Not long ago, I found myself talking with several clients about a trend I felt would truly impact their business. Social Sharing. There's no brilliance to identifying this as a meaningful trend, we see social sharing everywhere. In the real world and most recently on networks as people not only share what they are doing, but what they are reading, listening to, and even purchasing.
I've made suggestions multiple times to whoever would listen that they should take another look at their Website and integrate social sharing (beyond content and more toward commerce). For example if you are even considering buying a product, you should be able to tell your friends about it. If you booked a vacation or a hotel room with a view—same thing. If you recommend a product or service you should be able to broadcast that across your entire social network (and not just one) directly from the site.
Social networks have turned people into bragging machines. It's not the most appealing human trait, but spend time on them and this is a significant portion of how people share. We want others to know when we do something that makes us feel good. So why don't we see more of this integration in transactional Web experiences? See Sears for example:
In this example, Sears allows a participant to share products they are interested on Facebook. They can also do reviews of products and share those. The benefit for Sears is a very potent form of "social marketing" in that they get their product right into the main feed of a user and their friends/connections are likely to see it. It's more word of mouth than it is advertising.
So why aren't there more examples like this across the Web from major brands? It takes several "departments" to make something like this happen. Here are a few:
It also takes the commitment of a senior leader within an organization to say "go make this happen". In nearly every conversation I find myself in with professionals in the industry, the struggle to define "social ROI" (return on investment) becomes a roadblock to innovation.
If you really want to connect the dots between social integration and purchase intent then please steal this idea and integrate social sharing to your products and services on your sites. Figure out how to do it and make it happen. And figure out how to track the links back to your site. You'll be one step closer to solving the "ROI" question in social media social business integration. Have you seen any great examples from big brands here? Share in the comments.