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Archive for the ‘Social Sales’ Category

The next generation Social Media Webshops are here!

Today we´re seeing a major step being taken in webshopping as we know it. For a while there´s been buzz around social media webshops, and the Finnish company Vuole with their social media webshop platform Savalanche has been one of the forerunners in this field. They have been actively setting up new webshops for various types of companies and products ranging from CDs to Mac computers, and such interesting Facebook webshops as e.g. Aanmaa handicraft and Miasma, and blogs like Pastanjauhantaa have been top-notch showcases for the company.

At the same time there has been interesting development of very different kind. Another Finnish company named Thinglink came up with an idea about tagging photos with links of various sorts. One can not just tag a photo or an item or an individual in a photo, but insert weblinks to photographs – so called in-image links. Now, I don´t mean including a link in a photograph, but almost any amount of links with different addresses. They recently added audiolinks to photos as well, with audio player link coming from SoundCloud, but that wasn´t the end of development, far from it.

Think about adding your wedding song to your wedding photo, with additional links to Flickr where all your wedding pictures are stored, another link in that same photo leading to your personal blog, one link to the shop you bought your wedding dress from, etc. The possibilities are plenty. And not just photos, any images, and not just music, but any audio. Only thing missing from a full memory is the smell, right? How did her perfume smell that night?

 

What about the news of the day then?!

Today´s hot topic is the 2 companies – Vuole and Thinglink – joining forces in building a new type of Social Media Webshopping Platform, where a photograph (anywhere online), is a webshop of its own, sort of. When you have a blog or a fan page at Facebook, and you have photos there, you could now build links to photos leading directly to a Savalanche webshop – talkin´bout making buying easy. In the web, the more clicks you need to make, the less propable it is a sale will take place. So having a direct link from a photo where one sees an interesting item, to the webshop product page where it can directly be bought, is a game-changer! And what´s even better, the webshop is absolutely free to install.

Those of you who have been dealing with social media more than just for entertainment purposes, may know the statistics telling us about how the strength of social sales is in recommendations. What this new solution enables, is that you could become a webshopkeeper through your blog in a new and exciting way, linking all the items in the photographs at your blogpages directly to a webshop where your readers can buy the products you recommended or reviewed. And! There´s more. You may also become an affiliate marketer of sort, as you may earn commission on the products that are bought by people coming to someone else’s webshop through that photo-link you had. You kind of host the shop at your blog while never owning the products. Nice, ´eh?

This all is great, isn´t it, but there´s still more to it. Thinglink has also made a deal with Amazon recently, so that when you tag an item in your image with a link to Amazon, you may also earn money through the Amazon Associate program. This has nothing to do with Savalanche, but again a new possibility for those affiliate marketers out there (NomadCouch, are you listening?). Tagging the images themselves is easy, the last post where I tried it myself, was done in mere minutes…

Here below are the first in-link images from the first live blog in relation to this, they just went live with these pictures. The first webshop providers opening their shops for these images and links are Finnish Design Shop, Valleys, Tia Arkko Design and Aurorahelmi, possibly some others as well.

I´ll be coming up with more details about Thinglink soon, keep checking in!

 

Testing Thinglink photo tagging tool

So you may have heard about this new thing called Thinglink… or perhaps not.

Netcycler Badge system

 

Whether you have or not, doesn´t really make a difference. Cause one thing´s for sure, you´ll be hearing a whole lot about it soon enough. Here´s a little insight why. Actually, I´ll just drop a little hint about it, there´ll be an interesting announcement regarding Thinglink in a matter of days.

Thinglink is a tagging tool like nothing else ever before. What if you could include links to any relevant place on the web in any photo online? Or linking items or people in a photo with music?! Or… well, in the next post I´ll tell you what more. This is just a teaser, remember. Start thinking broader, what else could you enable by tagging photos? The answer is staring right at you, you just need to have the mindset. Actually if you dig into Thinglink a bit deeper, it´s quite clearly stated there. But I´ll be writing a review on the upcoming announcement, hope to shed some more light into new ways of seeing photos, in a matter of days. Also, some step-by-step media footage will follow.

See you here in a couple of days, okay?!

The 8P´s of Marketing in Social Media

The 4P´s of Marketing

There´s a million and one people out there thinking they know something about marketing, so I thought why not me as well. Here´s my 2 cents…

We all know Neil Borden´s 4 big ones, don´t we?

