IBM Launches Social Business..Ideas from Jeffery Giesener, CEO ShoppeSimple

IBM Launches Social Business

Now with over 750 million members globally, there’s no doubt that Facebook should be a part of your Social Business marketing strategy. At this point, it’s almost insane to think that your own B2B prospects and B2C customers aren’t on Facebook, which is why many businesses are finally realizing they need to create an engaging and valuable Facebook presence for their Fans. In fact the Facebook icon is becoming ubiquitous.

IBM staked a claim in the e-commerce market coining the term e-Business in 1997, which continues to drive 14 years+ of global e-Business success. Last week in a press release IBM is stepping up and again taking ownership of the term Social Business. Hmmm…that certainly legitimizes social.

At ShoppeSimple we applaud IBM for finally formalizing their position on Social Business and frankly it couldn’t come at a better time as you head into the Holidays looking to not only grow your overall business but to navigate the social waters.

So what will the next quarter of your business look like with your Social Business? Is it mapped?

There isn’t a week that goes buy that I don’t have C-Level discussions from both clients and prospects asking me how do we protect our business from all of the “bad” economic news bearing down at us? How do we pull out Plan B’s and C’s and put them in place NOW.Plans that do not require us to make major investments, ones that can be accomplished quickly and do not force our business to take a margin hit should economic conditions go further south and fast.

(For answers to these concerns let’s go offline and I will share with you how ShoppeSimple can assist in providing social and mobile revenue lift to your business in less than 30 days without investment, without margin hit and you’ll get positive results in 30 days. We will put our skin in the game to prove it.)

On the flip side of this discussion, I speak with large Internet and Multi-Channel retailers who want to take the conservative and risk adverse path and prefer to defer jumping into Social Business. For these colleagues I only have to point to online history to debate them. To provide several counter points that support my position which indicates deferring in the social space is a path for them to become a second rate player to be disrupted by a competitor. All of this has been documented before. Here’s how and why… please let’s not have it happen to your business.

How long did your business wait to jump in the online space? How long did you take to start to capture email addresses and then to use them for marketing your business? By the way, now looking back…

  • how large is your current email database?
  • how much revenue do you get from your email channel today? Would you give it up?
  • finally what percent is your email channel to your overall ecommerce business?

How long did it take for your business to move from stores and or catalogs to creating and marketing a full-blown e-commerce website? Yes those of us old enough remember brochure-ware sites (before ecommerce) scary to be dating myself.

  • What percent of your overall business is now done in your e-commerce channel?
  • Would you shut down your ecommerce efforts?

So I sense you now see a parallel here to thinking about growing and monetizing your social channels. Wanting to grow your social channels and doing it today and not somewhere out in futureware?

And to those who have asked me to help or those who have a social block, I call this getting over the Social Divide. Its time for your company to decide where it needs to be with Social and to do it right now. “Social Time” is ticking …tick…toc…

In a book called Resonate by Nancy Duare, Nancy writes about how General Electric (GE) never saw economic downturns as a time for retrenchment. In fact for GE it is just the opposite. “We increase our focus on marketing and advertising”. As a case study she shares how GE, during the downturn of 2008, relied on research conducted by Harvard Business School’s Ranjay Gulati. He observed that companies that relentlessly focus on the customer and invest more in their customer experience can expect to stay ahead of their competition for up to five years after recovery. So one see the power of where GE is today after significantly increasing consumer/customer focused investment spending in 2008.

Like GE’s aggressive marketing spend in 2008 and now by IBM putting its stake in the ground around Social Business during the worst economic crisis of our lifetime what lessons can your business takeaway from GE and now IBM’s position in the Social Business space? What message are they sending to all of us?

From my seat there should be plenty of takeaways. You only have to go back a short 14 years to see how IBM’s first e-Business position has had an amazing impact on the global ecommerce economy. Now with the world shrinking (750 Million Facebook accounts) and the world speeding faster and faster… today more than ever your business must (yes must) jump on the social and mobile superhighways (Facebook, Twitter and Mobile).

With all of these facts at your disposal how can you think about deferring your social moves or waiting just not moving at all. How can you be skeptical that the Facebook platform will not monetize itself over the next several years. To repeat: What revenue are you making with your email database? Now if you jumped into Social Business just think what your Social Business could look like in just 1-5 years when history repeats itself again.

I just can’t image why you wouldn’t want your business to stake its claim on this social superhighway?

You just can’t be left on the Facebook onramp when you hear today, according to Nielsen, that the average Facebook user spends over 7 hours per month on Facebook. So starting with this post and next weeks, I will share some of my thoughts on ways for your business to approach the Facebook Superhighway. Over the next two weeks, I will share 10 Facebook strategies I would do if I would be in your shoes. And my hope is that these call outs will assist your business with Facebook strategy, development and execution. Enjoy and just like in anything social… please share your comments with me  by clicking here.

