Circos Brand Karma

Official Blog of Circos

Social commerce CAN happen, but do it with respect

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Social media is interesting in that it can help suppliers gain more traffic at their own branded site. As most suppliers have an efficient e-commerce engine on their own branded site, positive social media can actually facilitate more transactions.

I know this is a big statement, but it’s true. Here’s an example that illustrates this.

Let’s look at YouTube — now the world’s second largest search engine behind Google with 24 hours of videos being uploaded every minute. It’s a site comprised entirely of social media.

One stat that I always find interesting is the number of views a video has had. Typically when I search for a video that someone has shot of, let’s say their room the hotel — it’s usually less than 1 minute and averages maybe 2-3 views per day.

Hence over a 6 month period, the video might get 360-540 views — and that’s fairly consistent in that these types of videos typically have views in the hundreds not thousands.

At this point most people I talk to would say… and so what? One Justin Bieber music video has over 400M views.

But here’s the thing. If you think about who contribute to the 360-540 views over the 6 month period, it generally comes from 2 types of people. 1) the friend of the creator — so maybe the creator shared the link and enough of his/her friends clicked on it to see it. That usually happens close to the time of the upload.

If you use the Tipping Point’s rule of 150 — and assuming that the creator is REALLY POPULAR, you can say 150 views came from friends of the creator. The remainder probably came from the 2nd source – 2) people who watched the video because they searched for it.

Now if you think about the searcher — what would compel them to type the name of a brand in a YouTube search box, click on the thumbnail picture, and watch an unknown stranger’s video doing a room tour? Most likely because they’re interested in the property. Wouldn’t this be a good time to refer them to the branded website to tell them more information about the property?

And you can actually do this, by placing an ad in the video that links to your branded website.

This is just one simple case of turning social media into a traffic driver — AND — you have a reasonable expectation that the traffic driven is highly qualified (particularly if it’s PPC for the video ad). So the relatively low number of views (once you dismiss the 150 friends) becomes not so insignificant if they represent potential leads, particularly if you practice rate parity across your online channels.

This is just a simple case of video social media being one-click away from your commerce engine, but there are many others.

For example, TripAdvisor’s Business Listings programme is interesting for hoteliers. TripAdvisor is now the most visited travel website, and it contains mostly text reviews about hotels around the world.

TripAdvisor’s Business Listing product allows you to embed your branded website’s URL right into the section about your hotel… in other words, your commerce engine is one-click away from social media. Why would you want to build distance between the reviews (that you know consumers are reading anyway) and your commerce engine… especially if your property is consistently well reviewed?

I recently saw a TripAdvisor presentation that says they have over 50M unique visitors per month. If TripAdvisor has about 500,000 properties listed, assuming each visitors visits only once/month and researches only one property — which I know is totally undercounting (but that further illustrates the point), then each property on average gets a minimum of 100 visitors.

As a hotelier, if you have 100 walk-ins who request to see the property, would you then tell them to go to a travel agency to make their reservation after they’re done with the tour?

Of course not.

Over the last year I’ve talked a lot about brand engagement in social media. This is still a fundamental cornerstone of any company’s digital strategy. You need to monitor your brand reputation, and you need to engage in a genuine manner. At the same time, with the right engagement, social media holds a lot of promise in the commerce area, as long as you do it respectfully.

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