Social Media: Running businesses as used to be

April 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

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It was not long ago that businesses and people had good relationships. Before the industrial times and before productions went massive, our great-grandparents used to buy their food, clothes and most of the things they needed from small and independent stores in their neighborhoods. It was a small and non-connected world back then where people and business owners had relationships. Relationship made business happen.

Then the economy of industrial goods came, products became massive, cheaper and our parents had more money to buy more stuff. Conglomerates raised and the small shops started to closed or been acquire by bigger ones. We changed relationships for cheap and convenience. We now just need to go to a big store to buy around 99% of all of our needs, from groceries to furnitures. Few stores, many cheap purchases.

Interesting though, we are living once a gain new changing times. Or are we? Fact is that technology and the whole economy around the internet has changed things. Revolution? Or back to the basics? It seems that life indeed moves in circles and we are now returning to a point that used to be normal. Many companies wonders about this “creating relationship” with customers as it if was something new. Social Media, as we are experiencing it now, is just helping the world to become again a smaller place. A place where relationships are once again the most important value, as they always were.

We don’t necessary need to leave the “cheap” or “convenience” we had. Technology enables to mix both. But people and companies have to change behaviors and be able to smoothly go back to the roots.

Additionally and even more fascinate is how technology enables us now to connect with the small players still around. Despite de industrialization of goods, there are still many amazing people working hard to sustain small and independent businesses. They make great handcraft, food and other goods. They were used to be limited to sell to just in a defined local area. Many of them grew by sacrificing their artisan philosophy and relationships, others just perished. But some few survived doing the same products under the same philosophy. Because the idea of creating authentic products wasn’t a promising business, it didn’t encourage others to follow, specially after seeing how consumers kept on shifting to massive goods.

Change is happening though and small and independent artisan, producers and business can now connect to a broader audience thanks to technology and interact with all of them thanks to what we now fancy call “social media”. Consequently, the trend for the number of these type of business to grow is imminent. Other passionate producers will see there is again business opportunities to create and to establish relationships with consumers just as my grandparents where used to. Hence more and more will start new businesses.

Besides caring for organic, ecological and sustainable food, foodieSquare is pursuing this trend: creating relationships between food lovers and passionate food producers, hence support current and new artisan food producers to growth their businesses and connect them with food lovers all over Europe. The time is just right. The change is here and we are going finally back to the roots where relationships are once again the most important asset for companies!

Social Media in Enterprises, it works!

March 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

Roberto Carreras, Enrique Dans, Ana Nieto Churruca, Lasse Rouhiainen, Daniel Canomanuel, Tristán Elostegui

Spanish online celebrities: Roberto Carreras, Enrique Dans, Ana Nieto Churruca, Lasse Rouhiainen, Daniel Canomanuel, Tristán Elosegui

Today I attended a Social Media round table-session with spanish online business celebrities like Enrique Dans, Tristán Elosegui, Roberto Carreras, Daniel Canomanuel,  Lasse Rouhiain, and Daniel Canomanuel at IE Business School. The panel was moderated by Ana Nieto Churruca as an introduction to the presentation of her new book La Web en las Empresas 2.0 (Web in the Enterprises 2.0) produced together with Lasse Rouhiain.

Thanks to new technology, internet has penetrated already a major part of the population (for example: via smartphones) and this trend just keeps on growing. For now, it should be clear to most small, medium and larger enterprises, that Social Media is far beyond Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In or whatever what the end customer sees and uses to look, discover, review, share and/or purchase goods and services online. Companies need to be where their customers are, but the big question is how? and under which strategy? lead by who? As I commented on my Marketing 2.0 post, marketing fundamentals are still there and have become more important than ever! It is the channel, strategy and skills-set of marketers what have truly changed. Changed drastically! As Enrique Dans said regarding traditional Media Agencies “…I am watching how Media Agencies are just been faced with the new reality and making the same mistakes that the Telecom Industry and others did when their business model was disrupted…”

Social Media is more than just what end-consumer sees

The event was conducted in spanish, hence, I would like to share the most relevant insights about this event for non-spanish speakers and for those that could not attend the event. As the Social Media panel organizer of the 2nd edition of the IE Digital Forum next March 15th @ IE Business School, I am passionate about these topics and about how Marketing 2.0 has emerged that fast. It was only about 4 years ago, when I first directly interact with Marketing back at Siemens. Today for example, I was proud to see how Siemens has launched a creative campaign in Facebook called “/answers“. This is a great example on how multinationals are using Social Media channels wisely and professionally. For me, Siemens is providing a clear message that even the biggest b2b corporations can create innovative ways to connect with their communities.

