My name is Jim Richardson, and I run a company in Newcastle called Sumo, we work with cultural organisations to reach out to new and existing audiences. One of the ways that we do that is through digital and we’ve built our share of online shops and ticketing systems for museums, festivals and theatres, and I’ve seen social media come to play a more important role in this.
I think the first thing to say is that social media has changed the way that people act. A decade ago the idea that someone might choose to publically broadcast there lives would seem ridiculous, but today despite concerns about privacy, people live more transparent lives.
Our younger audiences have never known anything different, to them it is very natural to live their lives socially, but people of all ages are sharing their lives through social media. A recent survey found that 83% of UK consumers say they are interested in sharing information about purchases with their friends… a social consumer talks about what they buy before, while and after purchase.
I think this is especially true of cultural experiences, these are often the most interesting part of the week and it has become almost natural to share these. This weekend I lost my iPhone whilst out in Qatar, and having run almost a pictorial commentary on my trip up to that point, it felt like something was missing when I went to exhibitions and couldn’t share that experience socially.
Luckily the people I was with were sharing the experience with the world for me.
So, what is social commerce. I see this as helping people to connect where they buy and buy where they connect. So we are looking at integrating shopping experiences into websites like Facebook and giving people the opportunity to share information about what they are buying at the point of purchase.
I think in it’s most basic form, social commerce also relates to being active in these social spaces,and leveraging this interaction with your fans to market your retail offer. Facebook has over 30 million members in the UK, while Twitter has 15 million so both offer lots of opportunity to connect with new and existing audiences.
Most of your organisations will be using social media in some form, though perhaps not in relation to your retail offer. As with anything on social media I think that your starting point should be to listen to what people are saying about you, and look for ways to be helpful to them.There are a whole range of tools out there like Sprout Social which help you to see when people are talking about your organisation, your events and your products. You might also want to think about searching and responding to people who for example are struggling to find a gift, looking for something to do this weekend or mention keywords relating to your products.
Here is a nice example from TATE, where someone is frustrated with their online store, and within minutes TATE pick up on this mention on Twitter and respond to the complaint. Not only do they help this customer, but they update their website to improve it for other customers based on this tweet.
So how do you superpower your Facebook page to work harder for you. Each organisation is unique, but as a rule I’d recommend that you try a mix of content pictures, videos, contests, updates, offers and monitor what your audience responds best to.
There are tools like Edgerank checker which can help you to analyses the response, this will even suggests things like when to post to Facebook to get the best response from your unique group of fans.I’d also suggest that you look at how big brands are using Facebook, and see what is working for them.
North Social is another useful tool, this allows you to add customisable Facebook tabs in to your page with things like offers, deals, e-newsletter sign up’s all to help you to convert more people in to fans and more fans in to customers.
Here is an example of Fangating. When people are invited to become fans of the Royal Opera House to unlock a chance to win tickets, you can also do the same thing with exclusive discounts.This grows the number of fans a Facebook page has and pushes people to make purchases.
As well as promoting products on Facebook a number of brands have started to sell products on Facebook. When Pampers launched their Facebook shop, they sold over 1000 boxes of nappies in the first hour. I’d like to think that what all of you have to sell is a little more exciting then nappies.
Here is an example from the BALTIC where their product information is available on Facebook, but purchasing is done on the CultureLabel website.
This is a really nice service from Disney, where they are selling cinema tickets through an app on their Facebook page. This lets you browse Disney films and find cinemas near you (well, if you live in the United States) and not only buy a ticket for yourself, but also select friends who you can invite to join you.
Facebook shops have had a hit and miss response, some say that this is because people aren’t in buying mode whilst hanging out with friends, while others criticize the way that these are intergrated in to Facebook as being slow, clunky and poorly designed. But people have written off Facebook before, saying advertising doesn’t work on Facebook for similar reasons, and Facebook now accounts for 30% of online advertising.
So these are all ways of getting people to interact with your products on Facebook. But what about putting social in to the places where people purchase?You can see on this screengrab from the MoMA shop that we have a like button here, this is the other side of social commerce, sharing your purchases with your friends in social networks. Facebook Like buttons receive 100 million clicks per day.
