Archives for posts with tag: social networks

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.

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!).

Earlier this week Gavin Michael, Chief Technology Innovation Officer at Accenture wrote a great post on Fortune Tech about The new rules of Social Commerce. Gavin suggested that so far most companies efforts at Social Commerce have really been ‘brochureware’ – ie: just copy/paste what they did on the eComm site or copy the actions they take with their traditional marketing and that’s all they’d really do.

As we’ve spoken about a few times here (and as Gavin himself suggested) that’s just like things were when the internet first started. There were no rules or guidelines for the early movers so everyone just had to kinda work it out as they went along. So, it’s ok that there’s still lots missing in companies Social Commerce strategies.

What we want to try to do here, is help you learn from the lessons of the early movers and see what you can take to apply to your own business.

Enter Tesco.

You’ll probably recall they came up with that really cool Subway Supermarket concept in Korea a while ago.

 

Well, now they’ve done something a little less dramatic, but nonetheless equally interesting – at least in terms of the results.

For Tesco’s ‘Share & Earn’ campaign they created a simple Facebook App that encouraged their members to share products from the store across their social networks. Whenever a friend clicked one of those links and made a purchase, the advocate earned bonus Clubcard Points (Tesco’s loyalty programme).

The result? Social Sharing of products on Tesco’s Facebook page went from 26% to 54% of all comments posted. That’s an increase of over 100%!

Morever, general sentiment also increased with ‘Positive Buzz’ soaring to 63% after being only 44% a week earlier.

And what did all this noise create in terms of real, direct sales?

No idea! Sorry, we aren’t able to get that information.

But like Gavin says in his article, Social commerce needs to become an “and,” not an “or.” It’s not a magical cure for all you business woes. Instead, it’s all about common tools and strategies deployed across multiple sites, apps, platforms and fora to give targeted customers specific and rich experiences.

 

Special Thanks to Leonie Bulman at wavemetrix for the news and results of Tesco’s social experiment.

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?

The Zuck has oft been quoted as saying his mission is to make the world more open and connected. Very noble Zuck, thanks!

One of the key principles necessary to make this happen is Freedom of Speech. The only problem with Freedom of Speech is it means you need to let the moronic, the ignorant and the downright hateful have their say too.

So, what if one of those hateful, ignorant morons makes a nasty comment on your company’s Facebook wall or Twitter stream? Of course, if you’re a normal, rational person, you remove it and probably block that person from posting again. Maybe that doesn’t strictly adhere to the tenets of Free Speech, but who cares – it’s the right thing to do.

BUT…what if you didn’t even see that post?

AND…what if someone else DID see that post – and was offended by it?

According the Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia (ASB), you are responsible for that content!

Didn’t post it? Doesn’t matter! Didn’t even see it? Still doesn’t matter!

See, what happened is, a few of these haters joined the Smirnoff Vodka Facebook page as Fans and then posted some pretty crude stuff. Someone took offence and lodged a complaint with the ASB, who are the self-regulatory body of the Ad industry in Oz.

Smirnoff’s owners, the mega-booze barons Diageo, argued that Facebook was a tool for networking and communicating, not advertising. The ASB held that Facebook can also absolutely be a tool for marketing and promotion – and therefore is subject to the same standards of behaviour as any other publishing platform.

Hmmm? Methinks we have a dilemma!

This follows on from a similar decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last year where they charged a company called Allergy Pathway for having false and misleading statements on their Facebook and Twitter pages – even though they didn’t post them.

The way we see it is this should all come down to what’s fair and reasonable. If someone posted something nasty on your Facebook page at 3am, while you were all snuggled up in bed and then someone on the other side of world saw it and took offence and lodged a complaint about you, before you even woke up, should you be held accountable?

Maybe Facebook needs to implement a ‘moderate first’ function to company pages, much like many forums do.

What do you think?

 

PS: Thanks to Smart Company for much of the info & inspiration for this post.

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!

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