For too long, we’ve been thinking about how to turn conversations into conversions. It’s time to start thinking about how to turn conversions into conversations. So says Amy Lanigan, VP Client Strategy, Fluid. During a presentation at eTail Boston, Amy encouraged retailers to take advantage of the enthusiasm of people already buying rather than focusing on how to gain customers we don’t have yet. Perhaps if we excite those already excited, the new conversions will follow. These conversations are what social media is all about – and if retailers are not capturing the loyalty and enthusasism of their social audience, they are missing real opportunities for social commerce.
To help guide through this sometimes difficult, non-linear path, Amy highlighted five social commerce strategies that work.
1. Repurpose what already works. Ask yourself, what can you look at in your business that you already know? What are you already an expert at that you can capitalize on? For instance, Trunk Club is a concierge service for men’s clothing that exists because its founders know that many men hate shopping. Based on a stylist consultation, the service sends members a trunk of clothing with a prepaid shipping label for things to send back. Not only does the service know that men hate shopping, but it knows that men may “forget” to send things back. Brilliant business model. As a tip for this first step, list three things your consumers respond to in-store or offline, or even better, list three things that are working well online and repurpose them.
2. Kill campaigns. Launch projects. Amy used the quote, “Think ideas born to love, not built to die.” Implement a cross-check on your projects and ask if it can take a life of its own. As an example, FootLocker launched Sneakerpedia, a play on Wikipedia where consumers could research their sneakers, who wore them, how old they are, what edition they are, etc. The company took a risk by letting its brand fall by the wayside and giving product the spotlight – recognizing that the shoe is the most important to the consumer and the brand is the engine behind it.
3. Mine the data. Make it yours. Tell a story using your dashboard’s highlights and lowlights. For instance, Jell-O brand’s “Pudding Face” tracks tweets that have both smiley faces and frown faces – i.e. the infamous 🙂 and 🙁 symbols. If the majority of tweets are smiles, the character’s face on the homepage is also a smile. The Tweets are not about Jell-O, but it’s an innovative way to mine data that’s out there and tie it into the brand. Take advantage of the fact that, for instance, 150M people engage with Facebook on external websites each month.
4. Treat interactions as a trade. Ask yourself, what are you giving away for free that could be traded for social action? Sell your products for the price of a Tweet or a Facebook post. Klout, an online gauge of social media influencers, is trading with those that matter most in social and creating the notion that not everyone is socially equal. When new online music service Spotify recently launched, it pre-released to Klout members who had a score of x number and above, rewarding those who were considered social influencers.
5. Everyone is an entrepreneur. The web and particularly social media has opened the doors for everyone to be an entrepreneur. Websites like Stella & Dot give people the opportunity to partner with them and sell their jewelry designs through and established network. Anyone can be a “stylist,” so it opens the floor for any age entrepreneur and helps them build a business. Another great example is Kickstarter, a webpage where people can fundraise online – it’s crowd sourcing as venture capital funding. Don’t underestimate anyone because anyone can be a business today.
Amy ended with two more trends that are “on the radar.”
– Drive recurring revenue. If your brand already has a loyal following, they may trust you to buy things they may not with other brands. Subscription sales, mystery gifts and everyday items could be potential for revenue.
– Unexpected partnerships. Consumers encounter brands everyday and you may not think about it but there could be some unlikely partnerships. When runners using Nike’s running shoe app started meeting up for coffee at Starbucks, a partnership was born that neither company may or may not have planned.