Many leading web retailers are losing ground to competitors in marketing to young adults by not maintaining a fan page on the social networking site Facebook.com, according to a recent study by marketing technology firm, Brulant Inc. The study reports that of 100 leading online retailers, just 30 percent have a presence on Facebook.
"While each retailer needs to determine objectives and strategy before jumping in, those who aren't on Facebook are losing ground to forward thinking competitors who are already there," said Adam Cohen, partner with Brulant's consumer goods and retail practice. "Social media sites are an incredible source of community connection to begin with, and Facebook in particular has proven to be especially sticky as a platform, with a variety of key retail demographics, including Gen Y and Millennials."
Among retailers that do have a Facebook presence are Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret, Sears, Amazon.com and RadioShack. Sears, for example, supported social shopping for prom dresses on Facebook, where customers shared online comments on dress choices. RadioShack has launched a "MyMosaic" application on Facebook that lets users build and share interactive photo mosaics with friends.
In many cases, exposure on Facebook and other social networks starts out with branding and developing relationships with consumers, Cohen said. "Understanding and profiling your target market and community is a first step," he suggested. "ROI is not yet proven, but there are some basic steps that can and should be taken to immediately start testing the waters and seeing results."
Brulant is currently working on an expanded study to cover retailer activity on MySpace.com, YouTube.com, podcasts and other forms of social media, according to Cohen. Brulant was recently acquired by Rosetta, an interactive marketing agency, and the two organizations plan to consolidate under the Rosetta name.
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