Daniel Flamberg over at iMedia predicts that the mainstreaming of social networking platforms means that marketers could be ready to take social media marketing to the next level; Social Commerce (Level One: Monitoring, Level Two: Brand Building, Level Three: Social Commerce) – using connected networks of friends as a cost-efficient viral media channels for merchandizing products and services.

iMedia cite recent Performics and ROI Research findings: 4 in 10 talked about brands on social networks and that 1 in 4 have gone directly to an eCommerce site after learning about a new product or brand in social media.

With an average of two social media accounts per person, an individual with with 50 or more friends, depending on their willingness to tout a favorite brand, product or service, could potentially message as many as 100,000 other people. This potential media multiplier makes marketers salivate.

What’s more, social network users spend more on eCommerce (Publicis’ Razorfish FEED report), and they are open to receiving promotions and offers from brands that they’re connected with through social networks.  With digital interaction establishing itself as a major driver of brand trial,  iMedia thinks that many brands, who have hitherto adopted a wait-and-see approach to social commerce are looking to the vanguard – 1800 flowers, Dell OutletWhole Foods and Chick-Fil-A to show them the way.

SocComToday thinks that the Facebook Volt-Face is interesting and mildly ironic – a year ago marketing was still stuck in “storytelling” or “join-the-conversation” hell.  People do not want brands to be their friends, they want them to offer value.

At least we’ve come to our commercial senses – social media marketing is about shifting stock after all.