When Social Met eCommerce: An Introduction Social Commerce


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eCommerce and Social Media have had a torrid relationship over the past year, resulting in the rise of social commerce as the newest frontier in retail sales. But there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to capitalizing on the growing trend. With our free eBook you’ll gain insight into:

• How to get started on moving your business onto social media networks.
• Key trends to follow in the sphere of social media sales.

• Winning referrals that drive sales through leveraging your social networks.

Win the future of social media sales with our free eBook resource.

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When Social Met eCommerce: An Introduction Social Commerce

  1. 1. An Ambassador eBookWhen Social Met eCommerce: An Introduction to Social Commerce
  2. 2. An Introduction to Table of ContentsSocial Commerce ContentsIntroduction: More Than a Feeling........................................3Chapter 1: The Three Dimensions of Social Comerce.....7Chapter 2: Selling on Social Networks............................... 9Chapter 3: Getting Started with Social Commerce......... 18Chapter 4: Analytics and You............................................... 21Conclusion............................................................................... 24 Page 2
  3. 3. An Introduction to IntroductionSocial CommerceIntroduction: More Than a FeelingSocial media and eCommerce first met in the early 2007when Facebook began offering virtual gifts to its users.Searching for a new way to conduct business online,the two platforms bumped into each other time and timeagain, but weren’t able to connect on an intimate level.Finally, a close friendship began to bloom between themand they both embraced a casual relationship. But fatehad other plans in store for the two star-crossed online Page 3
  4. 4. An Introduction to IntroductionSocial Commerceplatforms, resulting in a storybook marriage and the birth ofsocial commerce.That’s all well and good, but what exactly is socialcommerce? Wikipedia defines it as, “a subset of electroniccommerce that involves using social media, online mediathat supports social interaction, and user contributions toassist in the online buying and selling of products andservices.”Put simply, social commerce combines the interactivity ofsocial networks with the sales potential of eCommerceplatforms. This interactive evolution of eCommerce allowsfor brands to participate directly in customer communities,leveraging their networks to drive sales, increase revenue Page 4
  5. 5. An Introduction to IntroductionSocial Commerceand build powerful brand ambassadors that increasetraffic back home.The marketing to sales process used to be easy whenit was driven mainly by outbound techniques. But witha customer’s path to purchase becoming increasinglynon-linear, the traditional marketing pipeline no longermakes sense.Consider the last time you bought a product online. In alllikelihood you first looked up customer reviews, did someresearch on other websites and contacted friends to seeif they were familiar with the brand. You most likely youused social media sites to facilitate this process. Thisdisjointed sales process requires a disjointed marketingstrategy involving a strong online presence to helpcustomers come to positive conclusions about your brand.Social commerce is a win-win for customers and brands.Customers get to feel more secure and confident in theirpurchases, and brands are able to promote happycustomers as advocates for their brand. Customerreferrals have proven to the most effective driver of repeat Page 5
  6. 6. An Introduction to IntroductionSocial Commercesales. Social commerce connects the dots between wordof mouth marketing and eCommerce platforms.Like most new Internet buzzwords, there’s a lot to learnwhen it comes to actually implementing social strategies inyour selling process. The following eBook will lay out howto get started, key trends to follow and the best practicesfor preserving the blossoming relationship of social mediaand eCommerce. Page 6
  7. 7. An Introduction to Chapter 1: The Three Dimen-Social Commerce sions of Social CommerceChapter 1: The Three Dimensionsof Social CommerceSocial commerce can seem a little imposing at first. Afterall, never before have businesses been able tocommunicate with customers on such a personal level.But don’t be afraid of rejection. Ultimately the process ofleveraging soc ial commerce can be segmented into 3simple dimensions:1. Social Shopping: Social shopping seeks to mimic theinteractions found in brick and mortar stores by allowing acustomer’s friends to be involved in the shoppingexperience. Group shopping sites (like Groupon),recommendation engines and on- Did you know:line marketplaces all bring custom- According to theers together in a central location New York Times,and allow for an interactive, social 65% of new businessexperience. comes from referrals. A Nielsen study also2. Customer Reviews: Giving found that you are 4customers a platform to review times more likely to buy when referredproducts facilitates their ability to by a friend. Page 7
  8. 8. An Introduction to Chapter 1: The Three Dimen-Social Commerce sions of Social Commercecome to a secure conclusion about theirpurchase. By harnessing the wisdom of With social refer-crowds, positive reviews can be game ral software builtchangers in a customer’s decision to into your eCom-choose your brand. merce platform, you can easily3. Peer-to-Peer Referrals: Reviews are reward custom-available to all visitors, but a happy ers for sharingcustomer will share a peer-to-peer referral informationwith friends and family. This has proven to about their pur-be the most effective way of driving new chase, referringsales, as potential customers trust close new friends andfriends more than an anonymous review driving saleson your site.You may have noticed a common theme here: establishing atrust-based relationship is critical to success on social media.Shoppers today have an inherent distrust of brandedmessaging. Instead, they look to friends, family and onlinecommunities to build trust in a brand. Neglect your onlinecommunity at your own peril. Page 8
