Monday, November 29, 2010

Rise of Social Commerce.

Amazon and Ebay are giants in terms of online retail and e-commerce, but with the marketplace going in the future in terms of both monetization and socialization on social commerce, will their position be threatened?

There are a lot of smaller companies on the rise. I particularly like where there is a new deal every day. The community actually does chat about the deals and I do find out about good deals on Twitter.

Another site that is on the rise is Groupon. I like the idea of getting together a group to ensure a deal happens, and this sometimes get influencers to spread the news of a certain deal just to make it happen. Groupon recently raised a massive round valuing the company at $1.35 billion.

Although Amazon and Ebay are trying to be more discoverable, I've not seen much effort in leveraging on social commerce by them, even on Cyber Monday. I don't blame them as they are cash rich companies, and can acquire what they lack. For example, Amazon recently made a $1.2 billion acquisition of Zappos, which I would say is a leader on customer service using Twitter and social media.

With the rise of Groupon, Gilt, LivingSocial, Vente Privee or even a possible Facebook e-commerce site, we can be assured that social commerce sells, and in the near future, I would love to see more social e-commerce site giving better interaction and engagement as we know that is what that really sells.

-- Robin Low

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Social Media for Events

I've went to several events and I've seen social media used in some of them. A properly used social media for events really makes the event much better. Though it is a no brainer to leverage on social media for event management, many companies still do not use them.

However, I've been to several social media conferences fail to use social media properly for the event.

Here are some good examples which I've seen using social media well.

Article from Mashable:

Blogworld takes advantage of a multitude of social networking platforms like, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Plancast,, USTREAM () and Plixi to amplify the conference experience. According to founder and CEO Rock Calvert, the company’s use of social media prior to, during and after the the world’s largest social media conference and trade show is “…light years ahead of other conferences.”
Prior to the conference, Calvert uses various social platforms to inform people about the event, accept speaker applications and make announcements. In addition, Blogworld allows attendees to socially pick sessions, as well as invite and tell people that they are attending.
During Blogworld’s three-day conference, social platforms help facilitate and encourage attendee participation. Facebook is used to create polls, allow for public comments and encourage suggestions from attendees on how to improve the event. Organizers also encourage attendees to micro blog, which gives readers the opportunity to experience the event from numerous vantage points. Calvert credits these tools with “keeping the Blogworld experience transparent.”
How does social media make Blogworld better? In 2009, Blogworld set a Guiness World Record for the distribution of the largest mass message through social media, with a #Beatcancer hashtag. The campaign also raised more than $70,000 for social good efforts. In addition, Calvert tells us, “Social media creates social attendee lists, starts conversations, encourages meet ups, [and] allows conference organizers to react to issues immediately…. Incorporating social into our conference simply makes the experience better.”

Social Media (Twitter #Hashtags)

Hashtags are very important to an event. Planning a good hashtag to describe the event and ensuring the hashtag is not used by other people / companies for other purposes.

5 Reasons why you should have a good hashtag for the event:
1) With a properly publicized hashtag, attendees can follow the event and anything leading up to the event.
2) Attendees can connect with one another with the hashtag.
3) People who cannot attend the event can follow the event by following live tweets with the hashtag.
4) Q&A can be opened to the ground and others outside the event via hashtag.
5) Attendees can ask questions regarding the event and customer support can attend to their needs enhancing the before / during / after event engagement.

Here is a document I've created that share other best practices of social media in event management.

Social Media Event Management

-- Robin Low

Friday, November 12, 2010

Real Time Marketing

When you think about the World Cup 2010, what do you think of?

I've asked this question to many people around the world the question,
"Who won the world cup in 2010?"
I get the answers, "Holland, Spain... Germany??"

However, when I ask this question,
"Do you know about Paul the Octopus?"
Everyone seem to know about this psychic octopus!

The phenomena of the psychic octopus seemed to catch the attention of hundreds of millions world wide, and before every match, people will search for videos on the octopus and see his prediction.

Just think, if any company had leveraged on this micro trend, just by posting a video of an octopus picking up their company's devices and products over the competitor, and somehow link it to the actual Paul the Octopus videos, the chance of this video going viral is much higher as during that period that span about 10 days, there is a huge trend to search for Paul the Octopus on Google and on Youtube. (getting millions of viewers is not difficult!)

