Eventbrite makes £2 for every social share. What can we learn?

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Golden Ticket

Golden Ticket (Photo credit: Derek Lakin)

Ticketing company Eventbrite has released its social media data and shows that it make an additional $3.23 (or £2.01) in revenue every time an event is shared on social media. This is highest for Facebook (£2.56 revenue per share) followed by Twitter (£1.15) and lowest for LinkedIn (£0.57). These figures look great. But what does it say about social commerce and what can other brands learn?

First it is worth exploring these numbers a little bit more. Twitter drives the most clicks (almost twice as many as for every share on Facebook) but these are much less likely to lead to a sale. In fact for every click through from a share Twitter generates the least revenue (just 3p per click compared with 18p for Facebook and 6p for LinkedIn.

So we can surmise the following:

  • When an event is shared on Facebook more revenue is ulitmately created per share than on any other social channel
  • People are more likely to click through to an event on Twitter than on any other channel but they are less likely to purchase

Facebook not only generates more revenue per share, it is much more efficient at it.

The social nature of ‘events’ as a product

This allows us to explore a little more what is happening in social with Eventbrite, and whether the ‘success’ they have had with social shares could be repeated for other brands.

Eventbrite’s product is events, and these are inherently social; we typically go to an event with people - friends or colleagues. So should it be any surprise that when these events are shared on social channels other people go ahead and book. A simple look at how Eventbrite events are shared on Facebook shows a long list of people telling others where they are going and asking them to go with them. It should not, therefore, be surprising that some people do.

In fact the nature of the product means that the shares are different to most products that people share in social.

  • If the product you share were a pair of shoes, for example, you are likely to be saying ‘I like these shoes’ or ‘I just bought these shoes’. These are personal reasons with no clear call to action for your friends (except a bit of jealous perhaps).
  • When you share an event you are usually saying ‘I am going here, you should too’ or ‘Anybody want to come with me to this event’. You are giving your friends a clear call to action to click through, attend the event and spend money.

So on this basis it is no surprise that Eventbrite should be generating revenue like this from social shares. And it should be no surprise that Facebook is the most efficient way of getting this revenue; the connections you have with people there are typically stronger than on Twitter.

But could these revenue numbers be shared by other products? Unlikely, unless your product is also social in nature. This is a great example of where social does make sense - the product is social, you experience it with other people, and so making it easier for you to find others to attend the event with makes absolute sense to the consumer and the brand.

The key thing we can learn from Eventbrite? Use social in the ways it can have biggest impact on your business. And this depends on what you are selling and to whom; one solution is not right for all.

Does social work for every brand?

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Deutsch: Discofeeling

Deutsch: Discofeeling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Femfresh came a cropper back in June, some argued that it was a brand that was intrinsically ill-suited for social. After all, how many people would want to be seen to like a feminine hygiene product on Facebook?

Euan Semple skirts this issue when he talks about some brands getting ‘into social’. He likened them, at a Digital Surrey event last week, to a dad dancing at a disco. “You’re proud of him for giving it a go,” he said. “But you wish he’d sit down.”

We work a lot with financial services brands which operate in a tightly regulated environment. This makes it tough to respond naturally and in anything like as real-time as the fluid and admirable O2, for example.

So should we assume then that social is only for brands which are already naturally engaging, aspirational and great at dancing?

If getting involved is a challenge, FS brands could hire the social equivalent of a body double and see how that works. Bodyform recently chose that route, achieving great viewing figures and industry acclaim for its video rejoinder to a comment on its Facebook page.

But surely, this is missing the point.

Some of those dancing dad brands aren’t there just because everyone else is on the dancefloor. Some are learning to engage in a new and changing world. Their customers, employees and partners are changing the way they communicate. Brands have no choice but to deal with the change. So they need to get in amongst it to understand it. And look for the opportunities to make a real connection with the people that are important to them.

Just being in it, isn’t enough. Bodyform was a great campaign tactic but it missed a trick by not being authentic. Femfresh got their fingers burned and missed a trick by not connecting with and understanding their detractors. These could have been valuable opportunities to learn about engaging in a world transformed by social. These brands do have interested communities active online had they been handled differently.

I don’t think Euan Semple was suggesting that some brands shouldn’t ‘do social’. His position rather was that we have amazing tools at our disposal now that can help us connect like never before.