– Product

– Price

– Place

– Promotion

And as we also know, these contain ‘flaws’ or rather are missing value especially in relation to marketing Services. I guess that wasn´t relevant in the 1960s in the scale we have services available today. There´s been a lot of talk about the meaningful aspects of marketing for generations, and we always seem to go round and round without really coming up with anything new around the subject. After a while since Borden someone came up with the 5th P… and then someone came up with some more…

– Packaging, or perhaps

– Process, or perhaps

– People, or…

So plenty of P´s all around, but nothing really meaningful as we now look back in time. Someone even added ´Physical Evidence´ and ´Performance´ in the list – I personally really don´t get those. And then came the alternate 5P´s;

Positioning, Packaging, Promotion, Persuasion & Performance.

Then the top Idea-buddy Idris Mootee came up with the 4 New P´s

Personalization – no, not as deep as we now know

Participation – related to crowdsourcing type of activity really

Peer-to-Peer – now we´re getting somewhere… a 2-way street!!! Not just Push but including Pull as well.

Predictive Modeling – algorithms actually

I can almost relate to these, finally something new in the field, not just the same old, same old. At least better than those mentioned before. But I have a need that is not satisfied with these quite yet. SO, I kept digging… And came up with this.

Joan Damico quite recently came up with a new set of P´s that actually triggered this train of thoughts of mine. Joan says…

Policy – is just what it sounds like, who can do what and how

Plan – plan your strategy. Hmmm… Which company doesn´t? I know I do!

People – this time meaning internal resources… And off we go, to the woods, says I!

Persona – What do we want to say, how do we want to look? Isn´t that Policy & Planning with some People in it?

Patience – takes time to see results, she says. And I say 3rd and out. I’ve seen companies come up with brilliant results in no time at marketing in social media! Think of Gap and Groupon for example.

And I just don´t get it! People I understood in previous conversations, but not anymore when Joan starts talking about it. I do understand all the before mentioned P´s that people have come up with, in a sense, but I don’t see the logic behind those nor relevancy in todays web marketing models. Perhaps it´s just me, but I feel like “WTF, am I the only one thinking about Social Media related to all these P´s?” I´m sure thousands and thousands of smarter people than me and a zillion times more experienced have thought about these, so that makes me feel kind of stupid to even consider that I might be into something here. I mean, all the P´s before make sense in a way, but none of them really fit into the idea how I see marketing in Social Media, the so called Social Marketing idea. So if there´s anyone out there how might tramble into this article and feels the way I do about all this, please, please, tell me I´m not insane, okay?!

´Cause this is how I see the P´s…

The REAL 8P´s of Marketing in Social Media

You can´t argue with the 4 Big ones, Social Media or not…

Product, Price, Place and Promotion still matter, no matter what you´re marketing!

But the new ones! Hold your breath!

    People! Clients, remember?! Same goes for Partners, Suppliers, etc. Basically anyone you engage in conversation with in the web! In Social Media, they rule! There´s a conversation 24/7 whether you´re there or not. It´s a 2-way street, no more shooting with a shotgun at anything that moves, but targeted, Personalized conversations, where you Participate in interaction with the crowds! When you´re using Social Media for marketing, you need to be Present, get involved, reply when asked and that sort of ´stuff´!

So there they are, I finally got them all out. And the next time someone asks you what that Social-Media-thing means to you, you can just say;

In Social Media, we market ourselves by Participating in conversations with People, we give our company the face by Personalizing our messages and we´re Present whenever they want to talk with us!

    If you wonder what Personalization means here, it´s all about understanding your client, talking to them in language that they understand, replying when asked, and taking advantage of the huge amount of data that is out there for you to use (think about Social CRM and Social Business Intelligence concepts here). Personalize your message, target the niches rather than use shotgun. (Okay, the shotgun approach may have brand values, I give you that much…)

    And I really need to point out that being Present does NOT mean that once you´ve built that Facebook Fan page or Twitter account you´re present, but you need to be able to engage in 2-way conversations when and where the client wants to. End of story!

Think about this article and what it´s trying to say in its own awkward way. Review your marketing plan. Are you already or are you planning to do marketing on social media? (Yes, you should already, and right NOW is a good time to start if not!). Consider the additional new P´s, are you ready to COMMIT YOURSELF TO TALKING WITH your (potential) customers / partners / affiliates / etc., not just talking TO them, pushing your message?

IF YES, like my good friend Nike would say, JUST DO IT!

Product

Price

Place

Promotion

People

Presence

Participation

Personalization

Ps. I´m not saying you can´t do the normal push-marketing in social media, it´s not a total no-no, but if you do JUST that, you´re not getting social media nor taking advantage of it in full extent. There´s so much potential there that you´re not getting if you just push your message without listening or pulling in additional data, that´s it´s just a shame!

