A growing number of brands are placing social media at the heart of their ecommerce strategy, with engaging content being shared via platforms such as Facebook which links straight through to an online store. The latest figures from DigitasLBi Commerce shows that one in four British consumers have purchased an item in this way during the last month – so it is clearly a marketing approach that can yield results. So what should brands do to take advantage of this growing trend?

Diageo recently achieved considerable success with a recent strategy that saw it link content on Pimm’s Facebook page with a major retailer. According to Marco Preda, digital and ecommerce director at Diageo Europe, this campaign works because it created “relevant branded content that was timed to the weather and targeted specific groups”. “Consumers could click straight through to the retailer – making the user journey quick and easy, and ultimately leading to an uplift in conversion,” he commented.

However, marketers have been reminded to think carefully about the purpose of their campaign – as they need to have clear goals in mind. James Townsend, Chief Executive of 360i London, observed: “Whether it’s brand affinity or direct sales, only when you’re clear on what you’re trying to achieve can you set up the right kind of trackable measurements. Without these it will be hard to gain traction for a content strategy from your wider business.”

Organisations should then track the customer journey, so they know how their target audience are interacting with their content and their wider brand.

Richard Armstrong, Chief Executive of Kamelion, acknowledged that with so much data available, marketers might find it hard to identify what to measure and how to go about doing it. As a result, he believes prioritising the customer journey is important as these brands need to “start off with the basics.” He went on to stress that being able to clearly define where content sits at each stage of the customer journey can help organisations understand what impact it is having.

Paul Smith, Head of Marketing at DigitasLBi Commerce, added that consumers now expect “relevant and engaging content from brands as a matter of course.” As a result, he believes producing “shoppable” content “makes good commercial sense.” He believes legacy ecommerce systems – created before retailers placed a strong focus on content – are partly behind why some brands have failed to fully embrace social commerce thus far. 

Mr Smith has therefore urged organisations to adopt a vendor solution that offers in-built web content management, as this would allow them to be flexible and distribute different types of content. The latest figures from CMO Council indicate that just 5% of the organisations it surveyed currently have heavily integrated content and commerce. Nevertheless, the survey showed that almost two-thirds are keen to get better in this area,  which suggests social commerce will become far more commonplace in the coming years.

How brands can link customer, content and commerce, Marketing Week.