Facebook continues to attract businesses that desire a better understanding of the effectiveness and potential influence social commerce has upon their consumers. Some larger brands, like JC Penny, have tried e-commerce within Facebook and claimed to have not realized expected results from e-commerce efforts. There are new brands, like Fab.com, that adhere to a business model dependant upon the integration with social networks, and have been very successful with marketing on Facebook. So how can small and larger brands differ in their success rate? Strategies that drive F-commerce have to be different from normal e-commerce methods in order to provide a return on investment. F-commerce focuses on utilizing the data from customer’s interests, enhancing fan activity, and social sharing with friends on Facebook, in order to improve online sales.
F-Commerce Referrals. The strategy that has been effective for larger brands, uses Facebook to drive traffic to their online store. These brands have found it more successful to offer links to e-commerce sites via posts, advertising, and custom tabs because their websites are proven to be better at converting the sale.
F-Commerce Stores. The smaller businesses have seen promising results by building their store directly within Facebook. This type of store is successful in integrating the sharing aspect into all segments of a Facebook fan’s shopping experience. This strategy allows fans of the company’s Facebook Page to share items they are interested in buying with friends as well as sharing items they have purchased from the store. The social commerce is paramount in exposure of the company’s product selections and existence of the store on Facebook. This type of store can also be driving traffic to an e-commerce website to complete the sale.
F-Commerce Focus Groups. There are some companies who utilize the social aspect of the network by conducting exclusive product launches to their Facebook Page’s fans. This strategy gives fans the opportunity to request free samples of the new product, share the product announcement with friends, and participate in the campaign by uploading a photo or video using the product. The company benefits by requiring fans to first “like” the Facebook Page and submit information, like an e-mail address, before they may request a sample. This also builds up a demand for the new product pre-launch and gives the company the ability to monitor feedback about the product while supplying the consumer with links to purchase that item from an online store.
The Apps designed to help businesses market themselves are what drive this f-commerce strategy. Facebook released Timeline to business Pages along with the social graph API in order to better develop the relationship from socializing about a product to purchasing it. When companies begin to leverage their use of the “like” button, activity feed, integrated registrations, and sharing they will benefit from the success that lies in social media marketing.
Since the emergence of the first social network, photos and videos have always been an integral part of the experience and draw. It makes perfect sense that photo centric networks – like Pintrest and Flicker focusing primarily on images, but including videos too – would become popular. Connecting the dots from the rise in Pintrest’s success, may have created a healthy competition in this market, which prompted Flicker – the original photo/video network – to update their user experience. Whatever the result, we like seeing the increased activity in these networks, and predict that businesses will find additional benefits from interacting in this type of social network. If you aren’t familiar with either network yet, below is a short summary for each.
Flickr has been around since 2007 and is the largest photo centric network to date, but was losing interest and member activity as a social network. This month Flickr announced it will be making a number of changes in the coming months, beginning with a new photo stream design – Justified View – and a new uploading feature – Uploadr – to create an improved user experience. The Justified view releasing on Feb. 28th , will be eliminating all the white space and text in a user’s photo stream – similar to Pintrest’s design – and showcasing larger images in a single viewing area that can be hovered over for more information/actions. Markus Spiering, Flickr head of products, discussed these updates earlier in the month with Mashable, and explains that the main focus for these updates is to increase user engagement. Businesses that already have Flickr accounts, will experience the new look first in the streams of the people already following them.
What it all adds up to is more sharing opportunities, links, and exposure for your Brand. It has been said this style of design appeals to the passive internet user due to the ease in creating preferences based on visual appeal within their own account. This could mean a new audience to target that might not be as active in other more robust networks. As a Brand, the most important thing to address in any content situation is what you can create that will encourage interaction with the populace. To create a strategy, first do some research inside the networks to help to establish who you want to create content for, and what types of images will be shared the most.
If you’d like more information on how to create a company account, content, or social media strategies for this type of network, contact us.
For better or for worse, most companies have added social media into their overall marketing strategy at this point. For better, meaning they got started and are now actively engaging with their community of likes (on Facebook) , followers (on Twitter) and connections (on LinkedIn). For worse, meaning they dove into the pool without even knowing how to doggy paddle, without first testing the water temperature and without a plan. A bad combination if you ask me. Now they are barely (if at all) staying active.
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to begin Social Media without a strategy. Below are a few things you should NOT do with your Social Media channels.
If done correctly, Social Media can be a highly rewarding addition to your overall marketing plan. If done incorrectly, the ramifications can potentially be damaging. Be smart and take the time to do it right and maintain an active, engaging social media existence