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How Do We Sell On Social Media?

06/24/2013

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Overall usage on social media platforms is exploding. Millions of consumers are expressing likes on Facebook, tweeting about products on Twitter, and pinning on Pinterest every single day. In the U.S. consumers are spending 16 minutes of every hour of online time on social media.

As a result retailers and brands are therefore increasingly focusing their attention on social commerce.

But, many, including Thought-Tech, struggle with the question: how do you convert a “like,” a “tweet,” or “pin” into a sale? Or, as we’ve asked numerous times, ‘How do you monetize social media’?

While brands mull that over here are 3 factoids that point to social media’s credibility as a revenue channel.

The rise of mobile:  Overall, mobile accounts for just under 40% of time spent on social media. Facebook has passed the 50% mobile usage mark and Pinterest is at 48%. Together, they combine for over 56% of social generated e-commerce at the moment, according to social commerce platform, Addshoppers. Given the continued growth of mobile devices, it will only rise.

Consumers are price-comparing, checking reviews, downloading coupons – on the fly…and in your place of business. This helps to explain social media’s move away from traditional display ads – like Facebook’s right-rail ads – and into the realm of social commerce.

The rise of the visual Web: Sites like Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and Wanelo are becoming repositories for shopping ideas, fashion tips, and wish lists — in essence user-generated catalogs. For example, in a recent survey by Zmags (a mobile catalog company), 63% of online shoppers said they plan to use online catalogs. And 35% said they plan to use Pinterest to make purchases.

Demographics: Today’s mobile-savvy consumers in their teens and early twenties are accustomed to shopping online and tend to see their smartphones and tablets as their main computing device, and an important shopping tool. Pinterest’s average user is between the ages of 30 and 49, which is an age bracket with considerable disposable income. Also, Pinterest users tend to be women (anywhere from 80 to 85% of its user base is female). Marketers know that it is women who usually control the purse strings for household purchases related to clothes, home decoration, and gifts — three strong areas for Pinterest.

Here’s our read on the subject. Significant challenges remain. Social commerce — whatever the model — needs to better reflect the fundamental rule of e-commerce, which Amazon invented/championed – Consumers will click to buy when it’s relatively effortless.

Ease of interaction is even more true of a casual shopper who ends up on a retailer or brands’ site because of a social recommendation. That intent to buy is fragile and can quickly evaporate. Currently, social commerce strategies involve too many intermediate steps before a user ends up in front of the crucial “buy” button.

Cracking the commerce-code on social media is very likely to bring staggering results to those who perfect it.

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