The use of social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram, Pinterest, online forums, etc..) has exploded in the past five years, and social media has revolutionized the way businesses work. Social media commerce is playing an increasingly important role in the way companies get their message out, build their brands, expand their businesses, interact with their customers and find new customers.
As a blogger, I'm continually in awe of how powerful social media can be in informing and influencing people. Companies are running sweepstakes on Facebook, offering secret sales via Instagram, generating traffic to their websites via gorgeous photos on Pinterest, and solving customer problems on Twitter. But social commerce can be a two-edged sword. Just ask McDonald's who tried to encourage customers to share their stories of real food and people behind their brand using the hashtags #meetthefarmers and #mcdstories -- but wound up getting tons of negative exposure as customers used the hashtags to tweet their McD horror stories. Or ask KitchenAid, whose employee sent out an offensive (and unauthorized) tweet about Obama's grandmother during the first 2012 presidential debate -- and had to deal with the negative backlash for quite a while.
To help navigate the world of social media commerce, the For Dummies series of books has published Social Media Commerce for Dummies which introduces readers to social media commerce and explains how to best utilize it for your blog or business. I found the book to be quite comprehensive, covering all the basics like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, blogs, review sites, affiliate marketing, etc... They give great examples of companies that used social media successfully and unsuccessfully. All their books are great at explaining basic concepts without assuming any prior knowledge of the book's subject, so readers with some experience with social media will find themselves skipping and skimming. I found the book somewhat light on the newer social media marketing trends like flash sale sites (i.e. Zulily, Very Jane) but given the speed on innovation on the web, that's to be expected. On the whole, it's a great tool for small business owners, whether they're on eBay or Etsy or on their own online site. I'm definitely recommending this for some friends of mine who just published their first children's book on Amazon, and for anyone like them!
From the website:
Capture customers and sales with social media commerce
Social media commerce is a booming industry. By using social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions, brands large and small are making their products more available and more convenient for customers. This one-of-a-kind guide introduces you to social media commerce and explains how you can use social media to provide better customer service, collect payments online, and build your customer base. Online marketing expert Marsha Collier helps you determine where you have the best opportunity to reach your market, which sites you should integrate with, and much more.
Your customers are communicating with each other via social media; making purchasing opportunities available on social media sites adds convenience for your customer and opens up new sales opportunities
This step-by-step guide explains social media commerce and shows what you can accomplish.
- Helps you determine the sites where your business should have a presence
- Demonstrates how customers can help promote your brand as they recommend products and services to others on their social networks
- Author Marsha Collier is the undisputed expert on eBay and a recognized authority on social media marketing
- Social Media Commerce For Dummies helps you offer your customers better service while giving them the opportunity to share information about your product with their social media contacts.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book. Text in italics was taken from the For Dummies online store. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.