social networking is one of the ways small eCommerce businesses can attract a following, improve their search engine rankings and make a name for themselves. Unfortunately this is a very time consuming exercise and small companies cannot afford to pay a specialist. Many therefore attempt to take shortcuts, by buying Twitter followers or Facebook Fans online for five bucks. Sadly this is a con as the majority of “likes” come from accounts controlled by robots, or are entirely fake accounts which Facebook is working hard to delete. These have no commercial value whatsoever and won’t help any business grow.
One of the best ways to get real Facebook fans is to run a social competition. These prize draws typically ask participants to share/like or tweet about the competition in order to be included in it. The effect of this is free marketing for the business and hopefully a larger reach than if they only invited existing customers. It also ensures that the new Facebook fans are actually real people and not dodgy hacked or fake accounts, giving the business a chance to monetise them.
The only problem with social competitions is that they typically require a business to have an existing social following of at least a few hundred fans/followers to enter and start spreading the word for them. So how can a small or new company get that critical mass quickly?
I created Tombolas for this reason. There is a definite need for a service to jump-start online businesses’ social networks. In only a few months Tombolas has achieved over 4000 Facebook likes and already ranks well in Google … proving that you don’t need to spend a fortune nor buy likes to build a company on the Web.
The concept behind Tombolas is simple. It is a ‘marketplace’ for users to find and enter competitions run by businesses hoping to build their social followings. As a site that already gets 100’s of visitors per day, a business does not need to have an existing fanbase to make their giveaway work for them. Tombolas also centralises everything so that participants can use all their social networking accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Google+) to promote a competition. We therefore get far more and a diverse range of social signals for the competition’s owner, helping them in terms of their search engine rankings and reputation.
All Web based businesses need to get more likes and grow their online social presence. Many larger eCommerce companies can identify exactly how much money they make from each social network and realise it is becoming more significant all the time. Additionally, almost all SEO experts believe that Google and other search engines will rely more and more on “social signals” to determine how sites should rank. Therefore the sooner you get started running regular competitions to engage with audiences on the social networks the better. Having no activity on Facebook/Twitter/Google+ may indeed leave your site out in the cold and nearly invisible.
Go to Tombolas.com and get started!