  9. 9. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social NetworksChapter 2: Selling on SocialNetworksSo you’ve decided to put down your guard and move intothe social sphere. Great job! But now you have to decidewhat social network to focus on. There are manydifferences between social platforms, so understandingwhat’s best for your business is critical to success.Currently, the two big drivers of social commerce areFacebook on Pinterest so let’s pick them apart and seehow social commerce impacts both communities:FacebookFacebook was a pioneer in the social commerce sector bykicking of the trend way back in 2007. The push wasinitially met with skepticism but has seen a strong increasein sales referrals over the past couple of months. Thereare two types of Facebook commerce:1. Sell directly through Facebook: Generally, thisinvolves a store creating a branded page on Facebookand selling through an application. Page 9
  10. 10. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social Networks2. Social plug-ins: Facebook makes itpossible for companies to implement JC Penny offers asocial sharing plug-ins on their own robust selectionlanding pages, allowing customers to log- of products on itsin directly with their Facebook account Facebook store,and share their purchases with the including linksentirety of their network. on every page to facilitate sharing,Selling through Facebook has a number commenting andof benefits for online brands. For one, it purchasing.allows for instantaneous communicationbetween customers and their friends. This can be a hugeboon to looping in new fans as customers can rapidly shareoffers and purchases with close friends. These peer refer-rals are extremely valuable and are much more likely tomake a purchase down the road.Levi’s Friends Store shows what products a shopper’s friend likes, upcoming birthdays and a number of other social components.The plug-in is focused more on recommendations than actual pur- chasing, however it is currently one of the most robust implementations of Facebook’s social plug-in for retail. mentioning and purchasing. Page 10
  11. 11. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social NetworksFacebook is also extremely effective at building customerloyalty. Consistently interacting with your fans builds a per-sonal relationship with thecustomer that creates strong emotional ties between themand your brand. Offering new deals and exciting offers canhelp grow this relationship, and will also incentivize loyalfans to go out and advocate on behalf of your brand.Finally, Facebook pages allow for highly targetedmarketing strategies by letting brands pinpoint the exactdemographics and interests of their customer base. In thisway, your brand can ensure the delivery of relevant contentoffers and deals to the right fans, improving your CTR andoverall fan engagement.PinterestFounded in March 2010, Pinterest has become thefastest-growing social media site on the web, gaining over140% more users since January 2012 alone. It’s potential forreshaping social commerce cannot be understated: datacollected by e-commerce platform Shopify found that notonly are Pinterest users 10% more likely to buy thancustomers referred from other social networks, but are Page 11
  12. 12. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social Networkslikely to spend double the amount per purchase.Pinterest is a textbook example of social commerce atits most effective. A recent study from ComScore foundthat visual content is now the most effective influencer ofconsumer click-through-rates (CTR) and as you may haveknown, Pinterest is all about visuals. The keys to successon Pinterest are optimizing your images to make them asappealing and accessible as possible so that followersactually want to share it.Pinterest gives users the opportunity to share productsthat they’re interested in or repin them for other followersto see. Most important to social commerce however, is theability to transport followers directly from your pinboard toyour site. By sharing images from you eCommerce website,people can click-through and make a purchase almostinstantaneously. A customer sees a cool product, they clickit, buy it and share it with their friends – it’s socialcommerce distilled to its most simplistic form. Page 12
  13. 13. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social NetworksB2B Businesses, Take NotePinterest may not be the best avenue for a B2B companybut if you can break into the market you’ll be targetingcustomers that your competitors aren’t even aware of. Interms of posting content eBooks, whitepapers andinfographics work well because they generally are moreinformation based and offer opportunities to createimaginative, engaging covers.If you’re a little rusty on posting you could try pinning ofpictures/content to your board. It can help buildconnections with other businesses on the site and helploop in strategic partnerships and customers. If you areable to produce imaginative covers and infographics Page 13
  14. 14. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social NetworksPinterest is a great place to showcase them. There are alot of boards dedicated to these types of content that getquite a bit of traffic.Once you have them on your board, you can drive trafficback to your landing pages by including links embeddedin your images. The name of the game is conversion and ifyou’re not bringing people onto your site there’s really noreason to be online.
Pinterest may not be the best avenuefor B2B lead generation, but if you already have a lot ofimage-heavy content on hand and optimize the site tobring people to an existing landing page it can prove veryuseful, at least for bringing in more top of the funnel leads.What About Twitter?While Twitter itself does not provide any eCommercefunctionality it can be very useful for marketing other socialmedia channels and promoting your products to thousandsof followers.Twitter also allows for continuing to build your onlinepresence and creating a strong, branded community offollowers. The micro-blogging platform recently allowedfor customized profile pictures and backgrounds, allowing Page 14
  15. 15. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social Networksbrands to tailor their profiles for increased userengagement.The three main uses of Twitter for social commerce are:1. Provide time-sensitive offers to followers2. Leverage Twitter to drive traffic to other social networks3. Establishing a branded Twitter profileTwitter is a hodgepodge of B2Bs, B2Cs and general fans ofyour brand. It’s oriented to customer support orgeneral brand engagement. Use it to get discussions goingand post call to actions that drive people to a landing pageand build communities of supporters. 

