Bazaarvoice plans to release a product suite Monday that builds out Facebook, Twitter and MySpace social network platforms with custom tools and apps. The SocialConnect Suite gives consumers a voice through rating and review, social sharing, and ability to syndicate content. The tools aim to drive sales, reduce returns, and boost success for search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
Bazaarvoice SocialConnect Suite offers a variety of features for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Among the features offered through the suite of products, marketers can bring the social graph directly into their brand sites through the tool's support for the Facebook "Like" button on product or review pages. It also allows consumers to log into their Facebook, Twitter or MySpace page to immediately see reviews from friends and people with similar interests.
For consumers, it provides tools to research and share information on products and services. For brands, it offers up a way to monitor what's being said and shared. Valerie Hoecke, vice president of digital experience and commerce at Benefit Cosmetics, integrated the Ratings & Reviews module from the SocialConnect Applications suite with the company's Facebook Fan page about a month ago. It gives consumers an easy way to research and read the buzz on Benefit's products. The tool officially launches on July 1, but Fans have already found and really like the tool.
The primary goal isn't to drive purchases through Facebook, but rather to write ratings and reviews and share with friends. Monitoring the percentage of ratings and reviews will enable Benefits to measure the success of earned media impressions, which to Hoecke becomes more valuable than a paid media impression.
Benefit typically reaches new customers through referrals from existing Facebook fans. The physical in-store "conversational relationship" created between Benefit and consumers translates well into social networks. It lets the word-of-mouth advocacy that's natural in the stores continue on the Web. But unlike in retail stores, Facebook doesn't lend itself to being a great platform to take that brand advocacy and convert it into transactions.
"There's no cash register on Facebook," Hoecke says. "Customers generally aren't converting. And even those that integrate shopping in the Fan page -- customers don't tend to be in a transacting mode while in Facebook. They are in the social sharing mode."
On Facebook, consumers tend to advocate brands or products they love, but the mentions get lost in news feeds, slipping down to the bottom and on to the next page, quickly disappearing. Customers give recommendations they post to their 500 friends, but not always at the time friends want to hear them. They may not have interest in the product at that moment, but they might another time.
Recommendations are not easily found in the status update streams. Similar to a Twitter post, once the recommendation scrolls off someone's Facebook wall it's gone. "Stats show all these wonderful brand impressions on Facebook, but people tend not to research products on the site, because there's no structured search for products, only people," Hoecke says.
That unstructured place to post and find information changes with with Bazaarvoice's Ratings & Reviews tool. The feature for Facebook lets people share information, then search and find it days -- sometimes weeks -- later. Hoecke says the ability to search and find ratings and reviews in a structured format becomes the biggest benefit offered by this tool in the suite.
Bazaarvoice SocialConnect Suite includes SocialConnect Sharing, which include three tools Shout It!, Publish It!, and Like It!. The SocialConnect Syndication tool supports Twitter campaigns; SocialConnect Applications, Facebook; and SocialConnect Friends, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The company took a few existing tools -- such as SyndicateVoice, which launched on Google Products earlier this year, along with Shout It! -- to build out the suite.