Social Media Commerce For Dummies®

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Table of Contents

About This Book
How to Read This Book
Foolish Assumptions
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Prepping for Social Media Commerce
Part II: Adapting Your Web Presence
Part III: Casting for and Catching Customers
Part IV: Supporting Your Social Media Commerce Efforts
Part V: The Part of Tens
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: Prepping for Social Media Commerce
Chapter 1: Social Media Commerce and Your Bottom Line
Social Commerce Beginnings
Defining Social Media, Social Business, and Social Commerce
Making Money by Connecting with People
Changing Communication through Technology
From word of mouth to 1s and 0s
The end of the cold call
Adding social media to the mix
Creating Relationships with Your Customers
Creating a Social Media Action Plan
Chapter 2: Competing in the Social Media Realm
Big Advantages of a Small Business
Examining Big-Business Mistakes
A Motor City kerfuffle
Red Cross disaster recovery
Studying Success Stories
Finding out who has Klout
Social media reach for professionals
Growing a base for an online retailer
The “Bagel that won the West” goes worldwide
Stellar Twitter accounts
Finding the Time to Initiate Social Media Commerce
Hiring help
Doing your own social media
Chapter 3: Creating a Social Media Policy
Twelve Guiding Words
Determining Employee Guidelines
Establishing Clear Company Guidelines
Part II: Adapting Your Web Presence
Chapter 4: Passive Engagement: Creating a Social Persona through Your Website
Getting Started with the Basics
Planning your site
Hosting your site
Putting together the pieces
Getting, Engaging, and Keeping Customers
Adding industry information
Selling and linking to products
Blogging for Your Business
Deciding whether to blog
Blogging successfully
Making blogging easy with free tools
Chapter 5: Active Engagement: Connecting Directly with Your Customers
Romancing the Customer
Understanding How Service Affects Sales
Educating Your Customers through FAQs
Connecting with Your Customers through Web Chat
Grabbing visitors quickly with SnapEngage
Setting up a customer service number through Google Voice
Making free calls with Skype
Chapter 6: Claiming Your Space on Review Sites
Amazon and eBay Lead the Way
Understanding the Effects of Peer-to-Peer Reviews
Three Review Sites to Watch
Angie’s List
New in town: Google+ Local meets Zagat
Handling Positive and Negative Reviews
Chapter 7: Knowing Where to Share Your Content
Posting on Facebook and Twitter
Posting Videos on YouTube
Developing Your Own Podcasts
Liberated Syndication
Sharing Your Photos
Using others photos from Flickr
Storing and editing in Google+ and Picasa
Part III: Casting for and Catching Customers
Chapter 8: Finding Your Customer on the Social Web
Simplifying the Data Machine
Understanding Your Customer Demographics
Using Free Tools to Find Customers Online
Searching the competition through Alexa
Checking out your website data through Google Analytics
Getting insights from your Facebook business page
Big Online Numbers Don’t Mean Dollars
Ranking your followers on Twitter
Unfollowing the excess
Chapter 9: Seizing the Social Media Conversation
Building a Community on Twitter
Tweeting for business
Choosing who to follow
Answering the “who should I follow back” question
Making Friends and Fans on Facebook
Facebook business page benefits
Finding friends (or fans) for your business page
Engaging and building your audience
Finding Other Social Media Sites
Google+: The online networking directory
Building a professional profile on LinkedIn
Chapter 10: Cashing In: Doing Real Business Online
Making It Easy for Your Customer to Do Business Online
Using Cost-Effective SaaS Cloud Services
Implementing real-time restaurant reservations
Booking personal services with a click
Boosting Your Web Presence with Apps and the Facebook Store
Website store integration without the cost or hassle
Building a store and adding apps on Facebook
Chapter 11: Building Revenue through Links and Deals
Helping Amazon Help You
Linking products from Amazon
Joining Amazon Associates
Touring the Associates site stripe
Making links and widgets
Pinning on Pinterest
Making it personal
Linking back to content
Joining a Local Social Platform: MerchantCircle
Chapter 12: Making a Direct Hit with Mobile
Making Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Developing Your Own App
Checking In by Mobile
Part IV: Supporting Your Social Media Commerce Efforts
Chapter 13: Handling Customer Service without Picking Up the Phone (Well, Almost)
Handling Customer Service Issues Online
Participating in Customer Service, Social Media-Style
Defusing issues before they escalate
Posting publicly in social media
Building Your Own Community
Handling support issues with help desk tools
Helping customers is everyone’s job
Chapter 14: Monitoring Your Online Reputation
Free Speech and the Law
Monitoring Comments with Google
Improving search results
Setting up Google Alerts
Listening in on Blogs and Twitter
Social Mention
Chapter 15: Marketing in a Social Way: New Media Advertising
Building Sales through E-Mail
Commercial e-mail and the law
Less marketing and more connecting
Best practices for e-mail marketing
Targeting Your Audience on Facebook
Sponsoring posts and stories
Promoting through Facebook ads
Chapter 16: Improving Productivity with Apps and Widgets
Using Client Apps to Manage Twitter
Tracking Your Links with bitly
Scheduling Posts with BufferApp
Managing with HootSuite
Part V: The Part of Tens
Chapter 17: Ten Ways to Build an Online Presence Now
Go to a Search Engine
Find Listings on Review Sites
Get Your Website Up to Snuff
Sign Up for a Facebook Business Page
Study Your Competition
Identify Your Community through Keyword Searches
Update Your LinkedIn Page
Promote with Friends and Associates
Schedule Social Media Time
Enjoy Social Media
Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Get Social Media Feedback
Crowdsourcing Your Following
Collecting Product Feedback on Twitter
Study Sentiment on Social Mention
Twitter Lists: Seeking Industry Experts
Creating Your Own Feedback Community
Adding a Survey to Your Website or Blog
Running a Poll on Facebook
Crowdsourcing a Video Focus Group
Crowdsourcing via YouTube Video
Asking and Answering Questions on LinkedIn
Cheat Sheet

