Article date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 11:22:46 GMT
Savvy marketers are integrating Facebook into their e-commerce websites as a way to utilise the social network's knowledge base.
In the fast-moving world of digital marketing the pioneers are now using Facebook's widget system to aggregate information from a consumer's circle of friends and win business.
Paul Harris, marketing director at UKFast - the hosting company that looks after half a million web domain names in the UK, explained why adding Facebook's new widgets to your own site is becoming more and more popular.
He said: "Having a Facebook widget on your site is the best of both worlds. Facebook is fantastic at data aggregation and is a great resource for reaching your audience in a targeted way but the competition is fierce on the site itself and many brand pages get lost in the tide."
With Facebook usage levelling off in the UK - Facebook growth between July 2010 and 2011 was almost 15m users lower than the previous year, so while the site's popularity is levelling off for new users, business pages are on the ascendance.
Harris continued: "A widget within your site enables the same benefits for your customers of having a branded Facebook page - without the effort of the business building and maintaining a separate profile well enough to stand out, and without the customer having to search through the network to find it."
"There are now quite a lot of e-commerce sites linking to Facebook," explained Ryan Kaye, client services director at CTI Digital.
"They have these widgets within the e-commerce site where, if you are logged into the social network, they display a list of personalised recommendations based upon your likes and discussions on the site.
"There is an American site that I visited recently that offered a Christmas present recommendation for each member of my friends list."
The panel gathered at a round table debate held by hosting firm UKFast. They agreed that while placing the emphasis on your own site is important, a full social media presence can be worthwhile although this approach does demand a lot of time and effort.
The key, they say, to a worthwhile social presence is to invest this time in developing a strong identity within the site and companies must be wary of the transient nature of social media.
Marcus Hadfield, Group Director, McCann explained: "Brands rely on sites like Facebook and Twitter to tell a continuous, flowing story but people dip in and out of social media, so if you are not logged in at the time of the update you miss it."
Your request is now being dealt with and you should receive a call back from one of our hosting specialist's shortly.