Redefining Social Commerce

shoppingDanger?

Folks shy away from the term “social commerce.”  Why?  I asked the question on Twitter, “What’s the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear the term ‘social commerce?’” and I received quite a number of cynical (and humorous) responses:

  • @k_seas: “Pyramid Scheme : – ) kidding”
  • @illig: “Social commerce: Prostitution, human trafficking and ice cream socials. In that order. But I’m not normal. : ) “
  • @heatherrast: ” (1)selling out your friends (like personal info?) (2) the cost of selling out your friends (3) revenue from adsense ads”
  • Taken out of context, my question also sparked a little debate about what social commerce is and caused friend Aaron Strout to weigh in with some great dialog happening in the comments. 

Here’s the danger: People want conversation in social networks to be genuine and to avoid overt marketers hawking their wares.  Social networks bring people to connect, not to shop.  But as technology evolves and people look to leverage their networks as information sources, invariably those networks will turn to helping each other make purchases.  I, for one, take a friend’s recommendation as an important information source before buying – and I have to admit consumer ratings and reviews are helpful and important to me.

Back to the Future

As far as I could dig up, one of the first posts defining social commerce was back on December 23, 2005.  Steve Rubel wrote an intriguing post on 2006 Trends to Watch.  Steve started to predict the trend of advertising and commerce shifting to blogs:

Social commerce, however, is an area that I think holds a tremendous amount of promise as a way for bloggers to make money. It’s a win-win for the bloggers, product marketers and existing e-commerce sites.”

His post went on to show examples of how e-commerce sites had extended functionality to allow bloggers to take advantage of the Long Tail and bring the ability to conduct commerce on their blogs, beyond the innovation of Google ads.  At the time, Yahoo!’s Shoposphere was the highlight, where users could collaborate on shopping lists.  More posts went on about preparing for social commerce as the next big wave of innovation that would push the continuing trend of online shopping growth (combined with broadband adoption at home and at work along with the continual adoption of Web 2.0 technologies like Flash).  But the term “social commerce” seemed vaguely defined to include innovation in customer experience on commerce sites, and overall the term remained nebulous. 

The Year of Social Commerce?

Jay Deragon predicted 2008 would be the Year of Social Commerce.  On January 1, 2008, he wrote:

While social networks continue to grow exponentially the next growth curve will be driven by the ”holy grail of economics“, social commerce. Social commerce may actually become the dominant development in 2008 and subsequently turn business models upside down and inside out.

Jay is on to something here.  While the last year brought the challenges of Facebook’s Beacon product, and there continues to be large debates about ways to monetize social networks, big ticket retailers are starting to get involved by adding functionality on their own e-commerce platforms.  Already we have seen reviews, stories from other customers and ratings start to really permeate the online retail space – where retailers that don’t have them are becoming the exception. (Bazaarvoice is a business partner of my agency, Rosetta, and one of a few vendors who provide user ratings and reviews as a service to be integrated into a web commerce user experience.)  In addition to sites adding this functionality – and receiving a bump in conversion % of visitors – here are some other examples of what vendors are doing:

  • Facebook Connect and platforms like Open I/D  allow corporations to authenticate social graphs on their own sites.
  • IBM did a recent case study integrating the capabilities of Lotus Connections with Websphere Commerce.  
  • Companies like LiveWorld have launched products to integrate social interactions directly on websites, like their recently launched LiveBar product.

Based on watching what vendors out there are doing, I’d argue that beyond the initial premise of bringing commerce to social media tools and networks, it appears the next wave is bringing the social networks back to commerce sites.  Some companies like eBay and Amazon do this well, but I think more merchants will be trying to figure this out.  Bringing customers together to help on purchase decisions can be a good thing if it’s handled properly and e-commerce companies engage their customers the right way, beyond just user ratings and reviews.  What do you think?

