Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up – Like My Stuff: How to Get 750 Million Members to Buy Your Products on Facebook

by | Mar 7, 2012 | Book Marketing Basics, Social Media for Authors

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We had a great show about using Facebook to sell your product that included a look at the pros and cons as well as examples of the brands that are successful.

About our guest: Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, author of Like My Stuff: How to Get 500 Million Members to Buy Your Products on Facebook, helps companies understand how social media affects the bottom-line and to create strategies that provide real business value.  She does this by benchmarking your “As Is” and compares it to your “Could Be” best practices. With this insight, you can create a world-class social media and digital presence. You’ll be well-armed to devise a social media roadmap, track your progress, gather the right metrics to transform into a social media ROI analysis, articulate the business case, and justify the plan to upper management.

As a USC Adjunct professor, Natalie takes her real-world experiences as a Forrester Social Media Analyst, an Agency executive and a consulting executive and translates it into practical business advice. Dr. Natalie is President of Social Media Club Los Angeles, an accomplished keynote speaker and a quoted expert in NYTimes, FastCompany, USAToday, Bloomberg-BusinessWeek and a featured guest on TV and radio.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Q: Do you think adding shopping inside of social networks like Facebook (f-commerce) could ruin them?
Dr. Natalie: Yes, it potentially can. If you ask Mark Zuckerberg, he says social commerce is the next big thing… but of course he does… The skill with which brands fulfill on f-commerce will directly affect the success not only for their own individual brand, but as an industry as a whole. If social networking shopping sites are not delivered in the spirit of what the customer wants, it will fail. If not for this point alone, brands need to pay attention to f-commerce as an example of how shopping can be integrated within a social network.

Q: What are the potential pitfalls to dealing in f-commerce? 
Dr. Natalie: Privacy, intrusion, relevancy, engagement and the social fatigue — these are a few of the most important factors on why f-commerce and eCommerce are so different.

Q: Can you elaborate on the issue of Privacy a bit more?
Dr. Natalie: Remember back to 2007? Facebook tried Project Beacon. That process collected the eCommerce activity of Facebook participants on third party sites and then posted a user’s purchases on their friends’ news feed. That didn’t last long because users felt it was a privacy issue to disperse their information and data. There was backlash and many thought this might be the end of social shopping for Facebook.

A study from JWT found the percentage of people worried about Facebook privacy and security to be in the 75% range. So if a brand is going to consider social shopping, it needs to be aware of making their customer’s feel secure. That means making sure they feel secure about entering their credit card information that site. Generally social networking sites don’t ask you to do that. So that’s something new.

Q: What’s the issue with intrusion and consumers?
Dr. Natalie: The conflict for the shopper is when shopping feels like an intrusion in a user’s social network lifestream. A lifestream is made up of the online posts and interactions a person creates in their daily interactions in social networks. Brands that go down the f-commerce path need to understand the nuances of social networks, what works and what doesn’t work. A brand has to blend into their customer’s lifestream process. This isn’t obvious for most brands.

Q: Can you give an example of blending into the lifestream of a customer?
Dr. Natalie: I think Jennifer Lopez does a great job of this. First, she knows her fans can’t wait for her next album. So one of the first things she did with this new album release is to ask her fans to “Like” the Album and if enough people did that, she would release it early. Of course fans enrolled others and made that happen.

Jennifer LopezSecond is that she knows what her fans like. They want to be able to interact with a brand and with their friends. What Jennifer Lopez offered was the ability to share a song with their wall or send a song to a specific person via Facebook. That process drives customers through the marketing funnel — through the stages of awareness, interest, consideration and purchase via fan’s word of mouth.

Q: Is social commerce just about fans “Liking” a brand?
No, and I included dozens of case studies of f-commerce that work in my book, Like My Stuff. But brands shouldn’t just look at these examples for the mechanics of how a brand delivered f-commerce. They MUST understand what motivates a customer to click on a “Like” button and what it takes to go from just “Liking” a brand to getting them to redeem a coupon to getting a customer to become a loyal customer with repeat purchases and preference for the brand. To do that brands must become a social experience that is interesting and relevant to their audience.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Social currency is the value a brand brings to a customer’s lifestream, i.e., providing relevancy and customer centric engagements that enhance a customer’s life and their posts in social media. If someone can deliver a Jennifer Lopez song as part of their posts, that gives them a boast in the eyes of their friends. Honestly, social currency is where the return on investment in social media pays off. When brands don’t understand social currency, relevancy and engagement, they become an intrusion.

