Making your web site social..why & how


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Making your web site social..why & how

  1. 1. Making your Website social... Why & howBy Alexandre Vandermeersch, CEO,Dialog Solutions 1
  2. 2. In May 2011, more than 325 Millions Web sites exist on the Internet. Among them, millions of E-commerce shops, news sites, service providers, social media sites, or simple information sharing sites for a local business, a brand, a NGO, a person. While the number of sites have exploded over the last years, the share of traffic captured by the top sites has increased. Among them, top social networks are prominent as destination sites. Actually, Facebook has started to catch up Google in overall traffic in the US.1. Why Social Networks grabbed the traffic There are multiple reasons, which I describe became really compelling - look at what as the ‘4 laws of social media’, that explain happened to Facebook. this dominance. Law of gravity. Most social media have Law of networks. This is the most obvious built-in sharing to your network/followers. If reason. The more people join, the more you do something within the network (like a value networks generate. Once a critical page, comment, etc...), your connections will mass has been reached, networks will get see it on their ‘social feed’ - you don’t need to extra leverage to gain new members and make extra clicks to share your action. This accelerate their growth. Some networks is the famous ‘Viral loop’ of social networks. The 4 laws of social media This means that content is progressively moving to social networks, as brands saw the value of the ‘built-in’ sharing of actions Law of networks – the more people join, the by their fans and its viral potential. The more more valuable they get content, the more often people check out the site, and the more addictive it gets. There is more gravity on the earth than on the moon. Law of switch costs. If a competitor of Law of gravity - the more content, the more Facebook pops up with better features (or frequent visits get, and the more content it attracts better privacy controls), will you switch  ? It takes time & energy to register and build your network, and who will actually follow you Law of switch costs - it took time & energy to once you move away from Facebook to this build your network, why move ? great new social network ? Maybe nobody. Those are switch costs. Zuckerberg’s law of information sharing. Marc Zuckerberg pointed it in an interview. Zuckerberg’s law of information sharing - every Every year, people share twice as much year people share twice as much as previous year information as they did last year. People get more confident as time passes.2
  3. 3. The debate was heavy during the past few to have a true ‘home’ where you have full years whether or not everyone, and especially control. marketers, should focus their efforts on Then, in April 2010, Facebook released its building a presence on social networks, and ‘Open Graph API’, allowing websites all over completely abandon their investments into a the planet to include Facebook features traditional Web site. The rationale was ‘Go right into their website, such as the famous fishing where the fishes are’. That struck ‘Like’ button. Great win-win move, enabling a point. We did hear some horror stories, to bring more engagement (and data) on where hundreds of thousands of dollars were Facebook, and the famous viral loop of social invested building a website, only in order to networks into external websites. Debate was buy expensive traffic. In some cases, this then closed. You need to be both on social resulted in a cost per visitor of up to EUR 50. media and keep your site, but make it social. But there were counter-arguments, which are still valid. Fundamentally, for many sites, Now, according to Search Engine Land, more there was so much traffic brought by Google than 2.5 Millions of websites have included search (or direct visits) that it absolutely still some social plugins brought by Facebook. made sense to keep one. Also, you have full Many include the Twitter ‘Tweet’ button and control of your site: your own ads, look&feel, other social plugins. sections, and no dependency on third parties ‘changing the rules’ every now & then. Yes, some brands got their Facebook page simply deleted, for obscure reasons. You wantIf you doubt about it, here are a few samples of the value created through Facebook - based onFacebook’s own statistical data, so to be taken with a grain of salt (Source: Search Engine Land - extract):Media StatSHere’s what Facebook says about media sites using Like buttons and other social plugins: The average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300% increase in referral traffic. Users coming to the from Facebook spend 85% more time, read 90% more articles and watch 85% more videos than a non-connected user., Washington Post and The Huffington Post are said to have more than doubled their referral traffic from Facebook since adding social plugins.CoMMerCe StatSAbout commerce sites and Facebook social plugins, the Facebook reports: Levi’s saw a 40 times increase in referral traffic from Facebook after implementing the Like button in April 2010 and has maintained those levels since. Outdoor sporting goods retailer saw a 100% increase revenue from Facebook within two weeks of adding the Like button. American Eagle added the Like button next to every product on their site and found Facebook referred visitors spent an average of 57% more money than non-Facebook referred visitors Children’s clothing retailer Tea Collection added the Like button to sale merchandise and saw daily revenues increase 10 times. 3
