Social commerce has grown in leaps and bounds from a nascent industry in 2010 to projected $9 billion this year, and expected to reach to $14 billion in 2013, according to Booze Alan.  The team at Awareness, Inc. set out to discover the secrets behind this success and the lessons that social marketers can learn to make their programs and initiatives more successful.  We are excited to bring to you our next free white paper, “Social Commerce Lessons: The 6 Social Principles that Increase Sales.”

Success stories in social commerce, defined by Altimeter's Lora Cecere as the use of social technologies to listen, understand and engage in order to improve the shopping experience, range from big brands like the Gap, bringing in sales of $11 million in one day, to tiny brands like Orabrush tongue cleaners, whose YouTube videos and Facebook ads landed them shelf space at Wal-Mart. The biggest lesson learned is that social commerce is thriving by influencing human behavior employing the Six Social Principles - Social Proof, Authority, Liking, Reciprocity, Scarcity, and Consistency. These principles were originally defined by Robert Cialdini in his book, “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion.” Paul Marsden also reviewed these concepts as the backbone of social commerce in his article, “How Social Commerce Works: The Social Psychology of the Social Shopper,” illustrating their function in social media.

Did you know that 90 percent of all purchases are subject to social influence and 75 percent of Facebook users “like” a brand? Are you aware that adding a “Like” button to your online product description can increase product awareness by 246 percent? As consumers become increasingly surrounded by social technology, marketers need to understand the new ways of engaging customers and prospects at the various stages of their decision-making process using the Six Social Principles.

The Six Social Principles - Social Proof (follow the crowd), Authority (follow a leader), Liking (follow peers), Reciprocity (return the favor), Scarcity (things that are scarce are more valuable), and Consistency (routine), can be used as the foundation for all marketing programs because they involve nurturing relationships, building longstanding trust with customers and maximizing the growth of social media investments along the way.

In fact, the consistent application of the six Social Principles in social marketing planning, campaign design and execution are steadily becoming key indicators of social marketing maturity. Social- savvy companies have moved beyond simply building social presence and are now focusing on meaningful social engagement. These are the companies that will reap the most benefit from their social marketing investments in 2012 and the years to come.

Social Commerce Lessons: The 6 Social Principles that Increase Salesdescribes in detail these principles and helps marketers at both B2C and B2B companies understand how they can employ them in a responsible and mutually beneficial way to grow engagement, sales and brand advocacy.  Here’s a glimpse into how marketers focused on B2C prospects can use three of the principles to impact the effectiveness of their initiatives:

 

Top B2C Social Principles

 

The same principles apply in a B2B setting but the ways these principles can be applied differs as the B2B sales cycle is a lot longer and requires the input and support from multiple stakeholders.

 

Top B2B Social Principles

Even though some brands are still at the experimentation stage with Social Commerce, they are seeing huge early successes. Using group-buying site Groupon, the Gap was able to bring in sales of $11 million in one day. On it’s Facebook store P&G sold more than 1,000 boxes of diapers in under an hour.

To learn how you can employ the Six Social Principles to engage your customers and turn them into brand advocates, download “Social Commerce Lessons: The 6 Social Principles that Increase Salestoday.  Don’t hesitate to share your success and insights – what have you done to successfully convert buyers into advocates?  How have you shown consistent value to your prospects and opinion leaders?