Five ways brands will drive revenue from social media over the next 12 months

Most brands have learnt how to reach consumers and build advocacy through social media, but to drive sales they need to set up the right online purchase routes relevant to their specific business. And digitally intelligent brands have realised that Likes, Followers, and +1s shouldn’t be the primary KPI for measuring social media campaign success.

Measurement is set to become more sophisticated in 2013, and the industry benchmark for measurement will shift from community growth to revenue and profit through social media.  Here, I predict five purchase routes brands will increasingly be looking to set up this year to drive sales.

Facebook Competitions will link to website product pages

We know that people on social networks are in discovery mode, which means they are less likely to LOOK for products to buy but more likely to DISCOVER new products – which can lead to further action.  We also know that it’s the combination of incentives and simple challenges that drive those actions on social networks.  So brands that understand this trend will create interactive experiences of product discovery on Facebook – leading to purchase. The result: consumers will be incentivised for engagement, and brands will drive sales through engaged users clicking through to product purchase pages.

Twitter engagement will be rewarded with incentives that drive revenue for brands  

Most re-tweets on Twitter result from competitions that are incentivised by brands; in 2013, these incentives will evolve so that audiences engage with brands but also make purchases powered by incentives, ie. to claim your prize, re-tweet xxx and receive your 20% off personalised digital voucher to use on an ecommerce site. So while the brand rewards the audience for engagement, the reward also drives revenue for the brand.

YouTube viral videos will feature a “call-to-action” overlay linking to purchase/booking pages

The trick about driving revenue through video is to first create a compelling video that audiences will share. In 2012 brands successfully created videos that delivered millions of views, but in 2013 more brands will discover and use ‘call-to-action overlays’, which are links on top of videos allowing viewers to click-through to any specified destination URL where engaged viewers can purchase the product/service.

Key product offers pages posted in Google+ conversations to gain social authority on Google Search

In 2012 we witnessed a distinct improvement in search results when Google filtered results based on peer-to-peer recommendations on Google+; this means a particular product link talked about in Google+ conversations gains higher social authority in Google Search – and therefore results in a more effective consumer purchase journey.  This year brands will see their investment in Google+ conversations stimulate product sales.

Social Media to make online shopping easy, with brands including “Add to Shopping Basket” links in conversations with their key audience

Brands will use their social media channels to post links to online shopping sites that audiences already use and trust, increasing the likelihood of completing the purchase – so from sites such as mySupermarket.co.uk and asos.com to Amazon.co.uk, eBay.co.uk and dabs.com.  Brands will invest in where shoppers actually shop, not in where they wish them to shop.

Habib is head of influenceD, the digital division at Clarion Communications.