The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Commerce and Marketing in 2012


Do's and Don'ts Thumbs
2012
is going to be a memorable year. Whether it is the year you finally get serious about dropping those extra pounds you’ve been “resolutioning” to since 2002 OR it is the year you save up the money and courage to go on that dream vacation.  We have a solution for you. Instead of focusing on cliché resolutions that you will more then likely forget about by February… focus on something that will truly deliver you maximum results.  Get your social commerce store and marketing up and running now!

Remember that small to mid-size business that you own?  Remember the Facebook page that your store sits on?  Where you can upload pictures, publish wall post updates and best of all… where you can install super cool apps!  Well spend some time on making it the best asset your store has to offer! Make the vow in 2012 to increase your marketing and social commerce efforts on Facebook!

For those of you who are not up to speed on the terminology, F-Commerce?  F-Commerce is the ability to shop and sell, while incorporating social sharing and marketing tools to promote stores within the Facebook ecosystem.  F-Commerce is the latest innovation in the online selling world and is the largest catalyst under the social commerce umbrella to date.  Millions of stores across the globe are now turning to the Facebook phenomenon, with nearly 900 million users to assist merchants in selling their products within the Facebook ecosystem.  What online merchants have to remember is that there is a right and wrong way to sell socially.  Many small to mid-size businesses and even big name brands get so wrapped up in the “commerce only” side of things, that they think that just by having an F-Commerce  “Shop” tab on their Facebook page, puts them ahead of the game.

Facebook Coke-Cola F-Commerce Store

Unfortunately, just having an F-Commerce store alone isn’t enough.  F-Commerce has grown since 2009 and in 2011, 90% of the companies surveyed by the Altimeter Group have increased funding for social commerce initiatives by 8%.  Also, according to the Altimeter Group 25% of customers between the ages of 18-34 said that they use Facebook to interact with merchants.  So whether you are a big name brand like Coca-Cola or just a simple eBay store owner selling yoga mats, everyone can utilize Facebook for their social commerce destination.  Now, despite the size of your organization and target market, there are some tips and tidbits that all F-Commerce store owners could use.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to social commerce and marketing that all companies using Facebook should oblige to in order to maximize their fans and shoppers. Don’t be offended if you see a “Don’t” that your page currently does… we are here to help!

The DosDo Give Your Fans Special Treatment: What this means is, thank your fans for “Liking” your page by offering them promotions, coupons, sweepstakes, digital downloads and other fun things that they can only do via your Facebook page.  By running promotions and sweepstakes, more people are likely to become fans and like your page.  Also, by offering coupons and/or fun digital files for download, fans will feel appreciated and more engaged with your store.  A great example of utilizing your online fans and rewarding them is Finish Line. Finish Line is a company that specializes in sneakers and athletic apparel, which currently has well over 800,000 likes on their Facebook page.  Finish Line offers a sweepstakes to win a $100 Gift Card to their store by signing up for email updates and offers.  It is an exchange that the customer is willing to make because they don’t mind giving away an email address for a chance to win a gift card.  Promotions and other reward type programs, mixed with social interaction are what make Facebook pages worthwhile and what creates a greater interaction between fans and businesses.

Facebook - Finish Line Sweepstakes Page
Do customer service without neglect: Just because your customer service team doesn’t run your F-Commerce store, doesn’t mean that you should just let the questions users post float away.  F-Commerce is all about collaborative sales, marketing and service… meaning, whomever is updating or moderating the shop’s Facebook page has to respond to all customer service related questions and comments.  An example of a company who does customer service without neglect and always responds to 100% of Facebook users wall posts is Sammy Davis Vintage.  Sammy Davis Vintage is a vintage fashion blogger and seller who sells vintage fashion.  Sammy Davis Vintage is based in New York City and has about 3,500 Facebook likes on her page.  Solely one woman runs the company and she always responds to anything that is published about her, and in a timely fashion, which is most important.

