Category Archives: Social Commerce

Social Media Q&A: Perry Ellis International

On Tuesday, April 26, Cynthie Guzman, social media coordinator for Perry Ellis International, will be joining Shoutlet CEO Jason Weaver for an in-depth look at social commerce at a webinar, “Social Commerce on Facebook: Options, Strategies & Successes”.

Cnythie gave us insight into the social media program of this renowned apparel brand:

Perry Ellis is an iconic brand; everyone knows Perry Ellis. How has the team translated this in the social space?

Our team here at Perry has leveraged the brand’s name recognition to bring brand awareness into the social space. We have incorporated the history of our brands and with our new approaches on our Facebook pages.

Perry Ellis is using Shoutlet’s Shop & Share. As an apparel e-commerce retailer, what are some of the benefits you see in terms of Facebook storefronts and f-commerce?

Since our Shop & Share tabs were created, we’ve seen an increase in sales and referral visits to the e-commerce site, especially with Original Penguin. Most of our referral visits from Facebook come directly from the Shop & Share tab.

Although social is a powerful force, email is still a strong component for e-commerce marketers. How do you see social and email working together?

The sign-up widgets set up through Shoutlet have helped build our e-commerce email list. Widgets can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc., allowing any of our sign-up widgets to go viral.

Perry Ellis’ Facebook page consistently receives feedback and comments. As a brand, what’s it like to have conversations with Likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter? What insight has it provided?

Conversations with our fans allows us to get to know them on a more personal level and opens up a direct line of communication with our fans. As of late, we have been closely tracking our “likes” vs. “unlikes” through Facebook Insights to see which posts our fans are engaging with the most and when we tend to lose fans.

You’ve done some innovative things in social media, like a live fashion show online. What are some tips for other brands looking to push the envelope in order to engage their audience?

Facebook fans love to engage with their favorite brands, whether you’re asking a question, posting a promotion, or simply giving them a style tip for the week. Be sure to be true to your brand. Create an authentic voice and really listen to what your fans are saying about your brand. A great way to connect and engage with fans is via contests and/or sweepstakes.

Update: Watch the recording or download slides from our April 26 webinar with Cynthie Guzman, “Social Commerce on Facebook: Options, Strategies & Successes”

2011 Social Media Prediction Roundup: Common Themes for the New Year

It’s the end of one year and the beginning of the next. First, happy new year! Second, this means it’s time for social media predictions. Dozens of industry pros place their bets on what will occur in social media over the next 12 months. We’ve reviewed a slew of predictions to help extrapolate common themes that are relevant for companies using social media. Here’s what we found:

2011 will be a year of full social media integration across the organization (including customer service).

Many companies’ marketing/PR departments spent 2010 getting a grasp on social media, and more companies will evolve to fully integrate social media into the organization as a whole. Edelman Digital’s David Armano agrees on Harvard Business Review by emphasizing the need for integration. SAP’s Senior Global Integrated Marketing Director Michael Brenner writes in “2011 Trends Report: Social Media Marketing” by Focus: “Social is much bigger than marketing and PR. It is a customer phenomenon. This will demonstrate itself as social moves into product development, operations, customer service and even sales.” This will include social customer service, and companies like Best Buy and Zappos have been praised this year for their exceptional service through social channels. Smart companies will polish their strategies in this area (Gary Halliwell via VentureBeat).

Influence – both harnessing it and measuring it – will reign.

Brian Solis writes that as 2011 progresses, influence factors (IF) will become more important to companies, as evidenced by the recent growth in tools such as Klout and the recent discussion on what influence and social capital really mean. Jesse Thomas of JESS3 concurs on Mashable and points out that brands will continue to seek out high-influence customers to help initiate recommendations, such as The Palms in Las Vegas. Its “Klout Klub” provides amenities to hotel guests with high Klout scores in the hopes they’ll pass along their experiences.

Social will drive search.

Ogilvy’s John Bell notes the continued trend of qualified traffic being driven from sites like Facebook, Twitter and other networks in the “5 platform social strategy.” Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz predicts that what we’ve seen with search and social in 2010 will grow into more connections from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and users will receive more results from their friends on these networks.

