Social Search Will Change Your Business

Recently, Google announced changes to their search results, incorporating Google+ Circles social data into an individual’s results, there have been many reactions and conversations about this new product “Search plus Your World”.  However you view this move good bad or just confusing, it is the start of the change and merging of search and social data and it is just the beginning.

From a business perspective this is changing the game significantly and where a number of successful online businesses who have built their online business and revenue model  based on an SEO strategy and played lip service to social, if they have not seen an impact on their bottom line, yet they will do so unless they acknowledge that the world is changing and SEO is no longer dominant and that the future is a combined strategy, with specialists in both areas, working towards the same goals.

In the diagram below, we show the 2 current silos and the way we envisage the Social Commerce Model to evolve with SEO, social data funnels merging to support the businesses goals.


    Social Commerce & Innovation in Online Travel

    In a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article How Expedia Plans to Make Travel More Social Expedias vice-president of the US, Joe Megibow, discusses Expedias recognition of the value of travel bloggers and intend to introduce and their blog posts into the online experience of their travel customer.

    Online travel is an industry which is best placed to benefit from developing an integrated social commerce and mobile proposition, which delivers each individual customer with a personalised service and has the potential to enhance the online experience and also combine a mix of travel content, bloggers, published content, customer reviews and local destination tour and activity providers to improve customers in destination experience.

    In the spring of 2011, I met friends from Dallas in Paris for a couple of days, they were on a 5 day trip with their 2 sons and wanted to maximise the experience for all the family during their short stay.  In order to do this, Laura, carried out extensive desk research from her home using both online and guidebooks she purchased about Paris, she identified a range of activities from sightseeing, guided historic walks, places to eat, drop by for a coffee and take time out to relax and from this built a great schedule which she skilfully led, with the aid of her iphone, her husbands blackberry and google maps, their 5 day trip and my couple of days with them.

    This inspired me to carry out research into the online travel space, an area I have been interested in since 2001, to look for a joined up consumer experience which would have created the type of city break my friend and her family were looking for and was surprised to find that this was not available, there were vendors doing the individual areas, but there IS NO_ONE joining this all up to create a streamlined customer experience….so I met with a number of technology vendors and carried out research into what makes travel sell on line and developed a contecept called CITEZE – a social commerce and mobile citybreaks travel service which I introduced to a couple of online travel companies, who expressed some interest but no urgency to develop this new customer experience and I have to ask why?

    Below is an outline of the travel concept and I welcome views and opinions and volunteers companies and/or individuals who may be interested in developing this beyond a concept…look forward to hearing from you…..

      Business Cases for Social Strategies

      As more organisations and their business partners look to develop social strategies in one or more areas of their business, the need for cases studies is increasing. We have compiled a selection of social business cases studies, which show the business value from an individual social media campaign, to customer service, social commerce, evolving business models and developing a new business model with social at the heart of the strategy.

      This is not an exhaustive list, but it does demonstrate that social both in discrete projects or areas of the business, to disrupting business models. If you have other business cases, you can point us to please drop us a line or comment below.

        Social Business Strategy Development

        The Altimeter Report identified 4 internal requirements common to organisations who they perceived to be advanced in the implementation of social business projects:

        1. Baseline Governance and Re-enforcement: Established  and reinforced a corporate social media policy that allows employees to participate professionally
        2. Enterprise-wide response Processes: Defined processes for rapid workflow and engagement with customers in social media
        3. On-going Education Program and Best Practice Sharing: Fostered a culture of learning through on-going social media education Leadership from a dedicated and shared central hub: Organised in a scalable formation, with a cross functional “center of excellence”

        The full report is below.

        The Purple Spinnaker Social Business Framework provides organisations with a social business strategy framework and an operational implementation process which helps organisations to:

        1. Develop their first social business strategy
        2. Provide a framework for existing social business strategies
        3. Develop an internal education program for all levels within the organisation

        As, with all social business strategies, the core of the framework is based on listening, learning, engaging and growing your business:

        To support our framework, we have identified the key workstreams a business needs to manage to develop and implement their social business strategy:

        Central to the success of your social business strategy is putting a team in place, which combines an internal social business leader with executive level support and the identification and engagemnt of external partners who can help you:

        1. Develop your company and/or projects social business framework
        2. Land the social business strategy into the operations of the business

        Social business strategies are adding value to companies across all industries today, but we are in the infancy of this area of business and as we see more successes, then we will see the evolution of the framework and also more experienced and skilled professionals leading and managing these projects.

        Today, it is still a bit of trial and error, but if you dont try you dont learn anything!

        Altimeter Social Business Readiness: How advanced Companies Prepare internally:

          Social Commerce

          What is Social Commerce?
          In todays world social commerce is an online store on Facebook, as this is the largest social network with the most global brand and global user base.

          Who is experimenting in Social Commerce?
          We are seeing a number of  different consumer companies experiment with social as a new channel to both engage with customers on their purchase journey and provide them with a place to buy their product or service through the social channel, be that social networks like Facebook and Twitter or as an app for smartphones and tablets.

          Facebook & Twitter
          Facebook and Twitter are the primary social networks companies are experimenting with social commerce platforms.  Twitter was the first channel where brands gave consumers the opportunity to buy, not in the social network, but were directed straight to a point of purchase.  In 2008, Dell was one of the first companies to use Twitter in this way, communicating daily deals with a direct link to a page where they can purchase the product.  Dell reported revenues US$6.5m through this channel in the first 2 years.

          Facebook provides additional functionality through the ability to create a fully functioning e-commerce application on their site.  ASOS the UK based online fashion retailer, has taken advantage of this an in January 2011, launched  a fully functioning store on Facebook.  Their customer experience combines that of their store, with access to their full range of stock, plus the social aspects of Facebook, where you can share the clothes you are looking at and purchasing with friends.

          The travel industry is another area, where we are seeing the ability to book flights with Delta Airlines, hotel rooms with Hilton Hotels and a holiday with HolidayIQ.

          jwtintelligence, have published their social commerce research which discusses their observations and findings on social commerce, Facebook, consumers social and interest graphs.