This is data from Eventbrite who analyzed events on their website over a 12 week period, tracking every mention on social networks and checking if purchases resulted from these.They found that on average a tweet was worth 43 cents and a Facebook share was worth $2.52, but when you drill down in to the figures further you see that for music and concerts the average value of a share to Facebook shoots up to $12, so this kind of sharing is incredibly valuable.
I just want to mention that is is possible for any of you to monitor not only when someone comes to your website via Twitter or Facebook using Google Analytics, but also to see when that leads to a purchase and the value of that purchase.This is the great thing about the web, it is very easy to track and measure success, just very few people do this.
Going back to Eventbrite, they found that out of those who shared information about events, 40% did so prior to purchase and 60% did so after purchase. The research found that a share after purchase was much more effective at converting other to buy a ticket then a share prior to a ticket purchase.
And this is one of many surveys that backs up what we all already know, a recommendation from a friend is a powerful thing, this was true before social media and this is just a new platform upon which to share our positive and negative experiences.
Facebook Connect is one way in which Facebook is going beyond it’s own walls. This enables other websites to tap in to the information that we have entered in to the social network.
These are some of the things which Facebook Connect can tell another website about a user.
Amazon are I guess the business which is known best for bringing reviews to the web, and they have embraced Facebook too.Facebook Connect enables anyone to link their Facebook account to Amazon, this shares social data about you and your friends with Amazon and they can make their recommendations even more personal. Here you can see what Amazon recommends as a gift for David.
By using information shared from Facebook, Amazon are giving their customers more reasons to spend time on their website and to make purchases.
Here is another example of Facebook being intergrated with an external store, this time it is ebay and something which they did to help people to group together to buy gifts. You connect your Facebook account to Ebay, and then select the friend who you’d like to buy a gift for.
Ebay suggests gifts based on their Facebook profile, just as we saw with Amazon.
But Ebay takes it one step further, by letting you share the cost of the gift with other Facebook friends.
Here is a different use of Facebook Connect which Ticketmaster have been rolling out in the United States. This lets you log in to their website through Facebook Connect and see where people you know are sitting in a concert.The people who are sharing their locations have given permission for this information to be shared and while it might seem a little creepy, this was something which Ticketmaster says was suggested by their customers.
Another example comes from MoMA in New York, where they again used Facebook Connect to build personalised summer programmes with events selected based on people’s Facebook profiles.
I just want to touch on one last social media websites before I finish, Pinterest.Does anyone use Pinterest?
This has been receiving a huge amount of hype about being the next big thing, the website has 10 million users, but this is rising rapidly. I heard one compare Pinterest and Facebook by saying that while Facebook is like a pub where people go to hang out with each other, Pinterest is like a craft market where people go to browse.
So for those of you who haven’t seen Pinterest, this is what it looks like, it’s kind of a visual scrapbook with mainly pictures which people have pinned from other websites. You need to have an account to use pinterest, and then it adds a little Pin It button to your browser so that you can add images to your pin boards.
And you can organise the images which you Pin in to pinboards, so this is my pinboard for cool office spaces, where I am storing inspiration for our new office. If you read about Pinterest, you’ll hear that the majority of users are woman, howver in the UK 56% of users are men, but this is a new platform in it’s infancy and things are changing very rapidly.
Retailers are getting excited because people are spending a lot of time on Pinterest, with nearly as much time being spent on Pinterest as Twitter.You can add your shop items to Pinterest, and even put a price on these, so you can place the catalogue of everything you sell in to this space very easily. Pinterest is achieving high click through rates so promises to deliver lots of potential shoppers, especially as you can add objects under the title gifts and suddenly reach a global audience.
But Pinterest is very new, and while worldwide the top subjects might be crafts, fashions and interior design, in the UK it is actually venture capital, blogging and seo marketing, so the global audience and our local UK audiebnce could be quite different.One thing which I’d suggets you do is add a Pin It badge to your website, which will make it easier for people who are using the service to add things you sell to Pinterest.
And I think it there is one bit of advice I’d say to take away from this talk, it would be to add these sharing button to your website, this is easy to do, won’t cost you a fortune and then you can start to track which social media websites are improtant to your customers and which are therefore improtant to you.
Social commerce for the cultural sector
When asked what sources "influence yourdecision to use or not use a particularcompany, brand or product” 71% claim reviewsfrom family members or friends exert a "greatdeal" or "fair amount" of influence.(Harris Interactive, June 2010)