Selling via social? Now you can buy via social

Coming to Twitter and Facebook soon – the ability of buy products with a single tap or click.

Regardless of the network, social media is probably the best way yet devised to curate the internet. You choose who and what interests you, and then wait to be impressed.

Content marketing has stepped in to produce the increasing volume of material needed to keep the messages flowing.

Social’s impact on sales is well established.  Marketers like to use terms like ‘high in the sales funnel’ for social, implying that there may be important implications for brand recognition, brand value, or brand engagement, and also some influence for making impulse purchases.

Google even developed a natty title for this, the ‘Zero Moment of Truth‘, where the right content at the right time and in the right place might persuade someone to buy or get more information.

On the other hand, actually buying via social has never been anything but a flop so far.

Facebook has made several attempts to sell things, including developing a special Facebook currency which it pushed with relentless zeal from 2009. You could even buy credits in shops. But the social giant had to admit total defeat in 2012, ending the scheme.

Today Twitter joined Facebook with a new ‘buy now’ button which will allow users to do just that – buy now – when they see a product or service they particularly like in their feed.

Facebook has been testing the idea since July 2014, and Twitter confirmed on Monday 8 September that it has also been in trials with a ‘buy now’ button.

If the schemes are to work, content will have to be modified to include a call to action – in this case to direct to the ‘buy’ button. Could content be abandoned in favour of ads? It’s unlikely.

Perhaps the appeal of social lies in the way you can’t currently buy. Up to a point, consumers like choice and pondering. Or maybe sales via social have been low in the past because there has never before been a call to action integrated into the social experience.

Regardless, it is worth watching how people react to the chance to buy with social, which could have implications for content marketers if it is a success. Watch this space.

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