Is Social Commerce Right For Your Business?

Everyone knows about social media, but what about social commerce?  Social Commerce is a hot topic right now, and many people online are talking about it.  I have seen many articles, blog posts, and e-books on the topic.  By now, you are probably asking  yourself what social commerce is all about and what does it mean for your business?

Quite simply, social commerce is this:

Social Commerce = Social Networking + Shopping

For quite a while, social media users have been disinterested in combining both networking and shopping together.  Little interest was paid to product offerings and most businesses had either never heard of the concept or were choosing to ignore it altogether.  The marketing messages were considered off-putting and have not been welcome on social networking websites.

However, things are changing because businesses are getting more involved in social networking and are forced to have a more humanized presence.  Since customers can now interact with businesses, comment, rate products, and share information with both peers and companies, people are feeling more comfortable combining both social networking and shopping.

In light of these recent advancements, you should consider adding social media features to your new or existing online store.  Add Facebook “like” buttons, Twitter “tweet this” buttons, or choose to add several social bookmarking sites so that customers can share information across their networks and interact with your employees.  Another way to create a sense of community on your website is to add ratings and reviews to further encourage your clients to share information with other clients.

In addition, you should add e-commerce functionality to your social networking sites, if possible.  Some sites, like Facebook, have the functionality already built-in for you.  Take advantage of the tools they give you and try it out to see if it works for your business.  But tread carefully, it is still early to tell if social commerce will catch on, and it would not be wise not to spend all of your time and effort on social commerce while ignoring more traditional methods of obtaining customers.

Is social commerce part of your marketing plan?  How do you make it work?