Photo credit: racineur via flickr

 

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  • http://powered.com/ Aaron Strout

    Adam,

    Thoughtful/useful post as always. Quite amazing that you and I were talking about “social commerce” at the same time yesterday without even knowing the other was doing it.

    A humorous follow up (or pre-post) to yours that hinges off the fact that I thought your question on Twitter yesterday, “What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term ‘social commerce?’” was directed at http://luckystartups.com use of the term during my podcast yesterday: http://blog.stroutmeister.com/2008/11/social-marketing-btch.html

    It’s great to have the historical perspective of the term as well and it will be interesting to see if the term “social commerce” as it relates to our sister company, Baazarvoice (an Austin Ventures backed company) does in fact take off.

    Thanks as always for bringing the value.

    Best,
    Aaron | @astrout

  • http://powered.com Aaron Strout

    Adam,

    Thoughtful/useful post as always. Quite amazing that you and I were talking about “social commerce” at the same time yesterday without even knowing the other was doing it.

    A humorous follow up (or pre-post) to yours that hinges off the fact that I thought your question on Twitter yesterday, “What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term ‘social commerce?’” was directed at http://luckystartups.com use of the term during my podcast yesterday: http://blog.stroutmeister.com/2008/11/social-marketing-btch.html

    It’s great to have the historical perspective of the term as well and it will be interesting to see if the term “social commerce” as it relates to our sister company, Baazarvoice (an Austin Ventures backed company) does in fact take off.

    Thanks as always for bringing the value.

    Best,
    Aaron | @astrout

  • http://adamhcohen.com adamcohen

    What can I say – great minds… Thanks for the feedback. Bazaarvoice holds an annual “Social Commerce Summit” and more our our business partners are focusing on this space – lots to come in 2009. It will be interesting to watch.

  • adam

    What can I say – great minds… Thanks for the feedback. Bazaarvoice holds an annual “Social Commerce Summit” and more our our business partners are focusing on this space – lots to come in 2009. It will be interesting to watch.

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom/ Jay Deragon

    Thanks for the reference. I thought your article was terrific and intend on quoting you in my year end post next month. Thanks again.

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom Jay Deragon

    Thanks for the reference. I thought your article was terrific and intend on quoting you in my year end post next month. Thanks again.

  • http://www.saugatech.com/ Mark Koenig

    I think of it in terms of the following: how does a company convert INTERACTION into TRANSACTIONS. We know that this happens, but it isn’t exactly clear on HOW this happens yet. I think this is the key challenge to be solved to create the social commerce that you write about.

  • http://www.saugatech.com Mark Koenig

    I think of it in terms of the following: how does a company convert INTERACTION into TRANSACTIONS. We know that this happens, but it isn’t exactly clear on HOW this happens yet. I think this is the key challenge to be solved to create the social commerce that you write about.

  • http://blog.michaelleis.com/ Michael leis

    Great post, and well formed support. I think we’re all wondering how and why social media will find a solid footing in ecommerce.

    To me, the biggest barrier right now is the strict automation models in place. There’s simply no structure at these companies (for the most part) to support it. After that, there are two main areas that show tremendous potential: bringing tweet-widgets into product pages (http://tinyurl.com/brand-twitter) and small closed-network social consensus-building apps.

  • http://blog.michaelleis.com Michael leis

    Great post, and well formed support. I think we’re all wondering how and why social media will find a solid footing in ecommerce.

    To me, the biggest barrier right now is the strict automation models in place. There’s simply no structure at these companies (for the most part) to support it. After that, there are two main areas that show tremendous potential: bringing tweet-widgets into product pages (http://tinyurl.com/brand-twitter) and small closed-network social consensus-building apps.

  • http://adamhcohen.com adamcohen

    @Jay – Thanks very much for your feedback and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in your year-end post.

    @Mark – Agreed – the ‘how the interaction happens’ is rapidly changing and that companies are experimenting in some ways to figure it out. The more proven start is user ratings and reviews, which does have conversion impact when done properly. We’ll see about what’s next.

