Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

The Future of #Socialcommerce is Mobile

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I went to my first class at General Assembly, which is really close to the Union Square Ventures offices north of Union Square.

The class was about community management metrics and how to measure them. There was a little bit in there about how to convince the higher-ups that your analytics adn your metrics are really results of your work. But there was an elephant in the room.

It’s really hard to talk metrics with more than two people at a time, because everyone’s metrics are different. There are as many types of metrics and distributions of value and importance as there are types of companies and companies. I’m a lateral thinker, an associative thinker, so this may not make sense, but after realizing that there were at least twenty of us in the room representing everything from Foursquare to an apps store, to a non-profit film seeking an Oscar nomination, I realized there’s only one clear future for measuring metrics and getting results in social: it’s mobile.

Why?

Because the traditional Web 2.0 world is outdated, when it comes to measuring impact of the kinds of campaigns that actually get butts in seats, transactions made and that inspire virality (I can’t believe I am calling web 2.0 traditional, or outdated).

The only team I have seen lately that can do this is the Foursquare–AMEX deal, which I wrote about in Fast Company the other week. People do their work, their transactions, and their conversations on their mobile devices. If you are a community manager trying to create buzz, or get people to your site to engage in a sale or a discussion, you can’t really track point-to-point-to-point.

I can tell you how many went from my web site to YouTube, or how many people came from YouTube to my site, but I can’t tell you what happens in between. I can’t tell you what happens after they go to YouTube. I can’t tell you what they are talking about. I can look on Twitter and get 140Characters and determine sentiment, but it’s hard to do this on a grand scale. I can’t figure out where the conversation goes after it stops being specifically about me, or my idea, or my keywords.

But on mobile devices, and in social media mobile strategies, I can. Look at the Foursquare — AMEX deal again.

Tone can be one of the best predictors of a consumer’s next actions. And you can really only gain that insight if you have been able to gain trust. You can’t gain that trust by sending people around the Internet to things and having them type in discount codes, or by searching for buzzwords. You can really only gain that trust if you build up a relationship. And you can only really create a relationship if you are communicating. Relationships end when communication fails, dies, or is suspended.

That’s why the next level is going to be curation, and I think that curation will happen on the level of conversation, think Storify combined with Twitter, combined with mobile tracking:

The news that Foursquare and AMEX have partnered on daily deals to card holders means the beginning of a new way to measure ROI for social media, but it also presents a challenge to number one ranked brands, who may not have such a flexible calculation strategy in place.

Those brands–really, all brands–will have to move towards curation as a method for engaging with consumers, finding the millions of Lee Iacocca’s out there who are not the real CEOs, but can help manage the brand with their insights from the consumer’s point of view.

Jason Bennett, a consultant at Xsilio Solutions, who specializes in search, says this focus on influence will become increasingly more important as the hubs through which brands and social media partners can create purchasing behavior, or just plain decision making behavior:

Beyond measuring things like influence, it would be evolutionary to measure these “personal curatorial brands” in terms of tone, specialization, length/frequency of post. I’ll bet that consumers cluster around certain curatorial behaviors in researching a question or topic.Brands are “living” in a whole different kind of market era with this social Internet. Though there are singular CEOs and thought leaders who wield a lot of cultural power and can guide a company’s financial narrative, there are also literally millions of smaller fish in the sea who hold a lot more sway over thoughts in their pond.

Welcome to the Era of Listening and Engagement, when a person with the right tone, the right number of followers, and a savvy keyboard stroke can help change the direction of a brand. Why do you think AOL bought Huffington Post for US$315 million?

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