Success! Someone just made another purchase on your website. But the fun doesn't stop there. Your customer, excited about their recent buy, then tells their hundreds of friends and followers on social networks about the purchase and includes a link right to its product page. Your customer's friends arrive to your website via social media and hopefully become customers as well.
This is the ideal scenario after integrating social media with your ecommerce website. By strategically placing social sharing buttons on your site's product and content pages, you can turn each online sale into its own marketing campaign to drive additional traffic and conversions.
Placing "Like", "Share", "Tweet" and "Pin" buttons on article or product pages
A "Like" or "Share" button will not grow your social profile's fan base, but it will help people see your product pages. Once these buttons are clicked, users can share a link to your product or article page with their social network by sending a private message, posting on their timeline, or posting on another friend's timeline.There are currently dozens of plugin toolbars that are available to enable sharing on pages. They can also be customized to highlight the specific social networks frequented by the user demographic. A well-placed "Pin It!" button is ideal for a product site with great imagery. Increasing Pins for the product on Pinterest not only grows organic interest in the product across social channels, but could assist in the visitor coming back to complete the purchase at a later date.
When users click the "Like" button underneath the product, a popup box will ask them how they want to share this news with their friends. They might be seeking an opinion, or better yet - setting a trend!
As for Pinterest - which ecommerce site wouldn't want products pinned to a "Gift Wish List", perhaps?
Social integration beyond product pages
In addition to your product pages, social media sharing should also be integrated into your site's content pages and blog posts. "Recommend" or "send" buttons are ideal for encouraging readers to share an article with friends in a personal message. MTV, for example, have scaled down a standard plug-in toolbar to focus on the key social networks for sharing content: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Email.
The standard article Like button doesn't only have to be on the article page. It can be implemented from preview pages too, like the below example from Mashable.
This means more sharing from people who might only skim the article. More!
Make sure the Like button opens up a pop-up box, where users can add their own comments before posting on their wall. This increases chances of it being seen by their friends in the news feed.
Offer incentives to share on social media
Take the next step beyond encouraging your customers to share your product with their friends. Once they've purchased, give them a chance to get benefits - like discounts, 'credit points', or even the entire product free by sharing it with their social networks. Fab.com lets users earn credits for an in-house points system when they Like or share the sale:
At popular beauty deal site Lifebooker, members can share deals, or the site as a whole, with their friends using a personalized share link or the standard Facebook/Twitter/email buttons. The first time a friend signs up the referring user gets $10 off their next beauty booking or "Loot" purchase.
At Gilt, Sharing links is rewarded with a $25 credit once a friend's first order ships. This can be tracked by generating unique links that are sent to friends. Conversions can be linked to the original referral in this manner - and ultimately, rewarded, for more sharing!
And at Living Social, not only are customers encouraged to share that they've purchased a deal with their friends with an easy Tweet and Share button - they are given a unique link that will get them the product for free, if it's purchased by three friends or more.
And even when sales are not involved, never underestimate the power of peer pressure. Non-profits such as Movember encourage their donors to spread the word once they've made the donation, by showing which of their friends are involved on the social network:
Once put in place, this initial level of social integration will give your site a new source of qualified traffic. Do you have any extra suggestions or examples of good social media integration? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with me via twitter @rishegee .