Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The basic guide to social commerce

As we have highlighted in recent weeks, Social commerce is becoming an ever increasing part of online selling. Businesses who actively engage is social commerce see greater levels of interaction, traffic and most importantly sales. Social commerce is a great way to help your online business develop their own brand identity and generate increased levels of profit.

However, if you have yet to look at social commerce for your business or are looking to improve the efficiency in which you carry it out, what are the basic steps you should look to do correctly to give you the best chance of success?

Today we are going to look at the different social media sites you should be advertising your business on, explaining what they offer in terms of promoting your brand.


The most popular form of social commerce for any business with over 900 million regular users. Creating a page for your business allows you to provide your customers with various pieces of information such as product images, sales or simply sociable information to engage with your customers. It is this engagement which makes Facebook such a valuable tool. While customers engage with your website in terms of making a sale, there is not really any form of informal conversation. Facebook allows you to not only speak to your customers, but it also allows your customers to speak to you, ask you questions and give opinions regarding your business. If you are looking to get your business's social commerce platform off the ground, Facebook needs to be your first port of call. Facebook has also developed it's own F-commerce platform within online selling as a number of businesses now sell products directly on Facebook through a Facebook store.


Allows users to follow your business through your Twitter page. They will then be able to see any status or product information you display through your Tweets. People can then respond to your Tweets with their own messages or Retweet your message for people who follow that user to then see, giving you the chance to increase your brand awareness and gain more followers. However, what you must always bear in mind is that the majority of people only follow you on both Facebook and Twitter to find out about any sales and offers your business is running. For this reason you should look to engage with your followers on a regular basis and provide them with the information they require. This could mean offering certain discounts solely to these people who have followed you on your social media channels. 


Whether you decide to use YouTube or not for your business depends entirely on what it is your business does and what types of marketing techniques you use. As YouTube is a site for sharing various videos, your business needs to have the relevant content for this platform. This means if you have created any promotional ads or other video content, you should put it on YouTube as it will greatly increase the number of viewers you have for your content. If you run a business that sells various goods, such as an eBay store, you can look to create a slideshow displaying the images of products you have for sale in your store. A customer may then come across the slideshow, find a product that they like the look of and then visit your online store to purchase the product. 


Like YouTube, Pinterest is another social media platform that specialises solely in visual content. However, rather than displaying videos, Pinterest displays images which you can pin to various boards for people to see. Like I said earlier with YouTube, if you run a goods store, you can 'pin' images of your products on to Pinterest for users to see. If a user finds an image that appeals to them, they can access the profile of the person who originally pinned the image and find a link to visit the store that has the product for sale or share the image between their friends. Either way it is great for an online store as you gain an extra platform to advertise your products for free, you can gain sales through people becoming interested in your products and you can also increase your brand awareness through your products being shared and seen by numerous people. 


This is a site operates pretty much the same way to Pinterest but isn't as well known with just under a million user, compared to over 11 million on Pinterest. Like Pinterest, the site allows you to add images with you have come across on the web for your friends to then see and also "re-fancy" them if they like the look of the image. However, the problem users are finding with the site is that it is much more commercialised than Pinterest, seemingly taking away the feel of social sharing it offers. That being said, Fancy is a great way for online stores to sell their products as it is much easier to access the a store once the customer finds a product image they like.


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