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The art of creating “social friendly” conversions

As I read through Brian Solis’ most recent blog post on social and syndicated commerce (Note: you should read all of his stuff if you’re serious about infusing social media into your business) I came to realize that few companies have mastered the art of making their conversions “social friendly.”

What do I mean by “social friendly conversions” you ask? Basically, what I’m referring to is the creation of a consumer transaction process that lends itself to being shared with said consumer’s social connections (e.g. friends, family, acquaintances, etc).

Very primitive methodologies, such as the “refer a friend” form, have existed for years (decades if you count offline paper forms) but they require manual effort as well as memory recall and are therefore only marginally effective. Still, they have proven their worth and have become foundational marketing element for social buying sites like Groupon and Living Social (e.g. refer a few friends and get your deal for free).

Fortunately, we’re fast approaching a point where the socializing and outright syndication of consumer transactions will become an semi-automated and much more seamless process, though it will require some serious creativity on the part of brands and business owners.

One of the best examples that comes to mind is the new actions and objects functionality that is being offered by Facebook’s “Open Graph” API. Though it’s still in Beta and will likely not become anywhere near mainstream until Facebook rolls out their new Timeline interface to the public, actions and objects (also known as “verbs and nouns” in some marketing circles) will allow brands to create meaningful interactions that go beyond a simple “Like” and will facilitate the communication of a more concrete consumer transaction to friends and friends of friends.

For example:

  • Instead of “Liking” AutoTrader.com’s Facebook page after selling my car via their portal, my timeline could show my friends and friends of friends that I “sold” my “car” via AutoTrader.
  • Instead of “Liking” Jet Blue after yet another smooth, DirecTV-laden flight, my timeline could show my friends and friends of friends that I “flew” on “JetBlue” from Miami to New York.
  • Instead of simply “Liking” my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Lulu, my timeline could show my friends and friends of friends that I just “ordered” a “mojito” at Lulu.

No need to fill out a form or recall your friend’s contact info, etc. In fact, in some cases these types of status updates could be automatically built into the conversion funnel (e.g. perhaps a check box confirming that you’re ok with publishing the status update).

Granted, these are just examples that I conjured up for fun, and I’m sure that there will initially be some technological and privacy-related roadblocks that will make the syndication of these transactions somewhat cumbersome . Moreover, this functionality is currently limited to Facebook (if and when they actually release it to the public). Still, you can be sure that this is where all internet commerce is headed.

Is your website and your business poised to seize this new and virtually untapped social media opportunity?


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