  4. 4. 2. How can you capture the value of social Web on your site ? But the question still is - how do we maximize of building ‘positive word of mouth’ the value of social on our website ? Putting is a distinct added value, and is key. A ‘like’ buttons everywhere will not work. In this definition of ‘social currency’ can be: white paper, we describe a more advanced “someone taking a positive social action approach. for a brand, bringing its network closer to a purchase of that brand”. You can For instance, we fundamentally believe get a lot of buzz through a social media that integrating smartly conversations that campaign, with thousands of fans ‘liking’ happen on a Facebook page are really key a page for a contest or another action. to take advantage of the social Web. Actually, If that does not result in any ‘social according to a survey done in November currency’, it’s mostly a wasted effort. 2010 with top social media strategists at key For instance, maybe it was the wrong corporations by Altimeter, a Web consultancy audience who clicked (not relevant), or firm, ‘Web site [conversation] integration’ is the whole action did not bring anything the number one priority, selected by 47% from the brand’s value proposition to its of respondents. As pointed by Jeremiah audience (ie a buzz video not related at Owyang, recognized worldwide social media all to the company). On the other hand, if expert & partner at Altimeter, “2011 is the you manage to make people share their year of integration”. happy testimonials on the brand to a We will first define the 7 main functions relevant group, that do counts. Make sure that the social actions you are driving do provided by ‘social’ elements on a web build social currency. site, to then illustrate how to choose top 3. Amplify Social currency: once social priorities, and define what’s needed for currency has been built, it’s your job to get each type of page on your site. the maximum value out of it - republish, quote, retweet, cross-share testimonials While much is about driving referral traffic from Facebook to Twitter, and so on... from the ‘viral loop’, there is much more Social amplification is vital to drive value. than that to it. Let’s define the 7 main core Remember that testimonials are one of functions of getting your website ‘social’: the oldest marketing techniques ever 1. Accelerate viral loop: the most used (the household lady showcasing obvious - a social action (sharing, like) a really white shirt in TV ads...) - but drives interest of the network back to a simply writing out ‘quotes’ around a few site. We call this ‘acceleration’, because statements on your web site will not be obviously anybody can share a link on sufficient: people want to see faces, and Facebook without a social plugin, but click on the comment to see its original the easier you make it - putting and version. encouraging the 1-click ‘like’ and others 4. Animate: also called ‘Content marketing’, - the better. People that are then driven it’s a bit the reverse of traditional to the site are typically well qualified advertising. TV advertising interrupts you visitors, because they have an affinity with an ad when you watch interesting (friend, follower) with the sender, who is content, right ? Social animation creates typically already a customer or member. interesting content to create goodwill 2. Build social currency: it’s not because & possibly make you come watch an you shared something that you created ad. Many Facebook pages are using goodwill for the brand or site. The value it to keep in touch with their fans or4
  5. 5. followers. Social animation is easy on brands’ and web sites which are building social media, but why won’t you bring it their reputation. In addition, replying to to your website  ? It will drive revisits to comments & suggestion is key - it shows your site (see your products/services), that there are real people behind that site. engagement through comments & shares Obviously, with the amount of attacks, (and thus viral loops) and build goodwill. scams, phishing, unreliable e-commerce shops, showing your community on your 5. Humanize: Humans are fundamentally site is another way to show that you are social animals. Imagine you walk in the credible and trustworthy. street and look for a restaurant. You see two of them which are very similar (price, 6. Gather insights. People will ask menu, atmosphere). But one is half-full, questions, give you feedback, make the other completely empty. Where do suggestions. You will track how you go ? Asking the question is already many people ‘like’ vs ‘buy’ to identify answering it. For