Social Media Commerce For Dummies®



About the Author

Marsha Collier spends a good deal of time online. As a blogger, the author of the best-selling Dummies books on eBay, and a radio host, she shares her love of the online world with millions.

Before her eBay career took off, Marsha owned and operated her own marketing and advertising firm, a company that won numerous awards and earned her “Small Business of the Year” accolades from several organizations. She got started online during the Internet’s early years and quickly mastered the art making friends online.

Marsha is one of the foremost eBay experts and educators in the world and the top-selling eBay author. In 1999 Marsha created the first edition of eBay For Dummies, the bestselling book for eBay beginners. She followed up the success of her first book with Starting an eBay Business For Dummies, a book targeting individuals interested in making e-commerce their full-time profession, These books are updated regularly to keep up with site and market changes.

Marsha’s books have sold over one million copies (including the special editions in foreign countries — two in Australia, two in Canada, and two in the United Kingdom — as well as translations in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and German).

Along with her writing, Marsha is an experienced e-commerce and customer service educator speaking at conferences all over the world. Embracing social media has earned Marsha awards as an influencer and author:

check.png 2011 Forbes: Top 10 Women Social Media Influencers

check.png 2012 Small Business Book Award Winner: Starting an eBay Business For Dummies

check.png 2012 Forbes: Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers

check.png 2012 The 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter

check.png 2011 One of the Top 10 LA Tech & Twitter Voices in the Los Angeles Tech Scene by

check.png 2011 PeerIndex #1 Customer Experience Online Influencers

check.png 2011 #1 Most Influential in Customer Service MindTouch

She hosts Computer & Technology Radio on iTunes and on the web at Marsha currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. She can be reached via her website, at


This book is dedicated to all the small businesses and entrepreneurs who have a zest for knowledge and the gumption to follow through. It’s dedicated also to those who have figured out that get-rich-quick schemes don’t work and that, in the long run, hard work and passion for what you do leads to financial achievement and contentment. Those who run small businesses are a special breed, and I salute you. This book was written to lighten your load, and maybe make social media a pleasant respite from your day.

Finally, I dedicate this book to my many friends in social media. Our morning chats and Tweets help me to start my day with a smile.

Author’s Acknowledgments

This book couldn’t have been written without the input from thousands of my Twitter and Facebook friends (who are also on Google+) from all over the world. Thank you for answering my silly polls, for helping me with words when I can’t think of just the right one, and for just being there to brighten my day. You inspire me to work harder and do my best to help everyone succeed.

I particularly want to thank the crew at Wiley: my project editor, Susan Pink, who endured my feistiness while helping me produce a better book (and who really needs a Facebook page); my bad-ass tech editor (and friend) TJ McCue, whose smart ideas and encouraging words helped me through this project; my acquisitions editor, Amy Fandrei, who had no idea what she was getting in to *Tweet* but was a real help centering my bazillion ideas; to executive editor Steve Hayes, with whom I’ve worked long before he hit the big time (and I might note has never copped a highfalutin’ tone); and to Andy Cummings, publisher and vice president, who I’ve worked with for over a decade but yet we still don’t have time for a second cigar.

