It’s OK to Be Liked
Motivate the right social behavior to drive digital commerce.
Contributor: Chris Pemberton
As head of social marketing for a leading retail brand, Jane uses social media to connect and engage with her audience. Her team posts inspiring lifestyle imagery on various social networks and uses social advertising to promote this content to a lookalike audience that mirrors her target consumer. Audience members see this content in their newsfeeds, and “Like” the content and the brand’s Facebook page. Like many of her peers, Jane wonders how to connect this social media engagement with digital commerce.
Even though each social network looks and behaves differently, they enable three social behaviors by users and between audiences and brands:
- Endorsement: When a user likes or enjoys something
- Engagement: When a user takes additional steps to learn more
- Distribution: When a user thinks something is so valuable he or she shares it with others
Deconstructing three key social behaviors
Facebook ‘Likes’ and Pinterest ‘Pins’ are the most common social behaviors that signify endorsement. Endorsement behaviors are also the least valuable because they require little mental processing or user commitment, and they do not correlate directly to sales. Endorsements can affect the engagement rate for a brand page or piece of content because they serve as a social proof point and indicate the relative popularity of a product or piece of content.
Engagement behaviors such as comments (including ratings and reviews), replies and other responses to content posted by others is more valuable social behavior because it requires more mental processing than an endorsement. Commenting also provides valuable context for social media audiences, and engagement behaviors serve as input during purchase consideration.
Social sharing and similar distribution behavior is the most-valued social behavior (although the exact value varies by site and other factors). When sharing with their social networks, people carefully process information because what they share affects how they’re viewed. Such cognitive processing that precedes social sharing helps users better remember product and information sources.
Make the most of social behavior
Motivate the right type of behavior and choose tactics that have the greatest impact on your customers’ buying journeys. If being considered more often by prospects is your goal and you know search is a key component of the prospect buying journey, then focus on motivating social behaviors that influence search algorithms, such as engagement and distribution, because of their impact on search results.
Don’t completely discard endorsements such as Likes and Pins
While engagement and distribution can send strong signals to search engines, don’t completely discard endorsements such as Likes and Pins. These and other endorsement behaviors also affect engagement rates which in turn impact how a site is valued by search algorithms. So endorsements may also need to be part of your plan.
Jennifer Polk will provide additional social marketing and digital commerce insights during the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference, May 17 – 19 in San Diego, CA. Follow news and updates from the event on Twitter using #GartnerDMC.
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