Category Archives: Twitter

Ecommerce on Twitter. The rise of tcommerce?

pepsi twitter brand pageAdAge has an intriguing article about upcoming enhancements to Twitter brand pages that include sweepstakes, contests and ecommerce. The report is purportedly confirmed by multiple, unnamed Twitter executives. The commerce part is particularly intriguing, especially in light of Jack Dorsey’s dual involvement in both Square and Twitter. But what would ecommerce on Twitter look like? Is this the start of t-commerce? Is it the next wave of social commerce? Will it be as uninspiring as fcommerce (Facebook commerce?) Of course this is all speculation, but the nexus of mobile, frictionless payments and real time is a compelling area to explore a new way to find, share, promote and pay.

Here’s a bit from the article:

Launched in December, the pages show the brand’s Twitter feed and images, but Twitter plans to add experiences, including e-commerce, contests and sweepstakes, according to three executives familiar with the matter.

The product will allow app developers to build experiences on Twitter, much the way they do on Facebook. The features will be contained within the brand’s tweet timeline, a departure from the 140-character limit of a tweet or images and videos that can now displayed. While no date has been set for the release of the product, Twitter has been telling clients to expect it this year.

What Would Twitter Commerce (tcommerce?) Look Like?

Location

Location-based deals are nothing new, see Foursquare, Loopt and the rest, but Twitter has an audience orders of magnitude larger than those services combined. It’s not hard to imagine Twitter using your location to push out deals via your stream that are relevant to you from businesses near by. A deal from the local deli while you’re checking Twitter from the CVS next door could be just the motivation you need to pick up lunch while you’re out.

Deals are also a great incentive for users to follow brands on Twitter. The most successful brand pages on Facebook have far more fans than similar brands on Twitter. And there is plenty of research out there that shows that people follow brands on Facebook for deals and specials, so it’s not much of a stretch to see how deals could help brands build larger purchase-oriented followings on Twitter.

Real Time

Location isn’t the only opportunity. The flash-deal model also works with Twitter. And there are plenty of good case studies on how short-term deals work well on Twitter. The Dell Outlet Twitter account being probably the most visible/memorable. The ability to deploy ecommerce opportunities quickly and to a captive audience is a powerful concept, if executed well. It’s easy to see how Zappos could deploy a deal on the shoes that a celebrity is wearing on Oscars the red carpet. Combining a deal with a promoted Tweet around a popular hashtag is a way to reach a very targeted audience in a much faster and more relevant way than an email 24 hours later, when the moment has passed.

Frictionless Payments

The one catch of course is the payment gateway for all of this. Clicking from a Tweet to a payment page, to fill out a cumbersome ecommerce form is not going to get the job done — particularly in the mobile world. This is where a partnership with a company like Square and the wallet technology makes a ton of sense. Having secure, one-click-type payment ability will be the key to adoption and use of tcommerce payments. Being able to see a deal, and take instant action without the friction associated with typical ecommerce could be the thing that makes tcommerce really work.

What About fcommerce?

There has been a lot of skepticism around social commerce, particularly with the closing of several high-profile storefronts on Facebook. But there is little reason to think the tcommerce would suffer the same fate as fcommerce. Why? Because fcommerce was nothing more than ecommerce jammed into the Facebook chrome. As long as Twitter looks at the experience holistically and unique to the service there is no reason that it has to be as uninspiring as Facebook’s first attempt.

Twitter thinks about it’s platform in a much different way than Facebook does. Facebook is a utility, the plumbing of the social graph that anyone can build on, regardless of the effectiveness of what they build. Twitter is much more in control of the user experience and what is and isn’t allowed in the service. This control means that any solution is their solution, and mobile, real time and commerce are all areas of expertise for Jack and team.

Tcommerce revolution?

Deals and brand offerings are pretty superficial. What if we think bigger. Could Twitter replace Western Union? Could sending money be as easy as sending a Tweet? Could you donate to a cause through a trending hashtag? There are issues to unravel with these scenarios, but there isn’t any reason to think that they’re not possible at some level at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Of course, this could all be smoke. Twitter could just let brands promote the deals they have on other services. There could be no true tcommerce solution. An integration with Square could be years off, who knows. But it is fun to think about, and it could be a whole new mobile, real time, frictionless way to send money to anyone.

Image via AdAge.

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What No One is Saying About the New Twitter.

The new release of Twitter has, predictably, put the Web in an uproar. The Internet pundits have been focused on the new UI, with many rehashing two tired themes which amount to who moved my cheese, and utterly fail to grasp the bigger picture, which is a strategic shift in the product itself.

Twitter has shifted to a product posture that puts consumption ahead of production. With this release Twitter has made the leap from “micro-blogging” to discovery engine. You can see it happening with the reduced prominence and location of the composer box on the web version, and the increased prominence of the discovery UI. It’s an acknowledgement that many people who use Twitter don’t actually use it for expression, but rather information gathering. This is an important shift, and something that people who are the publishers will have to get used to.

When half of your daily users don’t Tweet, but just login to see what’s happening, you have to make that discovery easier. And I think this new release is a step in the right direction. As for the criticism? It’s myopic and self-centered and fundamentally misses the broader implications and use cases of the Twitter user base at large.

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Brands Beware: My Klout Score is a Farce

A lot has been made of Klout scores lately.  (update: good read from on how to fix Klout by Mark Krynsky, a funny Klout rant by Michael Sean Wright) Brands wanting to get positive word of mouth on Twitter are using the score to ID influencers that can help build buzz by sharing their experiences with their audience. Disney, Virgin America and Fox Television are just some of the brands that have tapped Klout as part of getting buzz online. The Palms Casino announced the formation of the “Klout Klub” which will use Klout to determine the type of treatment and upgrades you receive based on the amount of influence measured by the service. But brands need to be careful using Klout, because, most Klout scores are a farce.

