Social Media Purchasing: Why This Feature Is Changing Marketing

July 24, 2015

Just a few years ago, social networking sites were…well, just that.


Platforms like Facebook and Twitter were used for the sole purpose of connecting with others. Each platform’s features were limited to “likes,” “pins” and “shares.” Social media was used for socializing.


But times are a-changin’ and social media has undergone some major renovations in the last few years. And the newest feature to hit social media is one that could make or break today’s marketers.


It all started with “click to buy” features on Instagram. Next we saw Pinterest’s Buyable Pins. And last week we heard about online shopping with Facebook Pages.


Individually, each of these purchasing features is big news. But the overarching story here is that marketers are gaining powerful new capabilities thanks to these purchasing features.


A marketer’s choice to harness or ignore this powerful new capability will determine their success at marketing over social media.


The amount of social media users has been on the rise for years.

The amount of social media users has been on the rise for years.


Social media is the ultimate tool to reach consumers. According to a Pew Research report, three out of four U.S. online adults use social networking sites. That’s a lot of people – and that statistic doesn’t even include the massive teenage market.


But social media marketing is about much more than advertising to a large group of people.


The key takeaway from social media purchasing is a marketer’s potential to unlock a plethora of customer data.


Here’s how:


Although Facebook’s shopping features have yet to be solidified, it’s safe to assume that companies using the platform will have access to customer information via social media profile.


In other words, when marketing over social media, companies will be able to determine their customers’ age, gender, location and interests in a way that is more convenient and efficient than traditional data collection methods.


But this revelation means more than fast, easy access to mounds of data.


Data ImageSocial platform marketing may be the answer to the problem that has been around since companies began collecting customer data. Data collected from social media platforms will resolve marketers’ concerns about data accuracy. Social media profile basics, like gender, birthday and location, are typically accurate on a user’s profile. This means that, when utilizing social media profile information, the likelihood for clean data increases.


The potential for accessing accurate data is a huge win for marketers because data collected by a third party extremity – or even the company itself – often carries misinformation.


Earlier this year, Marketing Week found that a whopping 60 percent of consumers intentionally provided wrong information when submitting personal details online. With an average of 6 out of every 10 consumers providing incorrect personal information, how can a company create accurate marketing algorithms and distribute relevant messages?


They can’t.


And relevant messages are a big deal. Irrelevant offers are a major turnoff for consumers, who may choose to ignore future messages (no matter the offer).


This is why social profile data is the answer to this age-old problem. It lets marketers distribute personalized messages with products the consumer may actually care about. And, although personalization may seem like a lot of work, the pay-off is huge and the profits are rewarding.


Where do we go from here?


As social networking sites continue to push purchasing features, companies should be on the lookout for opportunities to market their products. Taking advantage of these changes may improve data and personalized content, while neglecting these additions could result in a company getting left behind its competitors and ignored by consumers. Be sure to capitalize on social media marketing while it’s hot!

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