    @Michael – Thanks! I think the structure you are referring to is a combination of people (skills to manage and engage communities, for example) and process (which department does that skill reside in, how many, etc) – right? If so I agree… if not, please elaborate ;) I agree that integrating twitter in product pages has potential, but it doesn’t come without risk. The closed-network apps I think would be more risk-averse for a retailer, but who knows. Thanks again.

  • adam

    @Jay – Thanks very much for your feedback and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in your year-end post.

    @Mark – Agreed – the ‘how the interaction happens’ is rapidly changing and that companies are experimenting in some ways to figure it out. The more proven start is user ratings and reviews, which does have conversion impact when done properly. We’ll see about what’s next.

    @Michael – Thanks! I think the structure you are referring to is a combination of people (skills to manage and engage communities, for example) and process (which department does that skill reside in, how many, etc) – right? If so I agree… if not, please elaborate ;) I agree that integrating twitter in product pages has potential, but it doesn’t come without risk. The closed-network apps I think would be more risk-averse for a retailer, but who knows. Thanks again.

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom/ Jay Deragon

    Interesting exchange going on here. Commerce has been created by and through conversations for centuries. Now with the social web the conversations are on steriods. When we “converse” about anything and everything we are indeed creating “knowledge commerce”. When we exchange ideas and referrals we are creating an exchange commerce.

    When businesses learn how to leverage ecommerce” solutions into conversations without being overbearing we will then see economic exchanges facilitated by social technology, i.e. social commerce.

    Doc Searls has always said “markets are conversations” and conversations create markets. markets are a place where products, services and knowledge is exchanged. The commerce is the measure of value created and exchanged. Today it is being labeled “social” as a mantra of the times yet with little definitive examples of the value created by all these conversations.

    What is the ROI on social media? What is the revenue created by conversations? Answer the later and you’ve answered the former. Is Social Media ROI a measure of social commerce? Is it really that important, read this http://www.relationship-economy.com/?p=2272 and keep the thread going in here. This is really important yet complex.

    What say you?

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom Jay Deragon

    Interesting exchange going on here. Commerce has been created by and through conversations for centuries. Now with the social web the conversations are on steriods. When we “converse” about anything and everything we are indeed creating “knowledge commerce”. When we exchange ideas and referrals we are creating an exchange commerce.

    When businesses learn how to leverage ecommerce” solutions into conversations without being overbearing we will then see economic exchanges facilitated by social technology, i.e. social commerce.

    Doc Searls has always said “markets are conversations” and conversations create markets. markets are a place where products, services and knowledge is exchanged. The commerce is the measure of value created and exchanged. Today it is being labeled “social” as a mantra of the times yet with little definitive examples of the value created by all these conversations.

    What is the ROI on social media? What is the revenue created by conversations? Answer the later and you’ve answered the former. Is Social Media ROI a measure of social commerce? Is it really that important, read this http://www.relationship-economy.com/?p=2272 and keep the thread going in here. This is really important yet complex.

    What say you?

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    Please tell me, Jay, based on your comment above mine, that you are equalizing “knowledge commerce” with “knowledge sharing” as the next iteration of “knowledge management,” for I consider there to be a stark difference between commerce and shares.

    Or do you think knowledge sharing is a poor term?

  • http://feeds.feedburner.com/ariwriter Ari Herzog

    Please tell me, Jay, based on your comment above mine, that you are equalizing “knowledge commerce” with “knowledge sharing” as the next iteration of “knowledge management,” for I consider there to be a stark difference between commerce and shares.

    Or do you think knowledge sharing is a poor term?

  • http://www.lbenitez.com/ Luis Benitez

    Hi Adam,

    Right on… There’s certainly a LOT of interest from companies that want to enable their sites for social commerce. They’ve seen how how it has benefitted others and they want to capitalize on it! Yet, the biggest challenge I face is that companies, while interested, are also afraid of it (e.g. “What if people talk bad about my product(s)?”).

