Saturday, October 15, 2011

Trends in Social Commerce

This past week, eBay hosted its second Developer's Conference. The message: "e-commerce" becomes mainstream commerce when retailers integrate online services into their current business practices. Selling digital content through social media was a major trend featured by Carey Kolaja, PayPal's Senior Director of Digital Goods. She hosted a vibrant panel that yielded insights into building successful campaigns. At Bitmenu, we are constantly asked to help sellers engage buyers through their networks of colleagues and friends. Our toolset was deigned for the methods recommended by panel members:

Don't think of your audience as "only" a few hundred people. Remember that each Facebook user has an average of 130 friends who will see their activity. If you think about what messages will inspire your audience to act, your messages can extend to tens of thousands of potential impressions. When USRowing announces the availability of recent races, we see purchases across networks of friends and family members.

Tweets and posts degrade quickly. Overall, 50% of activity will occur within an hour and a half after the post. All activity will be over within 24 hours. Sellers must respond to comments and shares to extend the conversation and increase discovery. We see longer life on Bitmenu promotions from Acoustic Guitar magazine, which typically yield 5x response levels when compared to "deal" sites. Our "white label" orientation sets up the seller as the authentic voice and increases sharing.

Target sub-groups. Typically, 2/3 of social sharing is to a sub-group of known friends rather than to a general post. Suggesting who you want to reach with your messages will help your audience re-direct appropriately. Baker Street has recently focused on authors promoting within private LinkedIn groups, and has seen their sales increase 300%.

Finally, engage through the stream. As much as 95% of all visitors to a Facebook "fan" page never return. Wall posts are where the action is. Racing Yesterday sees a regular uptick in activity whenever community members comment of the author's activities.

Bitmenu sellers simply paste our URLs into Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and twitter. These recommendations from this excellent panel are well worth following to increase awareness, engagement and sales.