>First, it’s important to believe to your core that Facebook will be the pivotal platform for consumer-to-consumer sharing, significantly increasing referral traffic for all who believe and act. Why? Because in addition to its billion-ish user base, Facebook is almost complete with its “frictionless sharing” plan – Facebook Timelines, Tickers and soon-to-launch Actions. In addition, you need to believe that consumers will become increasingly comfortable authorizing Facebook to share specific information with their friends and with retailers, which also will drive increased commerce. We recently published a study that measured Facebook authorization rates of consumers – which averaged 50% — which we believe will increase to 60% by year-end 2012.
Here’s what I recommend doing with these beliefs:
1. Make Your Website the Social Centerpiece
The ecommerce site will be the dominant place consumers go to buy products they learn about from their friends on Facebook. Our consumer research shows a significant preference for retail websites to actually make the purchase. The best place to motivate consumers to share product comments with their friends on Facebook is also your site, where they’re focused on evaluating and committing to the product you want them to share. And, in 2012, social integration tools (tools that add social features to your website) will include A-B testing so you’ll have the tools to try-test-and-improve different experiences and offers to optimize for the highest sales uplift on your ecommerce site.
Active Network is using Sociable Labs’ “Social RSVP” application on its Active.com purchase confirmation pages to increase sharing with friends on Facebook and drive high-converting traffic back to its site.
2. Be Strike-Ready.
Marketing organizations will shorten planning-to-execution cycles as social monitoring systems provide immediate opportunities to strike and marketing automation tools will enable them to do so with much less advanced planning and effort.
3. Be Social, for Real.
Today, a lot of retailers and brands employ sizeable teams of marketers and agency staff to create social campaigns and promotions that are pushed to consumers — through Facebook fan pages and Twitter. In effect, this is B-to-C marketing. In many analyst studies and retailer case studies, it’s been shown that sales conversion is significantly higher when the discussion is consumer-to-consumer
4. Move in and really USE Social Data
The use of Social Data, especially Social Graph Data, will become a key differentiator between competing retailers. The increasing richness of demographic and behavioral data on consumers and their friends on Facebook will enable extremely effective targeting for consumer-to-consumer social sharing. This type of targeting will also make sharing more relevant to friends on the receiving end, minimizing the irritation from being “spammed” by their friends and making them more willing to read what does make it through.
5. Remove the Social Media Silo
Social marketing capabilities will be integrated more broadly and more fully into ecommerce platforms (part of the agile commerce trend) and marketing automation tools, making it easier to implement and analyze social commerce initiatives. This will make it easier for marketing managers and executives up and down the chain-of-command to execute social initiatives. In 2012, the term Social Media Marketing may start to disappear as social marketing broadens beyond cultivating fans and followers and tracking conversations, previously relegated to the “Social Media Manager” you hired two years.