Just last week, my friend was “window shopping” on one of her favorite retail websites and came across a pair of boots that she apparently had to have. So, she purchased the boots and then proceeded to post a photo of them on Facebook with a message that said, “So cute! Love my new boots!” (sigh…).
Why didn’t she share her purchase directly from the brand’s website where her level of excitement was at its peak? Unfortunately, the sharing options on that website didn’t allow her to express exactly what she wanted to share. Consequently, she had to leave the retailer’s website, log into her Facebook page, and then upload a photo and type in a message. Most people wouldn’t go through the trouble. Herein lies the opportunity – if brands can better socialize their websites they will have the ability to foster stronger customer engagement at the point of intent or purchase and beyond.
Historically, brands have relied on the Like button as a way to create a more social experience and encourage consumers to share. But Like lacks context, it is too one-dimensional and doesn’t provide enough detail to truly communicate what someone is trying to express. Take my wife’s scenario for example, what if she simply clicked on the Like button on that product page? How would that Like be interpreted by others? Does it mean that she wants those boots? Does it mean that she just bought them? Or does it mean that she already owns them? One would never know.
Enter Facebook’s Open Graph. Brands can now move beyond the Like and create a more engaging shopping experience both on and off of Facebook with contextually relevant verbs that resonate with their target audience and help build stronger relationships with consumers. For example, a wine distributor can enable users to “recommend” or “taste” a wine or a fashion brand can allow users to “want” a pair of shoes or “own” a dress.
How can marketers leverage Facebook’s Open Graph? Extole’s Social Expressions do just that. Our Social Expressions allow consumers to easily express how they feel about a product with very descriptive custom verbs (recommend, taste, want, etc.) – creating a far more contextually relevant and interesting shopping experience. And, with support for Facebook’s Open Graph, these consumer actions and expressions can be captured and turned into stories that are broadcast across Facebook, creating digital virality.
These stories are broadcast across Facebook and the Consumer Timeline, as well as the News Feed and Tickers of friends. In fact, research shows that consumer engagement has increased dramatically with the introduction of the Timeline – making Consumer Timelines the most valuable piece of real estate on Facebook.
With Social Expressions, the Consumer Timeline can be populated with a persistent “Brand Billboard,” or aggregation of stories, that show a stronger relationship between the consumer and the brand. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about right? Fostering stronger relationships with your consumers and giving them a better way to spread the word.
To learn more about how product level expressions can help socialize your website and drive viral earned media across Facebook, visit the Social Expressions web page.