Chapter 27

Social Commerce: Show Me the Money

Katy Howell

As the potential value of social media reaches the boardroom, the big question looms large: can social media drive sales? This chapter explores ways in which to monetize conversations and connections, detailing best practice and latest innovations in social commerce.

There are many ways in which to evaluate results from social media, but none as sharp or as pleasing to the board as increasing sales. It seems obvious, then, that at least some part of your social media programme directly drives purchases. This is social commerce.

Back in 2010, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, saw the opportunity. He said: “If I had to guess, social commerce is next to blow up.” Since then all the tech providers, app developers, platforms and social networks are investing in turning chatter into money.

Defining social commerce

The term social commerce isn't new. In fact, it was used by Yahoo! in November 2005. The phrase social commerce is now well established and can be briefly described as transactions resulting from social media.

Brands, businesses and entrepreneurs that are experimenting in social selling are learning quickly how social media is both a driver and contributor to sales.

There are doubters though. A Forrester Research analyst was quoted as saying that trading on Facebook is “like trying to sell stuff to people while they're hanging out with their friends at the bar”. On the face of it, that seems like a sensible conclusion. ...

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