In Part II of this blog post series on holiday social media marketing, we discussed rewarding methods to acquire and retain holiday shoppers. In this post, we will explore best practices for reaping the benefits of social media initiatives in the holiday season.
Social Proof is the New Puddin’ for Holiday Shoppers
“Content is the fuel, social is the fire.” Never has this saying been truer than in the present day. The face of online shopping has been significantly altered in this social media-dominated world. A shift in authority has developed, from brands to consumers. The power of social communication lies in the fact that recommendations from friends and family carry a higher degree of trust than those from advertisements. Therefore, when consumers are looking to make an informed decision pre-purchase, they instinctively turn to their friends and family on social networks to solicit trustworthy opinions. Social customers are not only broadcasting their experiences, good or bad, they are listening to one another, too. According to Salesforce, “88% of customers are influenced by reading reviews and, on average, one social customer will tell 42 other people about the company.” And as evidenced in the infographic below, such social reach can spread far beyond the initial 42 peers.
Increase User Engagement & Drive Conversions
Refer-a-Friend capitalizes on the aspect of trust present in social recommendations. By liking a brand’s promotion or page on Facebook, a user can earn a specified discount. The offer can then be shared with friends and family in the user’s social network, effectively increasing user engagement and causing a viral loop of referral friend traffic. Because users want to share good offers with those in their social networks, the offer is perceived as more dependable. Past are the days when the first gen of social marketing strategies relied on “push communication” to reach consumers.
Typically, only 15% of US users trust such communication efforts, while only 10% of European users trust brand-initiated posts, per Forrester Research. However, brand and product recommendations from friends and family generate a 92% level of trust, according to a Nielsen study, effectively asserting the power of social! And with an increase in online shopping behavior by 47% this holiday season, retailers can reap significant rewards from trusted word-of-mouth endorsements from friends and family to help drive increased sales. Furthermore, this app delivers an added bonus of SEO rank uplift.
The Social Login app provides yet another approach to achieve user engagement and drive conversions — by simplifying the login experience on e-commerce sites via fully integrating social at this major customer touch point. In a report released last year by Blue Research, 86% of consumers are agitated by website registration processes, while 90% prefer to abandon sites altogether if they have forgotten their username or password. What’s more is nearly 90% consumers either provide false or merely partial information when submitting new website account details. So what can retailers do?
The key here is to make the website registration process a painless and fast one, especially during the holiday season when customer tensions may run high, by using an existing online social identity’s login credential for sign in, such as Facebook. Because the often-tedious friction of registration can be all but eliminated for those who opt in to using social login, dropouts at this step can be significantly reduced; hence, more qualified prospects can be generated. By offering this alternative login process, retailers have the opportunity to enhance online engagement and increase conversion rates.
A marketing study conducted by Eloqua last year demonstrates that a login page offering both the traditional online registration process in combination with a social sign-on option converted 8.5% more visitors to submitters! Not to mention e-tailers benefit from gathering detailed data derived from social profiles and can then leverage these deep social insights to personalize and enrich users’ shopping experiences.
Enhance “SEO Love”
A fundamental shift can also be seen in the SEO realm, as identified by Google — from focusing on the generation of high-quality content that counterparties will want to link to, to creating high-quality content that users will want to utilize and share. Social signals, including Facebook likes, Twitter tweets, Google+ +1s, and Pinterest pins, have become the #1 driver for SEO rank today. Want SEO? Get social is the new mantra now!
And lucky for you, now there is an app for that – Social SEO. Through this app, visitors are encouraged to “like” a page on an e-tailer’s site in order to receive an incentive. These social actions then cause search engines to mark the pages as containing relevant and quality content, which are generating shares on social networks. As a result, searchability and social reach are enhanced, along with SEO rank, which all contribute to realized uplifts in sales.
As we mentioned in our very first blog post of this holiday series, social apps can not only bring about real conversion and revenue uplift, but many associated benefits as well. It is through encouraging and capturing engaged customers can these secondary benefits be achieved. Stay tuned for more to come on how social sharing spawns social proof – and how to turn that into a competitive advantage.