When you look at the value of social networks, it becomes immediately obvious that while there is a new ecosystem in which to operate, the fundamentals of interaction remain unchanged. An organisation’s objective should always be to engage a user on the corporate website with content, products, services or other key parts of the site.
With the growth in social networks, however, many organisations have set up new places where these engaged users are sharing content, products or services, in a manner that is monitored, but uncontrolled. And this is where many organisations and retailers in particular, are falling down: they are failing to close the loop back to the corporate site and thereby failing to maximise the value of social interaction and the social information exchange.
There is however, a great opportunity through social login to create a bridge between the website and the social networks, and that bridge is built on the strongest marketing material available – social influence through an engaged user.
Traffic to the website from a social media platform is, by its very nature, more valuable than traffic from other sources. That may be a bold statement, but when we consider what a social network like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn has been created for, and look at the data, it makes sense.
Facebook continues to be the number one global social networking destination and people are spending more time per month on the site. People spend time on social networks and share information with people who are interesting and important to them.
At the same time, they are interested in learning from these same people, hearing their stories and experiences, and checking out what they think is important. Because trust is high among peers, recommendations and messages exchanged among friends are more likely to resonate than those from a company directly to an individual.
The trick is to take that initial social interaction and turn it into a compelling reason for the user to visit the corporate website and make the registration process simple by shortening the registration form, adopting a progressive disclosure model and allowing them to log in via existing social networks.
The rapid spread of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the availability of Internet email accounts through Google, Yahoo or Microsoft Windows Live, has increased the likelihood that the majority of site visitors already have at least one preferred online profile. Offering registration or login through these profiles has been proven to not only increase registration rates, but to increase the quality and reliability of the user data.
Once the organisation has a visitor on the website and engages them on the site, social login makes it easy for that person to communicate back to the social networks of their choice without leaving the corporate site.
Activity-based social sharing tools enable the user to perform this action from within the flow of the website experience. Once the user publishes activity or content to a social network, the corporate website has a presence there as well. And, as the user shares their activity or content from the corporate site to friends on a social network, the post from the initial engaged user drives traffic back to the site.
Many organisations that have implemented this functionality are experiencing a range of 6-25 new referral visitors for each social action a user shares with friends on the social networks. As this cycle repeats, these organisations create a direct link to the social networks and a sustaining stream of new referred visitors. By connecting the website to the social platforms through the engaged user any organisation can tap into the social networks to reach new audiences.
As the web continues to evolve, success will come to organisations that take advantage of new tools to reach target audiences and create meaningful interactions from within their brand’s site. Social media has democratised communication and made information sharing easier. Augmenting push marketing strategies with tools to empower the ‘engaged user’ as a bridge between the website and the social networks will yield the most powerful results and true word of mouth marketing success on the social web.