Unique Sells in your Facebook Shop

Your job as a merchant and a marketer is to create a unique and engaging experience on all of your social media sites, you’re probably sitting there asking what does that mean? A unique experience is one that will “stick” with your customers, it’s memorable and out of the ordinary for them. In return, they won’t forget the experience and will create a lifetime advocate promoting your company and products to their friends and followers.

If you have an existing website then your social sites may be the place to let your hair down, relax, and be yourself. Your goal in social networks is all about the two-way communication and engagement. It’s your chance to let your personality come through. You don’t sell to your friends do you? Most of the time no! You listen to them and communicate with them. They tell you their funny stories and vise versa. So why would you want to sell to your “Friends/Fans” on Facebook? They don’t want to be sold to, they want a social experience. Sure you can remind them from time to time that you are selling on Facebook as well but the more you interact with them the better chance you will have at turning them into real fans. I’m reminded of a friend’s recent casual discussion while playing golf with a business associate that led to a purchase of a piece of real estate. The intent of the game was social and fun. However, the discussion provided context for an opportunity that he wasn’t aware of but was highly interested in. The context for the purchase was driven by a conversation, interesting product and a relationship that already validated their commitment through their purchase. 

So how do you create a unique experience? Do you have an interesting hobby or job, if so share it. Are you funny? Yes, then create a daily joke that’s tasteful and appropriate for all audiences. Into fashion or food then share your passion. Have cute animals? Share your pictures and stories, everyone loves adorable animal pictures. These personal things make you relatable to your audience; they are now communicating with a human, not a computer.

Now that you have their attention you want to integrate your products into the mix to remind your audience that you have a social shop, key word is “social.” If you started to engage your fans by introducing pictures of cute, furry animals then use that to your advantage with your products. For example, if you sell jeans then post pictures of dogs wearing your jeans or just wearing jeans with a caption that says “Think these look good on him, imagine what they could do for you! Shop today in our Facebook store by clicking on your Shop app icon.” You have now successfully been engaging, sociable, and a marketer all at one time. Get creative this is the fun part figuring out how to share your products with your personality thrown in.

You are now creating a unique experience that customers will remember. Many times your products aren’t highly unique so you have to stand out from the crowd.  If people associate you with the dog jean pictures then you have successfully stuck with them. And they are more likely to share it with their friends who share those interests.  It’s time to build on the experience, branch out and post things that are relatable to your unique content. Start to build your niche.

Once you have built your experience make sure you maintain it, you don’t want to drop off the face of the earth. All your efforts will have been wasted. Stay consistent and reliable your fans will reward you for it. Do you have a favorite brand you like to follow because they’re out of the ordinary? If so let us know in the comments below.

Image link: http://donnainjapan.blogspot.com/2012/06/dog-child.html#!/2012/06/dog-child.html

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Google Product Search Changes Approach for Retailers

 

We want to provide an important notice to our Facebook shop retailers that have an online shopping website.  A few weeks ago, Google announced that they will be moving to a paid inclusion model of the current Google Product Search which will now become Google Shopping. So in English what does this mean for you? Simply stated you will now have to pay, for what has been free in the past, to have your products appear in the dedicated shopping search engine and Google Shopping boxes. Many merchants submit their product feed through Google Merchant Center in order for their products to be eligible for inclusion in Google Product Search. This can result in higher search rankings and sales.

According to a blog post released by Google, Sameer Samat states that this change will result in a better shopping experience for the shopper by providing these buyers the highest quality data that in turn will create quality traffic for the merchants. Well that just sounds dandy, especially for Google now that they are charging for the service, but is it worth a retailer paying for it is the big question.

“If your keyword search traffic on a particular product or type of products convert at a good ROI, then you can expect similar patterns in Google Shopping,” as stated by Kurt Krake president of Search-Werks. In order to understand the traffic that you currently get from the Google Product Search you will need to take a look at your analytics. Do you see any traffic coming from this area of Google, are they paying customers or just browsing? When you can answer those questions then you will know if it’s worth taking money out of your marketing budget to showcase your products in Google Shopping.

