Establishing a business presence on social media has become a primary focus for companies large and small across practically every industry in existence. However for businesses that utilize eCommerce platforms to execute sales transactions online through their websites and affiliates, up until now there has always been a barrier preventing them from reaching their full sales potential on social media.

Historically companies looking to generate online sales from their social media presence needed to direct people out of the social media platform and to the company’s website or online store in order to complete the purchase. However there is almost always a negative impact on conversions when a prospect has to leave the site they are on and visit another site in order to complete a transaction, which means businesses have been missing out on a significant number of potential sales — until now. With the arrival of “social commerce,” companies can now make sales within social media platforms, so the customer never has to leave the site.

In general, social commerce is when businesses use social media platforms to process sales for online products or services. This means that companies can create a storefront on their Facebook page that has the functionality to complete sales without requiring the customer to leave the social network, or can even embed the ability to make a sale within a post or photo about a particular product.

Social commerce is successful because it allows companies to capitalize on one of the most persuasive marketing techniques — social proof. Social proof is powerful because humans naturally look to others in their peer groups to determine what “appropriate” behavior is. If a person observes a large number of their peers behaving in a certain way, they will feel a strong desire to behave that way as well in order to maintain their status within the group. And if that behavior is buying a certain brand, it can be extremely profitable for the business behind it.

Companies take advantage of social proof when they make owning their product or using their service a visible part of a group’s identity. By showing testimonials from people whom we identify as our peers, for example, businesses can influence us to believe that buying from them is the “appropriate” behavior for someone like us, since so many other people in our group are already doing so. In order to maintain our identity, we feel driven to purchase this brand as well, and very often we do which is why social proof is such a common and effective marketing tactic.

When it comes to social commerce, this type of social pressure can become an even stronger force for driving sales. Instead of simply showing other hypothetical people like us, when social media sites are turned into sales platforms businesses can show our actual, real-life friends instead. Imagine logging in to Facebook and seeing newsfeed activity from half a dozen of your friends about how they all just purchased the same new product. Chances are you will at least be compelled to look up that company to see what all the attention is about, and the odds are good you will feel inclined to make a purchase, too.

Because it’s by far the most dominant social network, Facebook has become one of the primary drivers of social commerce. Social commerce on Facebook has even been given its own term, “F-commerce.” Because it has substantially more people than any other social network, Facebook provides businesses with the widest possible reach of prospects to target with social commerce campaigns.

If you’re looking for an F-commerce sales platform, Soldsie is a clear leader in the field (they’ve also recently added features to their platform allowing businesses to sell on Instagram). They allow your customers and prospects to make a purchase directly within your Facebook posts and pictures. All you have to do is post a status update or photo containing a product of yours, and then if someone wants to make a purchase all they have to do is leave a comment that contains the word “Sold” somewhere in it to make a purchase, and then continue browsing their newsfeed.

As soon as they leave this comment their Facebook account will be connected to Soldsie, which may require authentication, and the email address in their Facebook profile will be accessed to send an invoice for them to complete the sale. They can finish it at their own convenience, however, which dramatically increases conversion rates compared to asking people to leave Facebook immediately to complete the sale.

On top of that, when a person leaves a comment containing the word “sold,” like “This product looks awesome, I’m sold!” Facebook will show this activity to the customer’s friends like it would any other comment that user made. When the customer’s friends see this comment, they will be influenced by social proof to make a purchase of their own. If they decide to buy, once again they will leave a similar comment and that will spread to a new group of friends. This enables your store to go viral, and not just your content. For this reason, businesses typically triple their sales using Soldsie.