Although Twitter cannot be used for actually selling, itshould be part of a broader strategy to increase awarenessand loop in new fans. Page 15
  16. 16. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social NetworksSocial Sharing Buttons and YouUltimately a successful social commerce campaigndepends on your brand and customers. But don’t fret!Social media is essentially a free marketing tool, so don’tbe afraid to try out both and see what works best.However, you can use social sharing buttons to integrateboth channels into a robust social commerce experience.In fact, it’s highly recommended!If you’ve ever clicked a “Like” button next to a product or a“Retweet” button on a blog you’ve experienced thepower of social sharing buttons. As we’ve said, word ofmouth marketing is the most effective way to drive repeatcustomers and sales so optimizing your social channels forsharing is at the core of a successful social commercedriven business.The most effective way to do this is through ‘Share’ buttons(Retweet, Like, Share, +1, etc). Every blog post or productpage should include a share button to give shoppers theability to push out recommendations to all of their followerspromoting sharing and generating social proof. Page 16
  17. 17. An Introduction to Chapter 2: SellingSocial Commerce on Social NetworksFacebook has even gone so far as to incorporatesharing-capabilities directly into their eCommercefunctionalities. The social network recently rolled outCollections – a new feature that allows online brands toadd, “Want,”“Collect,” and “Buy” buttons to product posts.Here’s a quick rundown: clicking “Want” adds a product toa “Wishlist” on a user’s Timeline. “Collect,” adds it to aPinboard-esque page called “Products.” On the “Wishlist”and “Products” pages, the “Buy” button directs users tomake purchases offsite.Beyond Facebook users, brand pages are also able tocreate collections to build an online catalogue of all theirproducts. The one difference is company collections areonly viewable to their Facebook fans. If pages want morepeople collecting, resharing and clicking they’re going toneed a well-developed fan base.Facebook’s new features are clearly a win for socialbrands, and further push online businesses into the realmof social commerce. Page 17
  18. 18. An Introduction to Chapter 3: Getting StartedSocial Commerce with Social CommerceChapter 3: Getting Started withSocial CommerceSo you’ve got all your social networks set-up, youreCommerce site is live and you’re ready to get started onbuilding am engaged community of supporters. Thequestion is, how do you actually go about developing asocial commerce-driven brand? Page 18
  19. 19. An Introduction to Chapter 3: Getting StartedSocial Commerce with Social CommerceHere are 4 things to keep in mind when getting started:1. Outline Your Objectives: What are you trying toachieve with your new model? Is your goal to acquire newcustomers, or maybe to convert customers into advocates?Determining the ultimate goals you’re trying to reach willhelp structure your program accordingly and determine theappropriate metrics with which to measure success.2. Create a Promotional Strategy: You’ve made aFacebook brand page, but what else will you do togenerate a strong brand presence? There is little room fororganic growth on social media sites makingimplementing a promotional strategy critical to ensuringpeople are aware of your brand. Some options includeword of mouth campaigns, outbound advertising andmedia integrations but ultimately you must determine whatworks for your own brand.3. Create Content to Establish Your Authority: Any typeof original content, be it photos, blog posts or videos, is agreat way to engage your fans in conversations relevantto your products. Over time your content will grow into alibrary that establishes credibility and authority for yourbrand and build a lasting community in the process. Page 19
