By Michael Olson | Posted on April 22, 2011
On Tuesday, Janrain had the pleasure of co-hosting a webinar with Badgeville about “Secrets of Engagement – Leveraging Social to Unlock User Value on Your Site”. Jeremiah Owyang, a partner at Altimeter Group, presented his latest research on the evolution of the social corporate website, including a new framework for social integration (see below), and real world brand case studies and examples.
The framework presents five major maturity stages that brands go through to socialize their websites, beginning with a lack of integration. The next stage, Social linking, involves driving hard-earned traffic away from your website to social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Owyang criticizes this strategy by suggesting that the last thing brands should want to do is send traffic away from the point of conversion on their website.
Social aggregation pulls in and curates activity from social networks directly onto your site, in addition to aggregating social login capabilities from multiple networks to streamline user acquisition and profile data collection. This stage brings conversations that are happening about your content and brand across the social web back to your site, in real time.
Social publishing fosters a viral loop of word of mouth marketing and referral traffic by encouraging users to share content and activities from a brand site to their friends on social networks. Consumers are increasingly looking to their friends and social feeds both to communicate and drive recommendations. As a result, social sharing becomes a powerful method to enable conversations about your brand and drive awareness and socially-referred new visitors back to your site.
Social context occurs when marketers personalize brand experiences on their sites based on a consumer’s online behaviors, demographics, interests, friends or other social data. For example, a commerce site might serve personalized product recommendations based on a consumer’s interests. Similarly, a content site might leverage a consumer’s social graph to stream activities from friends on the site. This philosophy of social proof makes web experiences more contextually relevant, and at the end of the day, facilitates increased engagement and conversion behavior on your brand site.
Finally, seamless integration refers to a future-state envisioned by Owyang where consumers play in an online environment with no tangible differentiation between your brand site and social channels (more on this below).
We had fantastic participation on the webinar with several questions about how best to integrate social media on brand websites. The questions sparked some vibrant discussion, so we thought we’d share a few of the most frequently asked questions and our thoughts.
In the B2B space, reports indicate that Facebook is often most effective at promoting products or services, LinkedIn as a lead generator (which is more applicable in a B2B context), and Twitter as a traffic driver to your corporate website. There will always be great risk associated with placing all of your proverbial digital marketing eggs in one basket, and that includes outsourcing your corporate website to any third-party, including Facebook.
Used effectively in tandem, your company website and social network presence should form a closed loop, whereby consumers discover your brand on social networks, funnel to your website for further engagement while bringing with them their profile and social graph, and then broadcast content or their activities from your site back to their social networks. In essence, this forms a sustaining circle of awareness, engagement and conversion.
It’s important to remember that social login facilitates permission-based marketing because users must opt-in to approve sharing their profile data with your site. Marketers that leverage social login to collect and store this rich social profile data uncover opportunities to engage and monetize consumers through enhanced targeting, segmentation and personalization of content or campaign offers. At Janrain, we recommend that companies maintain transparency with consumers about how they will use this data or permissions to enrich the user experience.
A permission model lets consumers own control of the relationship, mitigating potential privacy concerns and giving your brand the prerogative to market effectively to consumers based on their interests or demographics. And stepping back from a philosophical perspective, the social nature of human interaction will continue to influence online behavioral paradigms – we are all social creatures and want to communicate and share with each other. That’s not going to change.
If you missed the webinar, an archived version is available for viewing.
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