Social media is one of the main activities people take part in online. Syncing a social media experience with the products or services your e-commerce store offers can help drive added value to your audience and paying customers alike.
F-Commerce, which often stood for Facebook commerce in relation to Facebook storefronts, was a notable failed attempt at syncing e-commerce and Facebook because the context of its use was incorrect. People didn’t want to shop on a Facebook page of their favorite brand because they were interested in browsing through photos, interacting with friends, commenting on your page’s content, and leaving customer feedback on your wall, among other activities.
Understanding the psychology behind the use of each social network by its users will help better inform the integration of your e-commerce strategy to avoid the mistakes of the past attempts at social integration.
Let’s take a look at six ways to effectively add social media to your website:
1. Place Share Plugins on Product Pages
A commonly utilized feature on e-commerce sites today is including various social sharing buttons on a store’s product pages. This has become more common over the past few years due to the increased visibility and engagement a Facebook like button or a Twitter tweet button can help generate around a particular product page.
To add these plugins to your e-commerce store, visit the plugins or social buttons section of each major social platform you’re interested in integrating with your product pages. It’s recommended that you only select a few social plugins to your product pages.
The resources for the most widely used social plugins on e-commerce sites can be found here:
There are many options to choose from when it comes to social plugins to add your website. Most e-commerce stores choose to add Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter since sharing a product or service on those channels fits with the behavior and interests of its users. To further that point, adding a LinkedIn share button to a product page wouldn’t be the right fit for encouraging shoppers to share your products on LinkedIn since it doesn’t match the use of that particular platform.
When adding the social plugins to your product pages, add them as close to the image of the product or service you’d like them to share as possible in an organized fashion. Social plugins are integrated into the product pages of each e-commerce store differently as seen by the examples below:
2. Share User-generated Social Content Onsite
Most content about your business is generated by fans sharing photos, video and text updates about your products or service, regardless if this content is positive or negative. One way to take advantage of the positive user-generated content about your brand is by highlighting it in an engaging way on your website.
Services like Olapic, Pixlee, Curalate, and others platforms allow businesses to highlight and moderate content from their customers, fans, and followers on their website through a hashtag or in relation to a specific product. Typically displayed in a feed of photos, these images can be highly curated and moderated by the business to show the best of the best fan generated content. Clothing retailer Black Milk Clothing uses this functionality at the bottom of all its product pages to tie user-generated photos to individual products. For instance, this skater dress on Black Milk’s website is associated with the ##bmforfoxsakecsskaterdress hashtag which then allows all photos tagged on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to appear under the dress if the photos from customers are tagged properly.
This functionality helps customers get a sense of the popularity of certain items, as well as see how these products can be styled and worn by a real person and not a model. Social media let’s you scale the imagery created about your business to other customers to further assist in the buying process and the growth of your company overtime.
3. Offer Social Sign-In
Visitors to your e-commerce store can create an account on your website to access their profile, view their purchase history, begin filling their cart, make a purchase, and perform a few other functions. Social sign-in allows a user that’s already signed into a particular social channel to sign into your website using that channel’s sign-in feature, eliminating the need to enter your username and password.
Facebook is one of the most popular social sign-in integrations seen on e-commerce websites since it is the most widely used social network to date. Social sign-in is beneficial to an e-commerce store to use because research shows that social sign-in users often spend more time on site and purchase more than users who don’t login with social.
Many users are often concerned with their privacy when it comes to social sign-in’s with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and other networks which is why it is important to A/B test two versions of your sign-up page with and without the use of the social sign-in to determine the best conversion rate overtime. To see an example of social sign-in in action look to websites like Klout, Pinterest, Fancy, or Fab.
4. Use Social Based Comment Systems
Social based comment systems like Facebook comments, Adobe Livefyre, or Disqus are robust tools for making the experience of commenting on content and having conversations with other commenters more engaging and credible through social verification and amplification on an e-commerce site. Often found on the blog of an e-commerce store, these socially fueled comment systems require commenters to synch one of their social accounts to the tool so there is an genuine profile linked to your identity as a commenter. This helps reduce the presence of trolls, but more importantly makes the whole process of commenting more social by sharing engaging thoughts and conversations from the comments right to a user’s favorite social channel.
These social based comment systems have a rating system in place that will bring the most liked or engaged with comment to the top of the discussion. The thinking behind this technology is that the comments with the most relevant information to a larger demographic must be the most interesting information to be featured front and center. Since the social commenting tools require social login, there’s less of a chance of spam attacking your website through this authentication system.
Commenting tools spur real-time conversations on your e-commerce website since they allow for human-to-human interaction, helping connect a stronger authenticity and reliability to your business. Not to mention, these conversations can quickly scale to be included on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites.
5. Remind Users to Share Across Key Steps of the Buying Process
If done correctly the integration of social media across the entire experience of an e-commerce store can increase the likelihood others will follow in the footsteps of your current customers from the actions they see published on social media. It is very important not to annoy users across social media by over publishing the actions occurring on your website. Focus on reaching a healthy balance of sharing the interesting activities of your web visitors and providing value to users that may see that content on one of their social feeds.
For example, when a visitor books tickets using Eventbrite for an upcoming concert or conference, the website automatically prompts the customer to share that they’ve purchased event tickets on Twitter and Facebook. This isn’t required of a visitor but often these tickets are to see entertainment, which is typically what someone is interested in sharing with their friends on social media.
Ever since Eventbrite started integrating calls to actions to share moments across the buying process they found that each share on Facebook generates 14 visits and is equal to $4.15 per share, a share on Twitter generates 33 visits and is equal to $1.85 per share and lastly, that each share on LinkedIn generates 10 visits and is equal to $.92. Analyze the buying funnel for your customers to see where it would make the most sense to add social plugins or a direct call to action for users to share the moment they are experiencing with your business. Always test and retest any changes to your business model to ensure that the impact of social features doesn’t have a negative effect on the conversion rates of your website.
6. Show What Products Are Trending Socially
Some of your products are more innately social than others when it comes to people being interested in sharing them with their network on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. Of the products that do consistently get shared across social media, it is important to highlight this information for both your visitors and your company. This can be achieved through the addition of a ‘popular product feed’ on your website that allows your potential customers to see what’s trending among your product assortment and help your business better understand what to products perform more effectively on social media.
The products that perform more effectively on social media can help give your business deep insights into what to buy, develop more of, and to plan against for the future of your product focused e-commerce store.
Flash sale site turned e-commerce giant, Fab has utilized a social feed of their most popular products since their beginning and now has broken it up into what is the most popular item per category between men, women, home wares and fun. Each e-commerce store should incorporate their popular product feed in a unique way to best reach their customers and highlight what’s trending amongst their demographic.
What social media integration sounds like the most beneficial to your business? What other social integrations would you like to see in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Updated November 16, 2017.