thousands of years, bottlenecks. Show that you care & listen people have done so many things in (cfr my point 5), but especially use their group, from shopping to drinking, etc... voice to adapt your product, services & It’s part of our nature, we need to get marketing. re-assured, see that ‘others’ have done 7. Personalize. Personalization is the the same, bought the same, and so on. ultimate weapon, still largely untouched, Online, people are often alone browsing of social integration. The idea is to so they look for social clues. Reviews build on the social currency built by & social presence are not there simply somebody’s network to personalize because of the content they provide, but your experience. In e-commerce, this is simply to show that ‘others’ are around, mostly what is called ‘Social commerce’. have bought that book, registered to The usual case is the Levi’s friends store, that service. While this is important for in which you can log in via Facebook to all sites, this is vital for the ‘upcoming personalize your shopping experience based on what your friends recommend.7 functions of making your website social Another example are the ‘sponsored stories’ by Facebook. It will prominently show, as an ad, a brand that somebody Accelerate in your network likes. At some points, Viral loop those ads will appear on websites outside of Facebook. Build social Personalize currency Amplify Gather social insights currency Humanize Animate your site 5
  6. 6. So, the first step is to define what your as it looks, means actually doubling or priorities are for your site, typically: increasing the sales by 25%. And yes, this is the evidence we have seen with Established sites: you want to drive viral clients. To optimize conversion, it is key loops, social amplification & animation to to amplify the right testimonial at every drive revisits to your site & cross- or up- point through the conversion funnel, re- selling (or simply page views if this is your assuring prospect that, others did the metric) same as you do now and they are happy! Upcoming sites: basically you need Viral loop is key too. For personalisation more viral loops but you are still building to make sense, you will need to be a your credibility with a few followers/fans: large player. therefore make sure to amplify their voice Internet services: viral loop, social to the maximum. Social animation a bit currency & humanization is crucial. less so since you are more focused on Fundamentally, this is how most first time visitors & conversion. social media themselves built up their In addition, this can vary by type of sites, here membership. are a few examples: Publishers: viral loop is key, so is social E-commerce: social is all about viral loop animation to drive revisits. Rest is less & amplification. While much of the effort important. Personalization might be of social + search engine optimization/ relevant for very large coverage news advertising has been on getting traffic, sites, who can then cherry pick best much less was given to actually convert stories and categories on its home page better those visitors. As an example, based on the network of the reader, e-commerce sites convert about 1 to driving engagement and page views 3% of their visitors into actual buyers. An extra percent of conversion, as small6
  7. 7. 3. Some concrete action steps Now that you have chosen your priorities, to take care of this silent majority.This is what should you do ? why crafting an overall approach which best balances ‘calls to actions’ (like sharing) and Define where you target audience is (and passive elements (like showing testimonials) where you have a social media presence): is key. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, all, other ? That should be straightforward. Many readers are probably wondering: “What about critiques ? Will my web site be polluted Based on that, define your social approach by the few unhappy customers?”. The answer for each type of pages you are proposing. is : no, it won’t. Most of the comments on brands in the Web are positive ! Eventually, How to do it in e-commerce ? people are happy about what they bought or the company they are interacting with, Home page: show your social media feed(s) in a widget, and happy to tell it. Most of the issues that or multiple - it will animate your returning visitors & show that happened on the social web were not due to ‘humans’ are behind this. Critical. critics, but due to the fact that the company Product pages: get the social ‘like/share’ buttons close the mishandled the issue and badly replied. If you product, with a call to action ‘Do you like this product? Click here’. have a critique, reply to it with acceptance, Product reviews help. Yet, for many case, reviews don’t apply: due care & respect. Nobody is perfect. This not enough visitors end up writing one, products are not really will help build priority 5: humanize your brand. ‘review prone’ (like clothes), or change too quickly (e.g. many Visitors will love it. consumer electronics). In this case, you should pick & choose But the benefits are clear, and huge. Making more general testimonials on the category, and