The social media revolution has made it possible for business of all sizes to reach an infinitely expanding audience. With the right integration tools, it’s simple and easy to automate your social media activities directly with an ecommerce storefront and eliminate the intimidating time commitment that can accompany the move to a social marketing program.

Below are a couple of great examples about how to use social media to promote your business.

What’s in it for you?

Connecting social media with your ecommerce presence allows even the smallest shop to tap into an enormous—and still growing—potential customer base. With more than 400+ million users on Facebook alone, this single network now boasts more traffic per week than Google in the U.S. The real value in Facebook and other social networks is in their exponentially powerful word of mouth marketing. Believe it or not, 75% of consumers trust peer recommendations of products and services, while less than 15% trust paid advertising. This means you can have a much more honest dialogue with your customers through social media.

Direct Product Marketing

The easiest way to get started in with social media integration for your e- commerce business is with direct promotion of products, services, special offers and events distributed through a Facebook Fan Page or Twitter. By sharing news about new products, special offers for Facebook or Twitter followers and even exclusive events, you can build a loyal and engaged following that will want to share their “secret” find with their friends. Contests, giveaways and special promotions designed to encourage fans to spread the message can help to grow your network and customer base. For example, create a contest whereby the 100th follower to Re-Tweet your “deal of the day” receives a special discount or gift certificate. Charmandchain.com, an online jewelry boutique that uses Shopify for their online store, has incorporated word-of- mouth marketing into their Facebook page by offering an incentive for the customer to tell friends about the store. By inviting 20 friends to become a fan on Facebook, follow on Twitter and join the mailing list, the customer is entered into a sweepstakes to win a $300 gift certificate. The message about Charm and Chain is spread exponentially.

Brand Building with Indirect Marketing

Besides direct promotion of products and services, social media provides an easy and effective way to build brand leadership and trust among your customers and fans. Blogs are an excellent way to weave a bit more of your shop’s personality and expertise into the sales conversation without a direct sales push. Blogging about new products and events is important but by also sharing your knowledge, tips and thoughts on industry news, product trends and other “big picture” aspects of the business, customers will be more inclined to turn to you for their purchases based on this established trust factor. Active participation in community forums is another powerful way to maintain engagement with customers beyond the sales transaction. Answering questions, providing feedback and serving as an information resource in your own or other public forums positions you as an expert in your industry, someone your customers can trust and a company they can turn to in order to meet their needs. Finally, don’t forget to integrate these efforts with Facebook and Twitter. By sharing a link to a new blog post over Facebook or Twitter, for example, you can reach your audience in multiple ways thereby making it easier to keep up to date on your news.

Integration Tools Make it Easy

While integrating social media with your ecommerce presence may be free, it may still come at a price: your valuable time. Maintaining multiple online presences, pages and feeds can be extremely time consuming. Fortunately, with the right ecommerce platform, you can easily integrate—and automate—these efforts to save time. First, build a Twitter applet, Facebook “Like” button and a blog feed directly into your storefront to make customers aware of your social presence and make it easy for them to find you. Second, choose an ecommerce platform provider with social media integration tools that automate the distribution process. This way, when you add a new product, launch a promotion, post a new blog article or have any other bit of news to share, the message is distributed instantly and automatically across all the social networks you’ve established. With just a single point of contact to spread the message across multiple platforms, you can dramatically reduce the amount of time you invest in social media management to improve efficiency without sacrificing valuable customer engagement. While it may seem overwhelming to step into the social media fray, the opportunity for growth by leveraging this evolving medium simply cannot be ignored. With easy-to-use integration tools at your disposal, building a social media presence can not only easily generate an impressive return on investment, but it can also be a fun and energizing way to interact with your customers and learn more about what makes them tick—which can pay further dividends long down the road.

Here are a few free apps to use with your online store. Give them a shot and see what they could do for you.

BeeShopy
Check out BeeShopy, which lets you publish your online store directly to Facebook and lets customers and fans buy without leaving your fan page.

Tweetify
With Tweetify you can market your products directly on Twitter.

Socialify
Use Socialify to publish products and promotions directly on your Facebook page. Your fans will have it in their news feed as well.