Archives for posts with tag: social media

We just read a very interesting article from Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro.

Here’s his post…

How Google can overtake Facebook in Social Commerce in 3 Steps

As you can get from the title of the post, Yoni’s suggestion is that Google+ is ideally positioned to rule the Social Commerce space. Interesting, huh?

Yoni suggests that ads on Facebook haven’t really worked because the platform is highly personal at its core and so people don’t really respond to ads in this environment.

No argument from us that Facebook ads haven’t quite clicked (pun intended) yet, but we reckon this is more because we (and by we we’re talking all of us marketeers) haven’t yet worked out how to deliver the message on Facebook in a way that makes it more social – ie: more personally relevant.

Remember those first TV ads? They we’re basically a spokesperson standing in front of a camera, reading the teleprompter. It took the marketeers a while to work out how to create the right content for the new platform. The same is happening now with social ads.

Of course, this is part of what we’re trying to do at SocialShout! – deliver meaningful word of mouth promotion across the social networks. We’re trying to find a better way to deliver brand messages in a social setting.

Yoni talks about how the current search model of Google is geared towards low-cost/high-margin stuff and doesn’t really take account of many of the social aspects of promotion like virality, social proof, etc in their algorithms. Good point. He also suggests a few small changes they could introduce to skew the equation more towards social.

I’d recommend you read his post to get a better understanding of this bit.

To sum it up…

“G+ just needs to become the ‘Facebook for business’, the place to see what your friends are buying, and for how much.”, says Yoni.

Food for thought, huh?

PS: Thanks Yoni for a great post and for getting us thinking!

PPS: The book is not by Yoni. We just liked the image.

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Full Disclosure – when we first heard about Payvment, we said ‘Ho Hum’.

Not that we thought there was anything wrong with it, but their product was basically a platform to create Facebook Stores and there seemed to be sooo many others doing that. Why would Payvment be any different?

Well, first up, they made it a FREE service – not only free to list but free when you sell too. If you want more detailed analytics and promotional tools, you have an option of paying $30 a month.

Next big thing they did – they created Lish.

Lish is where the top trending (not necessarily top selling) items from all the Payvment stores appear in a very Pintrest-ish way. Top trending products are those that are getting the most attention, clicks, comments, shares, purchases, etc.

Yes, it’s another social discovery site.

CEO, Jim Stoneham (previously VP of Communities at Yahoo) says in this quick intro video,  it’s like ‘walking though a vibrant mall with your friends, where you discover cool products at every turn and can easily buy anything that strikes your fancy’.

Now that’s interesting. This is perhaps the best answer to a question we’ve been asking ourselves for a while…

Q. Why, in a world where time seems to be the most limited and valuable resource we have, are these social discovery-type sites getting so much attention?

A. See Jim’s comment. It’s just like that shopping mall experience – without the crowds & the parking hassles of course!!

Maybe it’s just that simple? (we still think something just doesn’t add up though)

Anyhoo, back the the story…

There’s so many other things to like about Lish

– the cool landing page

– the THREE emoticons (we love the simplicity of these and the novelty of this ‘meh’ face!)

– the invite only sign up process that creates a sense of exclusivity (see below)

– the simple payment process (via PayPal)

–  and of course that highly visual main page (see below)

We’re not sure about the absence of a Search feature though. True, it’s consistent with the discovery aspects of the site. Also, Lish does have a few very board categories at the top of the page, which can help narrow down the stuff you’re looking at, but some people still like to go right to what they’re looking for.

Our opinion is if the visuals are appealing enough, most people will still scroll through for a while anyway on their own little discovery journey. However, when the novelty wears off, you want to get to what you want, buy it and then get back to work before your boss walks past your desk!

That would be an interesting stat. How many purchases on Lish are made at work?

Final point, maybe not significant to the overall success of Lish but it harks back to Jim’s comment about discovering cool stuff. What is cool?

Frankly speaking, with the possible exception of a couple of interesting jewellery items, we didn’t find anything especially cool. Maybe there’s a good opportunity here for some celebrity factor? One of the categories could be ‘Celebrity’ and there you can see what’s trending with your favourite celebs.

Maybe ‘cool’ isn’t critical but ‘relevant’ is.

The key to long term success for the likes of Lish is making that social discovery relevant to me before they lose my attention.