Not every brand needs to be on Facebook. But every brand needs to understand the impact of social.

Because the opportunity of social is not really about scoring an extra point for awareness on your brand recognition tracker.

The real impact is far more strategic. It’s about building real relationships with the people that matter to your business, so that you can do better business with them.

Can Nutmeg crack the financial services industry?

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Nick Hungerford, CEO of Nutmeg

Last week we caught up with Nick Hungerford, CEO of the new client investment management company Nutmeg.  We think this is a business with the potential to really disrupt the investment market for a number of reasons. Firstly it is positioned perfectly to take advantage of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), coming into force in 2013, which will make investors much wiser about the fees they are actually paying their advisors. Nutmeg offers a combination of total transparency and low fees thanks to its strategy of investing in the burgeoning Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) market.  Nutmeg has also tapped into the online banking and social media trends – offering a slick user interface and backed by investors that include Tim Draper and Spotify board member Klaus Hommels.

It was only a matter of time for social media technologies to start disrupting the financial services market and we’ve written about some of our predictions before.  We’ve seen interesting companies like Friendsurance using a peer-to-peer model  - combining social networks with insurance services - to lower premiums and Polish bank Alior Sync enabling customers to make financial payments through Facebook.

Q: What was the inspiration for starting Nutmeg?

A:  I’d been working in Financial Services for 7-8 years and I always found it remarkable that even though finance and investment is applicable to everyone regardless of wealth, private banks only deal with the extremely wealthy. Friends/family would ask me for help with investments but I would have to turn them down.  At that point I started talking to investors/smart people working in tech industries. They all said the same thing, “I want to invest online, I want a smart solution and I don’t want to pay someone too much.” At that point it became obvious there was an opportunity to disrupt the financial services industry.

Q:  Do you see a threat from other trusted consumer brands diversifying into this kind of financial service?

A:   It takes you into an entirely new regulatory arena. People often ask me, “Why wouldn’t Google or Facebook do this” but it requires a massive change to their business culture. If they start managing money they have to take on financial professionals. Becoming an investment manager is a totally different ball game. Having said that, we do want there to be more people like us, driving change in the industry.

H:  How do you encourage people to take that first step to invest and put something away for a rainy day?

There is an education curve. Nutmeg is a site you come to learn about investing, money and how to save. Then, when you are ready, you can choose to invest. We are starting with those people who are used to internet banking/investing, are familiar to other online services out there and like the user experience. Perhaps they’ve had an account with a broker but don’t want to spend so much on fees anymore.  I like the analogy of internet banking - at first it was daunting to use that service but now I never go in branch at all and I’m not alone - Britain has one of the highest adoption rates in the world for internet banking and I’m sure we’ll get there for saving and investing. We only need a fraction of the market to be a giant company.

Q:  Your educational content is key to your growth, what’s on the roadmap?

A:  We know that people care most about important financial decisions, like buying a house or car. We want to inform people of what and why we are investing in things, give them a clear monthly update in a non-obnoxious, easy to understand way so they know where their money is and how it’s doing.

Q:  You are currently investing in ETFs, could you explain that a little more to the uninitiated?

A: It’s a collection of investments that track an exchange, index or sector - so you buy a little bit of lots of different things in order to get diversification.  They are also low cost and 30 years of research proves 75% of active funds (or thereabouts) underperform and not just because of the fees. It’s very obvious that trackers and low cost funds are an increasingly attractive way to go.

Q:  Nutmeg is using social media in innovative ways to drive recommendations (offering fee discounts in return for social recommendations). How else will Nutmeg use social media to become a social business?

A:  We are looking at the sharing of ambitions and goals with friends and family and allowing for social investment.  So what if a group of friends wanted to pool their money into a fund that pays for them all to all go on holiday every year? From our perspective social media is about how we get people engaged around their money.  Nutmeg is the first to do what we do and we have a great chance to change things in the industry for the better.

Why social business needs cultural change in any brand

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Change Priorities

Change Priorities (Photo credit: Christine ™)

When brands think about using social media across their business, the focus is usually on the things you will do, the tools you will have in place, the audiences you will work with and how you will report on progress. But more often than not any social business initiatives will need cultural change in your own teams if they are really to be a success.

Any new social initiative should not just be about bolting something on to an existing campaign, process or activity; initiatives that are done like this are the most difficult to make work. Social will have biggest impact when it is more fundamental to what you are trying to do.