Content marketing aka “Brands as Publishers”

Content. Content. Content. In 2011 companies will begin to fund content marketing and throw resources behind producing great content in a deliberate way. Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer notes that larger brands will “seize the opportunity to become custom media publishers” in Predictions: Social Media & Content Marketing Predictions for 2011 from Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute (p.11).  Paul Gillin predicts this will be true for B2B, and that “marketers are going to scramble to give away as much useful information as possible” (p. 15) and Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner says brands with outstanding content will thrive (p.22). Maggie Fox, CEO and founder of Social Media Group, writes: “Brands will need to think like broadcasters. This crosses two areas: content (you need to produce quality and quantity to drive engagement) and channel building (stop with the microsites already; attention is an expensive gift, so learn how to recycle it). If, as an agency, your business model is based on building microsites and spending millions in media to drive traffic to it only to shut it down and start again for the next campaign, you’re going to need to reinvent.”

Curation is also a big trend for 2011. Brian Solis writes in this report that this new “Information Commerce” trend will include a focus on curation, where users will be empowered with not only creating content, but filtering content for further dissemination. Success in this area will mean an increase in these curators’ social capital. “Are we in the stream?” will be marketers’ No. 1 question for 2011, writes Stephaine Schwab on Social Media Explorer. With users being bombarded with content, companies will have to ensure their content is compelling enough to break through: “If your content is truly compelling and share-worthy, it’ll get noticed and Liked, it will generate Comments and Retweets, and you’ll be okay because it will have legitimately earned its way into people’s streams,” Schwab writes.

Social commerce moves from novelty to priority for retailers.

This prediction alone warrants a dozen posts and covers a variety of sub-topics, including location-based marketing, group deals, Facebook commerce, and more. In summary, social commerce as whole shows no signs of slowing. With Groupon’s new funding, Facebook Places, and an emphasis on social website integration, 2011 will be an exciting year for retailers and customers. Even Facebook has made social commerce a part of its three-pronged 2011 strategy.

Targeted social media.

Jay Baer of Convince and Convert writes that 2011 will move us closer to true one-to-one marketing. “Soon, we’ll be able to send an e-mail just to customers that clicked a particular link on Twitter. We’ll be able to send a Facebook status message just to customers who visited a particular page on our website. By combining what we know about our customers and prospects and friends across multiple social outposts, we’ll end up with a centralized view of each of our connections,” Baer said in an interview with SmartBrief. We think Social CRM tools and increased analysis of conversation and interaction data will help drive Baer’s vision.

So, what will 2011 look like?

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but these are a few of the predictions we saw. The growth of web video (SocialTimes) and mobile are also expected to be incredible. Other fantastic 2011 wrap-ups include Peter Kim’s summary and iMedia Connection’s interviews with pros like Shiv Singh from PepsiCo. Social Media Examiner also offers a good roundup.

CEO Jason Weaver offered his predictions for the upcoming year: “2011 will be about social commerce, integration, and influence. In 2009, companies tiptoed around social media and started planning. In 2010 they officially got up and running. In 2011, they’ll get smarter. They’ll figure out how to manage social media scalability, and retailers in social will learn how to truly tie sales to social while still being engaging. But it’s the discussion around influence that holds the most promise. Companies will recognize that the fans, followers, and customers that are the most loyal, the most influential, and the most socially savvy are their best allies. Many brands will move beyond brand ambassador programs and find innovative ways to embrace their most influential customers not only as customers, but as extensions of their own brand teams.”

The new year will see the space moving toward a more interconnected experience that’s focused on the consumer. Metrics will evolve, business goals will truly become the focus of social media marketing plans, and companies’ social media programs will come of age. No matter what happens, it will be exciting, both for companies and the end users who are rewarded with a richer experience online.

What do you think? On Dec. 31, 2011, what will 2011 look like for social media? Tell us in the comments.

Positive Reviews Carry More Weight: 3 Ways to Help Customers Spread the Word

By now marketers understand that social media is powerful, in particular the peer-to-peer discussions consumers have with each other about products and experiences with companies. Although negative word of mouth can be devastating in certain circumstances, consumers are more open to believing the accuracy of positive reviews than negative ones, according to a recent article by eMarketer.

Two-thirds of respondents in a study by Keller Fay Group think positive word of mouth is credible, while less than half believe negative feedback. This is great news. But what’s even more interesting is this: “Positive information was also more likely to be passed on to others, more than twice as likely to get people to look for more information, and had nearly four times the chance of pushing consumers to make a purchase.”

