Social commerce is one of the hottest digital sectors. From the explosive growth of Groupon and Pinterest to the widespread implementation of social sign-on across brand and e-commerce sites, it's plain to see that many companies are scrambling to leverage social networks and influence in service of their business goals.
Booz and Company estimated that $30 billion in goods and services will be sold within social networks by 2015.
On-network sales are just a segment of the total range of services and vendors that comprise the "social commerce" segment.
The basic concept of social commerce -- that social influence and communication networks can be leveraged for business -- is nothing new. What is different today is that the explosive growth of social networks, coupled with the availability of connected tools within and outside of such networks, has given people even greater reach and influence over one another.
With so many social options available, it is critical that marketers take an objectives-based approach to evaluating and selecting social commerce tactics and partners for their businesses. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
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First of all, nice comprehensive yet readable article! One point sticks out for me: "For example, without social media, a highly satisfied customer might evangelize your product to perhaps 10 people. With social media, that number can now easily exceed 100, or 1000, or 10,000." This factor is often quoted as a reason to be socially engaged - Forrestor's social impact factor model, etc. Yet, I think in reality this is much compromised by the credibility factor (which you mention later). Trust is still key to decision making. Though wisdom of the crowd accounts for 20% of our purchase influence (ratings, reviews, etc - the help of strangers) - the rest still comes from stronger connections, family, peers, friends. I'm not sure how exponential the actual amplification really is. Also, another key issue is are you in fact just advertising to customers? Who came first? The Facebook fan or brand advocate?
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