Social this, social that - it seems all marketers hear about these days is social networking, social marketing, and social interaction online. But what does the "social" moniker mean for your business? How does the customer voice really impact bottom-line sales?
In this ongoing column, I'll explore a concept called "social commerce." Unlike the broad brush of social media - which is a catch-all phrase for word-of-mouth activities of all kinds - social commerce is the strategy of connecting customers to customers online, then leveraging those connections for commercial purpose. In other words, social commerce moves the word-of-mouth needle from "buzz" to "buy."
Social commerce in the broadest sense is the strategy of facilitating customer interactions and participation in ways that will drive measurable business results. The word "commerce" paired with "social" reminds us that a smart social marketing program is measured, operationalized, and optimized - and meets its goal of driving customers to purchase.
As a social commerce marketer, your job is to:
As a former retail marketer at Dell.com, I'd suggest online businesses are not all that interested in driving shopping, but rather traffic, conversion, average order value, loyalty, satisfaction, and competitive differentiation. These are the metrics that lead to lasting sales growth. Social commerce allows companies to leverage their brand advocates and the content they create as measurable, impactful digital marketing assets.
This column will be a place for marketers to learn practical, actionable tips for setting a social commerce program in action - and strategies for optimizing the program over time to drive a lasting impact on P&L statements. Most marketers already have several social programs in place: a Facebook page, a Twitter account, perhaps a company blog, and ratings and reviews on their Web site. Maybe you've gone so far as to measure which of these programs is delivering the most traffic or the highest conversion lift. But the ultimate goal in building an impactful, measurable social commerce program is to integrate all social marketing activities with your larger marketing programs (online, in-store, mobile, direct marketing, and more) so that all of your marketing initiatives work together to deliver one common goal: bottom-line sales growth.
To get started on building a social commerce program, there a few best practices marketers can implement right away.
Those are just a few tips to get you started on the path to social commerce success. In upcoming columns, I look forward to delivering proven best practices, real-world case studies, and forward-thinking strategies to help make social commerce a core component of every marketing program.
Sam is off today. This column was originally published on Feb. 9, 2010 on ClickZ.
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Sam Decker is founder and CEO of Mass Relevance, the leading enterprise social curation company. He speaks and consults on digital growth strategy, based on years of experience in technology and social markets. He has written two books on word-of-mouth marketing and is an award-winning blogger (www.deckermarketing.com). As former chief marketing officer of Bazaarvoice, the market leader in hosted social commerce applications that drive sales, Sam worked to help brands present the right user-generated content at the right time in the purchase path, bringing real value to the consumer and the business. Prior to Bazaarvoice he drove Dell's customer segmentation, their customer-centricity strategy, and led Dell's consumer website, building Dell.com into the largest consumer e-commerce site at $3.5 billion in annual sales.
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