The social graph is a term coined by scientists working in the social areas of graph theory. It has been described as “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related” (“Facebook: One Social Graph to Rule Them All?” CBS News 11 July 2010). The term was popularized at the Facebook f8 conference on May 24, 2007, when it was used to explain that the Facebook Platform, which was introduced at the same time, would benefit from the social graph by taking advantage of the relationships between individuals, that Facebook provides, to offer a more worthwhile online experience.
The Social Graph makes ‘Social Commerce’ more effective
A lot of consumer businesses have indulged in ineffective Facebook marketing based around gathering Facebook likes or trying to ‘push’ their messages or offers at consumers. The results of such efforts in the most part have been disappointing. What needs to happen is for consumer brands to align themselves with how Social communities and social commerce works. When this happens some quite extraordinary results occur, for example:
- 83% of consumers tell their friends when they get a good deal (JWT Intelligence, December 2010)
- 90% of people trust recommendations â€¨ from their friends (Nielsen, April 2010)
- 300% more likely to buy when recommended by friend (Nielsen, April 2010)
- 1000% more likely to buy deal after seeing friend purchased it (Facebook, August 2011)
The Social Graph allows consumer brands to make their acquisition marketing efforts much more effective by aligning their messages and offers with the interests and relationships of their customers. Clearly, Social Commerce is only effective on a proportion of your target audience so we would calculate this can improve the effectiveness of overall acquisition marketing by 3-14% depending on target consumer segment, product, offer and messaging.
You can access the Social Graph for existing customers who have given you permission
You already know a great deal about your existing customers and this can be substantially improved by gaining appropriate ‘Facebook’ permissions from them to access their relationships. You can access this data through the Facebook ‘Open Graph’ API – see http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/ . You can see an example by visiting TripAdvisor.com where if you logon using your Facebook ID, you can see friends who have visited the same locations as you are considering.
How do you get Social Commerce to work for NEW customers you WANT to acquire?
The problem with attempting to apply Social Commerce principles for new customers that you want to acquire is that you don’t have the data to know who they are and their relationships to your ‘brand ambassadors’, advocates and extended customer base. In this situation, we have a unique asset that can be of immense value which consists of a permission based Social Graph containing over 15 million individuals in the UK and their inter-relationships. You can use this Social Graph to improve the effectiveness of your acquisition marketing by:
- Reassuring potential customers by referencing individuals they know who believe in your brand and products
- Varying your messaging to appeal most effectively to prospective customers
- Giving different offers (more attractive or less attractive depending on expected lifetime value)
- Managing your customer ‘onboarding’ process appropriately