We live in a social age, and customers now expect a social shopping experience. They want to engage with the brands they love, where they are – on social media. The fashion brand JackThreads’ CMO, Ryan McIntyre puts it like this: “Instead of having to transition over to the JackThreads app, our customers will soon be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds – allowing us to reach guys where they’re already hunting for what’s new.”
Tim Weingarten from Pinterest agrees, and adds that social media isn’t just about buying, it’s about providing “a holistic approach to the entire shopping experience from the first moment of inspiration all the way through to the purchase, and beyond”.
However, the brands are not creating all the content themselves – increasingly the inspirational content and social shopping experience are co-created together with customers. As Birgitta Olson, global marketing manager at Nikon explained in an interview recently:
We don’t want to create advertising, we want to show what consumers do with their devices. It is all about portraying the reality and celebrating what consumers do.
But getting it right isn’t easy. So, here we’ve come up with four ways you can use your social content to connect with your customers, and ultimately how to sell to them too.
1. Provide inspirational content that helps your customers to buy:
Visit Britain has created an inspirational content hub called Join The World. From here it serves up travel ideas and tips from the UK, all categorised in themes such as adventure, food, culture and nightlife. The ultimate aim of the content hub is to introduce its audience to the vast variety of places to visit in Britain, and it’s a fantastic example how curated content from travel blogs and social channels can help to drive traffic to booking pages.
2. Include social media influencers:
Interact content hub by TaylorMade Golf incorporates content from professional golfers and social media influencers to entice viewers to stay longer on its site and for them to share their stories with their family and friends. According to Graeme Morton, Consumer Marketing Manager for TaylorMade, dwell time on the content hub is three times higher than anywhere else on the site.
3. Use social proof from peers to increase conversion rates:
The travel company Holiday Club Resorts is using UGC to boost sales. Since it introduced social content created by customers on its booking pages, it has experienced a 20-30% increase in conversions. Lately, we interviewed Janica Soppela, web manager of Holiday Club Resorts, to learn how travel and hospitality brands can use UGC to increase conversion rates.
4. Personalise the content you serve up, using social data:
Social data is the new gold. Customer data, obtained through social channels, in real-time and from multiple touchpoints is the new marketing elixir. It is always up-to-date and the data, which includes demographics and behaviour, gives you a full view of the customer’s life outside your services. Successful businesses are now tapping to this data to offer personalised services and experiences, which is proving to increase online purchases.
Social is a fantastic place to showcase the best of your content, but it’s also where you can actively engage with your existing customers and attract new ones too. Many of the biggest brands are tapping into the power of the content being posted on social channels by their fans and displaying the activity on their website, often next to product or service information.