Judging from the rapid learning and evolution of this company so far, we’re pretty sure they’ll get there (or maybe ‘stay there’ is more apt!).

Imagine what eBay would look like, if it was launched today.

It would, of course, be built from the ground up with strong social functionality. It would also probably incorporate some of the highly visual elements of something like Pintrest. We reckon it would also take a minimalist approach to design, a bit like Google+.

What would eBay look like if it was launched today? Shook.

Shook defines itself as an ‘open auction house’ that allows users to create an auction online to sell just about anything and then spread it across the social networks. When you place a bid on an item, it’s automatically shared across your social graph. The idea is to make the bidding process fun, engaging and interactive – just like it is in real life.

We were so taken with the concept that we reached out to them. We got in contact with CEO, Niv Taiber, and asked a few questions…

Q. Why did you start Shook?

A. We tried selling a used desk on Craigslist and when we got no response we decided to post it on Facebook and see what happened. In just a few hours, it was SOLD! That’s when we realised that social networks could be a great platform to help anyone sell anything online.

Q. When did you launch?

A. June 15, 2012

Q. How’s the response so far?

A. So far we have a few thousand users. Sometimes the buy. Sometimes they sell.

Q. What’s your revenue model?

A. Honestly, it’s not really a focus for us right now. We want to make sure we get the user experience right before we worry about monetising it. Ultimately, we’ll look at taking a small transaction fee, say 4%, from the sale.

Finally, here’s a little bit about the founders…

  • o Idan Lahav, CTO

Technology passionate, has a strong technological background, studied Computer Science at Interdisciplinary Center. Former developer at Soluto, which aims to solve user’s frustration with their computer’s performance issues.

  • Niv Taiber, CEO

Born-programmer, studied Computer Science at Interdisciplinary Center, finished on Dean’s list. Former developer at InsFocus & professor’s assistant at college.

Go and check it out and let us know what you think.

PS: Soluto is pretty cool too.

Ok, quick recap…What is Social Commerce?

By our definition… leveraging the social networks to drive commerce – be it online or offline.

One of the key features of Social Commerce is disruption.

Disruption of advertising & promotion channels, of sales channels and even the disruption of distribution channels.

Indeed, it’s the ability of Social Commerce to disrupt these existing elements of business that make it such a compelling thing.

Case in point – Glamagem.

Glamagem is an online fashion jewellery store with a twist – a couple of twists actually. One twist is that the collections are curated and designed by a couple of regional fashion celebrities. Smart! Use the power of celebrity to bring customers.

Anyone can visit the site and buy jewellery. BUT (and here’s the next twist) if you want to buy any of the special Limited Edition pieces, you need to be a member. That means paying around USD $90 per month. Sure, with that membership you also get a 10% discount coupon but with prices of items in the store ranging from $10 – $80, you’re not really getting any additional value out of your membership. You’re just paying for access to Limited Edition items.

So, with the current model, the success of this business will hinge on how desirable these Limited Edition pieces are. Being celebrity curated & designed should certainly help with that.

Glamagem is a self-proclaimed social commerce business. Personally, we can’t really see too many special features that make their site any more or less social than any other online store, but they are certainly using all the standard Share-type buttons and features to try encourage members to help spread the word.

The reason we’re even telling you about Glamagem is that we think with just a few little tweaks, the entire business could be driven by social commerce. The other reason is, like we said, Social Commerce is all about disruption. These guys are disrupting a traditional distribution model. What can you learn from them in building out your own social commerce features?

This business raises an interesting question for us about trying to build an ‘exclusive’ business via social networks.

In the FAQs of Glamagem, they say that all their pieces are made in limited quantities. (Maybe they should change the name of their ‘Limited Edition’ pieces to ‘Lisa S Collection’ or ‘Chi Chi Collection’ – yes, they’re the fashion celebrities behind them!)

What happens if they sell out? Well, again based on their FAQs…Bad Luck!

The great thing about this is it helps create scarcity. Get in quick or miss out!

The problem with this, at least from a Social Commerce perspective, is why would I want to tell my friends about it? The more members of the club, the more chance of an item being sold out, the more chance I will miss out. I may share it with my BFF, but I sure won’t want to share it with everyone.

Hmmm? Could be a whole series of posts on how to use Social Commerce to build a business based on scarcity and exclusiveness.