The transition won’t be complete until this fall so you have some time to figure out how you want to approach this situation. Google is also offering incentives:

          Merchants that create product listings by August 15th, 2012 will receive a monthly 10% credit for their total Product Listing Ads through 2012

          Existing Google Product Search Merchants will get $100 AdWords credit if they fill out a form before August 15th, 2012.

The good news is that this won’t impact your product listings in your Facebook store or overall selling in Facebook. Continued promotion of your products, increased engagement tactics and use of social sharing will help to improve your overall search engine rankings through increases in your social authority, potentially off-setting some of this impact.

Successful online retailers need to manage all elements of their traffic to drive sales and obtain a quality ROI on marketing activities for their website and Facebook shop. At ShopTab, we value your overall online success and don’t want to see our clients hit by an unexpected drop in quality referrals from Google. Many of us will see just how reliant we are on Google Shopping for traffic later this fall when they make the change.  Have you taken a look at your analytics to see if this will impact you?

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How to Create a Group Buy in your Facebook Store

The other day an article came out on Social Commerce Today discussing the power of a co-buy, which is just another way of saying a group buy or “Groupon.” After we got to thinking about it we realized that this was something that could be utilized inside a Facebook store. It just takes a little bit of effort on your end, some creative thinking, and you can create very own group buy.

Here is a simple way of starting a group buy. First, you need to decide on how many “likes” or “shares” you want to reach before you give away the offer. Once you have a number decided upon, start your promotion through social announcements. For example, “The first 20 to like our new body lotion will receive a coupon code for a free travel size with their purchase.” Or, “If you can get 10 of your friends to tell us why they love our new candles, you and your friends will get 30% off your entire purchase with an exclusive coupon code.” Now your offers don’t have to be that generous, we wanted to make sure you get the picture.

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You can utilize the new function in ShopTab called “Featured Item” for an even bigger call to action to your fans. This time you can use other social channels like Twitter, and Pinterest. Ask your fans to tweet or pin the item a certain amount of times to receive something in return.

You can also have a Facebook store strictly for group buy items. Instead of having the “Buy Now” button you can have a “Group Buy” button to take them back to special landing pages on your website or checkout page.

Now it’s your turn to get creative, go forth and group buy.

 

 

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Simple Management of Multiple Facebook Shops

 

Are you inside of a company, social marketing firm or agency and tired of the daily hassle of managing multiple Facebook stores? Common complaints we hear from clients who manage a number of stores stem from various logins, different feature package offerings and hard to implement performance tracking and measurement systems.  ShopTab has recently enhanced our Multi-User option that allows you to manage up to hundreds of stores from a single dashboard.

Just like with your traditional e-commerce website, there are real-time demands for product updates, merchandising changes, promotion implementations and product traffic campaigns to manage with your Facebook stores.  Your Facebook stores are a key channel element that requires synchronization with these marketing activities and in many cases may be the leaders in the delivery of the message in social networks. Having a powerful tool to assist in the timely coordination across multiple Facebook store updates can be paramount to your social selling success.

The ShopTab Multi-User option allows you to manage scores of stores from single dashboard screen.  Benefits of managing the stores from the dashboard are:

      Quick view of all stores

      Ability to create new stores, deactivate or reactivate old stores

      Complete store product synchronization controls

       Full design and store page layout options

       Language translation and currency management access

       Billing option management and notification settings

[slideshare id=12871498&doc=multi-userslideshow1-120509175418-phpapp02] Do you manage more than one Facebook shop? If yes, what is your biggest challenge?

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Six Tactics Guaranteed to Grow the Fans for your Facebook Store

Got ya! You saw six tactics and “BAM” you were sold. Don’t worry we will give you the six tactics, but we think most people quickly jump to tactics to fix things, instead of creating a strategy to drive their activities. We believe you should consider building an overall social strategy so that these tactics will have more value to your business.

In the first post in this series on Social Commerce Strategy, you set your strategy and determined your objectives. In the second post we figured out a number of ways to grow your audience but now you need to know how to keep them interested and active. We’ve seen many marketers rush the first two steps by moving to step three too quickly.  This can just be a waste of time if the planning hasn’t been given its due.  Putting the cart before the horse doesn’t work for the cart or for social marketing!

