Continue to Part II: Social Commerce Solutions»
IntroductionSocial network sites are the newest big thing on the internet, and their popularity has increased to the point where these sites are now being targeted by internet marketers as great ways to advertise for free, or for very reasonable rates. Certainly, these sites are popular with younger internet users, so the demographics may skew in that direction, but for marketers of certain products and services, these sites can provide a perfect place to try out new ideas, see what the buzz is regarding industries and trends, and connect and network to lots of potential customers. Typically, social networking ecommerce depends primarily on word of mouth advertising, which is free, and can be highly successful.
CostsThe real cost of using social networking for ecommerce, if done cleverly and in-house, is just time. Larger companies, who wish to hire professional services to run their campaign, can spend really as much as they like, into the thousands of dollars per month, if budgets allow.
TimeframeSince viral or word of mouth marketing is the most prevalent way of driving business on these sites, time should be given to allow the viral effect to take hold. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to see results from this type of campaign, but if they are successful, the exponential quality will take over and business will boom.
Execution DetailsWhile social media sites like Facebook and MySpace are the industry leaders, they are generally more popular with younger users. These sites are certainly the largest and have the most users signed up, but other social network sites exist which are more specialized, and feature a greater pool of users who may share more common interests, and which may prove more fertile ground, even if they do have fewer users.
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