Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Technologies to support a ‘social commerce’ strategy

By Shaun Han

From the early days of social media, business and industry have seen a great deal of potentials for targeted marketing as digital marketing in the social media space has gradually become mainstream.

With the advent of mobility trends fuelled with the dynamism of Internet space, social commerce represents a powerful platform for marketers to engage their new and existing customers.

Effective use of social commerce ? especially a social catalog ? can help the business to understand the drivers behind customers? behavior and recognize what they really want.

Beyond traditional advertising

Social commerce isn?t an exercise in repurposing traditional forms of advertising. To derive success from social commerce campaign effectively, marketers need to acknowledge that print, banner, search, and other forms of flat advertising can?t be magically transmuted into a powerhouse social commerce campaign.

Here are some examples of effective social commerce:

? A product listing on a Facebook page convinces a customer to visit a brand?s website. They?re initially intrigued by a product image, but they?re fully sold when they come across positive reviews published by their friends as well as others belonging to this particular fan page community.

? An online coupon that attracts consumers with deep pocket. They click on the coupon link after seeing it on their friend?s Facebook timeline.

These aren?t hypothetical. Brands are benefitting from these kinds of social commerce interactions every day.

Social commerce is all about connections, relationships, the multilayered conversations, the community-based and friend-based validations that constitute and power the social graph. A coupon, product listing, or exclusive promotion must take on a richer meaning in the social commerce sphere. With this knowledge, the business can create new fans and engage more actively with those customers who already are evangelists for your brand.

A high-performing social catalog operates in a markedly different way than the traditional print catalog or Web store. The latter is built primarily for direct purchasing. Think of Amazon: When you visit the home page, you click on a big graphic showcasing the new Kindle Touch, you read a little bit about the product, you buy it ? and you?re done.

The social catalog, on the other hand, isn?t all about purchasing. It also drives social engagement, strengthens brand awareness, delivers targeted promotions, and generates quality traffic, as to achieve the objective of social commerce campaign. It is also a new tool for understanding what customers want.

Tips for creating and marketing a social catalog

Essentially, for creating and marketing an effective social catalog, these areas envisage larger goals of gaining a deeper understanding of how the customers behave and what they really want.

Use social engagement to measure customer sentiment

A social catalog is more than a combination of product images, marketing descriptions, and pricing info. These parts are necessary, but it?s also good to offer multiple entry points for customers to share their comments, ideas, and feedback. Such sharing activity provides valuable data to the business brand.

These insights can help the marketer to understand figure out about the customer sentiments such as, ?Which social catalog items are my fans most likely to share with their own personal networks??

Drive brand awareness outside of your website

Today, marketers may realize the vast majority of the customers spend more time on Facebook than on the brand?s official website. Instead of depending on one narrow conversion funnel only ? where a person clicks on a fan page link that leads to the Website, marketers should consider optimizing additional funnels that can help to drive brand awareness outside of the Website.

For instance, try different tactics for getting a fan to share a social catalog item with their friends? Have you tested the message, tone, timing, and form of the content (for example, text versus photos in a news feed story) to determine what motivates friends to enlist their network on your brand?s behalf?

Deliver targeted promotions to the right customers

Social catalog is a targeted retail space. Marketers can reproduce the entire catalog and cross fingers that the fans won?t feel inundated. Or, marketers can adopt a leaner and more proactive approach and deliver relevant promotions and timely offers to the brand fans. It?s important to craft unique and clear incentives to achieve sustained attention, social sharing, and brand loyalty.

Generate quality traffic and optimize your external purchase funnels

Social-network-to-Website traffic should be treated differently from other forms of referral traffic. More often than not, this traffic reflects visitors with an existing brand affinity or interest ? those who have specifically clicked through based on a friend?s trusted recommendation.

Accordingly, marketers should optimize the purchase funnels, design unique landing pages, improve shopping cart flows and among other things as to secure successful conversions for the brand.

Track customers using your entire analytics toolbox

Between Facebook Insights (which provides statistics, such as the number of unique people who have seen your fan page posts) and some purposed built social relationship management systems, such as Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring Cloud Service (which allows you to measure ad conversions on social sites and pages), brands already have a number of ways to verify their marketing success and uncover weak spots.

The key task is to make sure that the brand is building these regular analytics checks into the social commerce processes.

Meet customers? demands with helpful product recommendations

Give customers a voice and they?ll reward you with brand loyalty. Select the correct social relationship management system integrates with third-party ratings and reviews services, allows brands to publish and consolidate reliable feedback from fan page and the larger Facebook community right at the point of purchase.

According to Bazaarvoice.com, a popular online source of ratings and reviews, 30 percent of consumers use three or more retail channels for any shopping transaction. If a brand uses positive recommendations on the Website to win over customers, then it?s equally imperative to provide the same kind of useful information on the Facebook page.

However, we did not discuss the prospect of in-stream commerce (purchasing directly from the Facebook wall), which for many represents the Holy Grail of social retail, because Facebook doesn?t truly support in-stream commerce which at this point is limited to the use of Flash. It?s too early to invest many resources here.

Dumping resources into legacy technologies and ad hoc workarounds would amount to a waste of precious time and money, especially in light of the robust social commerce solutions that brands can access today.

Marketers need to understand how social commerce differs from traditional advertising to creating and marketing a powerful social commerce presence for the brand.

A successful social commerce drives social engagement, strengthens brand awareness, delivers targeted promotions and generates quality traffic without having to reproduce the business? entire inventory listing or traditional catalog.

The author heads the application line of business unit at Oracle for Asean


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