Take Your Customer Experience to Facebook
The skyrocketing adoption of social media presents retailers with a world of opportunity for creating stronger customer relationships, increasing revenue and providing dynamic services all where consumers are spending the majority of their time online — Facebook. With over 500 million members, Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited website in the U.S., leading many brands to flock to the social network much like a gold rush.
However, while the impact of Facebook on businesses is massive, retailers must realize that their goal for the social media site may not necessarily be the same as consumers’ goals. This can lead to disconnected and annoyed consumers and frustrated retailers.
According to a new survey from consumer research firm Shoppercentric.com, 63 percent of consumers visit a brand’s website to make a purchase, compared with just 6 percent on a social media site. A study from email marketing firm ExactTarget found that of 1,500 Facebook users, 40 percent “Like” a brand page to receive discounts and promotions, 39 percent to show their support for the company and 36 percent to take advantage of freebies offered. Based on these statistics, one could argue that Facebook is purely a tool to drive traffic to your site. However, this makes two large assumptions:
- It fails to recognize the brand value gained by having a presence on Facebook. Retailers must have a social media presence that's informative and engaging. Providing relevant information, the latest products, timely deals and personalization tools all provide value to your Facebook community.
- Believing Facebook is purely a tool to drive traffic to your site assumes that consumers want to leave Facebook. Most consumers want to stay within Facebook from the information-gathering phase through the purchase. Smart retailers are replicating or packaging their e-commerce site on Facebook. This not only plays into the adage “the fewer clicks, the better the conversation rates,” but it also allows retailers to add applications or guided selling tools to their page to interact with their customers.
For example, Nike could offer an app on its Facebook page enabling fans to design their own shoe. Nike could offer the user the ability to buy the created shoe and sign up for a newsletter on the latest shoe releases, which grows the brand's email marketing database. The goal may not be the “Buy” button (as is often the case for retailers), but rather enabling consumers to interact with the brand and become more educated. It’s about customer experience engagement. While the overall goal of driving sales might be the same, the tactics on Facebook may be different than on your site.
Devise strategies that use Facebook as an additional communication channel for engaging and delivering service and support to customers — not just making a sale. Companies that lag behind in execution not only miss an opportunity to strengthen relationships and brand perception, but they run the risk of suffering widespread brand damage and lost customers.