First and the key to developing

Here are the 10 things I would do if I were in your shoes…

1.  Treat Your Facebook Page as a Business Channel: Start acting like your Facebook page is a unique and separate marketing channel. Dump the company silos and culture that are prehistoric and obviously prohibit Facebook and your other social channels from growing and integrating with each other. You treat your PPC, email, Affiliate, as unique marketing channels and obviously know that they leverage each other and Facebook should be no different. Your Facebook presence needs to instill throughout your company that Facebook is a viable channel for generating traffic, turning Facebook traffic into leads and then monetizing traffic and lead flow into a valuable revenue stream for your business. If you haven’t been able to accomplish this then let ShoppeSimple help you!

Yes undeniably, your consumer is on Facebook an average of 7+ hours a month and if you are not engaging them or conversing with them right now… trust me your competitor will seize the opportunity to do so. In fact, they already are.

2. Embrace Facebook Conversations: Stop being scared of fans posting on your Wall. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Think about it this way. When I worked in Customer Service, I loved an unhappy customer who called in to complain. It gave me every opportunity to fix the issue. Someone who doesn’t complain can’t be turned around. Can’t be resold on the brand and in turn tell others about their positive experience. Handling customer service through social is an exponential opportunity to grow your business and one that your business must succeed with. So Social Business activity should be thought of just like that customer service analogy. I refer to all of this as Surround-Sound marketing. Embracing, engaging with and conversing your consumers no matter where they are is the definition of social and what drives word of mouth, the potential for viral opportunities. At ShoppeSimple we call this Response Management.

However, you must STOP putting your advertising on your consumers Wall. They didn’t ask for it! It is a huge red Stop Sign to blunting consumer conversations. They didn’t permission you to deliver it. And they are already starting to hate it. We have found through our research, when you remove your advertising Wall posts your Likes dramatically increase holistically and organically. They also convert to buyers. Isn’t kind of obvious. What does your personal Facebook Wall look like today? Does your Wall look like you email inbox? YUK!

A good point from HubSpot…in your Facebook settings, make sure comments are enabled so your fans can post to your Wall about things they want to talk to you about and tag your company in their posts, too. Making your Page more engaging and will also encourage brand evangelism that can show new visitors and potential fans of your Page that people love your brand! On the other side of the rainbow, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism or negative feedback. Don’t delete these types of posts. Instead, respond in a way that shows you respect their opinion and appreciate their feedback.

3. Delivering Your Content on Your Consumer’s Facebook Rail: Why notenable your consumers to see your content/offers, conversations and engagements on their own terms and on their consumer pages with just one click. That means by using ShoppeSimple your content/offers resides on the left rail of your consumer’s Facebook page (not their Wall).  

Often we are asked what is unique about ShoppeSimple and the answer is how we enable consumers to dynamically curate offers (self-select offers) and ride them into any and all of the social and mobile rails with just one simple click for both merchants and consumers. We just don’t build social on one platform. Our tools build Social Business for your business on all of the current social and mobile web-enabled platforms with simply one click and there in lies our Intellectual Property and our secret sauce.  

For the first time consumers do not face a fire hose of product offers that they do not want or have not asked for but instead can self-select themselves into content or product offers and have them delivered to their Facebook consumer pages (not the Wall) or any social and mobile enabled platform they want. This means your content/offers get the attention of your consumer daily, which leads to incremental higher average order, new customers, higher conversion, and more frequency of ordering without channel shift. So you don’t pay twice for the same order. We build content and engagement for your business daily.

4. Don’t Start and Stop: Similarly, if you are going to get all excited about social and then do nothing in the channel after starting we would suggest that you are not ready to build a social channel and propose you do not begin. Nothing could be worse than having your consumers believe you are social and then they experience not having conversations with you. Conversations on Facebook and on any social platform need to be engaging and continuing. Otherwise, your fans will have no reason to keep coming back to your Facebook Channel, and your Social Business Channel will suffer. So will your Brand.

I know that many of you have been reading my blog posts on a weekly or monthly basis. But what is also interesting is to watch your behaviors. To understand why you have not kicked the ShoppeSimple program into gear or at least formulated a trial program with us in time for the Holiday to test for yourself the benefits of the ShoppeSimple program. With ShoppeSimple there are no implementation costs, you will be ready to go in less than 10 days with little or no IT involvement from your side and we work off a revenue share program for your first trial. Plus we guarantee your satisfaction. I sense this value proposition is why we are growing so quickly.

What do you have to lose?  We are also not recommending replacing what you are doing in social but we have found a successful way for our clients to increase their Surround-Sound marketing tactics and as a result monetize social in harmony with their consumer engagement.

To get started with a ShoppeSimple Social Business test all you have to do is email me by clicking here or call me at 612-349-2740.