What do you think? Can it even be done?

In a recent post on Business2Community, Tom Bishop suggested that social networks are more like a playground than a shopping mall. The anaology was made to highlight the argument that direct selling on social networks doesn’t really work. The suggestion being that people don’t go to social networks to shop.

We do agree with Tom that social networks are certainly not a place for the hard sell. Maybe they’re not even a place to buy. But they certainly are a place to shop.

Shopping is the process of looking for something to buy.

So whilst you may not want to buy on the social networks, it sure makes sense to shop there.

Here’s our comment on Tom’s post….

Hey Tom!

Thanks for the post.

Totally agree with your premise that the social networks are not a place for the hard sell – or selling an old jalopy at a kid’s birthday!?!?

To use your analogy, though, I’d argue that social media is indeed much more like a shopping mall than a playground.

People go to malls for much more than the direct sale experience. They go to gather and wander and explore. They go to see what everyone else is wearing and buying. They go to contrast and compare. They go to interact with brands, products and people.

All of this, in my mind, proves the value of social networks in driving commerce.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-marketing-for-commerce-or-community-0224026#vH3b8ffAti3Guc4U.99

As you might expect, we do daily searches across the web for the term ‘Social Commerce’. Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of results like this…

The company is Solavei.

First impression was that this was some sort of scam. Just the way the comments were posted, the fact that so many seemingly non-connected people were making the same posts, etc.  Indeed, do a search for ‘Solavei Scam’ and you’ll get quite a few results. Interestingly enough, some of those hits are infact people trying to get you to join Solavei! Smart, huh? They’ve cottoned on to the reality that many will see this as a scam and so will look to confirm or deny their suspicions. What better way to make a pitch!?!

The idea of Solavei is simple enough. Sign up to an unlimited mobile phone plan for $49 per month. Then, for every three people you get to sign up, you get earn $20. So, sign up 9 users and you’ve paid for phone bill for one month – & still have enough left over for a Frappucino!

Sounds like Amway, right? Well, ok, not Amway specifically but one of those pyramid selling schemes where the entire business model assumes that each user signs up many more and when they do so, they earn money in return. Sometimes, LOTS of money! Multi-level marketing is the proper name for it,  if we want to be politically correct.

And that’s pretty much exactly what it is.

BUT…isn’t it also a good example of Social Commerce?

Yep!

We’re still not really sure how we feel about it. After all, our mission is to create genuine and sincere word of mouth across the social networks. Somehow this seems less than sincere. Then again, to be fair, anybody who’s inviting you to join the service is already a member themselves. So, you use it, you like, you invite me to share in this great service. What’s wrong with that? Sure, you’re getting paid for referring me (& then I can also get paid to refer others) but does the fact that everyone’s getting paid for a referral make it any less genuine? Maybe. Maybe not.

This is certainly not the first time that a company has paid a bounty for a new customer. Ever heard of affiliate marketing?

Maybe it’s just a fine line between Social Commerce and a Pyramid Scheme.

According to John Cook at Geek Wire, Solavei recently closed a $3.6 million round of funding, bringing the total raised to $7 million. That’s pretty serious! They also seem to have some serious people running the company, including a former US Congressman (should that make us feel safer or more wary?!?).

But that’s another weird thing about the team at Solavei – their key strengths seem to be that they were once somebodies. Of course, we all know that your previous work experience largely defines your value to the new company, but somehow it just seems odd to us that they’ve highlighted everybody’s former glory. Again, in the interest of fairness, we don’t know any of these folks by name or reputation so we’re certainly not suggesting they are anything but supremely qualified & skilled individuals. We’re just saying it sounds a bit odd.

So, take a blatantly obvious (& unapologetic) multi-level marketing business model, lead by a group of former somebodies, add the power of the social networks and what do you have?

You have something that sounds like a scam but infact may just be one of the smartest businesses around.  For us, the jury is still out.

If the product ROCKS! then we don’t really see anything wrong with the business model. If the product and service turns out to be a DOG, then I guess we’ll sit back and say, ‘It always sounded like a scam!’.

MDGadvertising recently created this interesting little infographic around the ROI of Social Media marketing, based on data from a number of different sources.

A few things that really interest us on this topic.

First of all, have you noticed how we are far more laser-focussed on the ROI in Social Media than we’ve ever really been with so many other forms of traditional advertising, like billboards, TV, radio, etc.

