Trends im Social Commerce by Hediye Evsan

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HOW TO: Manage Successful Social Media Promotions

Ben Straley is the CEO of Meteor Solutions, provider of the leading word-of-mouth analytics and optimization platform that enables marketers to measure, manage, and monetize earned media.

With holiday shopping in full swing, social shopping is already making a big impact. Data from Hitwise shows that downstream traffic to the Retail 500 coming from both Facebook (Facebook) and Twitter (Twitter) increased 36% and 15% respectively on Thanksgiving from the previous day. Downstream traffic to retailers grew again on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as many retailers promoted sales through fan pages and tweets.

This data is very encouraging for marketers, but a social media campaign must still be managed correctly for maximum ROI. Here are some tips on how brands can best engage their customers by offering what everyone now looks to social media for – a bargain.
New Strategies to Turn Buzz Into Buy

new strategy imageOther recent research confirms the fact that people are increasingly turning to social networks to get deals on products and services. Razorfish found that the primary drivers of “friending” or “following” a brand were promotions and discounts. Over one-third of social network users and 44 percent of Twitter users engaged with a brand through discount promotions. This is good news for marketers, but the stats also pose challenges to the way marketing programs and advertising budgets will be structured in the future.

Brands have long spent big money on commercials, media placements, direct mail, and more. With most of these methods, there is little way to measure the impact on your bottom line. You either get lucky with a surge in sales after your campaign, or it didn’t work. Either way, success or failure was impossible to measure.

If done right, social marketing is a fantastic way to get the best of all worlds from a campaign – wide-scale and targeted distribution of your offer, for free. But to get it right, marketers have to step lightly. If you’re too pushy with too many promotions, your followers will feel “marketed at” or “spammed.” If you don’t offer good enough deals, your customers may become frustrated and stop following you. After all, they don’t really want to be your friend. They want bargains. Here are some steps for getting social media promotions right.

1. What Are People Saying About Your Brand?

Find out what people are saying about your brand, why they are saying it, and who they are saying it to. You have to do more than just get a vague reading on brand buzz. Track the actual pass-along of your brand’s social content via tweets, blog posts, Facebook postings, etc. to see which content is driving the most sharing on which sites. You can use social media traffic tracking software to do this.

Tracking this word-of-mouth buzz is crucial to formulating the right marketing messages and promotions. You must deliver relevant social deals that resonate with people’s interests.

2. Create a Social Promotion

social imageOnce you figure out what people want using the tracking methods above, go ahead and give it to them. For example, you might find that everyone loved your last 20% promotion – it was shared to hundreds of thousands of people via social sites and email – but that the most frequent negative comment was that shipping costs were too high. In your next promotion, offer free shipping.

Or, you may find that there was a huge surge in Twitter searches, blog comments, and Facebook updates about your brand’s winter boots during a snowstorm. This is a great opportunity to immediately put out a social promotion for 20% off boot purchases for one day only via Twitter, Facebook, and/or your company blog.

Have fun with your social promotions. Unlike paid search ads and other media buys, you don’t have to plan and budget for them. Instead, just try one or two out and see what happens.

3. Did It Work?

Figure out whether your promotion worked, and what bottom line impact it had on sales and profits. Go back to your social media tracking and measurement tool and find out how much your promotion was shared, what increase it caused in traffic to your website, and what direct impact it had on conversion. You might want to compare two different promotions run during a similar time frame to see which worked better and why.

For example, did a 50% Off promotion drive more sharing, visits, or conversions than a Two-For-One? In addition to doing simple “A/B” tests, compare results for promotions like these against the data from your regular marketing analytics platform to see whether your social media promotions are performing better or worse than traditional paid marketing campaigns. Social promotions almost always perform better than paid media ads in terms of conversion, but paid ads may drive a higher volume of traffic to your site.

Lastly, do an ROI analysis of your social media promotions to find out their real impact on bottom line profits.


