Exactly how big of a role did Facebook actually play this past holiday season? A recent Marketing Land article reported that Facebook accounted for “more than half of all social referrals to retailers in the Hitwise 500,” driving 5.32% of traffic to retailer sites. In fact, Amazon saw a 36% lift year-over-year in traffic from social sites.

Facebook is also the favored social network among retailers in terms of generating sales and traffic. 8thBridge’s recently released Social Commerce Retail report states that Facebook is the most adopted social platform by retailers and provides them with the most traffic when compared to other social platforms.

All of this data points to Facebook’s continued growth in influencing the conversion funnel. When used correctly – and we’ll go into how – Facebook can yield positive results for your brand.

Prioritize Engagement over Quantity

The Social Commerce Retail report points out a substantial difference between the top 10 brands with the most Facebook Fans and the top 10 brands with the highest engagement. Though many well-known brands such as Starbucks, Walmart, Amazon, and H&M ranked within the top 10 brands with the most Fans, none of the brands in that list are seen under the lists that focus on upstream traffic and engagement. Millions of fans/followers won’t mean anything if your engagement rates have nothing to show for it.

In contrast, consider PetFlow. Though PetFlow didn’t make the top 10 list for brands with the most Fans, they were within the top 3 brands that Fans are talking about on Facebook. They were also in the top 3 for the most engaging brands and upstream traffic %. Using Facebook to incite engagement is a far more valuable use of the social network than simply boosting Fan numbers. Engagement with your Fans yields greater returns for your brand and traffic.

Fans V Engagement

Market the right content

The best way to engage your Fans on Facebook is through publishing the right content. What works for one brand may not always work for another, so experiment with different messages and different mediums to garner the best results. Really take a look at how your Fans engage. Do they prefer commenting on videos? Are they responsive to questions posed on your page? Perhaps publishing surveys and contests that promote special deals is a great way to get your Fans to interact with your brand, potentially leading them to your online store.

Take advantage of retargeting

50% of customers spend their time shopping online on a daily basis. It’s important for retailers to take advantage of that time they spend online shopping.  Retargeting customers who have previously visited your site via Facebook Exchange or Facebook’s Custom Audiences will allow you to promote sales with existing customers. After all, Facebook drives sales by “referring customers back to the ecommerce site through things like Facebook Ads.”

Upstream Traffic from SN

As Facebook continues to lead the pack in upstream traffic, retailers should take the time to really look at what their Fans are doing. Promote engagement over numbers. Publish the content that gets those fans active. And retarget those that are likely to purchase. It’s a surefire way to make the most of what’s upstream.

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Audrey Cueto
Audrey Cueto is a marketing specialist at SearchForce, a leading provider of online search and social media technology. She writes about the fundamentals of Facebook PPC.