The never-ending discussion around Social Media ROI has morphed into several definitions over the past couple of years. Where it becomes particularly interesting is during the holidays, when brands and companies use social as a channel to drive people to make purchases more than any other time of the year. Before the 2014 holiday season comes and goes, it’s time to lay out the groundwork for how brands will drive direct revenue on social- and it’s not just about referrals anymore.
People are shopping via their mobile devices so it’s no surprise that channels like Pinterest and Twitter were among top referrals to the eventual purchasing funnel last year. One study found that consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals- but why not make the purchase (or any sort of brand-to-consumer exchange) directly in social? The odds of a purchase greatly increases when you create a shortcut for the consumer.
1. Direct commerce
Then: This usually works by promoting a particular product or sale and linking from social to a microsite or product page. Brands have placed value on trackable referral links from social to determine if social consumers follow through with purchases. This has mostly been dependant on social discovery- not commerce.
Now: Rather than driving people away from social channels- brands can now use Actiontags for in-stream commerce. These are specific hashtags that brands can promote within their campaigns that consumers can use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to actually make a purchase (#buy #newproduct). This is similar to #Amazoncart but works across social channels and is accessible to brands’ individual marketplaces. By keeping the transaction process within social, conversion rates are often much higher.
2. Discounts and Promo Codes
Then: You often see brands offering special holiday promotional codes that may be unique to their social followers or email subscribers. This allows insights in determining where your customers are that are most likely to make a purchase. By individualizing codes, you can learn which channels drive more purchasing, but you still can’t connect the social ID to the purchase- something become important for digital targeting.
Now: Brands can offer a promotional code to social media users who ask for it. Instead of a silent click on a promotional link, brands are asking their social and email audience who want a code. Those who opt in, using Actiontags (#want #promo) instantly get replied to with the code and a link to continue to their purchase. This way brands can pin-point their shoppers within their audience, create direct dialogue with their participating consumers and amplify your brand message at the same time- as all followers of those who opt-in will also see the message.
— Forever 21 (@Forever21)
3. Data, Data, Data
Not a direct form of commerce from social media, but companies are now starting to put a high price on knowing who their most engaged and likely-to-purchase social followers are. Leading up tp the holidays, brands should know what their audience wants from them in social and which channels work best for generating sales. Knowing whether your audience wants good content, good deals, or product exclusives can set you up for success during the holiday season.
»sMajor brands are already starting to plan what their social and email strategy will be leading into Black friday and holiday shopping. If they test now, they can put their learnings to use and turn insights into strategies.