If you don’t understand what social depth is, just go to your favorite retail brand website. Most likely, you will find either ratings and reviews and/or colorful photo galleries on the site, providing you with customers’ written and visual perspectives of the brand’s products. And if you are a business decision-maker, chances are that you have stumbled on an interesting blog or two on a B2B brand site. Social depth is not a new concept, but brands are increasingly coming up with creative ways to use social content to inspire and influence buyers who are on their website(s). This is because social content helps move buyers from exploration to a purchase.

At Forrester’s Marketing Forum next week (and in a soon-to-be published report), I will talk about three brands that have launched brilliant and successful social depth strategies. These brands really set the stage for innovative approaches and should provide you with inspiration as you think about your social depth marketing plans this year:

  • Virgin Atlantic develops brand trust through a lifestyle blog. Virgin wanted to make a brand connection with customers who were in the ‘undecided’ stage of travel research. On its Virgin Atlantic blog, the brand offers differing perspectives from Virgin Atlantic employees and travel enthusiasts on topics that are relevant to the frequent traveler. The blog drove a significant uplift in site visitors’ average shopping-basket size.
  • West Elm drives product selection by posting customers’ photos of their furniture. West Elm recently launched a social content hub called “Share Your Style” on which the brand curates photos of its furniture in customers’ homes and in the brands’ showrooms. Since the recent launch of the site, the brand has curated thousands of photos from Instagram.
  • Sephora establishes product and service credibility through an active online community. Sephora’s Beauty Talk community allows an interactive venue where cosmetic enthusiasts provide insights on the quality, application, and effectiveness of thousands of product SKUs the brand sells. The brand’s community members spend more on cosmetic products (on Sephora’s eCommerce site) than most nonmember Sephora customers. 

I'll be speaking more on “How To Drive Brand Exploration With Social Marketing” at Forrester's Marketing Leadership Forum in San Francisco, April 10-11. Or join me/my colleagues in London for Forrester's EMEA Marketing Leaders Forum, May 13-14. Hope to see you there.

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