Social com­merce is gain­ing a lot of wind in its sails these days as mar­keters rally to cre­ate strate­gies for con­vert­ing likes, tweets, and pins into sales. Social-driven com­merce is just one more step in the evo­lu­tion of Inter­net mar­ket­ing, which has been amply lever­aged in peer-to-peer sales plat­forms such as eBay and Ama​zon​.com for more than a decade. As cor­re­la­tions between Web sales and social-driven com­merce con­tinue to seep into the mar­ket­ing mix, it may be a good time to take a moment and think about how social com­merce should fall into your mar­ket­ing strategy.

Social data is best when used to inform con­tent and SEO strate­gies. Social media plat­forms pro­vide a rel­e­vant peep­hole into con­sumer pref­er­ences, echo­ing what they like or dis­like about prod­ucts. Last year approx­i­mately 81 per­cent of con­sumers used social net­work­ing sites to get pur­chas­ing advice from friends and fam­ily. Con­sumers in your tar­get mar­ket also share the con­tent they love, which is a great asset for deter­min­ing what type of con­tent and web­sites your audi­ence likes.

When it comes to eval­u­at­ing the impact of social media on rank­ings and rev­enue, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that cor­re­la­tions do not always reflect cau­sa­tion. Through my own test­ing, I have found that social sig­nals only boost rank­ings on Google for key­words on pages three to five at best. The ben­e­fits of social media in terms of brand­ing and PR are gen­er­ally greater than its ben­e­fit to SEO rank­ings. Still, I believe there is value in social media and SEO teams being tightly aligned around data and espe­cially around con­tent strate­gies. Although the cor­re­la­tion between sales and social intent is strong, in some cases it can be a stretch to say that likes, tweets, and pins reflect the con­sumers’ desire for a social media sales chan­nel, or to be cor­ralled directly into a sales channel.

An evolved SEO and social media strat­egy puts processes into place that rein­forces the align­ment between SEO and social con­tent, allow­ing social data and sig­nals to inform con­tent strate­gies. Doing this also helps rank­ings, but what’s more impor­tant is the sup­port given to broader mar­ket­ing and busi­ness objec­tives like brand engage­ment and brand loy­alty. There­fore, the most effec­tive social com­merce plan of attack spans mul­ti­ple devices and plat­forms, inte­grat­ing user-generated con­tent and social media into con­tent, brand engage­ment, and SEO strategies.

Forward-thinking tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies use social media to sup­port sales chan­nels instead of forc­ing sales and mar­ket­ing into social media. They move beyond the imme­di­ate incli­na­tion of dis­cov­er­ing how likes, tweets, and pins impact rank and rev­enue into Web and mobile realms, cre­at­ing con­ver­sa­tions and con­ver­sions wher­ever the tar­get audi­ence may be.

What is your expe­ri­ence with inte­grat­ing social media with social commerce?

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