Here’s How You’re Supposed to Use Facebook’s Social Actions

Last week I said that Facebook’s introduction of the Timeline and social actions is going to force you to become customer-centric. To market sucessfully with Facebook, you’ll need to learn how your customers want to be perceived online and build social actions around that. Read on to see how you should leverage customer data and Facebook’s new features to create social offers that really market your products effectively.

I was fascinated to see this study from, the other day. For smart marketers, the study provided the kind of information that could be leveraged, along with Facebook’s new Timeline and Open Graph changes, to market products.

The study noted several interesting findings related to consumers and their purchases, namely:

  • consumers increasingly buy products with an eye toward their resale value, and even buy better quality products because they know they will benefit when it comes time to resell.
  • Consumers garner status, or perceived status, from their purchases. Specifically,  they want to be perceived as being shrewd about purchasing, getting good deals, being responsible in purchases, and so on.

These are great examples of social goals that retailers might not recognize, but that provide opportunities to create social offers.

Let’s say that you’re a retailer of high-end women’s bags and accessories. Your social media goal is to get consumers, especially customers who have purchased your products, to spread the word to their friends.

Knowing the results of this study, you know that your customers like to show others that they are savvy, smart consumers. They probably want to show off what they bought, but also what a good deal they got, or how they saved money or even made money by reselling your bags.

Your goal:  Get consumers to talk about—and preferably recommend–your bags to one another.

User goal:  Show I’m a smart consumer.

Possible social offers:

  • Give customers a way to brag about how much they made from selling your bags used.
  • Let customers announce how much they saved over retail on the new bag they bought from you.
  • Let customers who just bought a bag give a coupon to a friend via Facebook for the purchase of a new bag.
  • Let consumers who are looking at buying your newest handbag see the average resale value of similar lines of handbags.
  • Give regular customers a way to keep a history of the handbag purchases and resales–and make it easy for them to show that history to their friends.

You can use Facebook’s revised Open Graph actions and objects to implement most of these. For example, when someone purchases a bag online through your website or Facebook page, they can announce it with explicit text and a picture of the bag.

Facebook Share for Social Action

When you give the user the chance to announce the purchase of your bag, make sure your text reads something like, “Tell your friends what a deal you got!” to play into the user’s goal and how she wants to be perceived. Notice that when the text appears on the user’s wall, it reads “so-and-so got a deal on” your bag.

Facebook wall with social action

A more complex application might plug in some information for the customer, such as the resale value of Croc bags. Knowing that resale value is a factor for some customers, you choose to publicize it.

Facebook wall populated by social app

It’s a win-win. Your customer wants to brag and your app has made it easy for her. In exchange, you get product placement in the Timeline of a customer right where her friends–your target customers–can see it. And all you had to do was give the customer what she wants!

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