In order of appearance:

Enrique Dans – Prof. at IE Business School – Blog: enriquedans.com, Twitter: @edans (126k followers). To the question “Is he a celebrity?“, he clearly answered that even though he has tremendous 126k followers online he is by no means a celebrity. “No one in the streets stops me to ask for an autograph“. Enrique did became famous online after hard work and years of experience on the field. He has been blogging almost everyday the past 8 years! He quoted Woody Allen when saying that “success after 10 years of work comes overnight”, and that of course “luck” is part of the process as well. About the question regarding what is key element for enterprises in order to be successful with Social Media, he mentioned just one word: Empathy. It comes all about relationships and how companies interact with their customers. Companies should ask what can they offer to their community. Each community is different and each company has to figure it out by themselves. Uni-directional marketing belongs to the past! Its time for some real marketing.

Finally, during the Q&A session, Enrique brought a very interesting point regarding the ROI of social media. “It is tricky and please don’t make the fool mistake to try to ROI-ize Social Media campaigns to its full extend.” “Not everything that you do with technology is related to ROI”. “Try to find metrics that make sense and that will somehow convert to ROI in the long-term. So far it is still not clear exactly how it converts and nobody knows how to do it”.

Tristán Elosegui – Online Marketing Manager at Secuoyas – Blog: http://tristanelosegui.com, Twitter: @tristanelosegui (6,8k followers). To the question “What are the common mistakes companies do with social networks”, Tristán gave a clear answer: 1. They use Social Media as they would use traditional media, 2. They lack of Marketing objectives and focus only on short-term sales. (Sales do come, but after there is trust! To enable trust, relationships have to be established first!). 3. They don’t allocate the resources required (People, money, time…STRATEGY!)

Roberto Carreras – Social media strategy strategist, Plan B – Blog: robertocarreras.es, Twitter: @RobertoCarreras (8.6k followers). Robert talked about the success of his Plan B project, which is a “Social music discography” concept where music is created by the people for the people. “Tech was always there, but before you needed to know how to program PHP and HTML to create content online. Now due that it is extremely easy to create content (any kind!), creating has hit mainstream”. In his blog, he mentions how Social Media is not only a new channel but also a new way of working!

Lasse Rouhiainen – Marketing 2.0 expert, Video Marketer – Blog: lasserouhiainen.com, Twitter: @lasseweb20 (11,2k followers). As a video expert, Lasse explained the importance of video marketing. “Videos are hardly replicable”. “Video marketing is a most in the marketing plan”. He mentioned 2 different types of videos: 1. The standard videos about products/services and 2. video from the people of the company like employees or the CEO. His experience showed that real employees have more impact on consumers. Finally, he said that it is important that small and medium enterprises (SME) should start to use more videos as a tool. SME are faster, flexible and can produce videos with fewer resources that could have greater impact.

Daniel Canomanuel – eCommerce Director of Telepizza – Blog: blog-e-commerce.blogspot.com, Twitter: @Canomanuel (2k followers). Daniel, the only one representing a consumer good company talked first about the importance of Social Networks. In Spain, there are more than 13 million Facebook users alone! (35% from a 40 million population!) He also stated that customers are switching more and more to the online channel (thanks to technology!). Because he believes that companies have to be where their customers are, Telepizza is now present in all online channels: Web, Mobile Web, App (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) and even they have just launched a Facebook Store to buy pizza without leaving Facebook, and with 50% discount! They are also in Twitter, Tuenti (the spanish Facebook) and are experimenting with foursquare as well. Each channel with its own strategy. To one of the question of the audience on how did he implemented his strategy? Daniel mentioned that he first started with some experiments with support of 3rd parties. After seeing the potential of social networks, they decided to internalize the process. Because the web is broad and Telepizza’s strategy is to be present in all channels, they currently use a mix of internal and external resources.

Finally, Daniel brough an interesting topic when mentioning the new entrants like Groupon and how Google’s monopoly has ended. Telepizza has currently 75k fans en Facebook and overall around more than 150k loyal customers (followers) in all Social Networks. His advices: “Make the community more dynamic, cause fans don’t come alone”. “Social media strategy has to be clear”. “Be ready to listen good but also bad reviews”. “Measure, measure, measure performance”.

Disclaimer: it was quite of a challenge to listen in spanish and transcribe to english simultaneously. Please let me know if I have interpret or express any  translated quote from some of the speakers incorrectly.

Notes from the European E-Commerce (EEC) in Madrid

October 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Today I had the pleasure to attend the European E-Commerce Conference in Madrid. Overall great keynote speakers!

