2014: the year social media management grows the hell up

2014: the year social media grows the hell up

This is our fourth prediction for 2014. For our other predictions, click here.

Everybody's favourite Page on Facebook is Condescending Corporate Brand Page. If you're not a fan, stop reading this (just for a second!) and go get clicky. They post things like this: More genius

Brutal genius. But C.C.B.P.'s war against meaningless 'engagement' by brands too scared to admit they're trying to sell stuff isn't just funny, it's gut-punchingly insightful. For far too long, social media managers have been chasing utterly meaningly metrics (engagement, likes, sharing) in a desperate race to the bottom. The tail isn't just wagging the dog, it's started bashing Fido violently against the nearest wall until he's had to be put down for his own good.

So, blam. Here's the humane injection, the brutal truth: if you do the social media for a brand who sell things, your job is to sell things. There is only one metric you should care about: how many sales have your posts generated? Cute kitten pictures may get liked and shared like crazy, but they've never, ever sold a bottle of multivitamins. And, trust us, your CEO will be on the warpath in 2014, looking for cold,


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2014: the year shopping becomes a game

2014: the year shopping becomes a game

This is our third prediction for 2014. For our other predictions, click here.

The internet has always been about competition. I'm the Foursquare Mayor of this kebab shop. Her cute kittens blog just jumped up 1,000 places in the Alexa rankings. You have 934 unread emails in your inbox since the Christmas break (yeah, we know - painfully true). And these things have massively benefitted the bewildering growth of the 'net.

But the one aspect of the internet which hasn't - until now - profited by man's inherent need to compete is shopping. Don't get me wrong - we all like to brag about how we bought our house for £Xk less than the asking price, or how we jumped in and 'won' an auction seconds before it closed. But there's only ever one winner in those scenarios. Competition (until now) has never helped promote growth; it's never benefitted the masses.

That's going to change in 2014.

Up until now, when you said "Social-Commerce" people would think "f-commerce" and remember those terrible store-fronts bolted onto brands' Facebook Pages. Now, there's nothing wrong with aspiring to sell to a billion people on Facebook but, if you're going to distract people


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2014: the year writers become sellers

2014: the year writers become sellers

This is our second prediction for 2014. Keep up to date with the next ones here.

The past few years have seen retailers storm into the world of content, grab it by the baubles and stuff it like a turkey. That's why Tesco Magazine is now the most read publication in the UK. Bigger than The Daily Mail. Bigger than The Sun. Bigger than The Daily Prophet. Amazing.

And it's not just print media. Retailers have started dominating the world of online content, too - be that bespoke recipes from Heston and Delia on the Waitrose website or the uniquely useful product videos at Appliances Online. So... where do old-fashioned content players fit into this? How do the newspapers and the magazines and even the blogs compete?

They compete by dishing out a dose of the same medicine, that's how. If retailers are going to do content, content producers need to reciprocate by doing retail. And they're uniquely positioned to do it, too - with amazing audiences, established positions of authority and unique sway with brands and suppliers. But a commercial play won't work if content producers just try to bolt some crumby old affiliate store onto their websites. They


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2014: the year the internet saves you the bother of sharing

2014: the year the internet saves you the bother of sharing

This is our first prediction for 2014. Keep up to date with the next ones here.

Dave likes unicycles. Sandra likes Dave. Dave likes Sandra's new unicycle. Sandra is in a relationship with Dave. Dave quit Facebook.

Sharing things on Facebook is great, but it's a lot of effort. And that's a problem for marketing folks. Wouldn't it be better if Facebook just knew when Dave or Sandra did something, then it could go and tell all their friends about it without either of them having to lift a finger? (All within acceptable, opt-in-and-out-able privacy settings, naturally.) Well, that's now possible thanks to Facebook's Custom Open Graph and the arguably-dark-art of "frictionless sharing".

And it's going to be massive in 2014.

We're already seeing it to some degree - whenever one of our friends reads something on The Guardian or plays some music on Spotify, they're not usually sharing that with us manually, there's just been some nifty development behind the scenes and it happens automagically. And that's going to increase exponentially in 2014, as developers realise that the triggers which generate these frictionless shares can be embedded on any website. That means a user just has to accept an


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Flash in the pan: why the private sales fad crashed and burned

Flash in the pan: why the private sales fad crashed and burned

Oh, ye of little truth. The co-founder of the private sales site vente-privee, Ilan Benhaim, recently told a crowded conference hall that his site added 10k users per day last year yet, rather surprisingly, doesn't pay for traffic. Apparently, it's all word of mouth in the private sales world. It's all buzz and peer-to-peer and social. Except, clearly, it isn't.

Unless, of course, someone else paid for this ad...

Google advert for vente-privee

I'm not surprised that vente-privee advertises, but we are a little surprised that Mr Benhaim felt the need to bend the truth like that. There's no way a site like vente-privee could possibly sustain itself without calling in the keyword cavalry. Why? Because private sales / members'-only sales / secret sales / flash sales (call 'em what you will, they're all the same thing) are inherently un-social, for these three reasons:

1. For your eyes only?

There's a common ruse when it comes to private sale e-stores. It's expressed differently from site to site but, basically, it translates roughly along these hoary old lines: "Our prizes are so crrRRRazy, our suppliers will only let us show them to our members." Now, admittedly, I had an extra portion of cynicism with our cornflakes this morning,


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