If you’ve used the Internet, you’ve been exposed to social commerce in some form. From Amazon reviews to Yelp, strangers influence what we think of products and brands. As a business owner, there are many ways to “socialize”. Engaging in social media or providing the tools for recommendations are some examples but the potential for shaping the public’s perception of your brand is the real opportunity.

Although there are many possible definitions for brand,  here’s one that puts the advantages of social commerce into perspective:

Brand is an idea held in the mind of a consumer about your product or service.

In this context, you can see how important it is to leverage these interactions and use them for something productive: brand building.

An effective way to build your brand and create advocacy is to open a dialog with customers – current and prospective. One of the ways this can be implemented is to expand the dialog of “one to one” into “one to many”. (See our case study for an example.) In this way, you create a positive impression by being willing to engage directly and publicly with what we like to call your “retail investor” and you can use the voice of the brand to shape the idea people have about you.

Additionally, if you’re building or re-building your brand, establishing a dialog can play an important role. Recent successes of brands like Starbucks and Zappos have validated the approach of personification – using marketing and positioning to ascribe human attributes to brands. A crucial and sometimes overlooked step is making the brand speak. Otherwise, all you have is a good looking mannequin.