Here are six tactics as promised! To see more than these six tactics visit our social commerce strategy white paper “Return on Facebook” for over 20 stellar tactics for your Facebook shop as well as links to other websites for more tactics.

          Ask follower to post on your wall/home page and provide a free sample of a product for the most creative post.

          You don’t have to put all of your products into your Facebook shop. If you have a fully functioning website then use this as an opportunity to promote “on sale” items only available to fans by creating a special category for your store or even have it as the only category.

          If you have a Pinterest account, encourage your fans to post images onto your shared board.

          Create a “Featured” page that only has unique products or price specials available to your fans.

          Create packaged offerings (put two products together at a discounted price) that only are available to your fans.

          Introduce products on Facebook first, offer a special deal for these early users. Create urgency by defining a short time period for the offer.

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Below are the first two articles in this series:

Building your Social Strategy
Building your Social Audience

What are some tactics you’ve used to promote fan engagement on your Facebook page?

Image source: http://tabernaclefortoday.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/the-cart-before-the-horse/

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Authorize.net Integration with your Facebook Shop

Looking for a Facebook Shop application with a simple and trusted payments solution? ShopTab recently partnered with Authorize.net, a wholly owned subsidiary of VISA, using their simple checkout solution that allows for easy product payment.  This option creates a seamless buying experience so your users never leave Facebook to complete their purchase. 

Authorize.net is an expert at payment gateway delivery for billions of transactions each year with hundreds of thousands of merchants.  They provide many advantages to retailers that are looking for a new payments provider or who don’t currently have a payment solution.  Your ShopTab Facebook Store will present your products professionally while incorporating additional credibility to your clients of Authorize.net’s payment security and experience. See the picture below for a visual of the integrated Authorize.net “Buy Now” button.

    

Once your client selects their product they are taken to a checkout page within the Facebook frame that will allow them to verify their selection and then complete the purchase.         

We’ve heard from retailers that prefer a credit card based solution versus using a service like PayPal because of lower transaction fees and better support options. 

Additionally, this solution provides the same experience for non-profit entities that want to drive support through online donations or even product purchases. We’ll be talking about how non-profits can use ShopTab to activate their fans in Facebook in some future blog posts.

A complete FAQ on the installation and support of the Facebook Shop with Authorize.net is available.  Also you can follow the step by step slideshow below. If you already have an account with Authorize.net, you’re all set to go.  If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to complete the online application process with Authorize.net to get started.

Good luck and good selling!

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Launch a Facebook Store with Amazon’s Webstore Commerce Platform

What can you do to supercharge your marketing opportunities and revenues after you’ve optimized the power of your Amazon Webstore?  How about taking your products or services to a social platform to engage a new audience and reach new customers? There is a compelling solution, create a Facebook store! ShopTab, a leader in global social commerce, has released Amazon Webstore integration that allows you to take products from your website and place them in a customized Facebook shop in a few simple steps.

Let’s explore the value of adding social commerce to your existing e-commerce efforts.  Facebook, or any social network, allows merchants to have a different conversation with your audience that not only engages them but allows them to become your best advocates. Using Facebook as a social selling platform opens up a new avenue to create a personality behind your brand and the potential to present your products to over 950 million Facebook users. Retailers continually invest to stay in front of their existing clients and broaden their reach to new clients – social networks like Facebook are a new tool to add to your mix of weapons to achieve your goals.

When you provide clients and prospects the opportunity to socially interact with your products using “likes,” “shares,” “tweets,” and “pins” the conversation is amplified to their friends and friends of their friends.  It is important to note this delivery can’t mimic your e-commerce solution; social users are looking for a unique shopping experience, one that brings them closer to their friends or people with similar interests. According to Social Commerce Today users are engaging in “social intelligence” which involves six elements:

1) Social Proof – My friends have that so I need that.

2) Reciprocity – Well they gave me a free product so I will buy something from them.

3) Authority – My favorite actor/actress has that so I need that.

4) Consistency – This product has lasted forever or it’s my favorite so I will buy from them again.

