Tips to Drive Brand Engagement, Loyalty and Sales via Social Media
In a fast-paced session at the opening day of the NEMOA directXchange conference in Boston, Ken Burke, chairman, founder and chief evangelist of MarketLive, an e-commerce software platform and service provider, and Kelly Goldsmith, e-commerce manager at Title Nine, a cross-channel retailer of women's athletic apparel, tackled the question all retailers want an answer to: How can I make money via social media? Here's a recap of what Burke and Goldsmith had to say:
1. If you're doing a crappy job with your Facebook page — i.e., not responding to consumers’ posts, letting long intervals of time elapse between posts, not providing engaging content, etc. — you're better off not having a page at all, said Burke. A poorly run Facebook page is worse for your brand's reputation than no Facebook page at all.
2. Leverage the screen real estate that Facebook provides you. Even with the recent announcement that Facebook will be moving its horizontal tabs to the left-hand side of the page (effective March 10), there's plenty of screen space to add useful information such as a customer service phone number, links to customer service (i.e., live chat), promotions and more, said Burke.
3. Create a custom welcome page that acts as your default tab on Facebook. View this as an extension of your website's homepage, Goldsmith said. And leave negative comments up on your wall, she added. Doing so makes your brand more real. Just respond to these negative comments in a timely fashion, Goldsmith advised.
4. Motivate consumers to like you. Some research has claimed that a Facebook like is as valuable and powerful as an email address, Burke said. With this in mind, provide consumers with plenty of oportunities to like you. This can be as simple as putting like buttons on your website as well as at a campaign and product level to going as far as bribing consumers to like you with offers for exclusive content and/or special deals, Goldsmith added. Title Nine recently ran an email campaign promoting its “We Love Our Fans” giveaway, where consumers who were signed up as Facebook fans of the brand were entered into a drawing for a special prize.
5. Consider adding a holiday gift guide or other seasonal tabs to your Facebook page, said Burke. Other tactics to help brands market products include the following:
• providing easy access to product ratings and reviews;
• integrating product guides and discovery tools (e.g., fit-finder for apparel, value-added content such as how-to videos);
• merchandising your best-sellers and top-rated products; and
• allowing for purchases directly in Facebook by embedding a shopping cart functionality.
6. Leverage existing assets for Facebook, Goldsmith said. Title Nine treated its "We Love Our Fans" giveaway on Facebook as a shrunk-down version of the promotion's email campaign. Use your entire staff to monitor your company's social media activities. It doesn't have to be the sole responsibility of an e-commerce team; task customer service, finance, warehouse/fulfillment teams and others with keeping tabs on what being said about your company.
7. Support your customers’ lifestyles with aggregated content from media outlets, blogs and other channels (e.g., YouTube videos) that mesh with their interests. User-generated content (UGC) from other customers is particularly engaging, said Burke. In addition to UGC, integrate advanced feedback functionality into your Facebook page, he added.
8. Integrate social media efforts into your other channels, said Burke. Put a Facebook like button into the header of your e-commerce site, add icons to your Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel on your mobile site and/or apps, he added.
9. Gain valuable insight into your fans Facebook activity by regularly checking Facebook Insights for analytics, Goldsmith advised.