I recently read a ROI analysis of a billboard campaign for a specific model of car, where they declared that around 4% of new cars sold during this campaign were a direct result of the billboards. How do they know? Well, they asked the new car buyers. Any problem with that? Only one. Chances are there were other factors that impacted on their decision to buy – word of mouth from a friend, seeing an ad in newspaper, reading a review in an auto magazine, etc. Sure, the buyer still believes it was the billboard that closed the sale but in reality it probably only helped influence and reinforce the buying decision.

Truth is, many of these traditional forms of advertising are really geared more to brand/product awareness rather than directly creating a call to action – ie: a sale.

This infographic seems to suggest that maybe, at least amongst the Chief Marketing Officers surveyed, we’re now realising that social media ROI should consider much more than the pure sales it generates. 96% of CMOs said they are starting to look beyond pure sales & web metrics when assessing the value of social media marketing.

The second key observation for us is the statistic that says only 11% of businesses surveyed have been using social media marketing for 3 years or more. This a pretty new thing. Probably fair to say that if 90% of business has been using social media marketing for less than 3 years, many are still only dabbling, trying to find the best ways to use the tools.

That leads right into our third and final observation, for which there really is no statistic given here. Execution! How well are businesses executing their social media marketing strategy? If a campaign fails, is it because the tools are simply no good OR is it because they’re not using the tools the right way?

A spoon is generally considered a pretty useful tool for eating soup from a bowl – but not if you use the wrong end!?!

FYI – you may think this is just a silly analogy but a mate of ours actually went through exactly this situation when opening a hotel 2 years ago in a very remote location and having to train the F&B staff.

Of course you need to measure and analyse all you possibly can about your social media marketing campaigns – but just be realistic about your expectations, especially if you’ve only been using it for a short time. Don’t expect immediate success. Do expect to have to play around a bit before you start getting it right. Don’t blame the tools – but don’t blame the tradesman either. Give them both a chance to find the best way to work together.

Just to complete the food utensil analogy… now try taking that spoon from a 2 year old and giving her a pair of chopsticks to eat her dinner. Sounds pretty messy, right? Let her practise for a few years and she’ll probably do just fine.

There you go. It’s all about Spoons & Chopsticks!?!

Remember the guy who was credited as finding the code for a ‘Want’ button at Facebook?

His name is Tom Waddington and he’s the Code Monkey (their words, not mine!) for a site called Cut Out + Keep – an online community for crafty and creative people to make and share step-by-step tutorials.

Well, he’s now reached out to Samantha Murphy over at Mashable to highlight that Facebook’s code actually uses the term ‘social commerce’. The suggestion being that this is a sign Facebook is talking it all very seriously.

image from Mashable

Great news for us (coz SocialShout! is all about social commerce) and good news for any of you reading this because you probably have an interest in the space too.

Still, it should hardly be surprising. After all, with the added pressure to drive revenues, especially since the IPO, bringing better commerce functions to the world’s leading social platform is pretty much a no brainer.

And it’s not like they were trying to keep it a secret. Not so long ago The Zuck came out and said…“If I had to guess, social commerce is the next area to really blow up”.

So it’s fair to say, social commerce is coming. The exciting news is that this space is still wide open for someone to become the market leader. Our belief is that the leader in social commerce can not really be one of the social networks – at least not so long as there are multiple social platforms on which people play (and there ALWAYS will be!!).

Right, then we’d better stop messing around here and get back to building then!

Bye!

I’ve just been reading a report by Yellow Pages Australia on Social Media.

First point, THANK YOU for calling it a ‘report’! Seems like the good old ‘report’ has been superseded by the ‘White Paper’ these days.

Second point, is it just me or is there something slightly odd about Yellow Pages doing a White Paper?

Anyway, moving on, it’s a pretty detailed discussion on ‘What Australian people and businesses are doing with social media’. What’s most interesting to me is Yellow Pages is really part of the traditional marketing world. By publishing a report like this they are clearly making it known that they intend to be a player in the social media world too. Hats off to them for not just sitting back and waiting to become completely irrelevant!

One of key stats from this report for me is that although 62% of online Aussies use social networks, only 27% of small biz and 34% of medium biz have a social media presence. Their report also revealed that 79% of big biz has a social media presence.