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Netcycler – Social swapping online

Netcycler – Social swapping online

I recently saw a newspaper editorial about this new ´Green´ social network that helps people get rid of all their excess ´stuff´. Not so interesting? You could always throw away the crappy old stuff, but you just don´t, do you? People are collectors by nature, and you never know if you one day may actually need that thing that your grandmother bought you for Christmas some years ago. Or perhaps your kids would one day love to play with it… or something. So suddenly you have all this stuff stored at your storage room, at your mom´s, or at friend´s attic like I have. The name started haunting me the next time I went to the storage room to bring over some more useful ´stuff´ that I may one day need.

So I go to the allmighty Internet and search for Netcycler (www.netcycler.fi), and there it was, ta-dah, my new favorite web tool that actually helps solving my real-life issues. How often do You find something like that? Seriously! Web tools are fine when you´re online, but finding something that actually solves a problem that you face in real life, is a true gem!

Netcycler is a part of the new wave of social tools and networks. The basic idea is to get you connected to people, offering your excess items for swapping (or plain give away), and by swapping I mean you decide what you want in exchange. So for example you have some DVDs you no longer feel like watching and you´d actually be more interested in playing board games with your friends. You choose the categories for your items, rate the condition, preferably upload a picture (don´t have to), choose whether you want to swap with someone locally or if you´re willing to send the item by post, and then you name what you´d like to have in exchange. And wait.

If your offering and wish are reasonable and not too exclusive, it shouldn´t take too long before someone checks your items out and has the matching item for your wish. You get a note to your Inbox, you go and click to approve the swap, and then you get a separate message where, how and who you can swap with. After the swap has taken place you go and give feedback and confirm the swap having taken place. Simple, right? That´s the simpliest way it can happen, but the other options are not that difficult either. The company behind Netycler don´t care if you swap one item at a time or a dozen at once, it´s all up to you how you want to trade. If there´s need for posting the items, they will take care of the posting issues by collecting the postal fee (amount agreed upon uploading your item), they send the sender a pre-stamped box with relevant contact details for the recepient, and you just add the item and drop it to a mailbox or post office. Difficult? Not!

The beauty lies in simplicity and in finding interesting swaps where both parties get what they wish for. You may well have the most interesting item in the whole system, but none of those people that fancy your item have what you´d like to have in exchange. Then again that precious old movie poster you always fancied is uploaded by someone who doesn´t want anything you have to offer. No problem, that´s where the beauty of the system kicks in. Netcycler has built a brilliant engine that creates swap-rings. So that when you fancy the poster and have an item fancied by another party, the system suggests swap rings where you send your item to one person, he/she sends an item to the next person, and so on, until you finally receive an item you were wishing for. And of course anyone in the swap-ring can pull the plug and say ´sorry, not gonna happen´, if they consider the swap not being interesting enough for them. The swap-rings are pre-approved before anyone sends any items forward, thus securing that there´s no need to send back items you´ve already received. Nice, ´eh? That´s the part I love in the system anyway.

So it´s not really flea market, you don´t buy anything from anyone, and it´s not charity either, nor is it an auction, but real recycling. And it of course makes you feel good about yourself when you give away excess items you no longer need, and get exactly what you always wanted in exchange.

Oh yes, did I mention they are building some interesting revenue models to keep the system running? So far it´s just premium services that they offer to users in relation to posting the items and collecting fees for packages being sent, and there are no ads anywhere in the system, no company logos, nothing. Additionally the system has some social networking aspects, like linking to people and inviting buddies, possibility to hide items and wishes from people that are not friends, etc. And of course they are only running the system in Finland for now to double-check everything before International expansion, also testing their Facebook success. A deep throat told me Germany may be their next big market soon to be launched, possibly even in late 2010. And… they will be releasing a new UI soon… stay tuned!

Ps. I´ve propably never seen a company as dedicated to customer service as they are. They go to unimaginable lengths to keep users happy, all the way into putting their own money and items where the mouth is should a user go nasty and try fooling the system by not sending items forward – and they act on things when no one has even complained about anything yet. That´s dedication and service!

Ps2. As the company has a huge number of possible features and services already planned, I´ve been happy to witness things are moving forward quickly, the most recent update being the addition of Foursquare-ish badges for active swappers. Nice move! Can´t wait to see what comes next…

Netcycler Badge system

Ps3. No, I do not get paid for writing this… I just like the system a lot.

UPDATE 5 Dec 2010: The post was recently reviewed by German press at the launch of Netcycler in Germany, and an interview based on Netcycler and myself may be reviewed here

http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/digitaz/artikel/?ressort=wu&dig=2010/12/04/a0023&cHash=726d07fa27

I´ve been told Taz (die Tageszeitung) is the 6th biggest newspaper in Germany.

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