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6 Social Networks Will Become Marketplaces

For the last few years I’ve been promoting the idea that social networks are like outposts, in many respects, best suited to point the way to your hub or main content site.

Product for sale on

While I still believe this to be a fundamentally sound way to view social media use, I see a future that contains a shift in this thinking as well.

As the level of social behavior continues to evolve and social networks grow more important in the lives of their users, they will become much more than outposts – they will move increasingly towards self-containment and wholly functioning marketplaces.

There is a growing mass that simply sees the Internet as Facebook and Facebook is really okay with that. Other marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, and eBay are moving to socialize your product search and sort and become decision engines. These online destination are making moves to merge this behavior with pop up offline presence as well.

As mobile users depend upon apps like Siri (personal assistant on iPhone 4S) and Yelp and gain access to large amounts of research via QR readers, search engines will play a diminishing role in how buying decisions are made. just launched a feature that allows you to connect and shop collaboratively with friends making social shopping a real-time phenomenon. Paypal just released an app called Send Money that makes sending money to friends on Facebook a snap. As trust in doing business on these platforms merges with increasing levels of content and engagement, expect people to do more and more in these marketplaces.

What this behavior signals for small business marketers is the need to begin to view some outposts as destinations. In other words, it’s time to start looking at building a store on Facebook, Shoply, Amazon,, Etsy and eBay.

I know many business sell in these places already, either as a primary distribution channel or as a supplement to their own online or offline store, but it may be wise for all businesses, regardless of what they sell, to set up shop in one or more of these destinations.

You may not see an immediate profit from your eCommerce enabled Facebook store, but it’s time to make that an option and start teaching those that interact with you there how and why they might also want to buy from you there.

The key, as it has been so clearly for the last few years, is to also up your engagement, education and participation in these markets rather than simply look at them as transaction enablers. These are growing major cities and you need to claim and grow your holdings there before it becomes overcrowded.

Facebook ecommerce solutions


79 How to Deliver an Experience

For a lot of businesses, taking the order is where marketing ends. For smart marketers, it’s the starting point for the next order and the referral. If you stop your marketing thinking at the transaction, you’ll find it harder and harder to build real marketing momentum.

How you conduct the transaction is marketing, how you deliver or present the product or service is marketing, how you continue to educate and make additional offers is marketing, and how you stay in touch to measure results is marketing.

I’ve done some work with eBay and Etsy sellers and those businesses are great examples of how a company can either struggle or thrive based on how well they see purchases as customers rather than transactions.

The series of photos below represent what I believe is a great example of how to deliver an experience with your product. I’ll add my thoughts to the process of steps that make this a nice case study. This comes from Etsy seller Katie Blair Designs.

Plain padded envelope, but with special hand drawn doodles - this isn't an Amazon package - it's just what I would expect from my hand made purchase

The full contents of the package - wow, very nice looking presentation and look, a business card. Not that innovative, but strangely rare.

And what's this? A free sample of another product - now I want to buy some of those note cards

On the back of the business card Katie has hand written a special offer for my next purchase - I'm feeling pretty good about this and I haven't even opened the actual product

On to the purchase - I bought this for myself, but it's like getting a gift. Note the added branding with the sticker.

The product revealed and note the subtle band of branding on the actual product - how will I ever forget Katie Blair Designs now.

The actual product, found online, is what attracted me, but it was the overall experience that has me referring this business and wanting to buy more because I have a lot of, hmm, brilliant ideas

29 What About Now

This week I wrote a post about what it’s like to do work you love and what you might have give up in order to practice your craft. That’s the beautiful and sometimes tragic thing about owning a small business.

The post was picked up and run in the weekly Etsy Success Newsletter and consequently my site was overrun (in a good way) by hoards of artists doing what they love, but oftentimes without the financial reward as of yet that made their venture make sense to most.

If you want some inspiration glace at the post, but pour over the comments – they are by far the most moving words that have ever appeared on this blog. (Side note – if you’re not shopping on Etsy you are missing out on the easiest way to find very cool, creative and unique gifts.)

The post is a pretty high level riff on what I believe about being in business, but sometimes you also need the practical, okay, I am doing what I love, but I lose focus and I get stuck – how do I get unstuck and back on track.

What about now?

I don’t know if I have the answer for that, but I can tell you what I do to get back in touch with the purpose for my business.

Feed the head

Between the highs and lows of reading email, pouring over industry blogs, and creating compelling arguments for why someone should choose your business or product, the mind can get exhausted.

For me, one of the smartest things I can do, before I ever turn my computer on, is to read something that makes my brain smile. There are many books that fit that category, for some it might be a sacred text like The Bible or The Upanishads . For me these days it’s Anam Cara by John Donahue. It’s a book I’ve been through numerous times and still find new insights with each reading.

If I start my day that way I always have a good day

Give in

When I get stuck, I start judging everything as either right or wrong. I start reacting to things that don’t matter. I get defensive about emails that point out my mistakes in grammar. (I know, hard to imagine I get those, right?)

When I eventually get around to wondering why I’m stuck, I make a point to consciously give in and release judging anything as either good or bad for as long as I can. It’s amazing how your perspective on the things going on around you can change when you decide to give in and witness your thoughts instead.

Give out

Another sure sign that I’m stuck is that I start acting out of scarcity rather than abundance. I know for certain there is more out there in the world than I could ever consume, so when I start thinking solely about what’s in it for me, I’m headed for a rough day.

My routine for getting out of this mindset is to simply start giving gifts to everyone I meet during the day. This is actually easier than it sounds. In some cases I do go out of my way to make a physical gift, but I can also make a referral, send a handwritten thank you or even offer a silent gift to a stranger at lunch. Sappy as it sounds, I’m the one that gets the biggest gift that day!

I think we can make this whole business thing so hard, but it’s not really that hard at all. In fact the beauty of owning a business where you do what you love is that sometimes the right thing is the easiest thing to do. (with apologies to The Fray)

Sorry if it seems like my marketing blog is wandering off in odd and mushy directions, must be spring, but to me there’s little distinction when it comes to small business between the things that drive our lives and those that drive our businesses.