The Art of Social Commerce — Using Social Media as Currency
Just like many businesses have contests and giveaways in exchange for an email address, work phone number or a business card, social media has now become a new marketplace of sorts. But instead of trading for leads, social commerce actually trades merchandise, discounts and coupons for free exposure.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is a simple concept—if a person shares an update, tags a photo, takes a picture in the store, uses a hashtag—whatever the brand decides is the qualifier—that person gets a specified reward. This reward can be a free product, a discount, a coupon—whatever the brand decides they are giving away.
Social commerce takes the idea of a contest or giveaway and marries it to the eCommerce trend, taking full advantage of the virality and free marketing aspect of social media. The idea here is to create brand awareness and get a buzz going around the product, company or service behind the social commerce campaign.
But Doesn’t Social Commerce Lose Money?
The real trick here is to create a reward that doesn’t cost so much that it upsets your balance sheets. Most businesses have something that they can giveaway or at least greatly discount, especially if you’re trying to move a certain product. Of course, the better the reward, the more response you are going to get, so creating layered rewards is an even better idea.
Marc Jacob’s Daisy line of products is probably the best example of social currency done right. Not only did they give away free gifts when people shared status updates and hashtagged #MJDaisyChain (thereby creating an instant trend which is great for publicity since everyone in marketing jumps on it, further boosting your buzz and reach), they also held traditional contests.
If you know anything about fashion then you know that a Marc Jacobs purse is worth way more than a Tweet. So instead of giving away purses, the marketing team gave away one per day to the best photo with the hashtag. So now everyone is entering, not only to get their free gift (which was pretty cheap to manufacture and giveaway since Marc Jacob’s margins are so large from high-end clothing sales), but people are also posting pics inside the store, creating viral sensations—all at the cost of one purse per day.
As the number of people the #MJDaisyChain hashtag reached the millions, you can imagine how many purses were sold online simply because people saw it was the “in” thing—the new hot item. Not everyone lives in NYC, but you can buy these purses online—that’s smart revenue from social commerce.
Smaller Brands Need to Be Smarter with Social Commerce
Of course, as a smaller brand, this is still an excellent tactic to use, especially if you need to raise brand awareness. Social commerce is extremely effective, you just have to be certain that:
• Your reward isn’t causing profit loss
• Your social ask (i.e. what you ask from people in order to obtain the reward) is naturalistic since it might seem like you are paying people to Tweet which reduces both yours and the person’s credibility
When done right, social commerce is the eCommerce trend that will take your business to the next level.