A Bit About ROI and Mobile Commerce

After a long hiatus from the Bakas Media blog, it’s time to get back in the saddle and catch readers up on what I’ve been up to.

This new media relations agency was created to not only help businesses makes sense of the social web through consulting projects, but focus on developing new media tools.

In the past 12 months we’ve built micro sites with social sharing functions, consulted with brands like wine.com and ABC’s Bachelor Ben Flanjnik of Envolve Winery. But what I’m most excited about is joining the advisory board of Forkly and becoming the VP of Marketing for mobile payments provider, PressPay.

These are new tools in the tool box. Forkly is a rapidly growing mobile community of wine+food lovers. Think of it as the Instagram of eating and drinking. I like this project because every wine, beer and food brand (as well as every bar, restaurant, winery) will be able to control their brand at a granular location-based level…for free. Any brand can see who’s influential about their product, and where.

PressPay is a mobile payment option that can be added to any mobile shopping cart. It makes it easy for people to pay for stuff in a few clicks. We’ve been in stealthy bootstrap mode for the past 12 months, but are about ready to come out of the cage. This summer PressPay will be rolled out to approximately 10 million merchants through an endorsement from one of the largest business entities in the U.S.  Press release coming soon on that.

 

ROI and the social web

Without a doubt, one of the biggest questions about the social web is, “what’s the ROI of social media?”

The question has a fragmented answer. Each business has different goals and different ways of achieving their goals. Another way to look at is to ask, what’s the Return on Attention?

This brings me back to the original reason I started Bakas Media. It was a desire to help companies use the social web or their business cut through the noise and turn attention into intention. And to develop or identify relevant platforms beyond Twitter and Facebook. There are literally too many apps and websites to keep up with. We’re all feeling overwhelmed by technology, so getting someone’s attention is getter harder.

Once we become untethered, it’s game on.

We’ve only been able to answer the ROI question halfway because we haven’t had all the tools yet. Sure, we can tap into the real time experience when someone is enjoying our product, but giving them the ability to take action (real time) via mobile device has been missing. That’s where ROI happens—in the real time experience of your brand.

The end destination has been, and will be mobile commerce. If social media is the race, mobile commerce is the home stretch. Like the last bit of asphalt on a new bridge, or placing the last brick in a wall, or picking the curtains in a new home—pick a cliché, mobile commerce is the final piece of the puzzle when achieving ROI in today’s social web. Once we become untethered, it’s game on. In the very near future we will be able to do something we’ve never been able to do before — tap into the realtime experience between a consumer and a product where the consumer can make a real time purchasing decision using their mobile device. This is a magic place that isn’t as far away as it seems. It’s kinda like Narnia.

I’m working on a five-part series coming next week on this blog entitled, The 5 Pillars of ROI Success with Mobile Commerce. If that sounds interesting, please consider signing up to this blog so you can receive updates.

The past twelve months have been fun, but the next twelve months are going to be an adventure. Please let me know how I can help you figure out mobile commerce.

The Social Media Lifecycle INFOGRAPHIC

This infographic is one of the better ones to come out lately with more relevant information about the lifecycle for a brand in social media. In the wine industry we often use the analogy of social media sites being like vineyards. The vines need to be nurtured organically and with patience. Eventually the vines will produce fruit (ROI) but not at first. This graphic paints the same picture.

 

Marketing Chart: Agencies Rate Effectiveness of Social Media Tactics

From Marketing Sherpa’s chart of the week, agencies rate the effectiveness of their clients’ social media tactics. The timing of this chart couldn’t be better as Google today merged Google Search with Google+. Improving search rankings continues to be one of the more important strategies in social media. Agencies are at the intersection of their clients’ marketing objectives and all the new social tools.

Pay special attention to the last line for advertising. Only 12% of respondents thought advertising on social sites was ‘Very Effective’. And out of all the categories, advertising had the highest number of agencies saying it was ‘Not Effective’. It’s a little eye opening to see advertising as the least effective tactic for social media whereas building one-to-one relationships and moderating the company’s social sites were at the time. It just reinforces what we’ve been hearing over and over about social media. Successful social brands engage with their community and have 2-way dialoge. Brands still doing the old fashioned one-way broadcast tactic are still doing the traditional advertising thing, and it’s probably not working very well.

We’ve found Facebook ads to be almost useless. We’ve seen very few successful case studies for Facebook ads for small to medium sized brands. Larger companies with funds for running a campaign across multiple channels are seeing the best results for Facebook ads. I say Facebook ads are near useless today because of Google+ brand pages. There we see a more direct correlation between a brand page, Ad Words and Search results.

