Thursday, February 15, 2007

Social Commerce ???

I have been thinking allot about how to incorporate Social Networking into our new E-commerce based membership startup...forums/classifieds/member pages etc.. are all the likely suspects. The problem is that we have to build a vibrant community how do we do this and get some sense of relationship building?

It seems like their are multitudes of options out there whether it be a tools Meebo, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Me.dium and leveraging other social networking sites like Myspace , Facebook , Youtube and Flickr.

This can get intimidating quite quickly but I think that I have come up w/ a scenario that will make it easy for members to interact w/ our staff and other members in an efficient manner.

Can you have a site that incorporates a mix of Social Networking tools but doesn't have the typical infrastructure i.e forums, chat rooms, member pages?

Could we mesh the ability to use tools like Meebo which blends all major IM's (Gtalk,AIM,YIM,MSM,Jabber) together in a web based widget instead of using LivePerson?

Second would be how can we take that to the next level..a blog would be nice..but our demographic audience are primarily 18-27 males.. so we need to keep it short and simple. I came across this article from Lifehacker regarding real world applications for Twitter. Twitter is an application where you can post quick blurbs about daily happenings in your life and are sent via Sms, IM's or Blogs.

The key in my mind is somehow to use these tools to make a bridge between our site and the big boys i.e Youtube/Myspace/Facebook/Flickr.

Our strategic marketing plan is to develop relationships in community forums that are specific for our startup. Could we find a way to incorporate a community based off of Me.dium
that would give our members and fellow enthusiasts to socially surf? Maybe this is taking it to far.

Let me know what you think I should do regarding a "Social Networking Strategy"


Dan Pickett said...

I truly think the key to bring social networking into e-commerce is to make it product-centric - shared "wish lists", "my purchased items", "customers who bought this also bought"

You want to build something that builds value around your product - so that's where I think you should focus your efforts.

Blendah Tom said...


Thanks for the feedback..but I tend to disagree due to our site being a "member" based e commerce site.. so I don't think that the product should be the focal point.. we need to gain traction first then we can work on "products". Your comment kind of leads to the "Chicken or the Egg" debate.. how can those features be relevant if we haven't created a community yet?

Just a quick point...most of our members are already members of some of these other Social networks and some specific to their genre's why not utilize those?

Dan Pickett said...

it's definitely a chicken or the egg problem - but here's my thing - as you mentioned at the bottom of your comment what's keeping a user from going to MySpace or Facebook is how your community is different. How is it different? You're bringing people together on the common ground of your product - and that's why I say that's where the value is. The idea is to get a community buzzing around what you're selling because that's where you're different.

Your member-driven site is driving what? Your product, right?

Anyhoo, that's my .02 - I think the key is to a good community is a focus on a common interest, and people are going to your site for your product, so why not focus there?

Blendah Tom said...

Hi Dan,

The thing is I am looking to build a bridge from these sites (MySpace etc) to mine due to the fact that I will be activley invloved in multiple Forums/Networks..advertising etc..

There is common ground for these are correct which is parts for their cars but they all own different cars and are most likey looking at 100,000's of parts for their rides so I think that it will be more difficult than you think...

I could def. see a traction being made in this example:

We use Twitter as communication bridge and members get text messages etc.. saying

"Yo I just bought a $1800 Garrett turbo!"

that would invoke instant feedback, like what kind of car do you have , what kind of turbo etc.. basically starting a conversation and brodcasting it to all members...

I think we are on the same side..but I am more concerned on how to get their quickly...

The problem is..people don't have allot of getting someone to make the commitment to a new community is hard enough never mind what it takes to start one..

Good Convo..