Matt Bamford-Bowes, Head of Social Media at MediaCom‘s “Beyond Advertising” division, has proposed five practical ways that brands can drive social commerce. Without social commerce, Matt argues, it will be difficult to prove ROI for social media investment – something that clients will ultimately require.

However, Matt notes that Syzygy‘s enthusiasm notwithstanding, most agencies are someway off delivering this for their clients. To lay the foundations for  social commerce, with its objectives of encouraging consumers to purchase where they engage and engage where they purchase, Matt proposes these 5 recommendations to brands and their agencies;

1) By shifting to DTC (Direct to Consumer). is one brand in the UK who I would say have done this really well. They consistently engage away from their site through both Twitter and Facebook profiles, driving short-term usage. Their site and company are set-up to adapt quickly to demands and thus followers feel they are getting a great one-2-one service. They do not have the strategy of waiting for consumers to come to them, but engage and drive purchase from within social channels.

2) By Switching from Cost Per Lead Models to Cost Per Acquisition. By switching to a CPA model, clients are immediately wanting a sale not a lead. The CPL model has worked well for social media due to the availability of the data. However, if clients using social media focus on CPA it will create a need to shorten the purchase process and thus deliver a purchase experience outside of their core site.

3) By Mapping their Social Graph and Purchase Habits. Understanding their consumers’ social media behaviours and the products they purchase will enable them to provide smaller scale solutions. Not all social audiences will want to purchase away from a core site, in fact, not all audiences are social, or confident socially. Therefore, studying who your most social audiences are… and how they purchase on your site will enable you to create smaller bespoke packages.

4) By trying a firesale. Try some really short-term offers on products you want to dispose off. End of season lines for example. Imagine ASOS delivering a Boxing Day sale only through its Facebook News Feeds or Twitter feeds…? Could be quite a magical and interesting thing, plus imagine this overlaid with an auction model… exciting times I think.

5) Invest in Web Analytics to survey what % of users are coming from social channels. My bet is that for alot of companies Facebook is becoming your 2nd digital volume driver behind Google. If this is the case, what are you waiting for?

Recommendations 2-5 are essentially tactical and technical, and with a good agency-client relationship could be relatively easy to implement, but 1) “Shifting to DTC” is strategic and political, requiring a big mind-shift from brands as manufacturers to brand as service providers.  This is the real challenge for social commerce.