Facebook Stat of the Day

ABC’s Bachelor Ben Flajnik & Envolve Winery Partner with Bakas Media

Long before ABC tapped Ben Flajnik to be the new Bachelor, he and childhood friends Danny Fay and Mike Benziger set out to create a wine brand that was fun, yet focused on organic or biodynamic fruit. The three friends grew up riding bikes together among the vineyards in Sonoma. In 2008 Danny, Mike and Ben established Evolve wines, which literally evolved into Envolve Winery with an emphasis of involving new friends in the brand experience.

At its core, Envolve winery is about friendship, which makes the brand perfect for social media. As Ben’s adventure as the Bachelor unfolds in early 2012, the winery has a rare opportunity to engage with wine lovers nationwide. We know there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about doing it.

We see this as a unique challenge to find a synergy online between a winery brand and a public figure on television. We want to make sure wine lovers get to know Danny and Mike as important members of the Envolve friendship. Bakas Media and Envolve will partner together to educate wine drinkers about organic and biodynamic farming as well as many of the other great destinations in Sonoma. These guys grew up here and have a great deal of love for their community.

This will be a valuable case study for wineries to watch and see how a wine brand connects with its fans and nurtures relationships one to one.

From the Envolve Facebook page:

Envolve wines are small production, premium quality, Sonoma wines farmed sustainable, organic or biodynamic. We hand pick fruit, table sort each berry, use only French Oak, and craft a wine that represents it’s vineyard and terroir.

Epilogue wines are quality, everyday drinking wines that showcase beautiful California growing regions. Our goal is to educate you about each wine’s journey from vine to bottle with QR codes on the back of each label. With your smart phone you can scan the QR code and watch videos about wine pairings, winemaking, viticulture, contests and more.

Social Media Crystal Ball 2012

photo provided by UTC.edu

2012 should be a pivotal year for social media and human history. We’re reaching the peak of the bell curve and social media is getting closer to mass adoption. More human beings are starting to embrace the social web globally. This year started off with the promise of sCRM or better social CRM for brands, especially smaller brands. We’re not there yet but better software is being created every day.

In 2011 we also saw the birth of Google+, Google’s social layer not social network. The year is ending with a bang as we witness major redesigns on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook Timeline. Amidst the slew of redesigns, we also witnessed a ripple in the social fabric with version 2.0 of Path. Up until now, mobile had one kind of “feel” when it came to social apps. The user stream has always been a critical part of, “what did my friends just do and where?” With Path 2.0 we have seen the next level of UX design with an emphasis on mobile. Path 2.0 raises the bar for what users want from a mobile experience. Apple took a different tack with the mobile experience with the addition of SIRI. Now you don’t have to even type anything on your phone, you can just say it.

Technology continues to evolve rapidly in every facet of our lives. ATM’s rolled out 30 years ago, but now you can just take a photo of a check with your phone to deposit it. And smart appliances will be one of the fastest growing segments of technology. Imagine telling Siri to start preheating your oven to 350 degrees as you drive home.

Here’s the Bakas Media prognostications for social media in 2012:

+ The Social Media Revolt - Brian Solis raised this point with his new book, The End of Business As Usual. Over the past 3 years businesses have reluctantly adopted social media because they had to. But many businesses immediately focused on fluffing their followers and fans rather than focusing on quality interactions. Through various gimmicks like contests or promotions many brands built a faux following but still haven’t committed to true engagement. Did you know 90% of people who Like a brand on Facebook never go back to the page after liking it?

We’ll likely see a push back from consumers who may start unliking and unfollowing brands who provide no value to them.

+ Political Impact Takes on Different Feel From 2008 - President Obama harnessed the power of social media in 2008 and used it to win the election. In 2012 Obama will surely build upon his significant social footprint while the Republicans bicker over who’ll be their candidate. Once the Republicans get their candidate, Obama will have already created momentum with his massive email database, Facebook engagement and Twitter following. But unlike 2008, consumers and voters have more history to draw from. They are more savvy to the fact that Barrack wasn’t the one talking to them over the past 4 years on Twitter.

Social Media will still be a factor of course for data and polling, but it won’t have the same magic as four years ago. Back then Obama had clarity of message. His campaign wasn’t fighting for attention on social sites like he will this time around. Now, there’s many more brands also working to get the same mind share. Ultimately, the conversations leading up to the presidential election will mirror most political conversations that are too black and white. You either support this candidate or that candidate, and you can’t wait to tweet all sorts of venomous things about the other party.

This time around, social media may have its biggest impact tapping the important young voters and different racial groups. We’ve seen how social media impacted governments around the world, but here at home things can get too hot which becomes a turn off.

+ Mobile Commerce Will Emerge - Major shifts in human behavior, especially as they relate to technology take time to develop. Mobile commerce will be significant and it’ll be huge which is why it’ll take a while to happen. The groundswell for mobile commerce has been building for a couple of years but a few key factors have held it back.

First, the phones available on the market aren’t equipped to handle seamless mobile transactions. That’s where Square saw an opportunity and created a little adaptor to plug into iPhone headphone jacks. Second, privacy hasn’t been perfected. According the Forrester, consumers’ #1 fear of mobile commerce is that their private information could be compromised. Third, data has yet to be standardized. Our true forecast for mobile commerce to really reach mass adoption is 2014, but in 2012 it will emerge with a big foot forward.

+ The Convergence of Media - If you’ve watched any television this fall you may have noticed NBC, FOX and ABC are starting to put the hash tag to the show on the screen while you’re watching. While I watched The Biggest Loser and X-Factor this season, I noticed the faint tiny hash tag text in the lower right hand corner of my television. During the show people can go on Twitter and join in a conversation about the show using the hash tag. And X-Factor leveraged Twitter for voting throughout the season. Unfortunately, these ideas fell short because the television networks and shows still don’t get the concept of responding to people and having 2-way conversations. In 2012 I see an improvement in community management from shows on TV.

So there you have it. These are just my predictions for the coming year. At the end of 2011 I said Nimble would become a major player but that didn’t happen so who’s to say if any of the above visions will happen. What do you think?

The Secret of Twitter

Twitter has a secret feature that’s right under your nose. Well, okay it’s not a “secret” per se because many people understand it, but even more people don’t how it works. The feature that you might not fully understand is that your tweets are invisible to everyone except the person you @ reply to. When you start a tweet with “@username ” only you and that person will see the tweet. And any mutual followers you both have. The rest of the world won’t see the tweets. Conversely, if you put any character in front of the “@username” it makes the tweet visible to all your followers. That’s why you sometimes see a period in front of tweets so all your followers can see your response to someone:

But why would Twitter take the time to create a feature that makes your tweets not appear in the Twitter stream to everyone but one person? Because that’s what Twitter wants you to do. They designed the system so you could @ reply people one to one without junking up the Twitter stream of your followers. In other words, that’s the point of Twitter. The entire site was designed for one to one communication—lots and lots of @ replies. So why are so many people and brands still doing the broadcast thing like they think followers are sitting on the edge of their seats?

When I give talks or work with a client the first thing I do is look at their stream to see how many @ replies there are. Ideally I want to see a stream full of @ replies from the brand with an occasional promotional message. Domaine Select does a great job of this:

Newbies to Twitter often ask something like, “why would anybody want to see a tweet that I just ordered coffee?” You’re right, why? I tell people that you could sign up to Twitter today and have no followers and still be highly effective on Twitter. You can use Twitter search to find people talking about a subject you’re interested in and start @ replying to them. As a brand gets more active on Twitter they start seeing more incoming tweets that of course should be @ replied to. If you have a Twitter account go take a look at your stream right now. Is it full of @ replies or promotional stuff? Get in the habit of just @ replying all day every day so your stream looks like the @DSWE stream. Twitter built their system specifically for you to do this.

This article reads like it was written in 2009 because it sounds so basic. But still at the end of 2011 I still see so many brands that aren’t doing this.

Take the idea of one to one conversation a step further and apply it to all social media sites. On Facebook or Google+ it’s responding to every person you can. On YouTube it’s commenting or replying to people on video pages. This one to one conversation is the entire point of social media.

 

The ultimate success is when a company’s CEO does this. A truly social business is one where transparency and 1:1 communication happens from top to bottom. Our client wine.com’s CEO Rich Bergsund runs a technology company and @ replies people on Twitter. This will become an expectation rather than an option as we move into the future and businesses become more social.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Social Media

I’ve often thought about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for life as well as for the social business. Here Jeremiah Owyang of the Altimeter Group breaks it down in his Le Web keynote:

The Klout Perk Effect – What’s Your Score Worth?

The Social CEO [INFOGRAPHIC]