Author Archive

Scoble Discovers Social Media's ROI at Ripple6

Posted by Chris Kieff on July 27th, 2009

Robert Scoble visited Ripple6 HQ and interviewed Sang Kim our CEO and discussed community lessons learned.  Sang tells Robert about Ripple6′s newest product Ripple6 OnDemand and how it is positioned to help many media companies and marketers who want enterprise class capabilities, but in a streamlined, low-cost, high ROI product.

Some questions Robert asks,  “How does a brand participate in a [community] without being too creepy or coming across as too salesy?”  Sang explains why community want the brands there, how they are the experts on the subject and how they can add value to the dialog.

Other questions and issues covered in the video:

“People are freaked out about the… negative things people say online… what do you do about that for brands?

“What attributes do you find [in] a great community?”

“How do you move conversations across networks without them fragmenting?”

Watch the video to see the full discussion:

Mixing Bowl on NBC's Today Show!

Posted by Chris Kieff on July 24th, 2009

Congratulations to Mixing Bowl, one of Ripple6′s communities which was featured on NBC’s Today Show yesterday morning (July 23rd). The segment included one of Mixing Bowl’s most popular bloggers Rob Barrett.
Rob runs several groups on Mixing Bowl including Cooking for Dads (moms, kids, college students … and Dude Food both center on easy recipes for the less experienced cooks.

How to Defeat the Revolutionaries

Posted by Chris Kieff on May 15th, 2009

Operating a social site becomes a challenge when you make what appears to you to be a small change to the system and the users revolt.  This is being experienced by the operators of Twitter, the exploding social microblogging site.  Twitter made a small change to the way their system works without announcing the change, or apparently consulting the users beforehand.  You may recall that Facebook has seen a series of these user revolts recently over their change in the layout, and changes in their terms of use.

So what is a concerned community manger to do when they want to change something?

Talk with your users-Duh!

So what is a concerned community manger to do when they want to change something?  Talk with your users.  Identify your most vociferous, super-users and invite them into a VIP Group.  Discuss changes you’re considering with this group.  Seek their feedback, and see what they find interesting, frustrating, useful and useless.  If you happen to be running your community on the Ripple6 platform, you can use our consumer research tool  Social Insights to help you create this group and monitor it.  (Marketers use Social Insights to conduct consumer research too.)

You may also want to create a second group of newbies who are not experienced with the site, who can look at it with fresh eyes.  The newbies will see the that your super users have grown immune to over time.  Taking input from both groups and giving them a little advanced notice on upcoming changes will defuse the Revolution before it begins.

But the bottom line here is that you should be communicating with your community.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking like old media and declaring that you know what’s best for your audience.  Because it’s not an audience any more.  “Audience” comes from audio and it means to listen.  Community is related to commune which means to meet.  You work with a community, not an audience as long as you keep that in mind you’ll do fine.

Photo credit Flickr Uploaded on February 26, 2006 by weaponofchoice

The Era of Social Commerce is Upon Us

Posted by Chris Kieff on May 1st, 2009

On his widely read blog this week, Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester talks about the coming ages of the social web.    It’s an excellent post and you should read it. He discusses the coming age when websites will be able to offer capabilities like social commerce.  We here at Ripple6 agree wholeheartedly with Forrester that social commerce will change the face of the web as we know it.   However, we disagree with them in one tiny area- the timing of this occurrence.  That’s because we believe that the Era of Social Commerce is upon us.

theeraofsocialcommerceIn the chart at right you can see that Forrester is predicting the Era of Social Commerce will begin in 2011 and reach maturity in 2013.  Ripple6 believes that this assessment misses the mark because Ripple6 is offering Social Commerce products today.  So while it may take 1 or 2 years for the market to mature, we believe that the advantages of  social commerce will be so dramatic that online businesses will need to adopt social commerce into their sites merely to stay competitive.

Why will the ubiquitous adoption of social commerce  happen so quickly?  Because it will change the face of the online purchase experience for the consumer and create such a tremendous advantage for the websites that deploy it that it will force the competition to match them or go out of business.

Let us give you an example; you just bought a new book and the estore you purchased from suggests that you may want to join a reverse book club.  What’s a reverse book club?  In an ordinary book club the club tells you which book to read and everyone discusses that book.  In a reverse book club, you decide which book you want to read and then join a club based upon people who bought that book at the same time.

The social commerce site will connect you with the people in the community who share your tastes.  With the next gadget you buy you are offered to join a club of people who’ve all purchased the same gadget at the same time.  Everyone in the club can share their experiences, their knowledge and how they use the gadget.  Ripple6 is offering this Smart Group technology to ecommerce vendors today.  And when added to the already “baked in” high value social applications our system offers it creates an unbeatable social commerce capacity.  (If you would like to discuss this technology for your ecommerce site contact us today.)

This technology will cause a revolution in ecommerce that will make the adoption of user reviews seem minor in comparison.  User reviews first appeared on ecommerce sites about 2005, and in 2008 they were nearly ubiquitous.

The first websites to deploy social commerce technology will be live this year, and their competitors will need to jump on the bandwagon very quickly to have any hope of competing with game changing technology like this.   We feel that social commerce will be such a great advantage that sites will be forced to deploy in 2010 in large numbers to stay competitive.

Therefore, while we agree with Forrester on their assessment of the coming changes, we feel that the time frame may be compressed significantly for the Era of Social Commerce.

How long do you feel it will take social commerce to be adopted by a majority of ecommerce sites?  Please leave your comment below:

Image credit- we copied a small portion of the chart Forrester published for purposes of illustration.  The original image is Copyright Forrester all rights reserved and can be found here:

Taking a Leadership Position

Posted by Chris Kieff on April 23rd, 2009

Brands aren’t simply brands anymore. They are the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media, said Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift, who warned that marketers who do not recognize that — and adapt their marketing — are in grave peril. AdAge Magazine 04/13/09 by Jack Neff

The above remarks are from from Mr. Clift’s keynote speech at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York.

So how does a brand a plan to ride out this maelstrom of change in the advertising landscape?  By looking at new technologies and techniques for reaching their prospective customers.  And by investing the time and resources to learn the new rules in the digital landscape.

One aspect that needs particular attention is engaging with customers in the realm  of social media.  People today are not only empowered by digital media and social media technologies, they are feeling that power.  People know that they can talk to brands, and the brands had better listen and respond.  If the brand fails to respond people will have the discussion with others in the digital landscape.  Brands that fail to engage in that discussion are ceding the territory to their competitors.

Forward thinking and acting brands are finding methods, technologies and people to lead the way into real engagement with customers.  An excellent example is Better Homes and Gardens, a Meredith brand.  They were recently named one of the Most Engaged Media Brands by Min Online.  One of the reasons BH&G was honored was their Mixing Bowl (a Ripple6) social community which was given Honorable Mention for Best of the Web in the Social Community category.

The Better Homes & Gardens brand stays ahead of the curve by creating an online community. This kind of adapting your marketing plan to the new realities is what will keep the Better Homes and Gardens brand in the lead in the years to come.  And you can expect some announcements from Ripple6 shortly about other major brand names who are taking leadership positions in social marketing as well.

(For a great perspective on Mixing Bowl check out The Marketing Diva’s interview with Heather Morgan Shott.)

Photo credit: Flickr by pedrosimoes7