Klout only measures the “influence” of the individual on Twitter and Facebook, and doesn’t, by definition, take into consideration the individuals true influence. Not only that, but the algorithms used by Klout to measure influence on those networks seem questionable at best. Klout scores are primarily a vanity metric, and their relevance, is at best, directional. But they definitely don’t tell the whole story, and brands that use them to deal with online influencers can find themselves blowing off people with extreme influence that just don’t calculate on the high end Klout influence score.

The problem is not that Klout is inaccurate. It’s not even that their tagline is misleading, “The Standard of Influence.” They’re a new web service after all, trying to tackle a near-impossible task of ranking every user on the social web as it relates to influence. The problem is the lack of sophistication that brands have when it comes to understanding the complex nature of influence online and connections across these networks. Klout being inaccurate is just like any other stat being inaccurate. It’s fine, until you start making business decisions based on flawed data. A brand who stakes building their reputation on Twitter using Klout as their guide is making a grave error. They’re paying attention to bad data, which can be more dangerous than no data at all.

As brands wade into the social web and look to influence conversations to the positive benefit of their business they must realize that there isn’t a tool or service that can actually do the heavy lifting for them. They need to participate, observe and (wait for it) listen to the conversations that are impacting their business. Only then can they be confident that they are reaching the true influencers that are relevant to their business.

To demonstrate the point, here are 11 people that have loads of online influence, and even tons of influence on Twitter, should they choose to use it, that have lower Klout scores than me. I’ve got a 63 as of the time of this writing. These folks all use Twitter frequently regularly, so the idea that use=influence, while flawed to the core, is even inaccurate in these cases.

On this list we have CEOs, well-known and respected authors and reporters, the founder of the largest social media organization on the planet, and the guy that started this whole social Web thing with The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Doc Searls – Klout 56 | Doc Searls’ blog

Co-Author of “The Cluetrain Manifesto”, founder of VRM, Fellow at Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, much, much more.

Doc Searls Klout score

Tim Street – Klout 56 | Tim Street’s Site

Tim’s founded one of the most influential online TV series with French Maid TV, and is the leading voice in online video and content creation.

Sarah Lacy – Klout 58 | Sarah Lacy’s blog

The author of two books, with writing and video credits including BusinessWeek, TechCrunch, Yahoo! and more.

Brett Bullington – Klout 46 | Brett Bullington’s LinkedIn profile

Respected investor, including board seats on Digg, Oodle, Next New Networks and more. Investor in Flickr.

Kristie Wells – Klout 56 | Social Media Club

Founder of Social Media Club, the world’s largest organization of social media professionals with more than 200,000 members.

Stephanie Agresta – Klout 49 | Stephanie Agresta’s Blog

EVP of Social Media at Weber Shandwick, and founder of TechSet, the popular event organizer at premiere social media events.

Ryan Holmes – Klout 49 | HootSuite.com

CEO of HootSuite, one of the leading social media dashboards.

Cathy Brooks – Klout 55 | Cathy Brooks’ Twitter Stream

Well-respected thought leader about the impact of the social web on business.

Bryan Elliott – Klout 50 | LinkedOC

Founder of Action Sports Network and LinkedOC networking groups with nearly 10,000 members. Hosts influential thought leaders in the OC with his popular events.

Mark “Rizzn”Hopkins - Klout 56| SiliconANGLE

Editor in Chief at SiliconAngle. Former writer for Mashable.

Laurie Percival - Klout 48 | Lalawag

Founder of Lalawag, influential Los Angeles tech scene blog.

Me

If the Palms or any other brand decided to ignore these people while paying attention to me (or treating them differently than me,) they’d be doing a huge disservice to their business.  It’s up to the strategists that are working with these companies to inform the business owners of the inaccuracy of the data, the value that they can place in it and the work they need to do to ensure that they’re reaching the people that really matter to their business – regardless of the score assigned to them by Klout.

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Lexus Hopes for Another Social Media Fiesta

Lexus is the latest car manufacturer to tap influential Twitter users to promote their new line, the Lexus CT.  Car makers took note of the successful, Scotty Monty-led Ford Fiesta Movement campaign and are trying to replicate its success by tapping Twitter celebrities to help spread the word online.

Brands are smart to connect with these online influencers.  Even with the networks small size and their lack of mainstream visibility, these Twitter tastemakers can direct the brand sentiment on a network that thrives on being ‘in the know.’

As social media become a growing force at generating attention, marketers are increasingly turning to the less famous to help them pitch products. Auto makers and ad executives say tapping social-media stars can give a brand more credibility with younger shoppers than hiring high-priced celebrities.

“People trust people like themselves, and when we can tap into these people, it will sound less like Ford tooting its own horn,” says Scott Monty, Ford Motor Co.’s global digital-communications manager.

There are dangers, of course.  Brands have to invest in an ongoing relationship to see real results.  A few test drives and Tweets aren’t enough to sway the long term sentiment of the Twitterverse. An ongoing relationship with a genuine desire to win the hearts of those on the network is how Ford won with it’s Fiesta Movement.  And as more Twitter influencers are tapped as brand spokespeople, how long will it be until the Twittersphere is nothing more than one person shilling for this or that brand?  Dilution of message and results is inevitable.

via Car Makers Recruit Social-Media Savvy for Ad Campaigns – WSJ.com.

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