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Why social sign-on matters

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 26 Sep, 2011
Essential Essential topic

Is social sign-on in the plans for your site?

Like everyone else, we’re planning upgrades to our site and have been thinking how to increase interactions with our readers. Social sign-on is one approach of how to do this, so I've written up my thoughts and interested in how you see it. Is it only a win-win through increase participation and conversion rates or could there be privacy concerns for customers?

What is social sign-on?

Social sign-on/login is an approach we’re seeing on more and more sites now, although it's not written about so much. You’ve almost seen this on sites like Mashable or TechCrunch which enable commenting through logging in / authentication through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or OpenID.

When I’ve looked into this to see whether there is wider adoption on sites other than blogs/online publishers like retail or travel transactional sites. I’d assumed this is because of security concerns, but I’ve changed my mind since I heard Loren MacDonald mentioning implementation of Social Sign on in partnership with Janrain across several Silverpop clients including Sears. This is how Sears have implemented it:

I’ve chosen the Sears example since they do much more than social sign-in and have provide a social home-page which provides an environment for the customer for all social activity which can be integrated through to email marketing - this is a modern preference centre.

This is social-commerce in action, much more so than setting up a standalone Facebook/F-commerce store. Although I’m not a Sears customer, you get an idea of the services they offer across their brands:

It's nicely integrated with their email marketing which they use to trigger this summary of the social offer:

What are the options for implementing sign-on?

  1. Social commenting tools. If you’re a blogger and you want to increase commenting through making it easier, the two most popular approaches are probably Disqus and Intense Debate. These enables users to log-in and stay logged-in via cookies across a range of sites you visit. We’re planning to use Disqus when we relaunch.
  2. Facebook Connect / commenting system. This was implemented in March on high-profile site Techcrunch. They have described the pros and cons. Pros include increased comments and less spam/trolls. An obvious con is this forces users to login via Facebook. Some retailers are also using this approach, for example WineAnthology.
  3. Social interaction management platforms. Well that’s a bit long-winded, but I want to show these are systems (usually paid for services) which support other features as well such as user profiling and social sharing. The two we’ve looked at are Janrain and Gigya - these seem most suited for use on transactional sites because of the additional integration / API features for linking to other systems to collect user information and integrate with email marketing - hence Silverpop using this solution.

Certainly one to watch and a sign of how social interactions are becoming more embedded across the webs as tools are developed to enable this.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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