    Hopefully, as more people get educated on the topic, more will jump in and rightfully bring “the social networks (into) commerce sites”.

    Great post!

  • http://www.lbenitez.com Luis Benitez

    Hi Adam,

    Right on… There’s certainly a LOT of interest from companies that want to enable their sites for social commerce. They’ve seen how how it has benefitted others and they want to capitalize on it! Yet, the biggest challenge I face is that companies, while interested, are also afraid of it (e.g. “What if people talk bad about my product(s)?”).

    Hopefully, as more people get educated on the topic, more will jump in and rightfully bring “the social networks (into) commerce sites”.

    Great post!

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom/ Jay Deragon

    Ari: Words are powerful and one word carries numerous meaning. I think knowledge sharing is a misleading term. The emergence of knowledge management has many different spins and methods. Knowledge commerce omplies we created something new and of value from the knowledge gained. Such knowledge can come from study, research and conversations. When you look at the “social web” there is significant sharing of information (data) however when said information enables one or more people to gain value then it implies that the information was converted to new knowledge.

    Knowledge management is more specific to enterprises attempting to caputre and create new value from knowledge gained from multiple sources.

    Anyhow that is my humble perspective and there is a whole set of conversations around knowledge management, value networks and related discoveries by a whole bunch of people smarter then me :)

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom Jay Deragon

    Ari: Words are powerful and one word carries numerous meaning. I think knowledge sharing is a misleading term. The emergence of knowledge management has many different spins and methods. Knowledge commerce omplies we created something new and of value from the knowledge gained. Such knowledge can come from study, research and conversations. When you look at the “social web” there is significant sharing of information (data) however when said information enables one or more people to gain value then it implies that the information was converted to new knowledge.

    Knowledge management is more specific to enterprises attempting to caputre and create new value from knowledge gained from multiple sources.

    Anyhow that is my humble perspective and there is a whole set of conversations around knowledge management, value networks and related discoveries by a whole bunch of people smarter then me :)

  • http://www.4-roads.com/ Robert Nash

    Interesting article, I feel that we are now reaching a point where business is starting to wake up to the idea that social networking sites are able to empower potential customers, but there is still a long way to go, particularly in measuring ROI.

    I also agree that there is a fear factor around the “what if a customer says something bad” scenario and indeed if the company does not care about it’s customers then this is wholly justified. The companies that will gain from this are the ones that are most transparent in their business and demonstrate not only great products but also great service.

    Our company provides social commerce solutions and we are finding that there are two common senarios. Firstly we encounter social networking sites with large memberships that are looking to monetize to help support the site. Secondly we encounter product sellers which have a current e-commerce solution and are now starting to realize that standard selling channels are not sufficient for Generation Y. Both of these are social commerce but both potentially have different views on what is required. The first social networking sites are not always trying to sell home grown products, instead they are trying to become product enablers allowing third parties to sell through the community. The second traditional e-commerce sites are realizing there is power in allowing the customer base to write reviews and recommend products to friends and are now looking at how they can integrate social networking into the e-commerce experience.

    Social commerce is just starting to break into the main stream and we are starting to see innovative sites and solutions that will become prevalent as time goes by.

  • http://www.4-roads.com Robert Nash

    Interesting article, I feel that we are now reaching a point where business is starting to wake up to the idea that social networking sites are able to empower potential customers, but there is still a long way to go, particularly in measuring ROI.

    I also agree that there is a fear factor around the “what if a customer says something bad” scenario and indeed if the company does not care about it’s customers then this is wholly justified. The companies that will gain from this are the ones that are most transparent in their business and demonstrate not only great products but also great service.

