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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Social Commerce: Make it Personal

Social commerce is a broad term and encompasses everything from Twitter, to GroupOn, to having a blog. All of these tools have one thing in common, namely that you can lose all the benefits that they offer, if you fail to use them correctly. Effective social commerce requires the interplay of offering a great product, delivering good content on your social commerce vehicle, such as your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed, and interacting with your followers in a real and honest way.

Most Common Social Commerce Mistakes

The fundamental mistake you can make in your social commerce efforts is not using all the tools that it offers. Many companies do not blog, are not present on Facebook, or Twitter, and still rely only on email newsletters to get the word out to their potential customers. These days, the latter is simply not enough. As comScore’s 2010 Digital Year in Review showed, email usage is in decline, and being replaced by social networking sites practically all over the world, and for most age groups.

Next, social commerce, especially offering coupons through sites like GroupOn, Living Social and Facebook Deals, lets companies very accurately track the return on their online marketing investment. Not checking these statistics periodically and fixing, tweaking, or otherwise changing the campaign to make it more effective is also a mistake businesses often make in their approach to social commerce.

However, the most detrimental mistake made by companies when implementing social commerce approaches is not making the message personal enough. The main driving force behind the success of social commerce stems from the evolution of the Internet, the so-called Web 2.0, which is all about online communities and networks. And people want to know that there’s a real person behind the company profile that they’ve “Liked” on Facebook, or that they follow on Twitter.

There’s more to being successful in the sphere of social commerce than just having thousands of followers and informing them, in a routine and uninteresting manner, of your deals, promotions, and so on. It is far better to engage with them on a more personal basis, by asking questions, taking polls, posting comments, and so on. In addition to regularly updating them about your promotions, and new products or services, of course. You are selling something after all. But the goal with social commerce should always be to put people first, and products second.

Staff Blogger, the Technology Gurus, Inc.

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