We hear a lot about how social has changed how we run our businesses i.e., the ‘social business’, but what about how social has changed what it means to be a ‘customer’? We educate, inform, entertain, engage, and nurture a broad audience in our social universes, but which of those many contacts do we call a customer? Hmm. Well, the traditional definition is worth noting: A customer is someone you are doing (or have done) business with. Here’s the question: is the world of digital marketing and social networking making ‘doing business’, i.e., selling with customers easier or more difficult?

Wow! The number are impressive…

And now, we can even start to question the relative value of different ways in which we employ social tactics, as e-commerce has worked its way into social networks like Facebook and Twitter. A recent article from Shopify.com ecommerce university points out that Facebook dominates social ecommerce with 85% of social-media related orders. Wow. And Twitter has recently introduced a ‘buy now’ button to enable immediate ordering. AdvertisingAge (see article) notes that Twitter is dipping into ecommerce slowly by rolling it out to a limited number of non-profits, musical artists and only two large retailers. What does that mean? Is Twitter testing its technology, or are they wondering whether ‘buy now’ will resonate with their users? It’s a fair question: we are all ‘selling’ something. And many companies and brands have embraced social as an outreach, contact and sales pipeline nurturing opportunity in the hope that it might someday turn into a direct sales channel.  Is that day here?

Q1) Are people that we engage in our social media efforts customers? Why or why not?

Q2) Are social customers distinct from traditional customers? In what ways?

Q3) Hasn’t the time come for ecommerce and social networking to converge?

Q4) Brands have been advertising on social media for a while. Is moving into ‘selling’ a big change?

Q5) Will there be room on your device for an ecommerce app for every brand you follow?

Q6) Do you anticipate a backlash from communities as we push ecommerce/sales?

Image credits:

1) www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com
2) orbitalimpact.com