Recently, there is a video of a Bruins Fan kicking a pillar in a toilet at TD Garden in Boston.

This video got viral among many Boston residents as it made it to the news.

Well, as more people are savvy about the concept of real time marketing, riding on the trend of a viral video and leveraging on the popularity to market their brand, and this can be seen by the Bruins video to the fan who vandalized the toilet.

This video reply is well timed, and I do hope it is well viewed by Bruins fans!

Good Job!

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Managing Negative Comments

When I give introductory talks in Singapore, the #1 question that everyone asks is "How do you manage negative feedback?" My answer, "People are already doing it now, its just that you may not be aware of it. To manage negative feedback, you need to be transparent and engage truthfully to resolve the problem. Find out exactly what happened, and FIX IT!"

Usually after some discussions, people generally agree that with or without their participation on social media, negative comments about their businesses is going to happen. However today, there is generally a lot of interest in getting on social media as many companies see it as another form of PR or advertising.

After more than a year of talks, classes and consulting, I've revisited some of these companies, and most of them have some form of Facebook / Twitter / Blog. I would congratulate them for taking action, but my pride for them was short lived as many of them can't seem to deal with negative feedback and practice, "Selective Censors."

I would not blame them as they probably just followed what the government does. In the article by SMU "Managing social media: An exercise in managing organisations" The government is seen keen to engage on social media, but deletes all negative feedback and comments. This was documented on a couple of blogs and word quickly spread over the selective deletion of comments, which led to accusations that the constituency did not care for negative feedback.

On the hand, many big brands actually embrace the negative feedbacks and comments and in return they do become a stronger brand as they are seen as respecting feedback and responding to comments. Gap is a good example, as recently, Gap change their logo and there was a large amounts of people who hated their logo. And as a result, they actually changed their logo -- AGAIN!

Gap Logo Disaster – Could Social Media Save The Day?

The Gap had a very bad situation at the start of the week and they probably all had some sleepless night after the logo they thought was the future was derided all over the web. Rather than sitting back and ignoring the critisism through The Gap have stepped up to the plate and used social media to try and fix their problems. If they are really smart they will turn this negative in to a huge positive and involve all their customers in the process of finding the new logo. They will say that yes we were wrong and open the competition up to people all over the world. Imagine the good will and buzz The Gap would create by having an open logo competition. This example just goes to show that no matter how bad things are and how much abuse you are getting online there is always a fix and if you listen to what people are saying and engage with them there is always a way out of the online disaster. I think The Gap seem smart and fairly clued in and will probably end up coming out of this pretty well.

I wonder if it is Asian culture to be defensive and never admit a mistake? I still strongly feel that one can definitely crowd source for ideas and leverage on the network, and engaging fans and supporters with social media should be the way to go when using social media, and build up a strong brand.

-- Robin Low

Monday, November 1, 2010

Interesting Images about Social Media.

Infographics help communicate information in a digestible manner as they creatively present data in an understandable and engaging format.

Adding color, data and information in an interesting manner, Infographics can brighten up presentations and blogs with ease!

The Biggest Shift

The Biggest Shift details the importance and extent of social media. Essentially, if you are looking to utilize word of mouth advertising, social media is there to help boost your efforts. By focusing your marketing attention to the top social networking websites, you will see the immediate benefits of “fishing where the fish are”.

Basically, the concept is to look for location where your supporters or audience are located and engage them and make your presence felt there.

Social Marketing Compass

A compass is a device for orientating oneself and guiding physical direction. The social marketing compass points a brand in a physical and experimental direction, allowing them to connect with their customers, peers, and influencers, where those users already interact and seek guidance online.

Created to illustrate social marketing within the book Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, this infographic was also available as a poster to celebrate the book’s pre-sale.
(by Brian Solis)

Social Landscape

This infographic describes and ranks 10 popular social media channels by customer communication, brand exposure, traffic generation and SEO impact, which enables us to get a good grasp of how each tool helps users achieve business goals.

It acts as a roadmap of the social web and demonstrates which social channel will give the most bang for the buck in terms of customer communication, brand exposure, traffic, and SEO.

Infographics are definitely a fantastic tool to show information, and I love to search for great ones to share them with you.

-- Robin Low