5) Liking – I really love my best friends taste so I want what she has.

6) Scarcity – None of my friends have this product yet I need to be the first.

The opportunity for social commerce to deliver revenues is highly compelling if you can appeal to these social intelligence drivers.  Download our free Social Commerce Strategy if you need a kick start to your efforts.  To get started with your current Webstore infrastructure, all you need to do is follow a few steps that are outlined in the slideshow below and your shop will be up and running.

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We also provide a detailed FAQ on your Facebook Shop integration with Webstore. For a special 30 day FREE trial visit our Webstore Facebook Shop landing page. ShopTab is an Amazon Webstore Solutions Provider.

Let us know what social commerce functionality has worked for you. Sound off below in the comment section.

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The Five Best Ways to Kill the Audience for your Facebook Shop

 

You login to your Facebook fan account to see what kind of interaction happened when you were offline and you see that there are no new fans. In fact, you’ve lost a few!  For anyone that is new to social marketing it becomes an addiction to watch the growth of your Facebook fan base. If you are like me, it can be a roller coaster ride that you just want to get off of because of the daily ups and downs.

Last week on this blog we launched part one of our five week adventure through the whitepaper “Return on Facebook,” a social commerce strategy document for your Facebook shop. We asked you to answer three important questions with one of them being – “Do you have a written social marketing strategy?”  Once you have completed this strategy you’ll need to immediately start the process of growing the audience to your Facebook fan page.

Our strategy document provides numerous ways to grow your audience.  Instead of summarizing those in this post, we are going to talk about five things you shouldn’t do:

1.       YOU’RE NOT POSTING INTERESTING CONTENT. People want to like you. They don’t start out thinking “I’m just not going to like them at all.” By giving them interesting, compelling and fun content centered on your company and brand it reaffirms their like, or shall we say, love for you.

2.       YOU DON’T RESPOND.  You break the cardinal rule of social and don’t respond to someone’s attempt at reaching out to you. That’s like showing up to the party 10 hours late, everyone has already gone home and they are no longer interested in what you have to say. If you start a discussion with a post you should be available to respond in a reasonable period of time.

3.       ALL YOU DO IS PROMOTE AND SELL YOUR PRODUCTS.  Even though you are trying to grow a fan base to create overall engagement for your Facebook store you don’t want to bombard people with BUY, BUY, BUY! See what I did there? I said BUY three times in all caps, practically yelling at you to buy and it was pretty annoying. You’ve been to that networking event where that one person tries to sell everyone in the room and everyone does their best to stay away from him.

4.       YOU’RE A NARCISSIST.  You only post your own content. Don’t suffer from the narcissistic syndrome of thinking your content is all people want. People like variety, context, perspective on your market and you are a vehicle for helping to educate them.  

5.       NO OWNERSHIP.  Last but not least, your social media is being controlled by someone who knows social media but nothing about your company, your values, your perspective or brand promise. This can be very detrimental to your social media efforts as well as a misrepresentation of what your organization is all about. This is like using trade show models to staff your show booth – they make create a short-term attraction but they aren’t going to provide a meaningful engagement with a client or prospect.

Take a look below for a few tactics to help grow and engage your audience.

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Follow us for the next installment of your social marketing plan, social commerce tactics. We’ll turn the planning and audience growth into the most successful tactics to drive your sales. Download our complete Social Commerce Strategy document if you would like to review all steps in the process.

Image source: http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2009/03/closing-bell-cy/

 

 

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How to use Pinterest for Social Commerce

 

 

Pinterest, surely you have heard this word thrown around in a few places lately. It’s the social network that’s on everyone’s radar since it is the fastest growing social network site of 2012 with over 10.4 million users, according to HubSpot. All this excitement over posting pictures on virtual bulletin boards seems crazy, doesn’t it?  Does this frenzy relate to social commerce in any way? We think it may be one of your best levers to drive both user engagement and product sales.

