While many marketers remain doubtful of tangible returns from their social media endeavors, transactional sites (e.g., e-commerce, donation, banking, etc.) are uniquely positioned to show the loop from conversation to purchase. To gauge conversions from social media posts to purchases, brands need to look further than the flux of traffic from their social network profile areas to their Web sites. Search advertising, e-mail programs, mobile apps, branded videos also fuel word of mouth, increase online visibility and lead people to online payment pages.
Consider these social-media driven tactics to boost online transactions:
Say it with pictures: Having a clear, easy to adopt and pass along message is priceless in social media. On Twitter or Facebook, you do not have much room to pitch. Use these spaces to hit on key points and plug in photos and videos to tell a deeper, emotional story. Charity: water’s recent fundraising campaign to bring clean water to the Bayaka people in Central African Republic (CAR) did just that. The organization made the strategic decision to use Facebook as the hub of the digital campaign. Visitors could choose from a series of one-sentence key messages, bundle the phrase with a striking photo of people who lack access to clean water in CAR and send it off to their newsfeed.
Offer value on the (engagement) spot: The pathway between social messaging and transaction should be short. The longer your visitors have to look for the check out button, the more customers will lose interest and drop off. Smart shopping apps allow brands build pop-up stores on Facebook. Take a look at these custom tabs 1-800 Flowers and Delta, powered by Alvenda.
Use social media to enhance search engine visibility: Repeating calls to action or news announcements on Twitter is a necessity. Your message may otherwise be lost in a steady stream of updates. Tweeting regularly and updating social media posts increase the number of tags and keywords associated with your brand in cyberspace. These activities give search engines more to grab and catalogue. Embedding keywords in your Twitter editorial calendar can bring you closer to shoppers who start their online journey on Google.
Set your mobile app to accept credit cards: Apps are not just for fun and games on Facebook. Boost your branded app’s functionality with an online store. The grocery store Fresh Direct cuts to the chase with its mobile app that lets customers fill their shopping carts, change orders and have items delivered to their doorsteps. Moviefone’s app marries trailers and reviews with movie ticket purchases.
Get closer to your loyalist through e-CRM: E-newsletters can offer a steady stream of shopping news to brand loyalists who opt-in to receive emails. While Facebook and Twitter give brands a place on fans’ walls and Tweet Decks, the inbox is still one of the most coveted places in social marketing. Membership clubs, insider deals and discount offers delivered through email can turn engaged customers to e-commerce sites and Facebook tabs.
Customer stories weigh more than star ratings: Star ratings sure help to scan through hundreds of product reviews and note the top performing products on a retailer site. Yet there is much more behind a 3.5 star rating. As case studies from BazaarVoice repeatedly show, authentic customer stories have a positive impact on Web sales. If you are sharing customer reviews on your brand site, consider replicating these stories on Facebook where customers are already getting advice from their friends on what to buy. The online customer service system Get Satisfaction now offers Facebook and Twitter integration, channeling customer Q&A to brands’ social sites.