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Gini Dietrich

Using Social Commerce

By: Gini Dietrich | November 10, 2010 | 
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Social commerce.

According to Wikipedia, “Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction and user contributions, to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services.

More succinctly, social commerce is the use of social media in the context of e-commerce.”

But what does that mean to you?

You can now sell your merchandise and services on Facebook by letting your customers buy, but also letting them tell their friends. And letting their friends tell their friends. And so on. Even if you don’t offer e-commerce on your website, it’s now possible to provide that service to customers through the social network.

Most people are scared to add e-commerce and Facebook together, thinking it will be hard to achieve, but it’s super simple.

Before I walk you through setting up your social commerce page, perhaps a few steps you take to kick-start your online sales will help.

If you already sell online, choose one or two of your best selling products for your Facebook test.

Or, choose an item of the week or create a GroupOn-style “deal-of-the-day” coupon.

If you’re a service business, you can create webinars, eBooks, podcasts, and videos to sell. If you don’t already have a PayPal account, create one. You can use their starter package, called PayLoadz, for free. This allows you to test the sales before you have to upgrade to the $14.95 per month package. PayLoadz also allows you to upload coupons, PDFs, links, and discount codes that are automatically generated when someone buys from you. It’s so simple you don’t even have to lift a finger. Well, at least not beyond clicking the mouse.

Next, you have to create a new tab on your Facebook page. To do that:

  • Go to Facebook and search “FBML.”
  • Click on “Static FBML.” It will take you to the application’s page.
  • Then click “add to my page.”
  • If you’re the administrator of more than one page, it will bring up a list and ask you which page you want to add the new tab.
  • Find the FBML area at the top and click on the pencil icon to begin editing the page.
  • Title your box (tab) and add content.
  • Go back to your Facebook page then click on the plus sign and click on the page you just created and it will automatically add to your page.
  • Finally, add your HTML code from the PayPal page. And voila! You have a tab on your Facebook page where people can buy your product.

Test it out. It’s an easy way to see how social commerce will work. It doesn’t have to be some big, elaborate campaign. Just take one of your best selling products and test it. Or create a thought leadership piece, like an eBook, and sell it there.

In an interesting note, Chris Cox, the vice president of product at Facebook said there’s a push to expand social media beyond your computer screen across a broad spectrum of business. In an October interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cox outlined a future where you’ll see, hear, and likely buy what your business partners, parents and, of course, Facebook friends are consuming.

What can you test on Facebook, as part of your social commerce program, now?

Thanks to WatBlog for the Wordle.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

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