Brands and Followers: Go Directly to Sales, Do not Pass Go/No‑Go

With social networks increasingly forcing brands to pay to reach consumers, it’s more important than ever to find ways to incorporate genuine, consumer-generated reviews and videos onto retail websites’ product pages. The technology exists not only to engage consumers but also to track their posts’ impact on sales.

Brands and followers. Brands and influencers. Brands and fans.

The terminology may fluctuate, but the objective is the same: How to build efficient, friction-free connections between brands and customers through enabling technology.

Until recently that “technology” has been social media. Janet buys a great pair of shoes and shares her enthusiasm with her social network. Then perhaps some of those folks who respect her opinion run out and buy a pair for themselves.

“Bottom-up endorsements by friends and family are much more powerful than down-top promotions.”

That’s great as far as it goes, and does result in a circuitous route to sales. But there are major disconnects in that scenario:

  • Brands have minimal or no information on what their followers are doing or for connecting the dots between those followers and the purchases they may be driving.
  • Followers are often seeing no compensation (or unwarrantedly high compensation) for the sales they are generating.
  • If followers are being compensated, brands have no way to verify and track those connections and results.

That sure sounds like a lose-lose situation.

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