'Tis the season for online shopping. Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday all had record traffic compared to similar days in prior years, according to Hitwise. As is usual for this time of year, marketers are scrambling to find new ways to make this their best holiday season ever. Along with traditional e-marketing efforts such as paid search, e-mail, and site optimization, e-tailers are looking for new approaches to increase revenue.
Marketers have ratcheted up their use of social media sites, which continue to garner increased traffic and attention. According to October 2007 comScore results, roughly one of every seven minutes spent online is in conversational media (social media and blogs); specifically, conversational media sites average 12.4 minutes per usage day out of the 86 minutes spent on the Internet in total.
Given the amount of time devoted and content consumed by potential shoppers on social media sites, they provide important vehicles for e-tailers to consider as part of their overall online marketing strategy. The challenge is these visitors tend to focus on what their friends and colleagues, who are trusted sources, are saying and doing rather than on third-party advertising messages. Marketers must carefully think through how they engage in consumer conversations to aid sales.
Five Ways to Tap Into Social Shopping
Social shopping leverages the "Wisdom of Crowds" by structuring word-of-mouth input around shopping. Wikipedia defines "social shopping" as "a method of e-commerce in which consumers shop in a social networking environment." Among the options for socializing with your prospects and customers to provide increased interaction and sales are:
Three Social Shopping Factors to Get Right
While social shopping can help drive traffic and aid search optimization, there are three factors to assess, regardless of how you participate in social shopping. They are:
Five Social Shopping Caveats
Social media and social shopping can either help or hurt your firm. So before you start, consider your company's ability to:
Social Shopping Metrics
When measuring the impact of these marketing strategies, focus on metrics most in line with your goals. Among the most salient:
While testing social media to drive sales, it's critical to perform the basics of online marketing well. Sending prospects to a site that's difficult to use or that doesn't convert reflects poorly on your company and hurts your acquisition metrics. Whether the economy is good or bad, 'tis the season for customers to shop. Social shopping is just the newest way to get them to load up at your store.
Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.
Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.
May 22, 2013
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