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Friday, April 22, 2011

Social Commerce Beyond Facebook

There is no denying that Facebook is an excellent promotional and social commerce tool. It is, after all, the most popular social network in the world and the most visited website in many countries. With the introduction of Facebook Deals and the F-Store, they have also made selling through Facebook almost as easy as creating a social network profile. However, Facebook is not the only social commerce tool out there. And a prudent entrepreneur, or business owner should use all of them to maximize the benefits of social commerce.

Other social commerce tools include adding reviews of your products by past customers to your website, encouraging customer discussions, adding social media and other sharing buttons, and so on. These are almost completely free and carry all the benefits of increasing your customer base organically through recommendations. These tools can also save you a lot of money on advertising costs, while raising your profits at the same time.

F-Commerce is also not free. According to some reports, Facebook is charging a minimum of £50,000 (approx. 80,000 USD) from brands for the Facebook Deals tool. And that is quite an investment, especially for a smaller brand or business. So, if you already have a well-established website, it is perhaps better to use Facebook for promotion, while incorporating easier ways to pay, such as mobile checkout, PayPal and so on.

And for those who do their business globally, leveraging the positive benefits of customer reviews just got much easier due to the invention of a new translation software by the British company Reevoo. This new software enables you to automatically translate existing reviews into many different languages. Sony recently piloted this new software across eight of its websites in Europe. They report that it has helped them immensely in overcoming the lack of an established reviews culture in Europe.

Currently F-Commerce seems like the best solution to cover all of your social commerce needs in a single package. However, people are nothing if not fickle. MySpace once held the spot Facebook occupies now and has since fallen quite low. Who’s to say the same won’t happen to Facebook in a year or two? Rather than risk this, it is best to spread your social commerce efforts across a series of social networking sites, namely Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. And do not neglect the new comers, such as, for example, Plurk.com. Who knows, any one of them could be the next Facebook.

Staff Bloggers, the Technology Gurus, Inc.

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