The whole thing was more USA and Social Media/Digital Marketing oriented and less eCommerce but I think it was good so.
The eCommerce tool is just the commodity and there is not much to talk about. In the other hand, there is much to learn on how to implement eBusinesses that are really successful using the newest of the trends like making eCommerce platforms more mobile, personal, social and local (as described by Google).

From the conference I missed only more questions from the public, I guess spaniards were shy to speak in English (for those who can speak it!).

See below my notes (unedited) from the conference:

Brian Wiegand (CEO Alice.com)
– serial entrepreneur
– important is also to create value for shareholders.
– innovation and passion (reinvent how things are done in the traditional way).
– Bizflings, Nameproject, Jellfish sold to Microsoft.
– CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods).
– Private levels challenges the industry. Retailers are making own products. Best customers are your worst competitors. Private levels growing fast!!!
– Media is changing. 3 to 3000 channels! Media fragmentation. Relationship of suppliers with Retailers not consumers! Consumers hate advertisements. Companies relying in traditional advertising are not getting the sales they use to make.
Responds of suppliers? More and more adds!!! (wrong approach)
– Desintermediation. Manufacturers are the fastest growing segment online.
– Alice.com specialized marketplace. Supplier decides the products. Supplier is the retailer. Suppliers get all the data!
– adding coupons in the future. Free samples.
– free shipping and better prices otherwise why buy online!!!
– Logistics: taking care by suppliers.

Victoria Ransom (Wildfire)
– facebook represent the biggest change to marketing. More than google. Facebook beats google.
– earned, owned, paid media. 3 tips of digital content.
Earned media: 90% trust friend recommendations.
36% becoming fan on FB are more willing to buy!
– more creativity and patience is required to build relationships with FB fans.
– Consumers do engage with brands.
– 3 ways to use FB marketing:
Grow: grow existing audience! cross promotion with newsletter, website. Encourage friends to spread the word. Facebooks ads (give them a reason to click, don’t drive people outside of facebook, advertise to friends of fans, check out blog.wildfireapp.com) Do promotions. (keep it simple, photo contest easier than video contest; make it social, price to winner and price to the one that referred to winner; personal! aim peoples interest! Passion!)
Engage: tell (careful with FB algorithm!) ask questions! (u need comments) ask for likes! tap. Quality>quantity. Deals, entertainment (games, quizzes), exclusivity.
Monetize: coupons. Special deal.

Ge Wang (Smule)
– social music.
– what people can do with technology and not the other way around

Clay Bavor (Google)
The evolution of eCommerce (The google perspective)
– 2005 The world was old back then!!
(presentation tips: context related, very good!)
– Trends: mobile, local, social, personal
People love shopping from their phone.
Google goggles. Google shopper. Visual, audio search enhance shopping.
Google product search. Already in France. Soon in other European countries. Ezevidra@google.com
– How to evolve: bet on the Internet, be found, try new formats (sitelinks), optimize for mobile, be social, personalize, get local.
– Google shopper. Visual, audio search enhance shopping.

Tom Ryan (CEO of Threadless)
– DIY day every quarter. Pitch of ideas.
-build a community better of what people are already doing.
– 3 groups: artists, recommendations, buyers.
– Act human: authenticity is non-negotiable
– learn to let go & give control to your customer.
– marketing is the result of great products.
– great products want to be shared.

Roundtable: Logistics
– customers pays one way or another for delivery. There is nothing like “free delivery”. If margin of sale is high enough, delivery can advertised as free.
– home deliveries is the easiest way to do. Deliver products where you are.
– enable delivery options (immediately, delayed, etc). Coordinate this with the logistic partners.

Reí Inamoto (Chief Creative Officer, AKQA)
– The best advertising isn’t advertising.
Storytelling + Technology
Storytelling + Media
“we are not in the business of keeping media agencies alive” CMO of Nike
“Advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service” amazon CMO
Tradigital.
Peoples behavior are changing fundamentally.
Production + Communication. New frontier of what we do.
Product development talking to Marketing (Chief Marketing Technology officer)
From Storytelling to Storyenabling.
Fiat Eco:)rive.
Product design + Storytelling
Functions + Emotion

Post from my iPhone. Sorry for all typos!

Birthday 2.0

June 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last Wednesday was my birthday and I have never received so many birthday wishes before. Here the stats:

– 85 wall posts and 15 direct messages via facebook
– 30 direct emails
– 6 phone calls

This is just a small example about the power of social networks. These stats are amazing for a normal and non-famous person like me. This numbers are greater to the visits to any of my blog or facebook posts I have received in one single day. Also, the shift from Phone to Online is huge. Can you imagine talking on the Phone with 85 different people in one day? No way!

