Sunday, October 24, 2010

Making Social Media Work for Your E-Commerce Site

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. 

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What’s Next? Five Digital Trends To Watch

Social media is competitive. Brands need to break through the clutter achieving a delicate balance of creativity and innovation. To get ahead in the game, we are always wondering about the next big thing.

New York Times (online) broke the news about Google’s hands-off car, specifically engineered to reduce human error in driving and increasing drivers’ time for ad exposure and search. The news come on the heels of a recent Forrester report on iPad users, in which the analyst is encouraging readers to think of additional surfaces and dashboards besides portable devices where online marketing could play a role.

Will brands be communicating from dashboards in the next three months? We may need a bit more time for that. However, it would be smart to start putting the following pieces together when devising digital strategies:

Social media advertising will compete with authentic influencer chatter:  The new Twitter ads are a testament to increased targeting and customization in online advertising. They also point to the competition between sponsored vs. real recommendations in social media. Will your audience click through your sponsored tweet or an influencer’s retweet? In either case, the results will be better than 0.02% click-through rates.

Semantic search caters more closely to consumers’ needs: Google’s instant search suggestions improve brand impressions and make it easy for consumers to articulate and find what they are searching.  However, there is room for improvement in search result precision. The semantic search engine Hunch asks users 20+ questions about their likes/dislikes upfront. Based on these responses, Hunch offers recommendations on what to read, visit and taste, among other choices.

Location-based marketing will spark loyalty programs:  There is more to the simple genius behind FourSquare than check-ins and special offers. We will see a convergence between loyalty marketing and geo-location. Imagine being offered a coupon that converts you from a shopper to a buyer, the fifth time you visit the same store.  

The sandwich generation will turn to e-commerce:  Time and resource strapped boomers who feel sandwiched between the demands from their children and parents will increasingly revert to search engines and e-commerce sites to do their shopping, to find services and to place orders.

Digital will play a bigger role in teens’ relationship with TV: According to eMarketer, teens (12-19) have a personal purchasing power of $176 billion. The number of hours they spend watching TV exceeds the minutes they spend watching online videos. Meanwhile, they also defer to the Web and to their friends before making purchasing decisions. (See Daisy Whitney’s article for Cynopsis Media for more details.) In this landscape, digital media properties (e.g., Web sites for TV shows) will compete with established social networks, hosting and harnessing teens’ peer-to-peer conversations. They will have to bring rich experiences to their tech-savvy audiences, offering content teens cannot readily find on the big screen.


Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

iMedia Connection: - What drives the premium iPad experience?

IPG Media Lab set out to answer the million-dollar question: Is the willingness to pay for iPad apps driven by the early adopter audience or the form factor?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Translating Facebook Likes Into Impressions

I participated in an informal research experiment conducted by our friends at Keller Fay Group. The participants got an email invitation from Ed Keller on late Friday afternoon, asking us to post this simple statement on our Facebook Walls. "Hi friends. Please help me with a research project. If you see this, please click 'like' on my status. It's that simple. Thanks." We were to report back to Ed in 48 hours with the percentage of our friends who actually clicked through. 

Mine hovers around 10 percent. Not bad, considering I am connected to 428 friends, family members and colleagues through Facebook. The one qualitative finding that didn't surprise me was who commented and who got into a conversation under this comment. I had six comments from four unique users - all of whom are what I would call 'intensive' Facebook users and natural conversationalists. I know that their offline networks are pretty broad as well. 

But if you go from 428 to four to have true engagement, then maybe we should not equate the number of friends to actual impressions on a wall post. Of course, we have to consider that my message was not anything counter intuitive or newsworthy. It was a simple (perhaps questionable) call to action that got posted at a time when most people were drifting off of work. In a more formal rendition of this experiment, I would also vary time, quality and content of the message. That would yield pretty interesting results. I am sure not all wall posts are equal.  

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous