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Utilizing Social Sites to Drive Direct Sales

Feb 22nd, 2013 — by Lucas

Of the various social-sites available for advertising related purposes, Facebook is without a doubt the leader in available advertising functionality, which if executed correctly, can easily help businesses gain traction with their desired target market(s). Facebook in particular is continuously thinking outside of the box on new ways to help their advertisers. Staying abreast of these advancements and new features (which occur on what seems like almost a weekly basis!) is the key to reaching and retaining your company’s social superiority. Here is an example of a recent advancement in Facebook advertising functionality:


While browsing on Facebook today I noticed a couple of my friends had birthdays, so I clicked to wish them well, but immediately noticed something different.

Facebook advertising

Facebook has made it possible to easily send gifts to anyone on your friends-list. In this case, it is exclusively prepared and advertised to send a Starbucks gift card to people on their birthdays, with just a few clicks!

Other than taking away nearly every possible alibi people had as to why they couldn’t send a gift for their friends’ birthdays, they have also simultaneously boosted the sales of their advertisers as well as their own.

‘We think Gifts if done well can be a very natural and positive part of the Facebook experience,” CFO David Ebersman said in Wednesday’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “So, for example, when you’re wishing someone a Happy Birthday, (in order to perfect) the ability to send a gift along with that, we are just figuring out how the product needs to work, what the interfaces are, what the selection of products is, how the payment process works…’ (Read more:

The next steps of the “gift giving” process include (for visual reference please see screenshot images below):

1)      A quick introduction of the next 3-steps

2)     An order screen letting you adjust which type of gift (Starbucks, massage packages, wine, or otherwise) and also gives the ability to adjust how much you want to spend on the gift

3)     E-card design studio allowing customization of themes for a multitude of special occasions, not just birthdays

4)     A shopping cart interface

Once these steps are completed, the recipient of the gift gets notified with the option of sharing it on their wall. This is where I feel like the gift giving strategy will really take off! Gift giving feels good, if you make it easier for the user to give a gift, then there will be less friction in that process and subsequently a higher volume of gift giving. Facebook is essentially employing a crucial piece of any sales process and this part of the process is appropriately named “Helping people buy”. Plus, if people know their good deed will be publicly displayed, for all of their friends to see, it makes them feel even better about giving and the money to buy the gift is now a lesser concern. In my opinion I think Facebook made a smart move with this product; and businesses who utilize this feature in the right way, will see steady increases in revenue by driving direct sales and increasing consumer loyalty.

Below are visual examples of steps 1-4 of Facebook’s “send a birthday gift” user-interface:

Social media advertising