I most do accept that the big challenge was to reply to all messages… :)

Blog to you soon…

Why “World of Mouth” is good…

May 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

Eril Qualman, author of the Book Socialnomics, posted on his blog how Social Media has taken us from “Word of Mouth” to “World of Mouth”.

But why is this good?

The same “World of Mouth” power that made Facebook and Twitter successful (and is starting to bring in the mouth of everyone new ones like of Foursquare) has the same power to regulate them.

In this new “World of Mouth” order, we don’t need to wait to government or any other kind of special regulator entity to step in to control the system. We control it! We define it!

Take Facebook for example. The latest policy changes to its privacy settings have made the whole world speak about it. Because it is by getting involved how we do things now. Bloggers, newspaper columnist and even simple and unknown persons as me, have been writing about it. Mainly: about our concerns about the privacy issues.

The consequence: Facebook has accepted their mistakes and they are planning to change their policies again for good.

Should these privacy changes still not be enough, we, the world, will continue to talk about it and this same “World of Mouth” power that made Facebook famous, will make sure to bring them down an even could substitute them by someone else. There is no “To Big to Fail” in this Social Media Era! And this is good…

UPDATE [27.05.2010]: Facebook’s CEO has presented yesterday the new simplified Facebook policies…lets see what the World says about it!

Blog to you soon…

New vocabulary word found: Socialnomics!

May 8, 2010 § 5 Comments

Socialnomics. A new word added to my vocabulary today after watching this video. It is incredible how 2 small clips makes everything so clear and still, exciting!

“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it” Erik Qualman*

“And you still think social media is a fad?”

Social Media ROI:

* Erik Qualman  is the author of Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. Socialnomics made Amazon’s #1 Best Selling List only after three weeks of publication & has been in the Top 100 Best Selling Business Books List consistently since its launch in August.

About Foursquare and Its Business Model

May 4, 2010 § 4 Comments

I just had Foursquare since 4 weeks and I am loving it every day more and more. I use it every time I go a Restaurant (or to School) and my stats are improving (click to enlarge):

Below some insights about Foresquare’s concept:

1. Fact: Foursquare, a location-based social network, has reach 1 million users. So please, don’t even take the time to express your critics or concerns about this tool. Sign in, get your iPhone, Blackberry or Android App for it, and just use it! Simple! (see the 2min guide below)

2. Achtung! Be ware, Foursquare is addictive! Should I let Enrique Dans continue to be the “Mayor” of ie Business School? No way! I am already mayor of Restaurant Micota in Madrid, and I will defend my tittle to dead!  I know it sounds stupid, but this is exactly the main idea of Foursquare, making your life like a game.

3. New in town? Find great new locations or if you are local, discover constant new places. Your Phone uses its GPS to know where you are at and gives you useful nearby places,  tips, map location,  etc.

4. Stay in touch. Every time a friend “checks in” you are informed and probably closed to you. More friends in one location? Foursquare will let you know. Maybe it is time to move to the next bar and meet more friends. Foursquare makes most sense (and fun) if you have a lot of friends. So, join in and play a little!

5. Stop being a follower. Do you consider yourself an early adopter? Get Foursquare. This “real life” game will change how you do things…if not today, tomorrow. So why wait? Foresquare could be the next twitter. Well, this is what lot of people are saying. I really don’t know (or care), but what I am sure now is that I am not following this time (I am still trying to figure out how to use- or rather say, enjoy- my twitter experience.)

My guesses about the Business model:

1. Special offers: like a membership/loyalty program, Foresquare enables any venue to communicate better its promotions with its customers. It even made restaurants and bars give special offers to its “Mayors”. I am pretty sure Foresquare’s is getting some bucks here somehow.

2. Following brands. Take for example ZAGAT, the Web’s most trusted guide to restaurant reviews and ratings in the USA which has now also coverage on international cities like Madrid, can be now followed via Foursquare. This means, ZAGAT recommends you a list of places you could visit by adding them to your “to do list”. I am sure ZAGAT is paying some bucks to Foursquare for its announcement.  See some of the brands that have already joined Foursquare (click to enlarge):

3. It’s all about the metrics: Foresquare has already introduced new analytic tools and dashboard stats for business to track this ones in order for them to know more about its visitors behaviors. This is my greatest guess where Foursquare will be getting its biggest bucks soon.

The located-social network is not the future, is already the present!

If you are just a follower or you belong to those who worries about your intimacy, privacy, bla bla bla? See here.

Blog to you soon…

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