With more than 600 million active users on Facebook, the world’s largest social network is no longer just about “liking” brands when it comes to marketing. Today, Facebook users span various demographics and demand immediate value in return for demonstrating loyalty and joining new Facebook communities.
In addition to incentivizing new fans with automatic submissions to contests, businesses should also be utilizing Facebook e-commerce tools to develop a true social shopping experience. By integrating purchasing into their branded pages, businesses can effectively take advantage of Facebook as a viable sales vehicle with proven ROI.
Support Easy, Secure E-Commerce
Given that Facebook shopping is still in its nascent stages, it is essential for businesses to guarantee both an easy and secure user experience.
The most obvious way to reassure new Facebook shoppers is by building an environment that mirrors the traditional e-commerce experience. Supporting all the same functionality, businesses create a new shopping medium that is arguably even more useful than the dot-com website, given the additional social features.
To uphold an easy user experience, businesses should contain the shopping experience within Facebook, without redirects to their traditional website. A brand’s complete inventory can be extended to Facebook, incorporating individual PDP pages to support comprehensive “online window shopping.” Lastly, upon logging in to Facebook, users should have the flexibility to complete purchases either from Facebook or from the original site at a later time.
In addition to extending the same shopping functionality, businesses should also translate the same security features to Facebook. By integrating the website’s preferred payment system on Facebook (PayPal or otherwise), brands can process transactions the same way as they would on a website. All security offered by the traditional website is therefore maintained via Facebook.
Use Facebook Share, Like and Reviews APIs
Facebook offers businesses a range of APIs to enhance their e-commerce offerings and ensure the user experience remains fully integrated within Facebook. Of most importance, Facebook’s Share, Like and Reviews features allow users to comment on items and pass them along to friends, creating a shopping domino effect that leverages peer-to-peer influence to provoke additional product views and purchases.
Whereas traditional website reviews are visible only to consumers already investigating a certain product, Facebook reviews present more impactful opportunities for businesses as they are posted to other users’ news feeds. Unlike shopping in-store or on a company website, Facebook’s APIs encourage a more personalized shopping experience, shaped by users’ social behavior and friends’ suggestions.
Keep an eye on your metrics
Facebook offers businesses two solutions to track performance of e-commerce integrations. On one hand, brands can continue to leverage their chosen web tracking system such as Google Analytics, Omniture orWebtrends, to monitor pages within the Facebook store. By optimizing these analytics tools on Facebook, businesses can simply extend page tags to track user traffic and revenue, allowing them to make more informed decisions on future investment and development.
Businesses can also take advantage of Facebook’s internal tracking system, Facebook Insight. In addition to standard metrics, this application also tracks Facebook-specific features such as likes, shares and any other social data users generate within the network. This extra level of knowledge allows brands to customize their Facebook stores to key demographics and user behavior.
Leverage Facebook E-Commerce for Social Campaigns
As Facebook social campaigns become more mainstream, marketers can increase ROI by integrating e-commerce functionality. Campaigns leveraging the Facebook store could include:
- Facebook contests that request Likes can automatically send users to the Facebook store to encourage product browsing.
- Businesses can post ads, promotions, flash sales, or product-focused press to their Wall and link to the Facebook store’s PDP pages, enabling quick purchasing ability within the social network.
- By leveraging the Facebook Fans API, brands are empowered to combine “deals of the day” or product announcements with deep links to product detail and purchase pages within the Facebook store. This approach gives the user fast transaction capabilities, while also helping the brand collect the user’s data and demographic details.
- Facebook is currently testing a “Buy With Friends” program, which allows brands to offer discount incentives to users who encourage their friends to buy the same item by publishing purchases on friends’ news feeds.