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Social Commerce

Social Commerce, another side product of Web 2.0 social internet, is a subset of electronic commerce that uses social networking sites in the context of financial transactions.  In 2005, Yahoo first coined the term social commerce that helped give a metric to how much interest a certain product was receiving on social networking sites. However, over the years the term has developed into entirely different meaning.

Social networking sites now have integrated platforms that allow for eCommerce transactions which are managed by the company. The other social commerce is the kind that is completely outside of the control of any eCommerce company, but occurs through blogs and social media networks that is driven by customers.  Whether it’s one type of eCommerce or another, the engagement of from social networks has many advantages that are beneficial to customers and companies.

Community

Understanding what the collective group is wanting is very important to your eCommerce business. Having a community present online helps understand the expectations and moods of your customers, which is very valuable to understanding to progress your business. Setting up multiple different social network sites can create unique communities according the types of affordances or functions each platform provides.

The different functions on these sites can foster different types of interactions for example sharing, liking your product, or allowing for reviews. All these types of communities provide a positive avenue to communicate and create long lasting customer relationships.

Social Proof

Social Commerce can be very important and a solid reason to invest in because it can measure your effectiveness of your marketing team. You can measure the return of your investment by the number of social connections and engagements you garner. Measuring marketing efforts on social networks do vary, but the majority of the platforms will offer you free analytics.

More often than not, having a growing social network will also drive sales by a considerable degree. This can be seen on your analytics by the number of clicks you receive from the social networking sites.

Authority and Engagement

Products that resonate with customers are ones that target both the audience and are engaging. Engagement from buyers can add legitimacy to your products. Engagement of customers on social media channels incorporates organic and viral growth that allows for new content and the generation of sales.

Engagement can mean anything from having a link on your social media page to your website and having users find your business that way or fostering a community that answers help questions for customers. Having interesting articles and also writing and posting new fresh content about your industry can help legitimize your businesses expertise and create authority amongst competitors in the field.

There have been many examples of such social commerce stores, but there are few different companies that are doing it best.  Pinterest.com, for example, is the perfect example of the peer to peer sales model, where users will buy and sell products to one another.  Another example is Lyst.com which works off of peer to peer recommendation and user-curated content to drive product sells. With the rise of demographics that are being used in social media, it has become easy to target to specific demographics that are most apt to sell your product.

Social commerce allows for stronger brand presence and engagement with your brand from potential customers. Furthermore, an interesting example is the platform poshmart.com that allows individuals to become eCommerce sellers by selling second-hand or brand new fashion items. The website functions as a community that has different events and ways for users to engage in.

All companies should develop social networking strategies and consider using this avenue to sell their merchandise. It is an easy and effective avenue to connect different users and have those users promote your product for you. The opportunity for customers to spread your product is a gain in social capital for your companies marketing efforts. Web 2.0 is all about making social connections and it should be seen as an opportunity to connect with customers and industry professionals to take about your business for a low-financial cost.

Wiebke Reile

Wiebke Reile

Wiebke Reile has been social media strategist for the last eight years in the Internet Industry. She has also professionally worked in the film and television industry as a documentary film editor in New York City. Currently, she is a researcher for the University of Hawaii and pursuing her doctorate degree; focusing her research towards online political social movements.

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