    Our company provides social commerce solutions and we are finding that there are two common senarios. Firstly we encounter social networking sites with large memberships that are looking to monetize to help support the site. Secondly we encounter product sellers which have a current e-commerce solution and are now starting to realize that standard selling channels are not sufficient for Generation Y. Both of these are social commerce but both potentially have different views on what is required. The first social networking sites are not always trying to sell home grown products, instead they are trying to become product enablers allowing third parties to sell through the community. The second traditional e-commerce sites are realizing there is power in allowing the customer base to write reviews and recommend products to friends and are now looking at how they can integrate social networking into the e-commerce experience.

    Social commerce is just starting to break into the main stream and we are starting to see innovative sites and solutions that will become prevalent as time goes by.

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom/ Jay Deragon

    The more business people I talk to about all this social stuff the consistent response I get is “Show me how to make money with it”. To this response I ask the following questions:

    1. How much money do you make with email?
    2. How much money do you make from your phone conversations?
    3. How to you measure the ROI on marketing materials, sales brochures, attendance at industry events?
    4. How much money do you make on a sales call?
    5. How much money do you make from your web site?

    The consistent response is similar to a deer staring into the headlights of an oncoming car. Most business people think they are managing by measuring results and for “soft issues” they make up measures to satisfy themselves. Measuring business results has turned into a “counting game” without regard to the quality of the inputs, the relationships and the quality of the business which covers many aspects. (Wonder why we need an economic bailout?)

    I find this whole social media ROI discussion rather sophomoric and only reflects the old school management philosophies which need to be transformed in order to survive.

    What Can Be Measured?

    Stephen Smith writes: “The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”

    “To illustrate that point for all our measurement and metric geeks out there, what you are trying to do is assign multiple choice scoring to an essay question. It’s not possible.”

    … “Ultimately, the key question to ask when measuring engagement is, ‘Are we getting what we want out of the conversation?’” And, as stubborn as it sounds Mr. CEO, you don’t get money out of a conversation.

    “To further the discussion a bit, I sat down with Katie for an episode of SME-TV, which will be added to this post later today.”

    “What Katie evangelized a bit in her session was that the conversation (comments on your content) was the best measure of a level of engagement. Avinash Kaushik says much of the same in his discussions on web analytics. This isn’t an end-around the need for ROI, it’s the answer. Or at least a big part of the answer.”

    (Side note – Provided this is true, isn’t it sad that most companies haven’t even upgraded the technology used on their websites to enable commenting and conversation. Of course, it’s even more sad that if they had the technology right, they’re still afraid to use it. I digress.)

    “When you ask businesses why they are participating in social media, what do they say? If they say, “to make money,” then they will fail because currency in the social web is found in both relationships and content. If they say, “to grow our business,” they’re just saying, “to make money,” in a nicer way. If they say, “to participate in the conversation,” which is the more appropriate reason to be involved in the social web, then why on earth would they not measure success by the value of the conversations they have?”

    How and Why Do You Measure Relationships?

    Any good sales person will tell you their number one objective is building relationships over time. Yet few if any company bothers to measure the cost of building relationships rather they measure the results of relationships. Measuring the results doesn’t tell you “how to build effective relations” or “which methods create the best relations.”

    Relationships come from human experiences, not corporate spin and hyped promises. Human relationships are measured by trust, sincerity and common values. If you want a return on social media then focus on conversations that build lasting relationships based on value exchanged and create great experiences. Why is ROI so important? Because that is all you know how to manage. Get it?

    What say you?

  • http://www.relationship-economy.comom Jay Deragon

    The more business people I talk to about all this social stuff the consistent response I get is “Show me how to make money with it”. To this response I ask the following questions:

    1. How much money do you make with email?
    2. How much money do you make from your phone conversations?
    3. How to you measure the ROI on marketing materials, sales brochures, attendance at industry events?
    4. How much money do you make on a sales call?
    5. How much money do you make from your web site?

