Retailers Should Go Slow on Social Sites
As it turns out, consumers may really want retailers and brands to give them their space on MySpace and other social networking sites.
The results of a new study of more than 2,000 online consumers conducted by JupiterResearch found most gave little credence to the notion that advertising messages on social networking greatly influenced purchasing decisions.
Patti Freeman Evans, lead analyst and author of the report, told E-Commerce Times, “The social and community web sites that are out there are nice experiences, but not the main places where people are looking to make purchase decisions.”
Retailers, Ms. Freeman Evans said, would generally be better off developing networks through company sites by creating customer generated product reviews, as an example. “That’s something that is of great value, but it’s most valuable when it’s right on that retailer’s web site.”
Ms. Freeman Evans said retailers should not expect to drive big traffic numbers if going the social networking site route. She expected traffic from social networking sites to be the rough equivalent of shopping comparison sites, which account for about three percent of traffic to online retailers. By comparison, she pointed out, Google drives about 15 percent of consumer traffic to e-tail sites.
While caution is being urged, retailers are making their way onto social networking sites. The online jeweler Ice.com has ventured onto YouTube with video promotions.
Pinny Gniwisch, co-founder and vice president for marketing for the company, told the E-Commerce Times, “We had to use a very soft pitch. People on YouTube don’t appreciate it when brands get involved in their entertainment.”
Mr. Gniwisch said the company plans to run up to four more pinnysworld videos so it may better assess its impact in driving actual sales. A recent video where Mr. Gniwisch spoke with rappers Three 6 Mafia about Mothers’ Day was viewed more than 36,000 times on YouTube. The video received 32 comments (many favorable, others not) and received a three out of five star ranking.
Discussion Questions: Are most retailers ready for social networking sites? What are the keys to avoid brand suicide on sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and others?
- The Social Web’s Meager Promise for Retail Marketing – E-Commerce Times
- Three 6 Mafia talk about Mothers Day – Pinnysworld/YouTube