Social commerce is the monetisation of social media with ecommerce, and for a small business that journey starts by understanding, what your business sells and who your customer is.
Next, find where these customers hangout socially. This is done using various tools like Twello, the Twitter yellow pages. Free software like Hootsuite allows you to send information to various Social Media platforms like, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.fm and WordPress.
Have a clear strategy which engages you with your target audience, as you start to build relationships with them by sharing and collaborating. Once you have built that ‘trust’, only then you can start directing them to your ecommerce facility. Think about helping them buy where they connect and connect where they buy. So why not place a BUY NOW button, within your facebook fan page.
Once on your website, you need to make it ‘Sticky’ so the customer stays on for longer and has a greater experience, by making comments in a forum or having ratings & reviews of your products or services is a great way to build trust. Adding a facility like booking-marking allows customers to share and discuss their journey, within their personal social networks. Its crucial to the process of them becoming a raving FAN!!!
Tip No. 1
Who is Standing in-front of you: Defining what your customer profile is & thus who is your target audience is one of the most vital steps in starting to understand and use Social Commerce as part of your Marketing and Sales strategy.
Who are they? How old are they? Where do the “hang out”? What toothpaste do they use? (you get the picture)
These are just a few of the questions you need consider to clearly define your most profitable on-line activities.
Tip No. 2
Your Website requires a clear customer journey for first time visitors. guiding them to take action. This is crucial in the process of a new customer purchasing, using your ecommerce facility. Make sure you use your analytics weekly if not daily to help with this process. Google offer this FREE www.google.com/analytics. Does your home page have all the benefits about your business, and a call to action through a video or free audio download? If not, why not?
Tip No. 3
Six Dimensions: Which one of these, if not all of them, can your business & consumer benefit from?
- Social Shopping: allowing you to share the act of shopping together.
- Ratings & Reviews: provide independent third party evaluation and allows viewers to contribute and discuss
- Recommendations & Referrals: promotes personal recommendations and referrals within social circles.
- Forums & Communities: Connect people with each other and allows a business to moderate and curate an environment.
- Social Media Optimisation: Adding Twitter, Facebook, Blogs etc to your website
- Social Apps: Create branded online applications that support social interaction.
Tip No. 4
Your Vision: Be clear about who you are and what differentiates you ask yourself. What are my customers buying from me? This is the “Value Add” and can help you understand that customers buy “Benefits” and not “Features”. What is your “Value Proposition” – A short sharp statement of “why to buy my service” or bullet points works.
Once you have this, its essential to have continuity from the first point of contact, and all the way through to the sales process and followed by, your after sales customer service.
Tip No. 5
Social Networking can transform your business from a B2B or B2C to a D2C – Direct To Consumer, by connecting where they buy and buy where they connect. Using tools like socialmention.com to help track keywords and conversations. Outline a general roadmap for starting out with social commerce and adapt a strategy for social media by using the right software to engage, share, collaborate.
Tip No. 6
Listen: Begin by monitoring social media activity in your category and parallel categories. What are competitors seeking to achieve and with which tools? Include this monitoring in your broader social media monitoring solution, that tracks the reputation and reach of your brand or business in social media. Learn about what’s available by signing up to social shopping portals.
Tip No. 7
Experiment: Decide what you want to achieve (monetising social media marketing, optimising ecommerce, business model innovation) and based on your findings, start a number of small-scale trials designed to delivered against this objective. Start simple and learn to adjust. If you have social features already on your website, extend these into social network platforms. More generally, take advantage of proven solutions that allow you to experiment easily with little time or investment such as customer testimonials, ratings and reviews, user forums, social media optimisation and referral programs. Make measurement a priority.
Tip No. 8
Apply: Take results from small-scale experiments, and build on what works applying what you have learned by integrating social commerce into your broader business, ecommerce or social media marketing strategy. Remember that social commerce tools deliver business value when they deliver real value to the people using them, so it’s critical to give users a compelling reason to engage with social media. Choose toolsets appropriately based on whether you are seeking to enhance product discovery, product selection or product referral and continually capture feedback on how well you are doing.
Tip No. 9
Develop: The frontiers of social media and ecommerce are constantly expanding, so make the ongoing development of your social commerce strategy an ongoing priority – integrating new insights, tools and technologies as they become available. Remember that social media is a conversational medium, so listen closely and respond quickly to user feedback on your social commerce solution. Explore how you might apply newer, more innovative social commerce solutions such as portable social graphs, social media stores or offering new social media services.
Tip No. 10
Finding your Formula: Before you do anything you must have a plan and a process. Having a clear strategy around communicating on different social networking platforms is a priority and once you have this and have found your target audience, use a CRM like www.kazeliuk.com to automate the process. Don’t spend your valuable time by sending every email with a personal message, do what you’re best at and get software and/or a virtual assistant to do the rest.
Its about finding your target audience socially using software, this will enable you too start building relationships by sharing, collaborating and engaging. The ultimate outcome is to drive these connections to your now humanised website, allowing them to get engaged and feel confident with their purchase, thus becoming a raving FAN!!!
Warren Knight is a Social Commerce Expert and is the co-founder of Gloople, the UK’s 1st “Social Sharing” e-commerce platform
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