31 January 2011 | Tanya Goodin

Incentives are the engine for social commerce growth

Tamar’s Social Media Sectors Report 2011 – published today – has some revealing data for brands in both B2C and B2B sectors.

Social media is rapidly evolving into social commerce and these trusted online spaces are where brands and customers can develop relationships.

What might surprise many of us is the fact that the vast majority of people, according to our survey, do not view privacy issues as a reason to avoid online engagement with brands.

But what they do need is a good reason to develop a social relationship with brands. Our report underlines the need for incentives as a lure for consumers to engage. Just over half of respondents (50.4%) state that they follow or like a brand simply to find out more about discounts.

This was first highlighted in our 2007 Social Media Sectors Report and the desire has not diminished. Significantly, more than a third also said that that they were “a huge fan” of the brand and liked having an affiliation with them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

At the same time, only a minority of consumers indicated that issues over privacy prevented them from engaging with brands on social networks (27.1 per cent).

We also confirmed, not only through the survey results but also through our on-going research that B2B brands need to review their social engagement strategies for this year.

Our findings amplify previous studies indicating mismatches between some brand marketing goals and the needs of clients and consumers. This scatter-gun approach will need to be replaced in B2B and B2C engagement with coherent strategies this year that bind consumers closer but also provide conduits for quality lead generation.

We also believe that location-based service providers will need to offer users continued and improving incentives to engage, in what will be a very competitive space over the next 12 months.

The much-anticipated launch of Facebook Places in Europe this week is a clear signal of where the social market is heading. As you may know, the move means that Facebook users will be able to get discounts and special deals in shops, cafes and restaurants by checking in on Facebook Places on their smartphone.

This news comes hard on the heels of LinkedIn’s confirmation that it will go for a public offering this year.

There’s much more in our Report and I hope that you find it helpful in helping to shape your thinking on social commerce engagement throughout what could potentially be a particularly challenging year.

We think that many brands, particularly in the B2B sphere, will be working more effectively this year, with focused engagement across relevant platforms through a planned, effective, social media strategy.

Let me know what you think – as always your shared views are very important to us.

Tanya Goodin

Tanya Goodin

Founder of Tamar