Social commerce is using social media to conduct online business. Just as all things that surround social media have taken off in a giant way, so has social commerce. It’s just as easy to conduct business online as in person.
The end of the year is when the most business is conducted and conducting it online is easier than ever and the advantages of doing so are many. When you are involved with social commerce, it is essential that you use online collaborative tools so that you can sell your products and/or services to customers. There are so many different companies that are selling their offerings online that your competition is fierce, to say the least. Some of the companies that you see online now will not last for a long time and others will last indefinitely.
Having a social commerce strategy
Before you decide to get involved with social commerce for your business, it is important to form a plan and then, subsequently execute that plan, on which approach you want to take. As with any business strategy, you need to have goals and objectives in mind before you even start. Your goals may be that you want to sell more of your products and/or services, you may want to acquire more clients, or you may simply want to develop deeper relationships with your already-existing clients. If you aren’t sure yet what your strategy should be, a great resource for ideas is other people. If you see what other people who have been successful so far are doing, mimicking them is an excellent idea (as long as the approach is a good fit for your business). When establishing your social commerce strategy, it is very important that you identify the following categories:
- Type of social media channel
- Details about how you are going to use the specific social media channels that you have identified
There is such a great deal of information and opportunities that are at your fingertips as a business owner. You should do your homework thoroughly and identify those tools that you feel will really work the most effectively for you. However, it is important to exercise some caution when it comes to the actual choice of the tools. If you choose tools that are brand new, it may be harder to get advice if something appears to not be working the way that you think it should. If you choose tools that are a little more established, you may have an easier time of it if you are faced with that situation.
Your specific goals
Depending on what your specific goals are when it comes to a social commerce strategy, you should approach it from different angles.
Goal #1: Increased sales
If you are trying to increase your sales, if is critical that you gather as much information as possible on your existing customers’ needs and way of thinking.
- Follow the crowd: This strategy involves selling using social technology that help clients to shop more intelligently by making them understand the products and/or services more completely.
- Exclusivity: This strategy involves making your clients feel that the offer that you are making is special and that they are special based on the fact that very few people will be allowed access to it.
- Expertise: This strategy involves your imparting your vast knowledge to your clients so that they understand the superiority of your offerings because of your expertise.
- Consistency: This strategy involves your approach with your clients being consistent. They will understand that they can count on your approach being the same every time and your interactions with them also being just as consistent.
- Reciprocity: This strategy involves giving your clients an opportunity to help each other. You could build an incentive program that would reward your clients for helping other people to become clients or to take advantage of what you are offering.
Goal #2: Acquiring more clients
If you are trying to acquire more clients, there are very specific values that you will want to use:
- Experience: Give your clients the benefit of your personal experiences so that they can learn from them and do things differently, if necessary. This will create a great deal of loyalty in your clients and you will appear trustworthy and credible to them.
- Getting clients more involved: If you involve your customers in decisions and discussions, they will feel that you value them and this will also cause them to be loyal to you and your business. People love to believe that their opinions matter and that they are making a positive contribution.
- Provide incentives: Reward your clients for getting involved and opting in. People love to be rewarded. If they feel that they are getting something of value and don’t have to pay for it (at least not in the traditional way), it will be very attractive to them.
Goal #3: Developing deeper relationships with your clients
If you are trying to have relationships with your existing clients that go to a deeper level, you should
- Ask them what they want: This is one of the simplest approaches when it comes to relationships yet it is one that very often does not occur to business owners when it comes to their relationships with their clients. If you ask them what is important to them, they will tell you and you can focus on that when helping them to solve their problems.
- Promote discussions with them: Having in-depth discussions is a great way to really get to understand your clients on a deeper level. Just as it is with any relationship, you should interact with them whenever possible. The more you understand about them, the more valuable your relationships with them will be.
Social commerce, if approached properly, can be an extremely effective tool when it comes to the success of your business. If you use the tips that were suggested here, you will see that the strategy works for you and your business as well as adding another layer to what you are already doing and how you are interacting.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).