With the latest site update Shapeways is making 3D printing more social with the ability to log on to Shapeways with your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
With this first round of integration it simply makes it easier for new visitors to the Shapeways site to sign in to upload their own items, or to purchase 3D printed products from the Shapeways shops. It also means that existing users can link their Facebook and Twitter accounts to make it easier to share your designs, or recommend those of others by tweeting about them, or posting them on your Facebook wall.
This is the first stage of integration that will be followed by greater functionality over time to make it easier for you share and promote your designs in your social networks.
Why share items on social networks? Because there are really cool designs that the Shapeways community is making that your family and friends (and friends friends) may not know about. It is really exciting for us to see the amazing things that come through Shapeways every day and this is another way to share that excitement.
For Shop Owners who have installed Google Analytics into your shop may be tracking the growth in referrals coming in from Facebook over the last few months is quite substantial in volume alone, but also the conversion rate is much higher than most sites making it even more important as a sales referral tool. When we consider the reason why a higher rate of sales come from Facebook we have to understand the importance of social networks in connecting together people of similar interests and socio-economic backgrounds, and how when we share on Facebook we are sharing with people who know and 'like' you, are interested to see what you are doing, be it chugging beers or designing a 20 sided dice. Having a social connection with you as a designer also lends a level of exclusivity and authenticity when someone purchases an item from you. So let your friends know, let your parents know, let that guy/girl you always had a crush on at school but were to shy to ask out so now you 'liked' him/her on Facebook so that you could check out his/her photos know, the cool things YOU are 3D printing with Shapeways....