So for me, 3 key comments/discussions/questions come out of this…

1. You need to go where the eyeballs are!

The first time I heard this phrase was from a guy called Gary Vaynerchuck who at the time was responding to a self-asked question about why businesses should care about social media. No need to really explain any further, right? It’s pretty self-explanatory. If people are spending time there, your business needs to be there too. It’s the same rationale that’s driven the ad business for ever. What’s different now is that we’ve realised traditional advertising may well be seen by lots of eyeballs, but it doesn’t really create any meaningful engagement. Social Networks give us the chance to have real conversations with our customers, not just throw a message at them like we used to.

2. Are people really looking to deal with business on the social networks?

This report says only 20% use social networks for commercial purposes. BUT the lines between our work time and social time are increasingly blurring. Take my Blackberry. In addition to my main work email account, it also hosts my personal email accounts. So, when that little red light starts flashing to tell me there’s a new message on Sunday afternoon while I sit on the sofa watching football, I reach for it. And what do you think I do if I see it’s a work email? I open it of course!! Now, I may not action it or even read it fully, but I sure as hell do open it! The same happens on Facebook or Twitter. Even if I’m there for personal time, if I see something relevant to my work life, you can be sure I’ll engage with it.

And don’t forget, consumers are more and more turning to their social networks for information and advice on what products & services to buy and use. They call it ‘social search’ and it’s a key factor in the high valuation investors have put on Facebook. The power of recommendation from a friend. Word of Mouth. Dare I say it…Social Commerce!!

3. How effective is this ‘presence’ they speak of?

Of the 1,951 businesses they interviewed for this survey, I’d love to know how many of them actually have a real, resonating presence on the social networks. Having a Facebook page may well qualify your business as being ‘on social media’, but it hardly makes for an engaged presence that can be key driver for your business.

What’s really exciting about this whole space of business and social networks is that it’s still all very new. There are no experts. There are no proven best practices that will guarantee you success. We’re all learning as we go. The important thing is that you at least get in the game.

Here’s a link to that report –

Even if you’re not interested in the Australian business/social media landscape, there’s lots of interesting stuff to get you thinking.

A final stat…

‘Males were twice as likely to report accessing social media in the toilet (6% for males, 3% for females’.

HUH?

SoLoMo.

Sounds like it could be a title for a remake of a Three Stooges movie.

Social. Local. Mobile. That’s what it really stands for. It’s what all the experts – yes, the ever-present ‘they’ – say is the most important consideration for any business that wants to survive in the 2.0 world and beyond.

Obviously, we’re placing some big bets on SOCIAL (I guess our name might give it away, right?).

But here’s the thing with Social…there’s a lot of noise in here. We’re always hearing about how hard it is to break through the noise and clutter of the social network landscape. It’s why there are so many social media curation tools and services available. People need a way to find stuff that’s relevant and interesting to them. They don’t want to deal with all the clutter.

Social Commerce is HARD!

That’s where the Lo and the Mo come in.

Let’s take LOCAL first. By being local, there’s more chance that it will be relevant to you. Knowing that there’s a great Sale on at The Gap is good to know – but not if it’s only at The Gap on the East Coast and you’re on the West Coast. BUT, to find out about a shop in your local neighbourhood that is offering a discount or a special deal or even just something that’s really good value – that just may be relevant to you.

Now, for the real kicker – the Mo. MOBILE. It goes with you. (once again, the name kinda gives it away!?!) Wallet, Phone, Keys. That’s the mental checklist we all go through every time we leave the house, right? It won’t be long before that list is reduced to one…MOBILE. Your mobile device will be your Wallet and your Keys too. But that’s a little way in the future (though really, not too far away!). Still, even today, our mobile devices are with us pretty much all the time. Certainly, they’re with us when we shop.

So, when we talk about social commerce we really need to consider mobile too.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, Global Mobile Phone Penetration now sits at 87%. Mobile subscriptions have grown by over 500,000 each year for the past 3 years. In many countries, the penetration rate is well over 100% – USA (104%) ; Russia (153%) ; UK (123%). That means in all these countries everyone has more than one mobile phone.

Crazy, huh? It gets better…

In the United Arab Emirates, mobile penetration stands at 233%! That’s over 2.3 phones per person!

Now try telling me the future is not MOBILE!

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