30 Apr 2010

How to Become a Social Media Champion

If your company isn't involved in social media you are probably missing out. The numbers speak for themselves:
  • Social media is the no. 1 activity on the Internet
  • If Facebook was a country it would be the world's 4th largest country
  • The world second largest search engine is Youtube
  • 1 out of 8 married couples (2008) in America met via social media
The numbers go on and on you can see them all on Youtube. All this social interaction can be used commercially. Yes, you could distribute your ads all over Facebook but the abovementioned information can be used more intelligently. Fans and followers of a brand or company are more likely to buy from or recommend a company which they follow on Facebook and Twitter as I've stated in an earlier blog post.

Five basic rules to become a Social Media Champion
If you want to become a Social Media Champion there are a number of basic rules you should consider. If you take these rules into consideration, you have the potential to become a success on social media and subsequently increase your revenue.
  • Publish relevant and interesting content
  • Update your content regularly
  • Interact with your fans
  • Engage with your fans
  • Integrate applications
A lot of companies have fan pages on Facebook without any content. Why? If there was some relevant content on the page people might return - especially if it is updated regularly. If a user posts a comment on your page, answer him. This way your are in dialogue with your customers and might take some of the pressure of your call centre. Ask your fans to participate in competitions, treasure hunts, foto marathons etc. Anything that engages your fans. The Facebook Page API is rather open which makes it easy to integrate polls, games etc. on the fan page.

As mention in my previous blogpost this could be a valuable experience since more than half the people who are fans of a company or brand are more likely to purchase from the company and 60 to 79 % are more inclined to recommend the company or brand to a friend.

These were five very basic rules but there are without a doubt many others. What other rules do you recommend?

Social Media Can Increase Profitability

You might have wondered if it contributed to your business but now it's a fact: Social Media can increase your revenue. A study made by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) shows that people who follow a company or brand on social media like Twitter and Facebook are more likely to buy or recommend a product or service from the company. Recommendations are important as I have made a blog post about earlier. The survey from CMB is made among 1.500 Americans shows that:
  • 67 % who are fans of a brand or company on Twitter are more likely to purchase a product or service from the company
  • 51 % who are fans of a brand or company on Facebook are more likely to purchase a product or service from the company
  • 79 % of people who are fans of a brand or company on Twitter are more inclined to recommend the company
  • 60 % who are fans of a brand or company on Facebook are more inclined to recommend the company
Twitter does somehow have a better credibility. Probably because it is more to the point and doesn't, unlike Facebook, have ads and games all over the place. But that needs to be investigated further before we can say anything certain about that.

The winners are the Social Media Champions
The numbers tell the whole story:
  • Social Media is the no. 1 acticity on the Internet
  • If Facebook was a country it would be the world's 4th largest country
  • The world second largest search engine is Youtube
And the list goes on. If we are to believe these numbers the future belongs to the companies who are taking Social Media seriously: The Social Media Champions. If you want to become a Social Media Champion, you can find inspiration in my blog post: How to become a Social Media Champion.

See the press release and download the full report on Chadwick Martin Bradley's homepage.

5 Apr 2010

Social Commerce Adds Credibility

Remember back in the old days, before industrialisation in the late 18th century? Probably not, but if a person needed a new pair of shoes he went to the shoemaker – or perhaps back then a clog maker. He met him face-to-face; the producer met the customer. The customer was able to ask questions and get help from the product manufacturer himself.

Industrialisation changed that. Products began to be mass-produced. The producers were out of sight. People still had to go to a shop to find a pair of shoes, but they had no social interaction with the producer. Instead, consumers had to trust the sales person – they had no other choice.

We’re now in the 21st century. An increasing number of consumers are shopping online, buying products without ever meeting a sales person. There is no social interaction, which means no one to ask for help.

Will shoppers trust a website?

Many e-commerce websites use words like “splendid,” “extraordinary,” “beautiful,” “bargain,” and all kinds of appealing marketing words to describe their products and services. But do shoppers trust these descriptions? Probably not. Numerous studies have shown as much: people don’t trust ads, people trust other people. But there are no people on a website.

The solution for an e-commerce site seeking to achieve a higher degree of credibility is social commerce. Social commerce is customer interaction that drives real business results. In TELMORE’s case, social commerce puts user-generated content in the purchase path, bringing value to our customers – and credibility to TELMORE.

Social interaction online

Let me illustrate with an example. A person is browsing the web for a new mobile phone. An Internet search brings him to TELMORE, where he finds the HTC Hero, which costs 1799 DKK ($326US/242 €). But who is TELMORE, and can he trust us? User ratings show that this is a popular, well-received phone. And perhaps more importantly, the reviews show that customers – real people like the shopper in our example – have bought from our website before and had a good experience.

The shopper’s natural initial hesitation is subdued, and he clicks on the phone to see more. On the next page he finds all ratings and reviews made by other vistors.

On this specific phone there are 46 reviews made by other customers – not by TELMORE. These ratings and reviews give TELMORE credibility, because they show that we are not afraid to give the power to our customers. We let them tell the truth about the phone and our brand, and as mentioned above, people trust other people. The words of our customers give the shopper the information he needs to confidently purchase the phone.

At TELMORE we have literally thousands upon thousands of reviews. Although we don’t meet our customers face-to-face as people did years ago, we still communicate with them. We have a blog, a popular Facebook fanpage, a Twitter account, and a customer support staff to answer calls. In addition, we have ratings and reviews, which give us a valuable advantage. Not only are our customers communicating with us online, but they are able to communicate with other customers and shoppers. Instead of talking to the clog maker, our visitors are able to talk to each other.

This is how the visitors interact on our site, and it’s just one example of social commerce. I personally surf the internet for product information, blogs, and naturally ratings and reviews. The doctor does take his own medicine.

How is your business using social commerce? Do ratings and reviews influence you?

(This blog post is posted simultaneously at Bazaarvoice.)