Late last month, I attended a webinar on 2017 Social Media Trends.
According to hosts Hootsuite, 2017 will be the year that decentralized marketing and social commerce will rule.
Beyond the marketing and social media implications, we at VL see a deeper connection between Hootsuite’s predictions and a broader growing trend: more decentralized customer data will mean a greater need for tight and timely data automation and integration.
Read on for my full account of Hootsuite’s 2017 Social Media Trends webinar, and how these trends are going to impact how your business manages and automates its’ data movements.
A Change in How Users Search — and Find Your Business
The era of the website as the main property to drive online traffic to is over. This is the most revolutionary statement that came out of the Hootsuite webinar: increasing amounts of potential customers are bypassing traditional search and are instead using social media to discover and research brands.
The way search and capturing the attention of customers online has always worked has been by directing traffic away from secondary online properties like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to the core ecommerce website. In 2017, brands that will win with consumers are the brands that instead host their wares for sale directly within these social media properties.
Social Media is Embracing Social Commerce
The social brand revolution is already underway: Vox publishes directly to social media, Vice posts content directly on YouTube, and The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, and CNN all have channels on Snapchat. But 2017 will see the bounds of socially native content pushed further into the realm of ecommerce, further blurring the lines between channels your audience interacts with and buys from.
Social media platforms like Facebook have predicted this trend, enabling in-channel purchases via “Buy Now” buttons; Twitter also employs a similar mechanism. Instagram now includes ads on their app, including clickable videos via a “Learn More” button. The ability for brands to sell directly in social media reduces friction in the buying cycle via reducing clicks to purchase, while also giving brands the ability to influence their audience directly in the apps.
More Sales Channels = More Decentralized Commerce Data
The opportunity to connect with and sell directly to a brand’s social media followers has many businesses jumping to adopt native social media commerce. But many are failing to think through all the technical mechanisms that are necessary to fulfil the orders placed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, leaving customer experiences literally to chance.
In order to keep your social shoppers happy and coming back time and time again to shop with your brand, your business must think through how customer and purchase data is going to get out of the social media channels and into your fulfilment applications. Ideally, all customer data from these social channels (including purchases) should be exported automatically and in real-time to all other relevant business applications in order to have the clearest and most accurate picture of your audience as possible. Without efficiently moving this data, you’ll lose consumer trust and will severely reduce your business’ ability to capitalize on this huge trend for 2017.
How to Grow Your Business With Social Commerce
According to Hootsuite, Pinterest is almost on par with Google as a platform for search and discovery. Potential customers want to see products visually displayed in the social channels they already know, love, and use habitually. The challenge for businesses venturing into social commerce is how to best leverage the sites and the data they collect.
Fully integrating and automating the data between social media channels is the only way for business’ to grow these channels while maintaining customer satisfaction. Sophisticated one-to-many integrations (which allows data from a single source to be pushed out to multiple target applications in a single automated flow) allows important consumer data to be everywhere it needs to be in real-time. This, in turn, can enable sophisticated marketing automations, up-selling and targeted future advertisement to increase basket size, speed up shipping and delivery times, provide powerful information to sales and customer service representatives, and much more. The power of insight into all your commerce channels is directly related to the power of your data automation.
At VL, our VL OMNI cloud hosted one-to-many data integration service is designed to manage complicated data automations and integrations like native social media commerce. But only integrating your social commerce is only part of the picture: our philosophy is to provide 100% integration of data movement for our customers so that they can focus on running and growing their businesses, from start to finish.
Learn more here about how VL can help your business tie all your commerce and supply chain data together into a single solution that grows with your business.
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