Unlike other social sites, Pinterest is social and commerce at the same time.  Users are engaged and want to purchase products they see pinned on the website, 21% of all Pinterest users are consumers, as stated by The Next Web website. I can think of at least 10 conversations that I’ve had this week alone where Pinterest was credited for an idea or a situation in which someone made a purchase. I’m guilty of getting lost in the “pinning” experience myself – don’t tell my boss! I’ll come clean; I’ve bought five things in the last month thanks to Pinterest.

The best thing that Pinterest has going for it is the huge visual presence, it’s not text heavy so it allows the products to showcase themselves.  Those of us in e-commerce get that this is called “good merchandising” of a product.  When a user posts a pin it is placed on a board that they have created. That board is then shown to every user that follows them. It also gets placed into the Pinterest database for all users to search.  Oh yeah, it is free. Who wants free merchandising?

Over 80% of the pins result in repins, other users sharing a pin, according to RJ metrics. Once your product is pinned it has the potential to be viewed by millions of eyes, and this is growing. When someone engages with your product by clicking on the image they will be redirected to your website or Facebook store, increasing your traffic. Does this really happen? Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Google+, YouTube and Linked combined, according to the Sharaholic blog.

Pinterest as a sharing site also allows your business to show the personality behind your brand and insight into the organization.  For example, if your company sells kitchen supplies you could create boards for recipes, new kitchen gadgets, a shared board where users can post their recipes, or a video board of your company’s favorite cooking shows.

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As a business owner, Pinterest is a social opportunity that should be taken advantage of by placing “Pin it” buttons on your website, any electronic communication tools you use with your products, as well as in your Facebook store. ShopTab has a “Pin it” feature that allows a potential customer in your Facebook store to pin your product to their Pinterest board.

           

By using the Pin-it feature in your  Facebook shop the consumer will click the “Pin it” icon that is located with your product, that will then take them to a dialogue box that allows them to choose which board they want to place it on and the dialogue they want to share. In order to activated this feature, login to your admin panel and click on “Settings,” then “Customize and the buttons will appear on all product listings.

Pinterest looks like it is here to stay and the possibilities for this new social site are endless. The opportunity is ripe for your creativity and early on is showing dramatic results for many retailers.  Take a look at our Pinterest boards. We’d love to know what you think.

Image Source: http://www.copyblogger.com/pinterest-marketing/ 

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Get your Social Commerce Strategy right for Tweet Sake!

Most everything you read says your company must aggressively participate in social marketing or you will lose out to your competitors. Your boss asks about it and it has become a standard topic in your staff meetings. You’re running after Likes, Shares, Tweets and Pins like they are going out of style.  Why?  Really, why?  We challenge you to answer the following questions:

-          Do you have a written social marketing strategy?

-          Have you defined your top three most important social metrics?

-          What is the ROI on your social marketing and commerce activities?

If you can’t answer any of these questions then you need to read on because we think you may be chasing butterflies.

In this blog we are embarking on a five week journey through ShopTab’s Social Commerce strategy whitepaper, “Return on Facebook.” We will explore the five-step process that leads you to the development of a high level social marketing strategy, building a quality audience and then narrow your focus into social commerce strategy and tactics. Once completed, the Social Commerce strategy will be a key element of your overall Social Marketing strategy and your long-term marketing success.

A marketing strategy is the most important driver of a company’s business plan. This is where you decide the value you want to give your clients, as well as what unique approach and position in the market you will take. The supporting social strategy has emerged as a critical pillar in the success of the marketing plan, especially for any business that is online and direct to consumer. We believe your social strategy statement should have the same organizational buy-in that you have for all functional strategy statements that support the overall business plan.  Radical thinking? We don’t think so because social marketing isn’t just driven by a single department; it is driven by the whole organization – that is what it means to be social. OK, that may be radical thinking but it is true.

Where do you start to create this social strategy statement? We propose a process in the first section of the “Return on Facebook” document to get you started.  Around ShopTab we believe that no one is ever too busy for homework.  So download the “Return on Facebook” document and read the introduction and first section. If you can’t brainstorm your way to a social strategy statement tell us why. We hate the idea of you chasing butterflies.

Be sure to follow us for the next installment of your social marketing plan, growing your audience.

Image source: http://wildiris-homeschooljournal.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

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