Ensuring your business has a social media profile is not only a great way to connect with customers but it can also boost youronline retailing platform.

While many people believe sites such as Facebook and Twitter are primarily for interacting with consumers and sharing content, these popular social media platforms can actually be utilised on an e-commerce basis.

It can be as simple as adding a link to a relevant product, or as complex as arranging payment and delivery through the site, utilising your retail branding campaign on social media can be a profitable endeavour.

What social media sites draw the most active consumers?

Before you start adding ‘Buy Now’ buttons onto every social media profile you hold, it’s important to understand where your efforts will be best spent.

For simply reaching the largest group of users, retailers in Australia should consider heading onto Facebook. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of all social media views are recorded on this popular site, according to an infographic from e-commerce advisor Shopify.

However, while these views translated into sales in a number of industries, such as pet supplies, photography and sports and recreation, Facebook may not be the best location for your online retailing efforts.

Industries not dominated by Facebook included antiques and collectibles (74 per cent of sales on Pinterest), electronics and appliances (31 per cent share on Reddit) and digital products (47 per cent of purchases made on YouTube).

Reddit also experienced the largest growth in orders over the past year, increasing by 152 per cent in 2013. Facebook experienced a 129 per cent rise and LinkedIn climbed 122 per cent.

Purchase value

While the number of consumers on a site is a crucial factor in deciding where to concentrate your social media efforts, it is also important to consider how much each user is willing to spend.

With 17 million unique visitors each month, Polyvore (a site where users curate products into image collages called ‘sets’) recorded the highest order value, with users paying an average of US$66.75 per purchase. Instagram was not far behind on $65.00 and Pinterest rounded out the top three with $58.95.