Published on April 29th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
Will social commerce ever really take off?
By Amy @BubbleJobs
The idea of social commerce isn’t brand new – since the onslaught of social networks like Facebook, Twitter and most recently a little thing called Google+, businesses have been trying their best to turn their fans and followers into cold hard cash but it’s not really working.
The problem with social commerce at the moment? Marketers have it all wrong! With social media, the clue is really in the name – it’s social. It’s all about building up relationships, engaging with fans and giving a little bit back. Unfortunately at the moment marketers are more focused on what they can get from their social media accounts instead of what they can give their fans.
Think about it – what do you go on to Facebook for? To check how terrible you look in the drunken pictures from the weekend, to snoop on what past colleagues are up to and to post that funny YouTube video on your best friend’s wall – OK, so not everyone does exactly that but they all go on there for social reasons.
Ah that word again ‘social’ – social media sites have been created to let people stay in touch, not to provide a new shopping platform and that’s where the problem lies – there’s a whopping great clash between socialness (is that even a word?!) and e-commerce. It’s simple – if someone goes on to an e-commerce site they’re there to buy, if they go on to a social media site they’re there to socialise or interact with others.
Now I’m not saying that social commerce is never going to take off – not at all, in fact I think that once someone figures out a way to do it and do it well, it’s going to change the face of e-commerce as we know it. The key is going to be keeping the personal relationship that brands need to build with individual fans or followers and combining that with a quality, trust-worthy shopping platform that people actually want to use.
If you think about it, social media has already crossed the divide into non-social sites and e-commerce sites via social bookmarking so unless we’re driving on a one-way road it’s technically possible for it to work the other way too… it’s just a question of how!
Just like the best uses of social media, the book on social commerce has only just started to be written, in fact it’s not even reached the draft format yet! The advice for any e-commerce business will be to keep their eyes and ears peeled, watch and learn from other people’s mistakes and then launch an effective social commerce strategy that can sit snugly alongside their e-commerce and social media strategies.