A (Ticketing) Business Case for Social Sharing
The classic Faberge shampoo TV ad above touts the power of Word of Mouth using the memorable tagline: "They'll tell two friends, and then they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on..." Ever since the commercial first aired in the late 1970s, big adverting firms have cited it as a reason businesses, including venues, should strive to increase their so-called word of mouth advertising.
The pitchmen at advertising firms may have a point, but is there any empirical evidence showing word of mouth advertising actually works? That term, "word of mouth" is often conflated with a more recent one - social sharing. With all these conflated buzzwords and unsubstantiated claims of improved event awareness (and thus ticket sales), should the hard working venue owner or event promoter just stick to the tried and true adverting channels or is there actually genuine business value in "social sharing"?
Last week, the content sharing platform Pinterest officially open to business users. Until now, the wildly popular platform's features were for personal use and lacked any commercial grade utility. The justification for businesses to use Pinterest starts with the staggering reach the platform offers, as Tehmina Zaman has mentioned:
Research firm comScore reports that the site grew to 26.7 million unique visitors last month, up from 3.3 million in October 2011. This rapid growth has drawn businesses, especially retailers, to expand their presence on the site.
The Pinterest demographic is predominately women, which have been lauded as a very powerful buying block, sharing what they find interesting with other women. Be it books they are reading, tools for work or school that have been helpful, or to simply share photos that caught their attention, the near friction-less exchange of value is what has made the platform such a success.
In last week's Pinterest blog post, Product Manager Cat Lee described the new welcome mat that has been laid out for businesses and brands:
We now have two sets of terms—one for people and one for businesses. The business terms help guide businesses on how to use Pinterest. They also enable us to separate the provisions meant for businesses from those meant for regular people. As a result, we updated our user terms to be half as long.
Lee goes on to list case studies of companies that have used social sharing with pragmatic, real-word business results as well as a helpful Best Practices Guide for the busy small business owner to use.
Ultimately it is the platform's emphasis on social sharing buttons and embed codes that enable the modern equivalent of word of mouth (aka social sharing) or as Lee puts it "to get more engagement from pinners and traffic back your site."
Social sharing (C2C, B2C or B2B) is a two-way street. All too many businesses attempting to use social media and "word of mouth" to spur product sales forget that or think it is a closely guarded secret.
The Simple Secret
Earlier today Angus Nelson published in 'The Simple Secret of Why People Share Your Content' a few of his thoughts on social sharing by businesses. The post conveys its value while not being specific to any one specific industry or business type.
Nelson not only writes his personal opinion on why social sharing by brands works but also he cites scholarly works - namely a 1966 Ernest Dichter’s study on the phenomenon of "Word of Mouth" and the more recent study at the University of Pennsylvania surmising that sharing creates emotional communion.
From the Ernest Dichter’s study PDF Nelson notes:
Back in 1966, the Word of Mouth study revealed 64% of sharing is about the sharer, themselves, desiring to:
Show they have inside info
Only 33% has anything to do with the actual product or brand experience.
When combined with his comment on the now famous 'What Makes online Content Viral?' study showing that sharing creates an emotional communion, a business owner can begin to see the point being made. Nelson continues:
If you connect often enough your content creates trust, loyalty, purchasing power, and ongoing evangelism. And should this theory stand true, cheeky as it may be, you may desire to share this new-found revelation out of your own generosity, inspiring others while revealing your own brilliance… if so, there should be a share button around here somewhere.
Again, note the emphasis on social sharing buttons.
Social Sharing & Your Business
In the context of event awareness, we consider the Pinterest announcement and Nelson's post as proof of social sharing's value for venue owners and event promoters. But unlike Pinterest, the social sharing tools contained in a ThunderTix account are purpose built for the ticketing industries we serve. Our two primary social sharing tools are custom confirmation emails and easy to use embed codes. From our custom email feature page:
We like to call social sharing a “perpetual dynamo“, meaning the simple act of one buyer sharing the excitement they feel with the people they know often causes their friends to buy tickets to the same event. The ThunderTix custom email confirmation has one-click sharing to enable that dynamic. Your buyer loves that she is going to the show and tells her friend. That friend just happens to have 15,000 more friends on Facebook.
Because custom email confirmations can include the all important Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons, your two buyers have become your newest salespeople. What was a sale to two people now has the opportunity to perpetuate itself to be thousands. The email confirmation has transcended mere accounting to become powerful marketing tool for your business.
ThunderTix's social sharing tools are just the start of the potential improvements to your bottom line. We offer the means for you to sell lucrative advertising on your printed tickets and we do not charge you per ticket fees. Our industry leading subscription based pricing has the potential to save you thousands of dollars versus other ticketing software that extracts a per-ticket charge from your customers. We also offer the ability to embed your events on any website with our event calendar HTML and other embed options. Be sure to take a look at all the features we have to offer and sign up for a free trial today!