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BizReport : Social Marketing : March 25, 2016

Expert: How to use social to drive transactions

Social media has taken over the internet, but while the big players - Facebook and Twitter - are all about 'friending' people, networks like Pinterest and Flipboard are about the individual. That, says one expert, is why brands should begin using these platforms to drive engagement.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What does the success of Flipboard and Pinterest tell us about consumer preferences?

Winder Hughes, Founder & CEO, Hi-Fi: Since these platforms are strong aggregators of user-based interests, they are used by brands and publishers as drivers of qualified traffic elsewhere to be properly monetized and converted. For example, Pinterest is known for its users having the highest per order average when they shop.
However, while great at targeting users by interest, so far they have not delivered on the promise of a vibrant community. Instead, they are still more like broadcast experiences with single file content pushed into a scrolling newsfeed. And, with consumers calling for innovation, represented by the popularity of ad blockers that indicate a desire for relevance, there is a huge opportunity for interest-driven networks to evolve into new forms of multi-format, content-driven experiences that draw in both consumers and relevant advertisers.

Kristina: How can brands go beyond the "like" to drive a new path ROI?

Winder: Create meaningful metrics that go beyond the "like," and instead focus on how engaged customers are. Passively observed actions like time spent, made a post, commented, or shared content are some good examples. Deeper social behaviors require a more committed user willing to invest time and effort, making behavioral metrics good indicators of customer affinity for a brand. Or better yet, focus on real value-creating activities, such as website traffic and conversions. Not all consumers are equal. Those that really care about your brand matter most and will show it with their actions.
Figure out how to reach those specific consumers by watching their behavior--they're the ones that will help your business succeed.

Kristina: What impact is there when the social media companies themselves (like Facebook and Twitter) control the experience?

Winder: When the social media networks themselves are in control, as opposed to the user, it ironically creates a chaotic, more impersonal experience. Consumers are served up content as dictated by an algorithm, which restricts user control over their environment. As a result, the social media network newsfeed experience has become cluttered with random content, largely unrelated to our interests. This is a significant problem with social media networks today, because consumers want experiences that are relevant to them and their interests, while brands and publishers are looking to truly engage with their best consumers.

More from Winder and Hi-Fi next week, including how brands can create more consumer-centric social media profiles.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce, Hi-Fi, social commerce, social commerce drivers, social marketing

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