Social media promotions are here to stay. Make sure you use the social channel to deliver “exclusive” deals that make your friends and followers feel special. They’ll thank you by making purchases.

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HOW TO: Manage Successful Social Media Promotions

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10 Black Friday Secrets Retailers Don't Want You to Know


By Mike Elgan
published on
November 16, 2007

They don’t call the day after Thanksgiving „Black Friday“ for nothing. It’s all about launching the megastores „into the black“ – into profitability. They profit not by offering goods at a loss, but by using ultra-low prices to lure you into their stores, where they can employ dirty tricks to make money.
But with my secrets, and some smart planning, you can make „Black Friday“ profitable for yourself, not the store.

Here are the 10 things they don’t want you to know:

1: Most Black Friday deals are leaked early online. Check sites that post leaked Black Friday ads and info, and give yourself an advantage over the masses. The four best sites are:,,, and Some of these sites will optionally send you an e-mail whenever they post a new ad or new information. (So will Wal-mart’s „Secret Section.“) Some have cell phone versions of the site for referring while in-store.

2: Many Black Friday deals are bait-and-switch scams. They may sell you a very cheap product with a very expensive warranty, or use a given price, but add software, accessories or other over-priced add-ons as a required but unadvertised part of the purchase. You’ll find out about this only at the register. If the price at the register is significantly higher than advertised for any reason, ask to speak to a supervisor and insist on the advertised price. If they still refuse, threaten to write a letter to the attorney general.

3: Get the best price without hassles by knowing price-match and return policies. Many stores offer price-match guarantees (if a competitor offers a lower price, they’ll match it). Increasingly, Black Friday sales are exempt from all this. Others have a return policy that, in effect, is a price-match guarantee for the store itself (if they drop the price, the difference is later refunded to you if you ask for it). If you know which product you want to buy, and can find a store with a price-match guarantee that honors Black Friday prices, buy it! When Black Friday rolls around, you can go looking for the best price, and not have to worry about whether the store is out of stock. If a store is willing to refund the difference between its own normal price and its Black Friday price, buy it early for the same reason.

4: Beat the system by shopping in teams. Stores rely on a long list of tricks, from limited sale hours to low inventories in order to lure you into the stores without giving you the time to comparison shop for the product you want at the best possible price. Have one team member in each store when it opens, each with a list of what everyone wants to buy. Use to set up broadcast SMS. Each team member finds every product on the list, then broadcasts pricing. The person at the store with the lowest price for each item buys it.

5: Use your cell phone browser to check competing deals, and also product quality. You can also use standard sites like, and to check just how good prices are. Sometimes Black Friday prices can be beat online anytime.

6: Some Black Friday promos are designed to unload loser products. Products that are obsolete, unpopular, damaged or returned are prime candidates for Black Friday sales. Make sure you narrow your list of products, so you don’t end up buying something you don’t really want.

7: Shop early. Very early. Many stores will open at midnight this year. Many open as early as 5 am. Find out in advance what time each store opens, so you can plan accordingly.

8: Some of the best deals are advertised only on Thanksgiving — or even on Black Friday itself. Make sure you get all the local newspaper on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

9: Some Black Friday deals are actually buyable online. Others are buyable only online, or have prices that actually beat in-store prices. Start checking prices on Thanksgiving. Check Web sites again very early Black Friday morning, and shop there first — then go to the stores only if you have to. Still other stores let you order items online the day before, and pick them up on Black Friday.

10: Plan ahead to think clearly. Bring food, wear comfortable shoes, and leave the kids at home (kids can influence impulse buying or convince you to leave early). Stay focused, and don’t let yourself be caught up in the frenzy.

Black Friday is a zero-sum game. Either the store wins, or you do. Use these tips to beat the stores at their own game.

In addition to writing for Datamation, where this column first appeared, Mike Elgan is a technology writer and former editor of Windows Magazine. He can be reached at or his blog:

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