With social media dominating almost every aspect of consumer life, it should come as no surprise that 75 percent of socially-generated e-commerce sales came from Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter in 2013. In fact, social traffic to e-commerce sites led to a revenue increase of 17.8 percent from January 2013 to June 2013.
Past studies have shown that 74 percent of consumers rely on social media to help guide their purchases, with four in 10 having purchased an item in-store or online after sharing it on a social network. This data should inspire brands to optimize their marketing assets and social strategies, especially considering that U.S. consumers are projected to spend $327 billion online in 2016.
That’s still two years away, but don’t for a second assume that social platforms haven’t been preparing. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube have all released features specifically designed to help brands boost e-commerce sales. Let’s take a look at a few of these and see how they can be integrated into your social strategy.
Right away we think of Facebook Offers, a feature that enables businesses to share discounts with customers through Pages. Introduced in 2012, Offers can be claimed online and redeemed in-store or online, depending on the type of Offer you choose to run. While creating an Offer is free, you can pay to promote it in order to expand your reach.
According to Facebook, more than 42 million members have claimed an Offer, as of February 2013. However, the company didn’t reveal how many of those claimed offers were redeemed. The most recent update to this feature was aimed at increasing conversions through the addition of “Shop Now” and “Remind Me” buttons for consumers.
Additionally, the company began rolling out a mobile payments feature that allows members to log in to an e-commerce website with their Facebook profiles and pay using credit card information stored on the platform. By decreasing the number of steps involved, Facebook Autofill has made it more likely that a consumer will complete the conversion process.
Twitter experimented with e-commerce early in 2013. Through a partnership with American Express, the two brands have made completing a purchase as easy as sending a tweet. AmEx cardholders can pay for select products by tweeting special hashtags. Brands like The Sharper Image, Kohl’s, Panera Bread and Amtrak have participated. A list of current offers can be viewed on @AmericanExpress’ Favorites tab.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to a third-party’s network, Twitter Cards also provide brands with a way to integrate products into your tweets. The Product Card is designed to showcase your products within tweets, helping you to drive sales. It features an image, description, and two additional details, such as price, availability, or size.
The great thing about Twitter Cards is that you can track their performance through the recently launched analytics dashboard. Here you’re able to see impressions, URL clicks, and app installs generated by your tweets as well as mentions from others.
Pinterest has always had a knack for driving referral traffic, but pins have become especially valuable to e-retailers over the past year. According to data from Piquora, a Pinterest Pin today generates 78 cents in sales, on average. That’s a 25 percent increase since December 2012.
The visual nature of the platform plays some role in this, but it’s also likely that product pins and price alerts have had a hand in the increase as well. Introduced in last year, product pins enable brands to include additional information about an item — such as price and availability — within a pin. Price alerts then deliver email notifications to members whenever there’s a change in price.
According to Pinterest, product pins have generated higher clickthrough rates than regularly pins. And while Facebook and Twitter are great for getting the word out about a limited-time sale, Pinterest Pins have a much longer half-life, some lasting over a period of months. In fact, 50 percent of visits driven by pins take place after three to five months, and 50 percent of orders happen after two to five months.
Finally, there’s the YouTube ‘Shoppable’ Channel Gadget. In order to help convert video views into sales, the company introduced a new channel gadget that enables brands to connect consumers directly with retailers. For example, when someone finds a how-to video featuring your product, he or she can go from watching to finding retailers that carry it.
The gadget helps to minimize unnecessary clicks, which as we’ve noted previously, can distract consumers, resulting in an incomplete purchase. Unilever used the gadget to promote its hair care brand Tresemmé. This enabled the channel’s 2.7 million viewers to click on products used in demos for more information on how to use them, as well as details on where to buy them.
These aren’t the only features available that can help e-commerce, and these networks are far from the only ones where your brand can thrive. But considering that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube are consistently dominating market share, they’re a great place for any business to start.
Review your social strategy to see if you’re taking advantage of these tools. For more tips on how to leverage your social presence to increase sales, check out the infographic created by MobStac.