Today’s guest post is written by Kerry Murdock, publisher of Practical eCommerce .
The lines between social media and e-commerce are blurring. We see daily examples of this here at Practical eCommerce, our online magazine.
Many shopping cart vendors, for example, now offer widgets that help e-commerce merchants and affiliates of e-commerce merchants display their products on blogs and social sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
Similarly, we’ve seen Facebook applications that allow users to share products that interest them, and the product images in the applications then link back to an e-commerce site. When a user’s friend or visitor clicks on the product and purchases the product from the e-commerce merchant, the user earns an affiliate commission from the merchant.
But we know of no company that mixes social media with e-commerce more than Broadjam. That firm caters to independent musicians and their fans, and the site offers multiple ways for them to communicate with each other.
“Our members can rate each other’s music and share ideas,” said Jeff Muendel, Broadjam’s marketing and communications manager. “Fans can meet and dialog with their favorite musicians. And we’ve had musical groups form off our site when artists find they share similar interests. They form bonds with each other.”
The e-commerce portion of the site comes from selling memberships and licensing opportunities to musicians, and from selling songs to fans.
“Most of our revenue comes from artists signing up for memberships,” Muendel said. “We offer membership levels ranging from $44.95 to $179.95 per year. Once they become members, the artists can then bid on third-party licensing opportunities, such as musical scores for videos and television shows. So, that’s our second source of revenue, bidding on licensing opportunities.”
“Our third source of revenue,” Muendel said, “is selling downloadable songs, similar to iTunes. Consumers pay 99 cents per song, and we forward 80 cents of that to the artist.”
In short, Broadjam has tapped into what we believe will be a trend. Social communities form around common interests, and frequently there are products and services that appeal to others who share that interest. In that respect, e-commerce merchants will foster social communities and, conversely, social communities will link to e-commerce merchants.
This trend applies to many enthusiast topics, such as collecting, outdoor activities, health-related topics and more. It’s social media fueling e-commerce. And its e-commerce profiting from shared communities.
Image credit, alles-schlumpf