August 7, 2009 by George Eberstadt
Most of the books I “read” these days are audio books. Last year, that included Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s excellent Groundswell. (Here it is on Audible.) As a result, I missed this extraordinary chart, and just discovered it today. So it’s not exactly breaking news. But even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth a second look.
July 21, 2009 by George Eberstadt
www.engagementdb.com provides case studies on companies’ use of social tools as well as a database used to analyze the effectiveness of different efforts. The site is produced by Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wet Paint. Their new report shows a strong positive effect from social channels. Or if you prefer the highlights, here’s a write-up at OnlineMediaDaily.com. One finding that stands out:
As the number of channels increase, overall engagement increases at a faster rate.
Social is one of those tools where more really is better.
January 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt
I just got back from the Social Networking Conference in Miami. Here’s the presentation I gave, titled “Ecommerce Meets Social Networks: A Different Approach to Driving Online Referrals”. The usual caveats about slides-without-accompanying-commentary apply.
December 15, 2008 by George Eberstadt
Peter Kim asked a handful of thought leaders in the social media space to give their predictions for the top trends of ’09. Here are a couple related to social commerce:
After a devastating holiday season, retailers will eagerly seek a way to improve results other than driving demand with deeper discounts. One option they will investigate will be how to insert people and social connections into the buying process, illuminating and influencing for the first time the Black Hole Of Consideration. As they lick their wounds in the first half of 2009, retailers will watch from the sidelines as media companies implement open social technologies like Facebook Connect and the Open Social Platform. But as the holiday season launches early after Labor Day, shoppers will find options to see what friends are recommending, buying and rating integrated into the shopping experience.
Jeremiah Owyang: eCommerce Goes Social
The recession will force revenue results out of social technologies –marketing must prove its worth to actually changing the bottom line. Although customer reviews are nothing new on popular eCommerce sites like eBay and Amazon, in most cases, consumers use the critiques from people they don’t know. Now with connective technologies like Facebook Connect, Google FriendConnect, and OpenID, consumers will now be able to see reviews, experiences, and critiques from people they actually know and trust. As a result, expect to see eCommerce widgets and applications appear in popular social networks, as well as when visiting existing eCommerce sites the ability to login with your Facebook or Google identity. As an example, next time I’m shopping for a laptop, not only will I see reviews from editors and consumers, I will now know which one of my friends uses an Apple computer, and what they think of it.
October 16, 2008 by George Eberstadt
The communications agency Universal McCann recently published a report called “When Did We Start Trusting Strangers?” looking at how much more influential the advice of strangers has become in purchase decisions since the rise of social media. Brands better not ignore this call to action — like it or not, the phenomenon is real and powerful. And in many ways it’s a good thing, putting more pressure on brands to produce superior products instead of just superior marketing.
But it’s not entirely a good thing. To the degree that these anonymous interactions replace authentic, personal ones, they represent lost opportunities. We end up with better stuff and fewer friends. When we get advice from strangers on a blog instead of calling our friends, is it because we trust strangers more? Because we enjoy the experience more? Or just because it’s so easy? Hey, there are a lot of strangers in the world – some have already written down their opinions on whatever product you want to know about.
But if it were just as quick and easy to find advice from friends as from strangers, which would you ask? If you said “friends”, why? Because you trust friends to give it to you straight? Because you know them well enough to calibrate their advice? (e.g. I know Gwen is picky, so if she says it’s good, it’s good.) Because it gives you a reason to check in with someone you care about? Even in the McCann study, in response to the question, “How I share opinions of products, brands and services”, the personal forms of communication (e-mail and IM) rank 50% higher (!) than the impersonal ones (blogs, reviews, comments). (Page 29.)
In the next phase of the web, we’re going to see our real world relationships woven into our on-line experience everywhere we go. (Charlene Li says social networks will be like air – they’ll just surround you.) And when that happens, we’ll see the pendulum swing back from stranger-advice towards friend-advice. And that will be a good thing, too.