The age of pervasive commerce – where every interaction with the consumer is an opportunity to inform, educate, and sell products – enables the use of infinite channels to facilitate that interaction. One of the most important channels in this new marketing mix is social media. Social media can be used as a means to a variety of endpoints for both brands and retailers. Whether it is awareness, information, advocacy, customer support, relationship building, or the bottom line, there is a social media channel that can serve your business purpose.
Which social media channel is right for you? Again, it depends on your type of business. You will want to optimize Pinterest if you are a fashion brand or retailer, but not if you sell industrial solvent! Facebook ranks the highest when it comes to brand engagement and trust. People rely on recommendations from friends and family. Brands can capitalize on this by making brand advocates out of these influencers. It’s also important to know where your influencers are. For instance, Walmart is focusing on their Twitter strategy for building brand reputation because they’ve identified it as the platform with maximum influencers for their business.
Here’s what the social commerce sales funnel looks like. (Image courtesy: Business Insider Intelligence)
One of the main advantages of social commerce is that it doesn’t have to be a financial liability. Of course, there is paid social advertising, but it still isn’t as risky as traditional advertising since it’s a more targeted approach. Social commerce gives businesses the chance to be creative, innovative, find influencers, and establish relationships with their customers. It is a golden opportunity to establish a two-way dialogue. You can never get closer to your consumers than this. Having said that, social commerce is a double-edged sword and you do need to have a system in place for dealing with negative feedback. Ignoring negative feedback is certainly not recommended and can in fact harm your reputation.
You can adjust your social strategy towards specific business goals, whether you are big or small. Once you have your digital presence and engagement taken care of, you can move on to the next level. Nordstrom is leading this change by example. Besides having a strong online presence engaging millions of users, they are weaving social into their omni-channel strategy by showcasing popular Pins in their physical stores. Chirpify has given birth to a new purchasing channel by combining television advertising and hashtags. Marc Jacobs is taking social engagement to the next level by letting consumers buy using social currency like Tweets and Posts.
Sometimes businesses are skeptical about social commerce because measuring social metrics can be tricky. However, there are social media analytics tools available that can help you measure reach, influence, and impact. The examples above indicate that there is plenty of value and potential if one decides to be creative and inventive about it. This new age of commerce demands that businesses look beyond just conversions and sales when it comes to marketing channels. In a data driven world, mindshare is just as important as market share. If you’re not social, you’re square!
Tags: social commerce
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