Social media marketing solution provider ArgyleSocial recently created an infographic that asks an important question, is social commerce success fact or fiction?

The company interviewed 566 online retailers ranging from big brands to small, niche sites and came to the following conclusions:

  • Consumers don’t yet trust social media – 55% of consumers are “uncomfortable” providing credit card information on social sites.
  • Retailers need strategies for social media – social media should complement existing storefronts rather than just replacing them.
  • Retailers haven’t learned to act like “people” – retailers overwhelmingly act like “stores” instead of building a personality around their brands.

To this last point, in a related blog post Argyle’s director of marketing and operations Tristan Handy said that Facebook is forcing brands to act more like people. “The biggest change for marketers is this: you are no longer allowed to use Facebook as Yet Another Ad Network,” he said.

Handy cited three reasons the switch to Timelines for brand pages mandates such change:

  • Marketers used to set a default tab, and then plaster a full-page promotion across it. This isn’t social media marketing–this is banner advertising. Facebook says no.
  • Marketers used to “ask for the Like” everywhere they possibly could. Real people don’t do this, and it has now been disallowed in primary content areas.
  • Marketers used to only interact in public, in ways that encourage virality. Real people also exchange private messages, pure 1:1 communications. Facebook now enables this.

He encourages marketers to develop a personality around their brands and suggests that they ask this question, “If your brand were a person, who would it be?”

There has been talk of Facebook brand pages going the way of the albatross thanks to a focus away from brand-to-fan communications in favor of friend-to-friend sharing via the newsfeed. However, if brands can act more like people – something the introduction of Timelines seems to support – then perhaps there is hope for them yet.

ArgyleSocial social commerce infographic