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Note that I'm not asking the question to rekindle the debate over Social on your website versus Social on Facebook and Twitter. That's for another time. Rather, my question is about ownership of social media programs in your organization. In my experience the answer can have a direct impact on the success or failure of the your social initiatives.
As you know, Social investments are attractive to different departments within your organization for different reasons, whether it is by the e-commerce team to increase conversion rates, the marketing team to increase brand awareness or the customer affinity or CRM team to provide insights.
What I have observed in my work with numerous organizations across a variety of verticals is that the companies that invest in a dedicated person to own, execute and measure the success of their social initiatives seem to reap a greater return on their efforts. This may sound like an obvious statement, but because Social as a discipline is relatively new the skills required to launch and maintain successful initiatives are quite rare and often spread too thinly across an organization. As a consequence, social projects sometimes do not get the right amount of time, creativity and oversight needed to make them as effective they could be.
I'm pleased to report, however, that this trend is changing. More and more I find myself involved in really exciting projects that have the right mix of exec level buy-in and tactical ownership, and a strong set of criteria to measure success against. This is especially true amongst retailers, who are using an interesting mix of personalization, reviews and gamification to complement their e-commerce experiences.
A good example of this type of innovation comes from SHOP.CA, a Canadian online retailer. SHOP.CA has created an interesting on-line shopping experience which grants customers various points and badges for different interactions with content and products. This interesting use of Gamification increases customer clout and and has injected considerable “trustablility” into the site's content. SHOP.CA have gone a step further by offering monetary discounts to customers for referrals (that is, syndications to Facebook) as the referrals result in customer purchases.
Gone are the days when Social Commerce meant tacking on the obligatory Ratings and Reviews widgets to the e-commerce platform. From my perspective, I see the creativity exemplified by SHOP.CA as the new norm for social commerce initiatives, as organizations seek to engage customers in ways that are beneficial to both parties. But as stated earlier, it’s going to take right people with the knowledge and technology to strategize, implement and measure such programs.
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