    The consistent response is similar to a deer staring into the headlights of an oncoming car. Most business people think they are managing by measuring results and for “soft issues” they make up measures to satisfy themselves. Measuring business results has turned into a “counting game” without regard to the quality of the inputs, the relationships and the quality of the business which covers many aspects. (Wonder why we need an economic bailout?)

    I find this whole social media ROI discussion rather sophomoric and only reflects the old school management philosophies which need to be transformed in order to survive.

    What Can Be Measured?

    Stephen Smith writes: “The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”

    “To illustrate that point for all our measurement and metric geeks out there, what you are trying to do is assign multiple choice scoring to an essay question. It’s not possible.”

    … “Ultimately, the key question to ask when measuring engagement is, ‘Are we getting what we want out of the conversation?’” And, as stubborn as it sounds Mr. CEO, you don’t get money out of a conversation.

    “To further the discussion a bit, I sat down with Katie for an episode of SME-TV, which will be added to this post later today.”

    “What Katie evangelized a bit in her session was that the conversation (comments on your content) was the best measure of a level of engagement. Avinash Kaushik says much of the same in his discussions on web analytics. This isn’t an end-around the need for ROI, it’s the answer. Or at least a big part of the answer.”

    (Side note – Provided this is true, isn’t it sad that most companies haven’t even upgraded the technology used on their websites to enable commenting and conversation. Of course, it’s even more sad that if they had the technology right, they’re still afraid to use it. I digress.)

    “When you ask businesses why they are participating in social media, what do they say? If they say, “to make money,” then they will fail because currency in the social web is found in both relationships and content. If they say, “to grow our business,” they’re just saying, “to make money,” in a nicer way. If they say, “to participate in the conversation,” which is the more appropriate reason to be involved in the social web, then why on earth would they not measure success by the value of the conversations they have?”

    How and Why Do You Measure Relationships?

    Any good sales person will tell you their number one objective is building relationships over time. Yet few if any company bothers to measure the cost of building relationships rather they measure the results of relationships. Measuring the results doesn’t tell you “how to build effective relations” or “which methods create the best relations.”

    Relationships come from human experiences, not corporate spin and hyped promises. Human relationships are measured by trust, sincerity and common values. If you want a return on social media then focus on conversations that build lasting relationships based on value exchanged and create great experiences. Why is ROI so important? Because that is all you know how to manage. Get it?

    What say you?

  • http://www.4-roads.com/ Robert Nash

    Jay, I agree with your comment, placing any direct measurement on ROI when dealing with omni media is impossible because it is all about the conversation. Social networking sites engage people directly to allow them to share their views and opinions, this is very hard to track, analyze and relate back to sales directly.

    However I do think there are ways in which a relationship can be measured within a social network environment to see how the users are interacting in the conversations. This sort of information allows the business to “inspect and adapt” to improve what they offer and indirectly affect ROI. Here are some ways that I think measurement can be used to improve ROI (even if it’s not measurable directly)

    Measure chatter, how often are keywords being mentioned; giving an idea of how much something is being talked about and in what context.

    Measure the number of new posts relative to reply’s for keywords; gives a measurement on how much users are interacting when talking about products.

    Measure purchases of products and correlate that against users that have also purchased products, map this information against friend networks and conversations to analyze how these are affecting purchases.

    I feel the point of social commerce from a business perspective is that it allow the company and products to evolve from the input and conversations of the customers that use the products. The real return on investment will be demonstrated by the continuous growth of the community and continued sales.

  • http://www.4-roads.com Robert Nash

    Jay, I agree with your comment, placing any direct measurement on ROI when dealing with omni media is impossible because it is all about the conversation. Social networking sites engage people directly to allow them to share their views and opinions, this is very hard to track, analyze and relate back to sales directly.

    However I do think there are ways in which a relationship can be measured within a social network environment to see how the users are interacting in the conversations. This sort of information allows the business to “inspect and adapt” to improve what they offer and indirectly affect ROI. Here are some ways that I think measurement can be used to improve ROI (even if it’s not measurable directly)

    Measure chatter, how often are keywords being mentioned; giving an idea of how much something is being talked about and in what context.