On the home front: Thanks to my very successful, smart, and charming daughter, Susan Dickman. Susan was there when I was stuck in limbo, helping with suggestions and sitting with me while I worked late on edits (even after her own full day at work). I believe she thinks it was payback for the many childhood dioramas, but I know she was just being kind. For sure, without Curt Buthman’s support (and hot meals), writing this book would have been a whole lot less fun than it was. Thank you, Curt, for putting up with my long hours (I know you got to watch a lot more UFC) . . . it’s time we go dining and dancing (until the next book).

Whoa! Can’t forget my agent, Matt Wagner who helped me climb (finally) out of my eBay box and expand my horizons. Thanks, pal!

Thank you all!

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions and Editorial

Project Editor: Susan Pink

Acquisitions Editor: Amy Fandrei

Copy Editor: Susan Pink

Technical Editor: TJ McCue

Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen

Editorial Assistant: Leslie Saxman

Sr. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case

Cover Photo: © VOLODYMER GRINKO/iStockphoto and © sureyya akin/iStockphoto

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Sr. Project Coordinator: Kristie Rees

Layout and Graphics: Jennifer Creasey, Joyce Haughey, Corrie Niehaus

Proofreaders: John Greenough, Linda D. Morris

Indexer: Sharon Shock

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


Trying to target the new media customer these days is getting increasingly hard. Customers and clients are online, sharing and exchanging ideas on products and services. They seek information from reviews and comments on multiple websites. This shift has changed shopping from a solo exercise to a social experience and is the key element to the growth of social commerce.

In addition, the new media customer has a growing distrust of traditional advertising and marketing methods. In 2010, the Altimeter Group ( heralded an enterprise conference on the groundswell of social commerce:

It is not about you! It is not about the brand. It is about the collective wisdom of the community, who share insight from people that the buyer trusts. This is a marked change for a product-centric company that has built a living on push-based advertising about their brands. For now, it is not about your website, your fan page, or your sponsored communities. The shopper is a skeptic. They are the most likely to buy based on posts on third-party websites.

Shoppers want to connect with the companies and people with which they do business. They want to feel important. They want their opinions to be respected and their feelings to be understood. They crave a buying experience that puts them in a place of influence. The power is shifting to the consumer. By using social media commerce effectively, you can bridge the gap between you and your customer while you build your bottom line.

About This Book

So many tried-and-true methods have fallen by the wayside and the traditional ways to do business have been disrupted. What’s a businessperson to do?

To hear the voice of your customer, you need to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Technology and social marketing are constantly evolving. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the undisputed leaders in online networking. Upstarts such as Google+, Pinterest, and are adding to the gaggle with new methods of engagement that allow you to make the most of the current communication trends. Joining in the conversation is your key to converting customers.

As businesses and professionals, we need to combine new technologies with traditional marketing to bring in sales. Technological touch points such as QR codes are an example. Although engagement through the use of these codes is off to a wobbly start, they have proved increasingly effective when used with direct mail and at point of sale.

Many businesses are underestimating the involvement and planning needed to properly utilize social media for commercial gain. Social media isn’t just another outlet for marketing it must be integrated into your company’s culture. A successful strategy that is committed to connecting and engaging with your consumers increases your bottom line.

Customers value transparency and authenticity. Although it can be a challenge to separate your marketing message from your social content, finding your voice becomes second nature, and rising to the occasion pays off.

Social media is more than just setting up a Twitter feed and adding a Facebook like button to your website. You have to give the customer something — and someone — to like and follow. First, work on making your own site social and providing your customers with a channel to connect directly with you.

Integrating social media into your business plan may sound daunting, but I wrote Social Media Commerce For Dummies to show you how. In this book, you find the answers to some important questions as we explore the following topics:

check.png Defining your customers in new media and knowing where they hang out

check.png Connecting through social media and converting “friends” into loyal customers

check.png Bringing your website up-to-date by integrating social commerce engagement points

check.png Competing with the big brands

check.png Monitoring your reputation and catching criticism before it goes viral

check.png Enhancing your connection to the customer through e-mail marketing

check.png Adding new twists to traditional marketing practices

How to Read This Book

Read this book in traditional fashion from beginning to end or feel free to read it as you would use a cookbook, jumping around from recipe to recipe (or chapter to chapter). Either way, be sure to keep the book handy to answer future questions as they come to you.

Foolish Assumptions

I assume you realize that the social media trend is here for the long haul. (And if you’re not yet convinced, check out Chapter 1.) Some of you might want to know how much time and effort are involved in jumping into the online conversation so you can make an informed decision about whether to give it a go. For those who have decided that it’s time to use social media to benefit your business, I make some other assumptions:

check.png You have a business or are part of a professional organization.

check.png You enjoy the Internet and can find your way around.

check.png Some of your friends (or even you) are on Facebook. You know that this is an outlet for ads and promotions and you want to know how best to approach utilizing them.

check.png You’ve heard about Twitter and perhaps have even given it a whirl.

check.png You like the idea of getting feedback from your customers and finding out how best to increase their loyalty.