So rather than just adding a Twitter account to an existing customer service channel, the real return will be when you think about ways to start redesigning your customer service based on consumer behaviour and the tools that are available.

And to make the most of things that are this fundamental you need cultural change in any organisation if they are to be a success.

When thinking about cultural change there are usually three main considerations:

1. Do your team really understand the role social plays for you?

Most people will use some form of social media in their personal life, and the danger is to take this understanding and behaviour into the workplace. That’s not necessarily the most useful way of thinking of social business. Whilst you are unlikely to articulate clear objectives for your personal Facebook page, or to plan content for the next three months, it is critical you do this as a business.

Your team need to truly understand what social means for a business, and specifically what it means for your business and for their role.

2. Do your team have the skills to make the most of social?

For anybody, social presents new opportunities and also new skills that need to be learned - technologies are changing and consumer behaviours are changing so businesses need to be able to constantly adapt to capitalise on these.

Education and a forum for sharing what is happening are critical to the success of any social business, and this needs to be at all levels but is critically important at senior executive level. Those people driving the business need to understand the opportunities (and limitations) of social if they are to effect real change.

3. Is your team structured in the right way for social?

Many of the ways we structure organisations are based on the traditional ways we have and still work. And they are often effective. But when you are thinking about social business you should consider if these same structures and processes work.

If you are redesigning your customer care processes, for example, do you still need the team to come to a central office every day? Should they all be working office hours or the hours you get most interactions in social media? Even should customer service in social be done by a particular team alone or be supported actively by people across the business who work in the areas being discussed.

The danger with social media is that you focus on what you are doing and that you bolt it on to existing processes, programmes and campaigns. That is always a real shame - you will probably miss the real opportunities that exist across your business, and when you think about social business in this way you will need to consider internal cultural change if it is to really work.

Pets and social media: it’s more than just cute cat pictures

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There are a lot of cute cat pictures in social media, and a lot of cute cat videos. People, it would appear, like looking at cute cats in social media; and their owners like sharing these photos. So what happens when you get a group of cat owners together - you might expect cat overload as they compete to share the cutest photos of the cutest cats. And you do get this, but more importantly you learn something about how people meet and interact in social media and what the value of this can be.

We worked with the team at PetNet to develop and launch a space for cat owners (Scratching Post) to share more than just cute pictures. By looking at how they interact with each other about the highs and lows of pet ownership we can learn a few things about how consumers interact online:

  1. Photos and text make good stories - in a world of instagram and camera phones, it often seems that images are replacing text in many interactions online, and whilst cute cat photos are obviously popular we attract long stories just as often. People like sharing and writing stories either about the joys of cat ownership or sharing and asking for advice about more difficult situations.
  2. Cats can type - not really, and more an observation about how community members will develop their own behaviours. Perhaps the most surprising development was with these stories, after a few months we noticed that some started to be written ‘by the cat’ - first person narratives written from their point-of-view. And this wasn’t just an isolated example with lots of the content being penned from the cat’s point of view. What is going on is actually quite clever - members of the community (organically) started to write the stories of joy from the cat’s point of view and the more serious questions and enquiries (for example about health issues) from the owner’s point of view. An unplanned for development that has then been used to inform the UI and changes we’ve made to the community.
  3. Expert advice is critical - a real success of Scratching Post is that community members can balance questions and advice from fellow cat owners with an expert view. The weekly ‘surgeries’ (with vets, behviouralists and others) are the most popular times of week on the site with people coming together for a two hour period to ask questions of and interact with these experts.
  4. We can provide an outlet for people’s passions - one community member put this quite nicely saying that Scratching Post allowed her to “bring out the crazy cat woman inside”. And she’s right. We use the different communities and networks we are part of for different reasons - you might not flood your Facebook friends with your cat photos, questions and experiences so a safe environment with other cat owners is perfect for this side of your character.

Overall, the Scratching Post site is a microcosm of the kind of interactions that happen across the internet and more so in true and valuable communities. Perhaps most important is that it provides a space for people to come together and share a common passion. And it is helping to stem the cute cat pictures that might otherwise be flooding their friend’s Facebook news feeds.

I’ll be talking more about cute cats and social media (and how to balance the needs of a community with commercial needs) at Social Media Marketing London on 25th October.