    Measure the number of new posts relative to reply’s for keywords; gives a measurement on how much users are interacting when talking about products.

    Measure purchases of products and correlate that against users that have also purchased products, map this information against friend networks and conversations to analyze how these are affecting purchases.

    I feel the point of social commerce from a business perspective is that it allow the company and products to evolve from the input and conversations of the customers that use the products. The real return on investment will be demonstrated by the continuous growth of the community and continued sales.

  • http://www.b2brelevance.com/ Justin King

    Great conversation going on here. I think we should distinguish between social aiding commerce and actual social commerce. Funny – when I did the “what comes to mind” I immediately went to Network Marketing. The idea of “overtly” selling through your network is conjured up to think of pushing product through friends and family. Interestingly enough, over the past 3 months I have received quite a few “hey, how are you, I have something interesting you should look at” through Facebook from friends of past – with the obvious network marketing spiel.

    I think we should come up with a new name – maybe we brand somehow within Rosetta :). Outside of the name, I like the idea of figuring out the purchase path that originates within Social Media and ends in a transaction of some sort, and then attributing that back to the originating environment. I think to Jay and Roberts point, the actual measurement is difficult because it is just conversations. However, I would also argue that most of our marketing efforts are about conversations. But in essence I agree. I wonder through what we can track as far as infuence is concerned. Are their influenced revenue dollars that we can track back to or through?

  • http://www.b2brelevance.com Justin King

    Great conversation going on here. I think we should distinguish between social aiding commerce and actual social commerce. Funny – when I did the “what comes to mind” I immediately went to Network Marketing. The idea of “overtly” selling through your network is conjured up to think of pushing product through friends and family. Interestingly enough, over the past 3 months I have received quite a few “hey, how are you, I have something interesting you should look at” through Facebook from friends of past – with the obvious network marketing spiel.

    I think we should come up with a new name – maybe we brand somehow within Rosetta :). Outside of the name, I like the idea of figuring out the purchase path that originates within Social Media and ends in a transaction of some sort, and then attributing that back to the originating environment. I think to Jay and Roberts point, the actual measurement is difficult because it is just conversations. However, I would also argue that most of our marketing efforts are about conversations. But in essence I agree. I wonder through what we can track as far as infuence is concerned. Are their influenced revenue dollars that we can track back to or through?

  • http://pr.typepad.com/ John Cass

    Good article, and I agree with much of what you state. I was also thinking that you might look at Doc Searls work on Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) consumers using social media to manage their relationships. Social commerce could be seen as giving consumers the ability to interact with brand, and compare ideas, products and pricing with fellow customers. If more companies use monitoring tools to respond to customer service issues, why not also requests for purchases? I can easily see this happening with Twitter. In fact it would be interesting to see some examples.

  • http://pr.typepad.com John Cass

    Good article, and I agree with much of what you state. I was also thinking that you might look at Doc Searls work on Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) consumers using social media to manage their relationships. Social commerce could be seen as giving consumers the ability to interact with brand, and compare ideas, products and pricing with fellow customers. If more companies use monitoring tools to respond to customer service issues, why not also requests for purchases? I can easily see this happening with Twitter. In fact it would be interesting to see some examples.

  • http://robbk.ieiro.com/ Robb Kornoelje

    I wonder where all this will lead? In ten years will I get a commission from Walmart if I mention that my son liked his new powerwheels? Someone clicks on a link and buys one because they saw the video of my son having so much fun? How cool would that be!

  • http://robbk.ieiro.com Robb Kornoelje

    I wonder where all this will lead? In ten years will I get a commission from Walmart if I mention that my son liked his new powerwheels? Someone clicks on a link and buys one because they saw the video of my son having so much fun? How cool would that be!