Just when I thought that Facebook could not get any bigger, it just did. Recently, Express, the retail company, expanded its Facebook marketing platform by adding a new application tab “Shop EXPRESS” that enables Facebook users to access its retail products and buy from the Facebook page.
While reviewing the application on Facebook, I have to say I was quite impressed. By adding these functions and app, EXPRESS is able to both promote their product and sell some products. One of the functions that I love is the ‘Like’ function. When a Facebook user click ‘Like’ on one of the products, that action will automatically be shown in the user’s news feed, thus promoting the brand to the user’s circle. After researching more about shopping through Facebook, I discovered that a similar function that enables Facebook fans to shop in Facebook has actually been done by other retail companies such as DKNY and BANANA Republic before although each company seem to utilize it differently. An interesting article titled “Would you go shopping on Facebook?” by theclosthingmenu.com discusses further the topic of online shopping through Facebook.
As for the matter of integrating Facebook for shopping, my opinion stands that I’m not really sure of what the future holds for shopping through Facebook, but I find the use of Facebook for marketing the brands is definitely effective. The ‘Like’ functions and the ability to comment on the product from the company’s Facebook page are quite brilliant. In a way, it’s like an upgraded version of the word of mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) is the process of information exchange, especially recommendations about products and services, between two people in an informal way. In the past, word of mouth has been a spoken phenomenon, but other types of dialogue (such as email and Web postings) are now included in the definition. It differs from other types of communication in that the source credibility is very high. That is, the person giving the information is generally seen as a much more credible source by the person receiving the information. This is especially true when someone knows the person that is giving him or her the information.
Customer evangelism is one of the most affordable marketing channels. Companies don’t pay their most loyal customers to share positive feedback about their brand; nor do they pay for the promotion itself. Instead, businesses invest in the products and services their customer base is currently using in order to ensure a positive experience and encourage favorable word-of-mouth (WOM).
Fortunately, businesses don’t have to make ethically unsound decisions to leverage the power of customer evangelism. Below, we offer several suggestions about ways to amplify the happy voices of your customers without crossing ethical boundaries:
Create forms and pages that encourage customers to refer your product / services to others. Reduce the recommendation process to a simple “submit” button.
Reveal your real identity on different digital platforms—your website, blog and social media profiles. If a contact person is nowhere to be found on your online real estate, then you are unlikely to get folks evangelizing.
Monitor conversations, reply quickly to customer requests and solve problems on social media. Take Starbucks for example: it has been one of the most successful brands using Twitter to engage its audience in constructive and positive conversations.