Is Facebook’s ‘buy’ button the answer to marketers prayers?

facebook buy

Both Facebook and Twitter have recently announced separate e-commerce plays which will make it easier to shop online using their services. Facebook has declared they are testing a ‘buy’ button, while Twitter has acquired payment startup CardSpring.

It’s a step by both to help brands deliver a ‘last click’ which can only be a good thing as social media companies progress with their push towards improved monetisation. Nevertheless it’s come at a time when marketers are increasingly embracing social content on their digital properties and moving away from engaging with consumers inside a social network.

Indeed, research from the JunGroup between 2012 and 2013 revealed Facebook and YouTube accounted for a combined 69% of all next actions taken after brand campaigns in 2012, by the end of 2013 the corresponding figure was 30%. The focus had clearly shifted from trying to encourage ‘likes’ to ‘clicks’ back to the brand’s website.

Why is this happening?

Evolving algorithms promoting friends posts over that of brands and increased content on social media – which has always struggled to drive the last click – have played a role.

Also, developments in new technology and social media platforms, combined with greater awareness of the value of user generated content (UGC) and its important role in the customer journey, has seen marketers take a different route to using social media.

What should brands do?

Brands who aren’t already doing so should use social content more cleverly to build their brand and drive sales.

This means marketers must turn their websites into powerful social hubs that are fit for the modern social and mobile consumer.

The best way to do this is to run connected cross network campaigns that link to all your marketing channels with a hashtag as the mechanism to group the conversation. You challenge people with tactics like a hashtag competition to get them to create social content and then you select the best of that, feature it on your website and make it ‘shoppable’.

For example, as a clothes retailer this could be getting customers to share pictures of themselves wearing recent purchases of a new range. Then the best images from Instagram and Twitter could be featured on your website and clickable to where web visitors can buy that product. This helps you directly benefit from the increased reach and higher levels of engagement you generate when you make your website fit for the social consumer.

In our experience, this approach will deliver on average 10% more traffic to your site, 300% increase in dwell time on pages featuring social content and an 11% decrease in the bounce rate.

It means the recent developments by Facebook and Twitter can be seen as just one part of the marketers armoury. Sourcing and effectively leveraging positive social content is the name of the game today.

Richard Jones is chief executive of EngageSciences