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What is Social Commerce?

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  • Written By: Carrieanne Larmore
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Social commerce is the integration of online commerce with social media websites. It encourages individuals to participate in social interactions on the business’ website to help either others or themselves when making a purchasing decision. Businesses offering social commerce usually offer a basic assortment of features, such as user ratings, user comments, forums, user-generating content sharing, and sharing of shopping cart or wish lists.

The main purpose of social commerce is for consumers to gain valuable advice or product knowledge from individuals they can trust before making a purchase. Businesses often achieve this goal is by adding the ability for individuals to add comments and ratings to product information pages. In addition, more companies are including Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet and Google Buzz buttons on top of product pages for individuals to view the number of times products have been shared or recommended to others. The easier it is to share links, the more likely individuals will take advantage of the opportunity.

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An advantage of using social commerce is that it encourages consumers to share product information and advice within their own social networks. This is not only free advertising for businesses, but sales are more likely to increase as consumers share products they like with family and friends. For instance, when someone clicks the Facebook Like button on the top of the product page, the product name and description is shared with everyone in this person’s Facebook network. With one click, hundreds of consumers normally outside the business’ reach can view the product.

Success in social commerce requires marketers to talk to consumers instead of talking down to them. This can be accomplished by making sure their voice, words and tones are the same as if talking to consumers in person. Marketers must also work on encouraging conversations and questions in order to build and deepen customer relationships. The stronger its relationships are with consumers, the more likely their products, services or company will be shared through social networking websites or will receive positive ratings or comments on its own website.

Social commerce is constantly expanding to include new features and abilities. For instance, Facebook applications are being developed by larger businesses so that when their product or service is shared on Facebook, potential consumers do not have to leave the site in order to make a purchase. These types of applications allow businesses to convert more referrals into sales in order to take full advantage of social commerce.

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Discuss this Article

nony
Post 4

@hamje32 - Social media for business is here to stay. The latest hot trend is YouTube, and video marketing in general. I recently watched some marketers at a social commerce summit TV program and they were all aglow about how hot YouTube was and how it’s being used aggressively in marketing now.

They said in the month of December (I forgot the year) more than 30 billion videos were watched. Also, people tend to pay attention more to YouTube videos and of course they replay them over and over.

Marketers are setting up their own YouTube channels to promote their products, and reaching millions of people for pennies on the dollar. Despite the commercialization of YouTube, however, people will continue to watch it without getting bent out of shape about it.

everetra
Post 3

@hamje32 - Social marketing is a boon for consumers, not just businesses. Consumers decide what media they want to use to do their product research. They seem to be jumping on the social networking bandwagon, because it offers them deeper insight into the products and services they are thinking of purchasing, stripped away from the hype.

This is a two-way street here between consumers and marketers. There’s nothing sinister about having a LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter account. As long as you know what you’re using it for—and how businesses are using it --it can be a win-win situation. You can always close the accounts if you don’t like them.

hamje32
Post 2

@Mammmood - Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the Force. Social media platforms like Facebook and business blogs do indeed give businesses a better way to get their word out. But they also turn users into marketing prospects, whose every turn is monitored often without their consent.

Facebook is the worst offender in this regard, as they have openly boasted about the use of the website as a marketing tool. They can provide laser like focus to marketers because Facebook tracks just about everything, from likes to religious and political preferences and just about everything else.

It’s a perfect mailing list, but you the user lose your privacy. Yes, it’s good for business, but bad for you, unless you don’t mind Big Brother watching your every move and selling you for a dime.

Mammmood
Post 1

One of the most popular social media strategies for companies integrating social marketing and business is the business blog. Why is that? Simply, a blog is a voice of opinion and it invites user feedback. When companies put up their own blogs, they are saying to their customers—and the rest of the world--“Let’s talk.”

It’s a medium of communication that is unencumbered the layers of artificiality that you would find in advertising, for example, where you know that you are being pitched. Blogs let businesses really hear what their customers are saying and this will enable them to improve their product line.

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