The term social commerce has been floating around the internet for quite some time. Almost everyone uses the term without understanding what social commerce is and how it actually works.

So what is Social Commerce?

Social Commerce has been defined as set of technologies and methodologies that take advantage of the people’s opinion about brands, products and services.

In simpler terms, social commerce is the set of techniques that harness the power of customers’ reviews, referrals, users’ recommendations and general content created for social media outlets.

Social commerce is the logical evolution of ecommerce. It takes the existing infrastructure of ecommerce and adds the power of the social media to come up with a more optimized, natural and competitive digital commerce paradigm.

The makeup of social commerce

The whole theory of social commerce is based on six fundamentals. Some of these points are the tried and tested lessons learned from ecommerce era. Others come from the social media, particularly from social media marketing:

Content

Content is (and will) remain the king. The whole idea being using content is to promote engagement with the users through excellent high value content. The trend began with brochure sites that provided details about the products and invited visitors to the purchase pages. This has been substantiated by social media content that direct the users to the respective websites.

Community

At the core of social commerce lies the audience that comes to the social media presences of the particular product or brand. It is important that this audience should be treated as a community with the express purpose of building short term and long term relationships. Community is one of the most important strengths of a social commerce campaign.

Commerce

Commerce in this context means the ability to fulfil the customers’ demands for products and services through a dependable, secure and easy-to-use platform. The platform should be robust enough to support the customers’ traffic and should provide a secure mode of payment.

 Context

The user should be able to relate a real world event with a digital transaction. This will ensure increased bonding with the brand or services of the organization. Foursquare has managed to tap this feature in the most optimum manner. It provides feedbacks according to the current physical location of the user.

Connection

There are three types of connections in digital world; professional, social and casual. All three connections have their place in social commerce world. Professional connections (such as LinkedIn) are used for B2B purposes. Social and Casual connections (such as through Facebook and Twitter) are targeted toward B2C or C2C purposes.

Conversation

Along with content, conversation forms the basis of social commerce.

For a service provider, social commerce is all about generating sales leads through social media, blogosphere and customer reviews and referrals. All these avenues have one thing in common. All these channels are powered by the conversation of the members. In almost all cases, the entire content of any social media outlets is generated by visitors and members. This content is heavily talked about with additional pieces of content, user generated information and reviews adding to the bulk of things.

The above mentioned six components must be work together in harmony for any social commerce project. If an organization lack in even one aspect, the entire effort is wasted and the investment is lost.