Social Commerce Buries Lead Generation

Believe it or not, you have been doing social commerce your entire life: going to the farmer’s market and purchasing fine fruits from friends and even the friends of friends; taking a Saturday morning to go bargain hunting at garage sales is also another common platform for social commerce commonly used by many.  Why all of a sudden the huge rush for socially engaging your online pals to harvest leads then?  Reflecting back on the fun we’d have going to these garage sales and talking with people to find out the other sales in the town is perhaps the same concept that applies today; small business owners and freelance affiliate marketers are, in essence, hosting their own live garage sales in hopes the infamous ‘crowd sourcing’ will kick in and generate conversions on their offerings.

In the mid-1990′s when Amazon pioneered the first concept of affiliate marketing to generate book sales, many of the lead generation methods used - display banners on Yahoo and other network sites, emailings and the likes - have been continually followed up through the rise of the social world.  With everyone seemingly sharing everything on Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest, the old school days of harvesting leads using washed up lead generation practices are soon heading to ‘moot’ status; preparing your small business for the fall of old ways and the entry of newer methods should be on the top of the priority list if you wish to compete on the social commerce level, the imminent future of all business happenings which include shopping transactions.

Prepare Your Social Presence Accordingly

Whereas before a person would simply use the search engines to find companies and competitive products, the new trend is actually the old trend - word of mouth.  Asking your friends and colleagues on social networking sites about their shopping preferences and experiences can be particularly persuasive, especially if you have a large following that you regularly interact with.  In the businessman’s perspective, you want to be the ‘talk of the town’ to these people, so it would behoove your business to regularly post feedback given on your website to your Tweets or Facebook walls while consistently updating and creating deals for people to enjoy; this type of appreciation and buzz creation can raise conversion rates incrementally yet expediently as well; keep a mailing list fresh on your Facebook business page that connects to an Aweber or Constant Contact lead capturing page as well to avoid having to beg your potential customers for this information.  Let them join your list if they want to, or bypass it; either decision made shouldn’t persuade your social media presence so long as you are active on those sites.

Avoid conversation on your business pages that either has little value to your type of business or could potentially be offensive to a shopper.  If you want your business to be taken seriously on social commerce platforms, you have to continue to ‘keep face’ properly.  Also, avoid spending your advertising dollars harvesting ‘likes’ that simply inflate your following and not contribute to business value. In my line of work, I could make a good income with 20 shoppers - and only 20 Facebook likes - faster than most could with 5,000 likes and little interaction except for spam-like connotations.

Lead Generation Exits, Stage Left

If you are still into the mass email campaigns that send blind mailings to millions of addresses - spam box addresses, that is - you are probably either not privy to the current wave of lead generation or simply love getting domains black listed in such places like Project Honeypot and the likes.  These schemes do not work anymore as a means of lead generation, nor does posting links to your goods in forums or blog comments; these practices used to be prevalent (along with FFA links) yet are not hot anymore, my friends.  Social media is the future we never thought would come so quickly, and the old methods of grabbing attention to your offers or retail goods simply will not cut it any longer.  It is time to get up with the times and keep a strong social media following at all costs, concentrating on the quality of relationships over the quantity of people that follow you around.  People will be more apt to purchase from you if they believe in you, so give your friends and loyal customers something to talk about and believe in and ditch the lead harvesting cliches of the past.

Greg Henderson has been on the social commerce scene for roughly 12 years and has experience in many successful business formations, guiding others through advice geared to make you successful in business decision making. His current projects include a background checks website Easy Background Checks as well as a marriage records website Genealinks.

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