Social media is a reality for e-commerce, says MIT professor

There is no erudition or prestige in being off social media anymore. Despite the fact that they were individual choices, the redefinition of certain spaces created room for a significant commercial gain on the platforms. For e-commerce, this is no different.

Ben Ryan Shields, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - E-Commerce Forum Brazil 2023
Ben Ryan Shields, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Image: Lucas Kina/E-Commerce Brasil)

In a presentation that wrapped up the Management & Operations plenary, Ben Ryan Shields, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), piled up a number of reasons for using social media as a business tool.

According to the expert, it all starts with understanding which of the media is most relevant to the business itself. The design line should therefore be drawn from the way the company works in conjunction with the platform.

“Social media is complex and can be compared to mirrors as it reflects, distorts and enhances reality. Either way, it’s here and you have to deal with it. It is important to create commercial strategies for them in e-commerce,” he explained.

Steps for e-commerce

In a practical way, Shields brought six tips that should be applied in e-commerce when it comes to social media. These are ways, according to him, for the industry to create value with what it has. Look:

Social media should be a strategy that is included and considered in executive-level discussions

The brand will be known from the famous feed, i.e. its home page. Therefore, any platform should be seen as a true strategy committee.

Understand why they are used by humans

Understanding that the goals for each platform and each person are different is important, according to the expert. Strategies should consider how to use tools in three ways:

Identity creation.
Social connection?
Information and entertainment.

Brands are allowed to be on social media if they embrace their truth

Personal brand or product attributes, when embraced in these areas, can be effective and spontaneous ways of creating engagement with audiences. An advertising strategy based on this honesty is a good start.

Work with algorithms to reach audiences

Understanding — more than collecting — data can help understand the company’s paths and where it’s best suited to engage with audiences.

Balancing platform metrics with business data

Cross brand goals with what social media shows in your data to lay the foundation for success.


It is a critical factor as it is the business cornerstone for a successful relationship with the public. Establishing credibility with the public creates the need for this testimony.

More important than it seems

Shields’ point is that this kind of channel can be, when the job is done well, a free promotional path. In addition, the reach with people is also greater, increasing engagement and strengthening other more commercial areas.

“In Brazil alone, there are more than 171 million social media users by 2022, according to data from RD Station Marketing. If the right strategy is implemented, attachment to any brand will be natural,” he said.

One of the examples of this association between brands and social media was the live-action movie Barbie, starring Margot Robbie. “It was a groundbreaking film with an unusual marketing campaign. The relationship with the public has definitely been enhanced by social media. They became, in this case, business tools,” adds the MIT professor.

#Social #media #reality #ecommerce #MIT #professor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *