May 2, 2011
by Mark Ollig
Businesses and organizations today understand the need in having a presence on the Internet.
Years ago, most businesses engaged in e-commerce by setting up a simple website.
On their website, they displayed pictures of their products, listed their services, and added a phone number, along with an email address.
Then they sat back, and hoped somebody would contact them.
Much has changed since then.
Today, the Internet has become home to savvy, social networking consumers.
Businesses and organizations are using modern social commerce practices to actively engage these online consumers directly – by going where they are.
“So, where are these online social consumers going?” you may be asking yourself.
Facebook, the number-one Internet social networking venue, is, of course, where most of today’s online social consumers are located.
Facebook users (such as me), mostly interact with family and friends messages; however, I also tend to interact with messages posted from blog sites and Facebook business pages I like, as well.
Sometimes I come across a newly posted message from a business seeking an opinion or comment. The business is engaging me to respond, to interact with them, and in doing so, an online social commerce relationship is being developed between us.
On Facebook, I favor businesses, organizations, and product brands and services which appeal to me. I occasionally contribute comments, and share them with my Facebook friends.
The business is made aware of any Facebook comments or questions in their blog, or Facebook business page, and can adjust the information presented, or respond directly to the Facebook user.
Social commerce used in this manner provides a direct two-way dialogue between the seller and a potential buyer, using a social networking venue frequented many times a day.
We are evolving into interactive online social consumers; we are no longer impressed seeing one-way advertisements displayed on a static website.
Social networking consumers all over the Internet are engaging in direct dialogue with the suppliers of their favorite name-brand products and services via Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking media venues.
Businesses becoming knowledgeable to this are engaging online social networking consumers by using creative online social commerce techniques.
When I am using Facebook, I often acknowledge, and occasionally comment on, messages posted by local coffee shops, restaurants, newspapers, real estate offices, auto dealerships, technology blogs, non-profit organizations, professional entertainers, and others.
Social commerce blog posts sometimes deliver attention-grabbing messages.
These messages may be asking for opinions about their products, or taking polls regarding their services. Some posts make me aware of special sales or local social events taking place.
Targeting messages to an online social network like Facebook, engages a business directly where potential customers are.
If I come across a message about a service or price discount a local company is offering via Facebook, I can easily share it with hundreds – or even thousands – of Facebook friends with just a mouse click.
Since the message is being shared by a fellow Facebook friend, several users seeing it will probably take the time to click and read the business or organization’s Facebook business page or blog post.
Online social consumers appreciate new content and want to be able to communicate easily and directly with the companies and organizations they follow.
Fresh content needs to be regularly delivered to the social network in order to maintain an ongoing interaction with, in this case, the Facebook users who have activated the company or organization’s thumbs-up or “like” button, and therefore are following their messages and blog posts.
Facebook users place importance upon – and will more likely interact with – newly updated messages received from the organizations and companies they choose to follow.
Social media branding, or integration of a business or organization’s blog site onto Facebook, allows for their messages and blog posts to be seen, liked, and shared with other Facebook users.
Social media integration guides Facebook users to a business or organization’s videos, photo galleries, messages, and products and services.
A recent survey by the Social Commerce Today website shows 81 percent of consumers go online to verify purchase recommendations, while 60 percent regularly interact with companies on a social media site.
They also reported 43 percent of consumers polled as saying companies should use social networks to assist their customers.
Today, businesses and organizations are learning the value and importance of building mutually beneficial, interactive two-way relationships with consumers via online social networks.
A business or organization distributing social commerce over a Facebook business page, in a well-thought-out methodology, has the opportunity of winning a Facebook user’s loyalty.
Properly managed social media commerce, delivering original, creative, and regularly updated content to online social media sites like Facebook, will benefit businesses and organizations in obtaining favorable correspondence among consumers within the online social networking community.