Facebook is right to highlight the influence that social media is having on marketing strategies (MWlinks.co.uk/FBPage). It is clear that social is quickly emerging as the killer outbound channel for driving customers to other acquisition avenues. Brands that can engage customers in social media by delivering relevant information in real time develop the ability to influence discussions and become established as opinion formers within customer networks. This then encourages customers and prospects to engage with the company across other channels such as email, mobile or in-store.
It is important to note that social commerce is not necessarily about converting sales, it’s about monitoring the interactions that take place and using this data as part of a holistic marketing programme. By adopting this kind of approach, organisations will be able to build key performance indicators such as developing share of voice or increasing brand awareness around social media and showcase its value to the business.
Brands also need to go one step further by incorporating social interactions within the sales process. With more customers accessing social networks on mobile devices, it is imperative that brands enable a cross-channel customer experience. For example, if a potential customer sees someone from their social network ‘like’ a product, that company should enable the prospect to easily click through to its website or download its app to discover more information about the brand and potentially complete a transaction.
However, in order to do this effectively companies need to introduce sophisticated order processing systems that allow users to search products, add the item to their shopping cart and pay for the product, fulfil it and bill across the different channels. Only then can brands truly take advantage of everything social media has to offer.