Q: Tell me more about relevancy and knowing your audience
Dr. Natalie: Too many PR, Marketing and Advertising firms think they know better. They don’t take the time to do the account planning or research to really understand their audience, their behaviors, their motivations and drivers let alone for traditional campaigns, but in social media it becomes instantly evident. Fans and customers let you know right away something doesn’t hit the spot. In traditional avenues, like print or TV – they may not like it, but you had no way other than a few focus groups to know if it was going to work or not. Social media provides an instant focus group of millions, if you engage them correctly.

Q: How can brands do primary audience research in both social media and traditional methods?
Dr. Natalie: Qualitative and quantitative methods of traditional account planning and audience research include:

  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews
  • Polls
  • Surveys, and
  • Ethnography / netnography (observations off- and on-line of the audience behaviors)

Social media monitoring tools like Radian6, Sysomos, Tracckr, etc… lend themselves to account planning and audience research, especially for:

  • Primary Research (research conducted by the brand itself)
  • Sentiment and share of voice online
  • Identification of the top influencers, advocates, customers, brand naysayers and press
  • Polls, surveys, netnography, etc…
  • Topics influencers and advocates are discussing about the brand
  • Customer issues, questions, suggestions and praise for the product, service and the brand…
  • Secondary Research (research conducted by other people than the brand)
  • Studies other research groups or institutions have produced on the brand, the or category that the brand falls into (consumer products, automotive…) and the customers associated with those groups.

In addition, conversations within online communities — either owned by the brand or third party communities, can reveal very interesting insights for the brand. In particular interest to this book on f-commerce is the use of community applications within Facebook. An example of a community application used within Facebook is Get Satisfaction’s Facebook Solution. Normally, unless you were on the wall 24/7, a brand would miss all the commentary. Using an app like GetSat, the content is stored, is searchable for reuse and can be analyzed for customer insight.

Q: What is social network fatigue? Are customers starting to experience this? Dr. Natalie: Brands must begin to think from the social customer’s point of view. Customers who use social media are constantly being bombarded with invitations to new social networks. They have to decide where to spend the little free time they have. This means that a brand must provide their social customers direct engagement that acknowledges their understanding of their customers in the social web as well as reward them for that participation in the social experience created by the brand.


Customers who do encounter great social experiences influence other customers. That influence can multiply across their social graphs and spark comments, conversations and purchases. To be good at this means that you are a student of “a day in the life of your customers.”

For instance, Nike  built a community where runners can share their experiences about running. There are tools to keep track of the number of miles you’ve completed, etc… This community provides something that runners need and hence they go there. The net-net for Nike is that the more people are inspired to run, the more shoes they sell. But the strategy can’t start with — let’s sell more shoes. Interaction strategy must provide something that customers need and want. Otherwise the brand’s social strategy will fall prey to social fatigue.

Q: Can you give me an example in the book of engagement and relevancy? Dr. Natalie: A great example is the NBA. They know that fans love to be commentators on their favorite sports teams. The NBA took footage of their games, say the top free throw shots, edited a short video together and put it on Facebook. They asked fans, who were already engaged in watching the games, to vote on their favorite free throw shot player. By providing content that fans can comment and vote on, this creates an interaction strategy that allows fans to become involved with the brand in something they care about. It goes beyond the coupon, to actually engage the fan in an activity that is fun for their customers and creates something for the fanbase to talk about, have opinions on and interact with. Of course the NBA also has a Facebook store — for inspired fans to grab their favorite t-shirt or hat.

Q: Is Facebook Commerce the First True Social CRM Application?                                            Dr. Natalie: You might say that if it’s not first, it has the potential to be one of the most sophisticated. Here’s the reason why: On most sites people don’t identify themselves or list their preferences, likes, dislikes. Facebook started as a social network and people do identify themselves and post preferences. CRM and Social CRM systems want to be able to offer personalized products and services based on the business intelligence they have gathered about that customer. Much of that is third party data and inferences.

Social CRM provides the opportunity to take the social media personal data — what we do and say in our lifestreams, and use that to personalize offers. BUT — what brands need to do is move beyond the “creepy” ad posting — meaning when you write about something an ad pops up on your page about the thing you just wrote about. Because someone posts something about a brand, brands shouldn’t take that as a buying signal social gesture — unless it says, “Where do I get pricing information on x brand’s product?” Commenting on a brand may be a data point, but it’s not the only thing to consider when trying to encourage social commerce.  My book has dozens upon dozens of examples of how to do social CRM.

Q: Where can we get more information about social commerce and F-commerce?

Dr. Natalie: You can get the book, Like My Stuff – How to Monetize Your Facebook Fans With Social Commerce & A Facebook Store

Follow me on Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff

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