Social Commerce

Do utilize the Reveal Tab (Pre-Like Page): Using a Pre-Like page, or a page that comes up before one has actually clicked the “Like” button is imperative. This is because it gives your company a chance to give a first impression to your non-fans.  Using the Pre-Like page to promote a sale, giveaway, sweepstakes, digital download or really anything is a great way to interact with customers from the start of your page.  Pampers, the baby goods company does a superb job of utilizing their Pre-Like page and driving in fans by saying “Join our community and connect with moms and dads like you.”  They also have a banner ad saying “celebrate your baby and share your journey with us”.  These two statements on their Pre-Like page are very enticing for parents to read.  Parents naturally want to show their kids off and enjoy talking to other parents about raising their kids.  Pampers ropes in likes by showcasing the fact that parents can connect to each other through Pampers Facebook page, and it works!  Their Pre-Like page, along with an F-Commerce store and other apps is an integral part to their success and a big reason why over 900,000 people chose to click “Like” on the Pampers page.

Social Commerce

Do use social sharing tools: Social sharing is one of the biggest reasons why F-Commerce and social shopping as a whole is so popular.  People simply just want to know what their friends are buying, while buyers love to share their experiences.  Just take a look at the Gilly Loco Salsa Facebook Store created using Fanpage Toolkit.  Here you will see a more advanced Facebook sharing tool that allows shoppers to share their shopping experience with all of their Facebook friends at once, with the simple click of the mouse (to see this in action just visit the page for yourself).  While on the negative flipside… if we look at the Facebook page of GoYerbaMate.com, you will see that they have NO social sharing tools running of any kind.  Fans can’t send products to their own personal walls or friends walls to share what they are shopping for.  Not utilizing social sharing inhibits your customers and fans and keeps your market very closed and narrow, which is never a good thing for any company.

Social Commerce

Do create a microsite within your Facebook page: There are so many examples of the famous “Welcome” tab (or, Default Landing Tab) that Facebook page owners strive to build and publish. However, very few hit the mark with an elegantly designed, content rich microsite shining bright within their Facebook page. So, before diving into my example, let’s answer the question of, “what is a microsite?”  To not reinvent the wheel here with definitions, the folks at Wikipedia tell us that a microsite is, “an Internet web design term referring to an individual web page or a small cluster (around 1 to 7) of pages which are meant to function as a discreet entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity. The microsite’s main landing page most likely has its own domain name or subdomain.”  Now, I can’t think of a better place for a microsite then within a website that has nearly 900 million users as part of its ecosystem. This website of course is Facebook, and the Facebook microsite that I am going to introduce you to is Zen Den Coffee.  Zen Den Coffee, or The Zen Den as they like to be called… is a boutique coffee house located in Doylestown, PA. The goal of The Zen Den was to build a micro version of their official website for their Facebook page. The challenge that they were presented with was that no software solutions were available to both offer the ability to build a microsite within their Facebook page and create a future F-Commerce store to sell their in-store products.  After sampling a few solutions but not getting anywhere, The Zen Den came across Fanpage Toolkit’s Social Commerce and Marketing Platform and began to build. When speaking with The Zen Den, they said that they were amazed to finally find a platform that was able to deliver the full solution of both marketing and commerce. All at the price of little to no cost.  If you jump over to The Zen Den Facebook page you will see a 4-page microsite, packed with great content wrapped in an elegant design. Not only is this microsite great just all by itself, but also it is to be the foundation for when The Zen Den introduces product for sale in the near future.

The Zen Den - Facebook Page

Social CommerceDon’t setup an F-Commerce Store or Promotional App with Annoying Bulky Scrollbars: Whether it’s a traditional website or Facebook itself, the main bulky scrollbar that you see on the right side of your web browser is more then enough.  By enabling the same bulky scrollbar on your iFrame-driven F-Commerce store or other apps is just plain tacky.  To be clear, we’re not talking about those cool content boxes on websites with thin, inline jQuery scrollers (some cool examples this can be found at, SloDive)… we’re talking about the examples where it looks like there is an entire website floating around (left-to-right and up-and-down) within the same iFrame on a Facebook page.  It is much more appealing and engaging to the user, if the F-Commerce store uses a scroll-free inner environment.  Simply using categories and elegant navigation within their Facebook store to escort users through their products, as opposed to just loading up a website through a swishy, bulky iFrame and calling it an F-Commerce store.

