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The Week in Social Analytics #87

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Stop Chasing Shiny Objects, Invest in the ‘Classics’ [from Mack Collier]

“No matter how many shiny tools you master, none of that will help you if you don’t understand your customers.”

And:

“There are two areas you need to focus on in 2014:

1 – Understanding how your customers are using these tools

2 – Understanding how customer behavior is changing because of emerging tools and technology”

Predicting The Social Future Of eCommerce For Small Business [from Viral Blog]

“It won’t be long before we’re buying certain products almost exclusively online, even if we’ve demoed them in person.”

Trust: Do We Believe Your Social Media & Content? [from Heidi Cohen]

On average, two-thirds of customers need to hear a company’s message 3 to 5 times before they believe it based on Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. This ratio has remained relatively constant for the past few years.”

Emphasis orignal.

5 Tips for Creating Social Content That Stands Out [from Edelman; written by Alison Fleming]

“Find the white space that your community fills. Then, find a way to use social content to add value to your community members’ lives. Sure, you’re selling widgets too, but make content so great that people barely notice the product placement. Selling eReaders? Make an online book club. Hawking cameras? Make an online photography gallery. Social content 3.0 has a rich, deep narrative that can only be achieved through insights. Insights -> content -> engagement -> insights. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.”

6 Tips for Managing a B2B Crisis Using Social Media [from Social Media B2B; written by Allison Rice]

“But even though sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may make managing a crisis trickier, they can also help you communicate with your customers, demonstrate your commitment to them and bolster your reputation. In fact, a well-managed crisis can not only help you retain customers, but it can lead to new customers and additional deals.”

Empowering Employees with Social Media Improves Customer Relationships and Grows Revenue [from Social Media Today; written by Brian Solis]

“Organizations can no longer rely on inbound and outbound sales reps, people willing to jump through hoops and obstacles via call centers, or traditional marketing to boost awareness and demand. Customers demand engagement, in real time, and that takes human beings, training, and support.”

Here Is Your Future: 9 Experts Provide 29 Public Relations and Social Media Measurement Predictions for 2014 [from The Measurement Standard; edited by Bill Paarlberg]

“Wait a minute. How about last year’s predictions: How did those work out? As a matter of fact, many, and perhaps most, of last year’s 27 predictions came to pass. You’ll have to judge for yourself, however, which ones were actually Nostradamus-level prescient, as many were either loosely phrased (‘more Facebook commerce’) or very general (‘increasing interest in big data,’ ‘increasing mergers and acquisitions’).”

1 in 5 Social Network Users Likely to Make A Purchase Directly On A Social Network This Year [from Marketing Charts]

“Among Gen Y respondents (born 1980 through 1995), slightly more than one-quarter claimed to be either very likely (13%) or likely (14%) to make a purchase on a social network this year. That figure was matched by Gen X respondents (born 1962 through 1982), of whom 26% are likely to make a purchase.”

Men are also more likely than women to make a purchase directly on a social network (23% vs 14%).

4 Ways Twitter is Socializing TV [from Jeff Bullas]

“So what can TV teach us about how your business can use Twitter?

  • Companies and brands can use Twitter to provide valuable feedback from their customers and prospects
  • Twitter can be used to organise conversations at expos, conferences and presentations
  • It can assist in humanizing the brand that reveals the human side of the organisation
  • Twitter can include calls to action that ask people to buy, inquire or make booking”

Yahoo’s Tumblr-Based Tech And Food Sites Have Seen 10M Uniques Since Jan. 7 Launch [from TechCrunch; written by Darrell Etherington]

“Tumblr’s user base has grown 30 percent since March last year, Mayer says, and usage on mobile is faring even better, with over 50 percent growth between the same time and today.”

Written by Sarah

January 31st, 2014 at 9:11 am

The Week in Social Analytics #86

without comments

It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

2014 Edelman Trust Barometer [from Edelman]

“The technology industry continues to lead as the most trusted sector.”

3 Scientific Studies With Real Insight Into Social Media [from Convince and Convert; written by Pratik Dholakiya]

“As marketers, we can’t always wait for the data to catch up to our hunches, but we are foolish if we ignore it once it arrives, and the data is telling a fairly consistent story. Audience retention and interaction are key: reach is secondary.” (Emphasis original.)

If you read one piece today, make it this one.

Instagram Is The Fastest-Growing Social Site Globally, Mobile Devices Rule Over PCs For Access [from TechCrunch; written by Ingrid Lunden]

“According to research published today by the GlobalWebIndex, Instagram is growing the fastest of all social media sites worldwide, increasing its active user base by 23% in the last six months.”

8 Ways to Stand Out on Instagram [from Social Media Today; written by Stephanie Clegg]

“Your images are the most important thing on Instagram. You want to make sure they fit in with the feel and vibe of your brand but more importantly they have to fit in with the vibe of the Instagram community. Instagram is a thriving community and like on any social network, if you want to survive and succeed you are going to have to play by their rules.”

How Social Media Influences Purchase Decisions – Statistics And Trends | Infographic [from Invesp Blog; written by Khalid Saleh]

“4 in 10 Social Media users have purchased an item online or in-store after sharing it or marking it as a Favorite on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.”

How SM Influences Purchase Decisions

Click through for full infographic.

The Rise of Visual Storytelling [from B2B Marketing Insider; written by Michael Brenner]

“All this available information and data is creating a battle for customer attention between brands, publishers, and each one of us who creates content. But more importantly, it’s forcing businesses to think and act like publishers.”

The answer to gaining some of this precious attention? Visual content.

