As self-evident as it sounds, social media has truly changed to way we use the internet. In fact, social media is changing the whole way we consume information.
Media companies no longer have the powerful role as the gatekeepers of information they used to have. Social media has allowed customers and companies communicate directly and easily – in good and bad.
Today consumers hold the power. People talk about products online and spend their time reading and writing reviews in social media. Social media sites act as huge virtual places where people hang-out, chat and share their likes and dislikes.
For this reason social media is also a major venue for product reviews and recommendations. Promoting new products and services on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a great way for companies to drive consumers and sales.
The most powerful feature of social media is clearly the word-to-mouth communication it enables. As all marketers know, human element is the key to engendering trust, and word-to-mouth is typically considered the most trustworthy form of marketing.
Just think about the average consumer. Who does he or she trust for recommendations? ”People like me” or the experts. According to eMarketer certain segments such as young people with high-education tend to place more trust in experts, but generally consumers put the greatest trust in the opinions of their social circle.
The GlobalWebIndex’s 2011 report describes a shift in consumer behaviour on social media. Social media use is increasing globally and usage patterns are maturing and changing. Now the shift seems to be to focus on distributing content rather than creating it. Social media users disseminate and share professionally created content more often on microblogs, social networks and video-sharing platforms.
Based on the findings following key issues could be outlined:
- Social media makes people share opinions and chat about their likes and dislikes.
- Brand advocacy (word-to-mouth) is generally considered the most powerful form of marketing.
- Professional and high-quality content gets shared a lot.
Ecommerce sites should tap into this and produce high-quality (which can mean anything from funny, entertaining to inspiring) content and encourage people to share it on social media sites.
Sounds good, but how it can be done? The following practices increase product sharing on social sites:
- Easy way to share products on the most common social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Visible and attractive sharing features in different prominent places in the site’s design.
- Ecommerce site’s full product inventory displayed online in attractive and easily approached way.
As high-quality product content is more likely to get shared by users. So the ecommerce site should feature quality product descriptions, large product images and interesting and stylish videos. Remember: good and enjoyable content is on the best ways to get visitors to your ecommerce site.
Best places to put sharing links include:
- Product pages
- Mailing list or email templates
- The thank you page post making the orders
- The sale confirmation email
Internal web analytics or third-party URL shortening services can be used to provide data on customer product sharing behaviour. When product information gets shared online these techniques help you to keep track of what gets shared, by whom and how often.
If you are aware what makes people actually share the products in social sites you can benefit from this by tailoring messages to get the most from your social media efforts.