An example of an F-Commerce store that does an outstanding job of staying far away from the bulky scrollbars and uses elegant navigation is Express. Express clothing has a very extensive, well-developed F-Commerce store. Although this is an example of an extremely costly, complex and custom solution… Fanpage Toolkit offers a very simple and robust solution, which delivers elegance to the F-Commerce store for as little as no cost. That’s right… FREE!

Express - Facebook Store
An unfortunate example of a Facebook page that uses the infamous bulky scrollbar is Oh So Celeb, an Australian shop that sells fashions as seen on celebrities.  This shop uses a “dump style” set up, where they place their items in no specific order or category with “Buy Now” buttons under each item.  To boot, their solution also uses a bulky scrollbar within their F-Commerce store for navigation, offering an overall non-friendly way to sell items on Facebook.

Oh So Celeb - Facebook Store

Don’t setup an F-Commerce Store that redirects Facebook users outside of Facebook: The whole purpose of F-Commerce is to sell your wares within the Facebook ecosystem, while having a 100% Facebook experience.  If your F-Commerce shop redirects the buyer to an out-of-Facebook merchant store upon clicking the “Buy Now” button, then they are not using F-Commerce to its full potential.  This is called “product redirection”, which is when clicking on an item within an F-Commerce store redirects the user to the to the same item on the merchants 3rd-party website to complete the transaction process.

Not to pick on the Facebook page of Oh So Celeb too much, but they are a perfect example of using product redirection in their F-Commerce store.  If you go to their F-Commerce store and click on the “Buy Now” button, it redirects you over to the identical item on their 3rd-party E-Commerce website.  The only thing worse than using product redirection in your F-Commerce, is using product redirection that doesn’t work or link properly.  Imagine making that decision to purchase a Facebook merchants product and then clicking on the “Buy Now” button to only be lead to a website displaying the error, “The Page Cannot Be Found”.  Talk about frustrating!  An example of this problem is a Facebook page we spoke of earlier of called, GoYerbaMate.com.  Their Facebook page has “Buy Now” buttons on products that fail to link properly, only generating the infamous “The Page Cannot Be Found” error.

Social Commerce
Now, after all these examples of do’s and don’ts you are probably thinking…. How am I suppose to make my F-Commerce store better while staying on a tight budget? For starters, you have the power to respond and be the best customer service to all your fans everyday, for free.  The power and will to respond to all comments and questions is in your hands, and it makes a HUGE difference in the eyes of the customer.

For the ultimate tools of the trade that are both economical and easy to use… let Fanpage Toolkit guide you.  Fanpage Toolkit offers Promotions, Sweepstakes, POS Coupon Code Generators, Digital Downloads, F-Commerce Store Builders, Messaging, Analytics and much, much more.  So no matter what your needs are you always have a plethora of options for marketing your organization and selling products.

Besides a suite of social marketing solutions, Fanpage Toolkit provides you with many semi-custom template options for your F-Commerce store (with NO annoying scrollbars) and offers one-click sync technology, which allows merchants to link up product catalogs to eBay Stores and the Magento Platform securely and in real-time.  No need for out-of-Facebook product linking or page errors, because all transactions are 100% completed within the Facebook ecosystem. Even product catalog inventories and shipping are all updated in real-time to Fanpage Toolkit supported 3rd-party E-Commerce platforms. This is social commerce and marketing innovation at its best!  Fanpage Toolkit offers all the applications and tools needed to set up the most integrated and user-friendly Facebook pages, all under one social commerce and marketing platform.  The good news doesn’t stop there though… Fanpage Toolkit offers packages ranging from totally FREE to just $25 per month for everything including the kitchen sink (joking about the kitchen sink part J).  Fanpage Toolkit is your #1 Social Commerce and Marketing Platform for Facebook.  So ring in the New Year right and get your F-Commerce store up and running for FREE!

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