Consumers are the most influential factor in brand discovery via social media. As a result, retailers must keep pace with this continual shift to consumer-generated content and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) engagement strategies, to drive purchases and better communicate with social advocates.
Forward-thinking retailers are tapping their most loyal customers to drive recommendations and shares via social media. To better engage current and potential customers on Facebook and boost its presence on the site, TastingRoom.com — a discount wine eTailer — adopted social sharing solutions from Extole, a provider of C2C social marketing solutions.
TastingRoom.com implemented two new tools from Extole: Social Promotions and Social Expressions. Both leverage Facebook’s Open Graph APIs.
Since installation, social shares of TastingRoom.com have increased by 46%. Each social share now has approximately 33 impressions and 32 clicks, or one click for every three stories shared.
In addition to extending social conversations about TastingRoom.com, the implementations have allowed the eTailer to “amplify awareness of the wine brands consumers have discovered here, as well as their experiences with TastingRoom.com’s unique product line," Ian Hackett, VP of e-Commerce for TastingRoom.com, told Retail TouchPoints.
“As a small company, we currently are in ‘acquisition mode,’ so are concentrating on social awareness and reach,” Hackett said. “We needed a way to reach a customer’s full network quickly, and to understand customers’ intentions and behaviors on our site and beyond, in order to deliver a more personal and targeted experience. Today we are measuring awareness through reach and referrals back to our site from these programs,” he explained. “As our campaigns mature, we’ll incorporate lessons learned and apply them to our next set of objectives and goals, which will focus on retention.”
Word-of-mouth marketing has influence and drives additional sales, but this strategy has more of a drip effect, Hackett said: “We are focusing on delivering content to trendsetters and key influencers in a network, allowing these messages to ‘trickle down’ to social graphs."
The Social Promotions tool rewards customers for sharing an offer with their social graphs, which is a “win-win for the customer as well as the people who consider this customer a trusted source for product recommendations,” Hackett reported.
TastingRoom.com uses the Social Expressions tool to extend beyond Facebook’s standard “Like” and “Share” functionalities. By integrating three new expressions on its web site — “Want It,” “Tried It” and “Recommend It” — the retailer offers customers “the ability to let their networks know something more specific around the product rather than just a ‘Like,’” Hackett explained.
Featuring more in-depth social behaviors on users’ Facebook Timelines and News Feeds increases likelihood that conversations around products will start, Hackett noted, “which is great awareness for our brand and product lines.”
Extole’s new Social Expressions platform includes full Facebook Open Graph enablement, designed to help brands to capture consumer referrals, coupon claims, purchases, and other behaviors, and publish them to users’ Timelines, News Feeds and Tickers, which appear on the side of TastingRoom.com’s homepage.
The offering includes advanced social analytics that provide more detailed insights into the reach and ROI of C2C social marketing programs. Additionally, the analytics feature allows merchants to pinpoint top advocates, number of shares and overall conversions.
Social brand advocates offer retailers the opportunity to connect with prospects in a very effective way by sharing product information on the retailer’s behalf, “which yields measurable social marketing ROI with improved results across the entire marketing funnel,” Angela Bandlow, VP of Marketing at Extole, told Retail TouchPoints. “These metrics include awareness, referral rate, conversion rate, customer acquisition and average order value.”