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Those brands that have embraced customer reviews are now starting to look at how they can drive increased engagement with their customers by facilitating, embracing and in some cases participating in customer to customer conversations, to drive sales and advocacy.

With 89% of consumers reading reviews before some or all purchases, most now see reviews as a must-have for brands.

I met with Jim Davies, Research Director at Gartner recently and we discussed how those brands that have embraced customer reviews are now starting to look at how they can drive increased engagement with their customers by facilitating, embracing and in some cases participating in customer to customer conversations, to drive sales and advocacy.

Many brands, together with their agencies, are already using a variety of social listening tools to try and make sense of buzz generated across the external web of blogs and social networks. 

That buzz, whilst valuable to understand sentiment, is generated from a variety of sources and makes it difficult to distinguish which of those opinions come from genuine customers.

There is now, however, a real opportunity for brands to engage with the reviews and conversations of their own customers.Those conversations act as peer to peer support both pre-purchase (see Jessops screen shot below) but also post purchase.   

The pre-purchase support drives sales by helping the consumer decide what to buy, whilst the post-purchase support, drives increased advocacy by supplementing the brands own customer service.

Screen Shot 2012-08-17 at 17.27.14

Sony has taken this a step further, by enabling their customer service team to jump into the discussion by responding to reviews and joining in the conversation (see Sony screen shot below from their German site).

Screen Shot 2012-08-17 at 17.27.02

These early steps are just the first glimpses of what’s possible as brands start to consider how they can combine customer insights derived from social content, with their existing CRM and business data, both to enhance customer service, improve products and services, whilst critically driving advocacy and customer retention.

Richard Anson

Published 22 August, 2012 by Richard Anson

Richard Anson is a Founder of Reevoo. You can connect with Richard on Twitter or Linkedin.

4 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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David Quaid

Hi Richard,

Your blog post is:

"Social engagement drives sales and advocacy for brands"

Please forgive me for being a little pedantic, but how do you go from

"Many brands, together with their agencies, are already using a variety of social listening tools to try and make sense of buzz generated across the external web of blogs and social networks.

That buzz, whilst valuable to understand sentiment, is generated from a variety of sources and makes it difficult to distinguish which of those opinions come from genuine customers."

to showing actual sales. I'm not doubting it. I'm just asking, how can you see a proven, traceable route.

Because your blog title makes it sound like fact? I know that when we humans really believe things, we tend to overlook evidence and jump straight from opinion to "its so obvious, its obviously factual". This is straight line thinking, and it rarely holds true!

You could also answer with "Well, these guys wouldn't be wasting their time, so it must be effective" (which means that they don't ever need to test stuff either - just jump to factual acceptance mode)

about 4 years ago

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Tom Brown

One of the hardest things to do when using socia media marketing is to try to quantify the success that your efforts are having. Likes and Followers can provide signs but the real intention is to try and convert these people into paying customers. Perhaps in the future we will see e-commerce introduced to social media so that people can actually buy goods on Facebook. That will definitely help measure success of Facebook marketing.

about 4 years ago

Richard Anson

Richard Anson, Founder at Reevoo

Hi David
Thank you for the comment and a great question.
What I have tried to do is distinguish between social listening (i.e. buzz monitoring across the external web) and actually engaging with your verified customers. I agree that with the former (social listening) a proven, traceable route is less obvious (I suspect that the social listening software businesses may have that data); however with the latter, where brands and retailers enable customer to customer dialogue on their own properties (and the key word here is customer), the uplift in sales is traceable and proven in the data we are seeing with our customers. For example, at an aggregate level (rather than providing specific customer data), consumers who read or engage with other customer conversations on a brand or retailer website are 2.5 times more likely to buy, compared to those that dont (Reevoo data). Hope that adds some clarity.

about 4 years ago

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at Koozai

Social engagement is something all brands that have an online presence should be participating in.

Whether businesses like it or not social has become part of everyday use and those that engage thrive and those that don't will fall by the wayside.

Give someone a great online experience and they will tell others. Ignore or simply fail to engage and again people will tell others.

Social platforms give companies a real time connection with their clients, this is such a strong tool.

almost 4 years ago

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