Is Tumblr Right for my Business? [from Intuit Small Business Blog; written by Brenda Barron]

“Just because you don’t offer a visual product doesn’t mean you should avoid Tumblr. Your use of the site just might not be as intuitive at first.

In lieu of posting product photos, consider posting photos related to your products. For instance, eyeglass maker Warby Parker doesn’t merely offer photos of its high-end frames. . .The company promotes a lifestyle — what people who wear its glasses do — and sells indirectly by posting compelling content that goes beyond its products.”

And here’s a bonus video to check out from this week’s Digital-Life-Design conference: A conversation on creativity and tech, featuring David Karp, Georg Petschnigg, and Felix Salmon [DLD14 - On Creating Tech]

Written by Sarah

January 24th, 2014 at 9:33 am

A brief history of social commerce

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With the holiday season just behind us, it’s easy to forget that what is commonplace behavior now- bookmarking wanted items onto wishlists to share with friends and family, or using Twitter to give and receive product recommendations both spontaneous and prompted- were only just beginning to blossom five years ago.

The new year is the time most businesses write up their reviews of the past year and put together their predictions for what’s coming next. These reflections and predictions don’t have much weight without context, however, and that’s what we aim to provide here: A brief history of social commerce that can hopefully shed more light on why everything that worked in 2013 did so, and give us a better foundation for looking ahead to 2014. As social platforms become more integrated into our lives, social commerce becomes something every company must address, if only from a support perspective.

Social Commerce in 2008

The term “social commerce” was actually first introduced on Yahoo in 2005, but it wasn’t until three years later, in 2008, that it really began to build the foundations of what we recognize now as modern social commerce. 2008 was the year that expectations and suggestions around social media and e-commerce started to actually become business practices. However, the thinking was that social platforms were only good for increasing brand awareness and general marketing; the potential for revenue remained unrealized. Most companies thought of social ventures as a bonus activity, and not a requirement for success. (x)

2009

In 2009 as new technologies become ubiquitous- Twitter, smartphones- online and offline shopping begin to blend together more. Companies take notice of their customer’s changing behavior and build communities for them to interact and share information in. (x)

An argument grows about what exactly social commerce is: A revolution from e-commerce, or an evolution of it? Others argue that social commerce is something that shoppers do together (social shopping) while e-commerce is businesses being in a social space together. (x) This debate will continue to evolve over the next several years, without a final clear answer (though currently e-commerce and social commerce seem to be used pretty interchangeably with the term social shopping being differentiated).

2010

2010 found social commerce really beginning to pick up steam around the world– however marked cultural differences become clear between those who turn to social outlets for shopping in order to save money, and those who come primarily for the fun, social aspect of it (x). An all-encompassing global strategy therefore isn’t going to cut it; brands wanting to engage in social commerce will have to develop targeted, regional approaches.

Group buying endeavors like the aptly named Groupon hit their heyday in 2010, and Facebook begins to turn a real profit, getting skeptics seriously excited about the future possibilities with social commerce. Twitter users follow brands for deals and are often motivated to click through to a site where they can make a purchase, but a click-through doesn’t guarantee a purchase and shopping cart abandonment is an issue. Consequently, this is also the year that stores work harder via social to retain customers and keep them coming back to the physical store to shop (x).

2011

Pinterest, launched in 2010, sees explosive growth in 2011. Its image-based design with easy click-throughs to sources makes it perfect for showcasing products.  Facebook gets its own term for social commerce on the platform: F-Commerce. Options range from built-in storefronts that lead off-site to make purchases, but that include varying levels of social engagement (“ask a friend” about a product, for example) to complete in-Facebook purchasing with companies like 1-800-Flowers. The future of F-commerce is uncertain, but seems promising if some kinks- like having to go off-site to complete purchases- can be ironed out.

Since 2011

A lot shifts as e-commerce picks up steam in conjunction with social platforms, from 2011 onward. F-commerce sees decline from clumsy design; big stores like Gap, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney close their Facebook shops. A few tweaks could revitalize F-commerce, however, since Facebook’s core user group remains loyal and users still consult their social networks when shopping.

Pinterest continues to gain market share (possibly in part due to its long tail sales cycle), but may have a solid challenger in relative newcomer Polyvore, a social commerce site that allows users to build “sets” to express their style, then buy.  Other platforms- like photo sharing site Instagram and blogging site Tumblr- begin to experiment with advertising, which may eventually lead to e-commerce efforts. Google+ has potential too, from the sheer size of the user base and potential SEO benefits.

With the “Internet of Things” fast approaching on the horizon, 2014 looks to be the debut of things such as t-commerce, or buying H&M underwear via your smart TV during the Super Bowl. What about Twitter commerce; shouldn’t that be t-commerce? In 2013, Twitter hires its first Head of Commerce to help enable shopping directly via its 140-character posts.

Overall, online retail is only expected to grow, with Forrester predicting sales of $370 billion by 2017. Increasing portions of the population use the mobile and tablet devices they use for social platforms to shop as well, which reinforces the idea of growing social commerce. It will be interesting to see how quickly being able to buy something directly from whatever platform- or object- you happen to be using becomes ubiquitous, and whether one platform or object will be able to rule the lion’s share of the social commerce field.

So, with all of that, what are your predictions?

 

Note: The Evolution of Social Commerce: The People, Management, Technology, and Information Dimensions by Chingning Wang & Ping Zhang (pre-publication version)- was a tremendous help in forming the basis of this research, especially in the summaries of the years before 2010. Paragraphs and sentences built from its ideas have been marked and linked (x).

Written by Sarah

January 16th, 2014 at 12:35 pm