  20. 20. An Introduction to Chapter 3: Getting StartedSocial Commerce with Social Commerce4. Integrate Social Commerce Into a Multi-ChannelStrategy: Social commerce may be a large part of yoursales strategy, but it is not the only one. It is important todetermine what effect social commerce will have on othermarketing channels and how you can support andintegrate your marketing programs to optimize conversionsand sales. Page 20
  21. 21. An Introduction to Chapter 4: Analytics and YouSocial CommerceChapter 4: Analytics and YouThroughout the duration of your social commercecampaign, you should be tracking all of your metricsthrough social media analytics. Otherwise, you’ll beunable to determine what’s working and what’s gettinglost in the blogosphere.As a rule of thumb, be careful to avoid “vanity” metrics andmake sure you’re focusing on actionable metrics that canactually inform your business strategy. A lot of the datasocial media sites offer is fluff (fans and likes forexample). Measuring your success based on these metricsmay show a high ROI but you’re not getting the wholestory. Page 21
  22. 22. An Introduction to Chapter 4: Analytics and YouSocial CommerceIf you’re measuring things like bounce rates, click throughrates, etc you’d be looking at metrics that tie actions to realresults.Choosing the right metrics also depends on the types ofgoals you’re looking to get from social media. For example,if you’re looking to measure customer engagement withyour brand, focus on:• Site visits• Number of comments/unique commenters on your blog• Quantity/frequency of reviews, comments, discussions, etc.• Content sharing frequency (retweets, Facebook posts, etc.)• Site affinity/likelihood to influence other friends Page 22
  23. 23. An Introduction to Chapter 4: Analytics and YouSocial CommerceThese metrics can be tied to actual results from your onlinestrategy and can help you optimize your marketingprogram. As a general rule, 3 important thoughts to keep inmind are:• Measure what matters to the health of your business.• Measure customer behavior, not intermediate steps.• Measure macro metrics to pinpoint what needs im provement. Page 23
  24. 24. An Introduction to ConclusionSocial CommerceConclusionToday’s customers are more active insocial media than ever before. They reviewproducts and services, refer friends back tobrands and share experience acrosssocial media channels. Along all steps ofthe purchasing process – from awarenessto purchase to brand advocacy –companies should work to develop asocially driven shopping experience andpromote sharing across all social mediachannels.Social commerce integration may berelatively new, but the underlying conceptsbehind it date back to the early days ofcivilization: we are all social creatures,community minded and driven byrecommendations from friends and family.Social media has opened the door toleveraging these tendencies for commercialgain. It’s now up to online brands to stepthrough it. Page 24
  25. 25. An Introduction to ConclusionSocial CommerceAmbassador enables any company to easily track,manage & reward their advocates for referring customersand driving conversions. Receive actionable channel-spe-cific metrics; including shares, clicks, conversions, revenueand clicks per share. Ambassador can be fully integratedinto your website, maintaining your look & feel whileproviding a frictionless experience for your advocates. Page 25