Encouraging consumers to give their opinions directly on the site where they shop, rather than on a general social network, would improve return on investment.

If a retailer wants to run a successful social marketing campaign, it’s more useful to encourage a brand’s fans to become ambassadors on the e-commerce site itself than putting efforts into social network activity. This is the view of Nissan Gabay, founder and CEO of Sociable Labs, a start-up which offers e-commerce sites the tools to enable visitors to share and discuss information. A consumer who has just bought a product can use the on-site tools to recommend the product (or not) to his/her network of contacts.

Putting social tools directly on to e-commerce sites

Nissan Gabay insists that “people-to-people” rather than business-to-consumer is the best way to get product information across. “Friends are the highest authority when it comes to making a purchase. More people trust a friend’s advice over a retailer’s recommendation, or even that of an expert,” he explains, adding: “But there has been some push back on Facebook so we decided to transfer this social action directly to the retailer’s site.” This kind of social approach means retailers can avoid the two major drawbacks inherent in social networks: lack of clarity on return on investment – 65% of retailers said they have no clear figures on the ROI from their social commerce programmes; and the conflict between the commercial nature of social marketing and the social purpose of Facebook, where users are mainly looking to chat with their friends. 

Get rid of intermediate step and speed up the sale

If a retailer places social marketing directly on his own site, he can however assess the effect of the marketing drive on the number of sales made in real time, without bothering the customer and perhaps turning him off. One more advantage than shouldn’t be ignored is ease of use. A social networker wishing to make a purchase no longer needs to change sites. Getting rid of this intermediate step should improve the shopping experience and also encourage impulse buying. The method apparently works, since one company achieved 300% higher conversation rates than it had previously attained via Facebook.