publish them right your web site social will drive new visitors, on the page. In addition, you can use a ‘commenting’ plug-in to drive revisits, convert more prospects into enable conversations on the product, and give the ability to ‘open buyers, drive engagement which will in turn up’ the conversation right from the site. create more virality. It is relevant for your site? Cart & check-out: highlight testimonials related to delivery & Well, it’s relevant for any site that wants to service. People are wary of entering their card details, get anxious drive traffic & convince people - so...any site. on delivery reliability - re-assure them. It’s time to bring the social revolution where it After check-out: create a unique URL with the product matters: on your web site. description and name of the client, which she or he can easily share on social networks. Last you should include a new section ‘Community’ or ‘News’ if you haven’t gotten one, with a full page version of your social feed. This is still basic - of course, you can move your shop to a ‘social commerce’ experience by customizing the shop based on what your friends recommend, etc... Social commerce requires a white paper on its own. Eventually, be ware of ‘over-socializing’ - a product with zero “likes” (even though Facebook won’t show that number) is suspicious. Remember as well that 95% of visitors are completely passive - you need 7
  8. 8. Commercial note At Dialog Solutions, we walk the talk. is then published through a simple widget, Because we believe so much in the above, from which a conversation can be started and we could not find an entire satisfaction too (to get feedback and more testimonials). with existing social plug-ins & widgets, we In addition, widgets can be fully customized have built a simple tool to better manage & on our online design interface. We have a showcase social media conversations on number of other features in the pipeline, and your web site, called Dialogfeed (http://www. more social channels to add, but we’d like to get more feedback of our users first”. Nicolas Kint, Product Manager dialogfeed: According to David Hachez, Founder of “The major challenge is to integrate the Raz*War, an e-commerce attacker selling right conversation (questions, testimonials) razors online: “DialogFeed is critical to help at the right point in your conversion funnel. us re-enforcing the virtuous circle around our With our tool, we store all conversations brand. Testimonials from our ambassadors on your Facebook page & Twitter account are our best marketing asset – we have now in our database & enable the community a tool to use them the best possible way”. manager to display the conversations on You can suscribe to a free trial of Dialogfeed its web site, highlight the best testimonials, on which are displayed prominently, and hide spam or irrelevant messages. The ‘feed’About the author Alexandre Vandermeersch is a CEO at Dialog Solutions, a company providing software & services generating insights & business value through online dialogue with customers & stakeholders. He holds a master degree in Computer Science from the UCL and a MBA from the IESE Business School. Prior to work for Dialog Solutions, Alexandre worked for McKinsey & Company as Associate and as Project manager at Procter & Gamble. You can contact Alexandre at alexandre (a) On Twitter:!/alexvdm His blog: http://www.alexvdm.com8
  9. 9. About Dialog Solutions Dialog Solutions is the specialist of next-generation online dialogue solutions to create business value through research communities & social media. The company was founded by Patrick Willemarck & Alexandre Vandermeersch, two senior business executives who combine years of expertise at McKinsey&Company, P&G, Grey, Young&Rubicam. Its key products are: Brandialog - a powerful online research and finish it on Facebook - bringing community & platform to drive insights more viral loops to your site, where you through private brand communities: have control. DialogCube is perfect for co-creation, product feedback, & other marketing dialogue, customer service, research mixing both quantitative & open innovation, & other use cases qualitative techniques in an innovative Dialogfeed - Dialogfeed is the first & only way ‘Social Media Amplification’ Software DialogCube - it’s community software re- as a Service tool to drive back great invented, with a focus on conversations, conversations into your web site, including & full integration of social media ‘highlight/hide’ of conversations, and full conversations. Questions & answers, widget customization voting, following of topics, sharing of Among its key clients are Deutsche Bank, conversations, highlights,... Animate the Touring, L’Oréal, Danone, Delta Lloyd, and space through simple Retweets, start a many others in all sectors. conversation on Twitter, continue it on your site (in which the cube is integrated),References become-the-master-key-to-unlocking-the- web-75139 archives/2011/05/02/may-2011-web-server- survey.html h t t p : / / s e a rc h e n g i n e l a n d . c o m / b y - t h e - numbers-how-facebook-says-likes-social- plugins-help-websites-76061 9