Word-of-mouth is a pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing tool, and a recent New York Times blog quan­ti­fied that value for sev­eral brands.  In one exam­ple, every Tick­et­mas­ter pur­chase that was shared on Face­book resulted in an addi­tional $5.30 spent by friends on Tick​et​mas​ter​.com.

Recommendation-into-purchase con­ver­sion val­i­dates the value of Face­book for brands as a mar­ket­ing chan­nel: friends’ rec­om­men­da­tions have the most influ­ence on pur­chase deci­sions and the aver­age Face­book user has 130 friends.

The goal is to get fans telling friends about where they are, what they’ve bought or what expe­ri­ence they’ve just had.  Brands need to make it easy for social expres­sion in order to cre­ate word-of-mouth, thus turn­ing fans’ friends into fans and ulti­mately, customers.

Social-savvy brands are cap­i­tal­iz­ing on word-of-mouth by adding social com­po­nents to their e-commerce sites, includ­ing “Like” but­tons and “share” fea­tures for pur­chases and reviews, and encour­ag­ing engage­ment through Face­book pro­mo­tions and inter­ac­tive experiences.

What’s more, once a Face­book user “Likes” a spe­cific prod­uct, a brand can deliver rel­e­vant mes­sag­ing to that com­mu­nity of “Likes” through the News Feed.

Another oppor­tu­nity for fans’ inter­ac­tions to influ­ence friends through social media is in the store.  A recent arti­cle on Medi­a­Post states that one-quarter of cus­tomers share their shop­ping expe­ri­ences online through smart­phones while they are in the phys­i­cal stores.  Char­lotte Russe, a spe­cialty retailer of fash­ion­able, value-priced apparel and acces­sories for teens and young women, placed in-store ban­ners to remind shop­pers to con­nect with them on Face­book.  Cre­ate a Place Page for your brick-and-mortar stores; location-based check-ins are also an easy way fans can share brand affin­ity with friends.

The Con­text Optional Social Mar­ket­ing Suite enables brands to engage fans and their friends with cross chan­nel pro­mo­tions that drive to a com­merce event, includ­ing cat­a­logs and coupons that can be redeemed in stores or online.  Through our Pub­lisher mod­ule of the Suite, you can tar­get mes­sages to “Likes” from the Open Graph and Places Pages. Finally, our Check-In Leader­board Suite add-on prod­uct can tie check-ins to loy­alty points, unique offers or give­aways to encour­age in-store check-ins.