Mobile commerce or social commerce– the ability to purchase goods and services directly through social networks on your mobile phone – is something that companies have been putting a lot of effort into getting right.

Recent announcements from both Twitter and Facebook could push mobile commerce forward and make it accessible to a large number of buyers and retailers. With their new ‘Buy Button’ users will be able to purchase goods and services directly through their Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds. This comes after Pinterest’s recent forays into the mobile commerce fields, which begs the question: Which social networking site will take the lead and make it work?

More About Social Commerce

The idea of using social networks to promote e-commerce has been around for a while now, but has failed to deliver much so far for its advertisers. Facebook had an option to send ‘digital gifts’ to your friends, mostly the options for gifts were restaurant vouchers sent in the form of a digital code, but this service was short-lived. They shut down this service in favour of allowing companies to offer their own online stores through the social networking site in August 2014.

Though the announcement of the Twitter ‘Buy Button’ came a few weeks ago, Facebook has no doubt been working on it for some time too, and the release date is set conveniently close to the holiday season. With all the purchases at this time of year, the new feature is sure to be tested in a tough arena.

Sharing Content = Higher Sales

When you consider the fact that online shoppers often discuss, recommend and review products through the comments on sites such as Amazon, along with the rate that content is shared over social media, the idea of social commerce just makes sense.

It would be impossible to deny the massive impact of viral content on social media today. Once a piece of content goes viral it’s shared over and over from a handful of users to a potential of millions of users. Because social networks are built on sharing, putting the ‘buy button’ right there on the post that gets shared makes it far easier for users to instantly buy a product shared by their peers.

Rethink Your Social Strategies

In the past, most social media marketing campaigns have been centred on raising brand awareness and creating public interest in a brand. But with these new ‘buy buttons’ marketers will need to rethink their social strategies in order to sell products. Simply placing the button in the bottom left corner of a post just isn’t enough; it needs to be targeted in the correct way.

We’ll see how well these buttons perform and how advertisers are using them in the coming months and over the ‘festive’ shopping season.