If you can say yes to most of my foolish assumptions, you’re off and running! Take a few moments to read the following section to see how I’ve put this book together.

How This Book Is Organized

Thanks to my editors, this book has five parts. Each chapter can stand on its own. That means you can read Chapter 12 after reading Chapter 8 and maybe skip Chapter 10 altogether — but I know you won’t because that’s where I discuss cashing in!

Part I: Prepping for Social Media Commerce

Reviewing the data that shows why social media has taken such a large chunk of today’s advertising dollar is a good place to start your investigation. In Part I, you consider the right place to position your business and how not to create a major faux pas at the outset. You also look at how best to invest your time and who you should trust to manage your outreach. I also provide valuable information on setting up a social media policy for employees who might represent your business online.

Part II: Adapting Your Web Presence

You probably have a website for your business — if you don’t, I suggest you get one right away. Part II shows you how to buff up that site for the twenty-first century by making it more engaging for your customers. I propose ways to add content that invites shares and comments. You’ll also find out how to connect and create your social persona.

Your website is your home on the Internet, and your home page is your front door, where you welcome your customers. I show you how to install some free tools to make it easier to connect in real time through live chat — and have a dedicated (free) phone number for customer service interactions.

Part III: Casting for and Catching Customers

In Part III, you hone in on your customer. You discover some good tools for identifying your customers and finding them in the social media realm. I also describe the strengths and weaknesses of different social media sites.

You also get tips about connecting on Twitter (yes, in 140 characters or less) and how to build a following. You discover a quick way to get into Facebook commerce with your own store and find out how to connect (and profit) with your customers through mobile.

Most of all, Part III gives you clues on how to monetize, even if you have no physical products to sell.

Part IV: Supporting Your Social Media Commerce Efforts

In Part IV, you discover ways to streamline your existing customer service reach through online media and to diffuse issues before they become damaging. I address simple (and free) ways of monitoring your online reputation. This task isn’t a big mystery and will take far less time than you think.

You also find out how to update your advertising, including how to start and reinvigorate an e-mail campaign, and how to build a valuable following online.

Part V: The Part of Tens

In Part V, you get an immediate action list. I’ve condensed all the knowledge in the book into a 10-step program for online success. In addition, a tip sheet helps you get feedback on new business ideas through your online community.

New media has a language of its own, so I’ve also included a glossary. Feel free to refer to the glossary often as you peruse other parts of the book.

Icons Used in This Book

All For Dummies books have cute little icons. I certainly wouldn’t want to ruin your reading experience and leave them out. So I selected a few and used them sparingly throughout the book. Be sure to take heed when you see them.

tip.eps If I need to interject something — okay, it’s something I’m jumping up and down to tell you but it won’t fit directly into the text — I indicate it by including a Tip icon. You’ll know the text to follow will be right on target!

remember.eps Do you really know people who tie string around their finger to remember something? Me neither, but this icon gives me the opportunity to give you a brief reminder. Think of it as a sticky note.

warning_bomb.eps I like this picture of the bomb device that Wile E. Coyote slam-dunks in the cartoons. In that vein, if you don’t heed the warning indicated by the small petard (hey, Shakespeare knew about old-fashioned bombs), you may end up “hoisted by your own petard,” or made a victim of your own foolishness.

Where to Go from Here

It’s time to hunker down and delve into the book. Take this information and study it. The fun of building an engaging community online awaits you. I can’t wait to hear your success stories if I meet you at a social media event or a book signing in your town.

My goal is to help you reach your goals. Feel free to visit my websites at and or subscribe to my blog at For more about me (and to contact me), visit (just click the Send Marsha an Email link). To contact me in less than 140 characters, you can find me on Twitter (@MarshaCollier) almost every day. Join me on Facebook, too, at www., where I share even more. (Perhaps I overshare?) I respond there too.

Please send me suggestions, additions, and comments. I want to hear from you and hope to update this book with your words of wisdom. (Humorous war stories are also gratefully accepted!) I truly appreciate your comments. Please know that I read every e-mail I get, but I can’t always answer every one.

Occasionally, Wiley has updates to their technology books. If this book does have technical updates, they will be posted at

Part I

Prepping for Social Media Commerce


In this part . . .

In the moving target that is social media commerce, it’s important to grasp the basics: the how’s and why’s. In Part I, you get up to speed on how social media can work for your business. Also, you find some tips on deciding how much time you need to spend online to achieve your goals.