Monetizing Social Interactions
There was a time not that long ago when retailers exploring new ways to execute effective social engagement strategies would face a barrage of questions about return on investment. How do we know, CFOs and other company leaders would ask, if all that tweeting, liking, and pinning is doing anything for the bottom line? Where's the proof that the investments in maintaining, monitoring and updating an ever-expanding array of social media outposts are driving conversions and increasing profits?
Fair questions to be sure.
There's been a robust debate in e-commerce circles of late over whether social media is worth all the attention it's been getting from retailers. A recent report from Gallup found that close to two-thirds of consumers felt social media had no influence on their purchasing behaviors. Another report by technology researcher Forrester further cast doubt on the category by noting that just 3 percent of marketers named social media as a top-three priority for 2014.
Maybe they should think again. There's still plenty of compelling evidence that social media users are exactly the type of consumers retailers need to be engaging. Multichannel brands are perfecting strategies to monetize their social interactions with existing customers and generate referrals that lead to new sales.
These tactics include social login, social apps and contests, and customer loyalty programs, all of which are tailored to do more than just generate likes. They're specifically targeted at driving key performance improvements like revenue growth, retention rates, return visits and average order size. And, just as importantly, thanks to powerful new analytics tools, retailers using the right platforms are better able than ever to track, document and highlight the success of these efforts.
Statistics show that social login users — i.e., those who log into sites using their Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo or other social media accounts — spend more time on a site and convert at an average of 15 percent to 20 percent higher than other visitors. Consider some of these social strategies to drive sales: