Remember the times when you read the online reviews and researched products on the Internet, only to buy them in showrooms and stores later. Now, people are increasingly going into the stores for looking at the products, but buying online for better prices. Showrooming, as the Wall Street Journal calls this behaviour, is on the rise and retailers have to brace themselves for the new revolution. This is just one facet with the Social Web, which not only is aiding online and mobile commerce but also helping evolve newer business models. Not just business, but it is aiding the emergence of related media buzz and technologies such as Big Data. However, Social web is not just about business and technologies, nor it is about content and media, but it is built around people. It addresses more fundamental aspects such as the convergence of people’s online and offline interactions and their social behaviours. At Texavi, we created the Unified Experience Framework, leveraging the social mega trends. In this post, I give a few tips on how you can embrace the social web to your advantage.
1) Meaningful conversations, not just loads of content
With the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, content is being created, curated and consumed in humungous volumes. Sample this, every day just the ReTweet button in Twitter alone generates no less than 1 TeraByte of data. While it is true that now virtually everybody can become a publisher of content with ease, it is also true that there has been a deluge of content that is invading our professional and personal lives. A study conducted by University of Massachusetts concluded that there has been a decline in the number of blogs maintained by large corporates. This goes on to prove that just having a blog up for the sake of it, will not help, unless it is not helping the objectives of the businesses, in this case. Large brands need to track the conversations that are happening about them and also understand how meaningful these conversations to their own business and to their customers.
2) Sustainable commerce, not just sporadic transactions
People are getting comfortable buying, selling and trading online more than they were a few years ago. Businesses are realising that web commerce does not mean merely having 128-bit encryption and ‘https’ web sites to help people use credit cards for payment. The social web is making companies and people cross the chasm of the security, associated with the online commerce. The commerce here actually connotes the true sense of complete experience of offline and inline interactions. This healthy blend of offline and online experiences start from advertising to create noise, arousing interests, spreading the word of mouth, through reliable sources, prospecting, from trying and leading into buying.
3) Unified experience, not just web sites
Have you got a web site? Great, but don’t be ecstatic, just yet! You have passed the examination, but just scored enough to pass. To be able to compete in this ever-changing world, you need to be agile and nimble with your products and services. Web sites are, of course, more dynamic than print, but then they are not agile. To be truly agile and go to where the people are going, you need to get social. ”If you build it they will come” may not hold good now, one thing that will certainly work in today’s world is “Go to where the people are!”. That is what businesses and people are doing, going to the social platforms where the people are already hanging around, conversing, sharing and commenting. However, don’t get overwhelmed by this social revolution, and ignore the basics. Fundamental to your business is the core mission to deliver value and delightful experiences to your customers, users and partners.
4) Caring and championing, not just sharing
Social media are not all about sharing, commenting and liking the content created or uploaded by your friends. It is also about sharing the feelings, emotions, pains and pleasures of others. Human beings are social creatures and nobody can deny the power of social media to reach out the needy and those who need the help. Whether its the movements to oppose the suppression and dictatorship, or the protests to demonstrate the unity against growing consumerism, social media have been playing a significant role. From campaigns supporting the environmental issues to the campaign to help donate the bone-marrow to a promising young entrepreneur suffering from Leukemia, social media are being used to the right cause.
5) Actionable insights, not just plain numbers
I am a statistician by qualification and millions like me, around the world are happy to see the surge of statistics and analytics, thanks to the social media. From Google Analytics to marketing budgets and companies’ performances, numerical data are finding prominence. There are a plethora of services that came up in recent times to compute your engagement, influence, reach etc. Don’t be enamoured by the ranks and scores and target the influencers or mimic the content with high engagement scores. For instance, Paul Adams, in his book Grouped, quotes a research about how common people do not get influenced by celebrities or those with high scores of influence and reach. As per the study, people generally get influenced by people like them and tend to follow their behaviour. So, know fully well that the data and analytics that you gather are only as good as their use. Unless they are put to the right usage, context and value-add to your business and customers, they remain just numbers.
Hope you find this post usable, as always, welcome your feedback. I shall touch upon more practical challenges in delivering the unified experience and how you can overcome them. Until then, have fun!