Jackpot. Positive is powerful – even more powerful than a terrible experience or negative review. So how do you help customers share those positive comments?

1. Give people a place to create positive comments: Provide customers with a place to share reviews and feedback, in addition to the social networks and other online locations they’re already using, such as Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and more. 80% of online retailers are expected to offer this by 2010’s end (eMarketer). Add customer reviews to e-commerce sites. Solicit feedback on your Facebook Page or through your Twitter account to help encourage customers to put their thoughts on “paper.” In this last week before Christmas and the upcoming frenzy of returning and exchanging gifts, customer service experiences will join products as a topic of conversation, and having a place for customers to submit their testimonials publicly will help.

2.  Illustrate that you’re open to receiving feedback on social media sites. After all, women, as an example, prefer to share positive experiences about products than negative ones, according to an October study by Harbinger via eMarketer. Demonstrating that as a company you welcome feedback shows you value customer feedback, which in itself, can carry weight with consumers. It can also make users feel more comfortable expressing their opinions. One way to begin doing this is to tap into the new customers who received your products as gifts over the holidays. Those who are still gushing over their new gifts might take your advice and post their positive comments and feedback.

3. Encourage peer-to-peer sharing. This is another way to show confidence in your product and your enthusiasm about people talking about it with family and friends. Even recent national TV spots have done this. State Farm Insurance and Tempur-Pedic have included “ask your friends” messaging. Adding social sharing buttons to your product pages and using other tools that make it easy for people to share products and their opinions of them, such as the “ask a friend” button in Shoutlet’s Shop & Share feature, allow customers to effortlessly share their views with peers.

By being receptive to feedback and welcoming about having customers discuss your products, you’ll help generate reviews and positive feedback online. This, coupled with providing customers convenient tools for social sharing, can help get those glowing reviews to more people online. And if they’re positive, they’re much more likely to be influential.

Facebook Commerce: What Are Your Options?

There’s no question social commerce is taking off, and Facebook plays a major role in brands’ social commerce strategies. (86% of retailers plan to implement such a strategy by 2011, says Altimeter Group.) For companies that want to introduce shopping to their Facebook presence, what are the options? Shoutlet COO Aaron Everson outlined options and strategies in a Shoutlet webinar Nov. 17 (click to download slides). Here’s the highlights:

– The average Facebook user is connected 80 pages, groups, or events. Those who Like a brand are 41% more likely to recommend products and 28% more likely to continue using them. (via Forbes)

– Social commerce is a broad term: From m-commerce (mobile) to location-based and group deals, there’s many options for retailers.

"Social commerce" includes an array of tools and tactics. A sampling is listed above.

– In terms of Facebook, there’s many ways to tie your online products to your fan page:

  • Link your product pages and e-commerce site via Facebook’s Like button and Share to Facebook button. Mashable offers an interesting take on how the popular Like button is outshining the Share button.
  • Add third-party sharing buttons, such as ShareThis, AddThis, or a branded version such as Shoutlet’s custom share button.
  • Tie your e-commerce site to Facebook’s OpenGraph to offer personalized product recommendations, friend activity, and more.
  • Facebook Deals: One of Facebook’s latest releases, Facebook Deals allows companies who have a verified Places page offer customers who check in a special incentive. Gap is one of the most well-known initial case uses. The apparel company gave away free jeans to the first 10,000 users who checked in on November 5, and 40% off for other users throughout the day.
  • F-commerce: F-commerce is a true end-to-end Facebook store within the a fan page. The user shops and buys a product without leaving the Facebook platform. Delta Airlines and 1-800-Flowers are both using this option on their Facebook pages.
  • Facebook shopping: Other options include pulling a product feed into Facebook and offering social shopping on your fan page, then directing users who want to buy to your own e-commerce channel to complete the transaction. Tools like Shoutlet’s Shop & Share feature offer this, as well as social sharing tools that allow shoppers to share individual products on Facebook and other social sites.

Customers are already using Facebook to discuss products and get recommendations. Integrating shopping into your Facebook presence puts your brand in the middle of the activity that’s happening now and gives shoppers the tools they need to easily spark discussions and make online purchases.