Social Commerce

Monetizing Social Media in 3 Phases… or 1 Phase?

Interesting post by Jordan Julien urging brands not to try running before they can walk when trying to monetize social media.

The basic idea is that you need “social equity” (awareness, reputation, and engagement) to do social commerce.

Julien suggests that brands should first run social media marketing campaigns to build awareness and reputation (by offering something on the fun-value axis), and then to build engagement (user participation), before embracing social commerce (to drive sales).


Julien’s 3 phase approach – awareness-engagement-commerce – to monetizing social media is interesting, and makes sense for brands, especially those not selling online directly to the public yet.

But for for brands and retailers already selling online, we wonder if social media marketing campaigns are really a prerequisite to social commerce success; Amazon has never been big on social media marketing campaigns, but this hasn’t stopped it from become the grand dame of social commerce.

Moreover, people don’t expect social media marketing campaigns (yet at least), but they do increasingly expect social media tools on e-commerce platforms (e.g. reviews, user forums).  Social commerce tools are becoming a hygiene factor in e-commerce with or without associated social media marketing campaigns.

And given that it requires sophistication, creativity and skill (and a good agency) to run social media marketing campaigns that produce  reliable and measurable or ROI, we’d suggest an alternative view; brands and retailers should consider running social media marketing campaigns after they’ve implemented social commerce.

But whether you buy into Julien’s 3 phase approach to monetizing social media, his post is good-joined-up thinking, and finishes with a useful summary of the contents of the social commerce toolbox.

  • Reviews: User reviews, onsite and syndicated to user networks
  • Shopping: Storefronts or promotions in social media
  • Sharing: SWYN rules – share with your network (with a personal message) [also social shopping]
  • Pricing: Exclusive pricing for people coming from social media (deal feeds)
  • Registration: Speed: Let them log in fast with Facebook Connect, Twitter or OpenID and checkout fast with PayPal, Amazon, Google

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

0 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Hi Paul,

    Great review & extension. Love hearing what people think about the stuff I write. Appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Still stand by my 3 phased approach; primarily because the idea of creating a socially enabled e-commerce site prior to introducing the e-tailer to the social web, opens the e-tailer up for catastrophic failure if they don’t understand how to build and focus a community.

    I agree that a good digital/ social agency can help steer them in the right direction; but the brand needs to be prepared to engage with its audience.

    I still think spending the money to socially enable a site where the brand hasn’t established enough social equity, and the users aren’t prepared for social commerce could potentially deliver a significantly lower ROI than following the 3 phased approach.

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