If you are like most entrepreneurs navigating the Internet learning how to use social media as a marketing vehicle, you’ve probably noticed that the conversations are usually around web traffic, relationship marketing, content as an inbound tool, how to engage your reader/prospect, building community and in some cases, we can even talk about conversion.
Today, social networking, blogging and micro-blogging, geo-location and even crowdsourcing are considered solid platforms. They are there for businesses of all sizes to leverage from, they are accesible not just for brands. Some small businesses are also making a difference.
But where are we going with all this? Isn’t it time to start moving forward into other capacities that could enable our businesses to close that circle and fully leverage the social Internet?
What am I talking about?
Simple, this is not a how-to post but an invitation to move passed those usual topics and explore other aspects of social media. If you are ready.
Is it time for small business to start talking about other aspects of social?
If you aren’t yet, why not? Let’s start by asking some questions…
Are you looking at social as a discovery engine?
We all know a personal recommendation has a lot more weight and credibility than a television or print advertisement. We all recommend an accountant, a band, a restaurant and all kinds of things to friends in the three dimensional world. I’m sure you’ve had a client recommend your service to a friend at least once.
Are your products being discovered through personal recommendations on social networks?
Facebook’s recent changes are in good part based on this. On one side we share but on the other side, we discover. The integration of applications such as Spotify are based on that, sharing and discovering music and other kinds of media.
We usually look at who shares our brand, our content or our products/services, shouldn’t we also look at who discovers them?
Can social currency as we know it have a cash value?
Do you see that little Facebook “Like” button having a cash value for your business? Can it be considered a valid recommendation for a product?
- 25% of Facebook users post mentions of brands, products or services on their walls
- 51% of Facebook users say they are more likely to make a purchase after “Liking” a brand
- 40% “like” a brand in order to receive special promotions
This last one makes total sense for those asking themselves this: Why would a regular person want to engage with a bank on Facebook? or follow an airline on Twitter?
But we are already sharing items such as “Social Deals”, printable coupons or even Klout Perks, these assets have a clear cash value. Are you enabling your prospects or clients to share any of your current product offerings? How can you turn that value into a shareable asset?
Can we use social platforms to turn actual sales?
Let’s talk about the new F-Word…
For some of us the term F-Commerce can be new, some of us have already been flirting with the idea. Facebook Commerce is actually a huge platform with thousands of “F-Stores” where users can make purchases as they do in any regular E-Commerce website but inside Facebook.
Last week we discussed the shift from websites to Facebook Pages and I’m on the side of those that think it’s not time for the move but instead you should leverage both. I strongly suggest you put your focus into something you own and control but this fairly new concept of F-Commerce certainly represents a strong point towards that shift, specially if it has dollar signs all over it.
Let’s look at some stats that support Facebook as a natural retail platform:
- F-Stores have a conversion rate of 2 to 4% while traditional websites represent an average of 3.4%
- Click-through rates on links posted on Facebook Walls are as high as 6.5%
- Facebook users spend 1.5x more time than the regular Internet user
Facebook certainly has the momentum to catch up to commerce powerhouse Amazon and experts say it will happen in the next few years. There are already several services and applications like Payvment that make it very easy for you to turn your business/store into a F-Store. Thousands of brands are already turning impressive numbers. Is it time for small business to follow?
Do you have a business mind?
If you are one of those entrepreneurs that approach social media with a business mentality, and that is the kind you should be, chances are you have some kind of system that can let you identify where sales are coming from. You probably also know that we don’t see social media as a platform to convert sales but more as an inbound marketing vehicle.
But, are you ready to take those sales to social media instead of waiting for them on your site? I want you to start thinking about these three points, let’s do a quick recap:
- Social media as a discovery engine
- Social currency to carry cash value
- Social as a commerce platform
Let me leave you with this last question: Instead of driving prospects to find your product, can you drive your product to find its prospects?
Did this post feel more like a bunch of questions than anything else? Good, sometimes is better to have questions than answers.
Over To You
Do you feel you are ready to start talking about other aspects of social media? Are you ready to take your business to the next level of social? Share your thoughts and your questions in the comments section.