Facebook Gifts and Principles of Effective Social Commerce Campaigns

On December 11, 2012 Facebook rolled out a new feature. A little too late in my opinion for pre-Christmas shopping, but they have made it possible for “everyone in the U.S.” to receive gifts from friends [original announcement here]. Of course, the friend would have to pay for the gift. That’s the whole point of the exercise. Long gone are the days when we all wondered how (wasn’t the better question “when”?) Facebook is going to monetize their massive membership base.

On the same day TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine ran some numbers and concluded that “Facebook could earn up to $1 billion a year from Gifts” [more here]. His higher-end estimate was based on Facebook earning 20% per purchase. Knowing a bit about what various merchants pay through their affiliate programs, I, actually, think that Facebook’s average cut is closer to 10% here. While they do feature some products from higher-paying niches (e.g. magazine subscriptions, T-shirts, sunglasses, gift baskets) which may yield 20% in “commissions” to Facebook, the majority currently featured merchants do not really pay as much as that. The more common range would be 5%-6% (e.g. Target, iTunes, Cheryl’s) to 7% (e.g. Starbucks) or, maybe, 10% (e.g. Brookstone).

But whether they are going to reap $510 million or $1.02 billion is really irrelevant. The idea itself is great, and represents a perfect example of a well-built social commerce campaign. Here’s a screenshot of how I saw it earlier this morning:

This is one beautifully-crafted social commerce campaign (from which we can all learn something). It is:

(1) Timely — It is Scott’s birthday.

(2) Relevant — He is my friend, and I am a perfect “target audience” for gift buying.

(3) Convenient — I can buy my gift right there and then (out of their selection of gifts) without having to search elsewhere.

(4) It incorporates compelling Social Proof — My others friends, whom I trust, “have used Facebook Gifts” already. What am I waiting for?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check my own social media or other online marketing initiatives — to see how they compare with what Facebook is doing with Gifts. I’m sure I’ll find plenty of things to tweak.

Facebook Opens Up Your Inbox to Strangers (for $1 per Message)

If you haven’t been to your Facebook “Messages” tab lately (since Wednesday, December 19, 2012, to be exact), go ahead — log into your Facebook profile and navigate to that tab. Upon doing so, you will see the following message (highlighting mine):

So, “now anyone can message you” — whether you know the person or not; and Facebook has announced this “update to messaging” in yesterday’s blog post. Here’s an excerpt from it:

Today we’re starting a small experiment to test the usefulness of economic signals to determine relevance. This test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the Inbox rather than the Other folder of a recipient that they are not connected with.

Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.

This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient… This message routing feature is only for personal messages between individuals in the U.S. [source]

As you can see from the above screenshot, before this change strangers could also message us, but all their messages would land in the “Other” folder. Now you may see them in the “Inbox” instead.

Reuters adds:

A Facebook spokesman said the charge for the test is $1 per message, but added that the company is still looking for the “optimum” price. Users can only receive one of these paid, re-routed messages per week, he noted. [source]

Yesterday after Jill Whalen’s Tweet based on my earlier Tweet on the subject, an array of reactions followed. Here are just a couple of them:



What do you make of it?

Keep in mind, also, that less than two months ago Facebook crossed 1 billion users threshold and it now engages “nearly half of the world’s Internet users” [source].

3 Free Create-an-Infographic Tools to Use for Personal Branding

Infographics are powerful data visualization tools, but have you ever thought of using them for personal branding?

I’ve got some great news for you today — not only the above is possible, but there are also a number of free online tools you can use to create them. Here are three of my personal favorites (by the way, as all of my posts, the below one is not sponsored in any way, but reflects my personal experience(s) and preference(s)):

1. Vizualize.me [website | Twitter]

They do exactly what they promise — “visualize your resume in one click.” You just sign in with your LinkedIn username and password, and they do the rest. Furthermore, you may customize your infographic choosing between 6 different “themes”, and also tweak your “styles”. Click on the below “thumbnail” of mine to see what to expect from the default (read: non-customized) output:

2. re.vu [website | Twitter]

Even thought I’m listing this one second, it is by far my most favorite tool out of the three. Their slogan — “Don’t send a resume. Share your story.” — deeply resonates with my own approach to things (from training and speaking to raising up my daughter). They also have a “LinkedIn Importer”, which pulls all your information from your LinkedIn profile, after which you can customize it by hand. Click the below image to see how my default infographic ended up looking like:

3. Brazen.me [website | Twitter]

This Facebook app by Brazen Careerist allows you to create an infographic-type resume by pulling data both from your Facebook profile, and from your LinkedIn account. 10 “color schemes” are available for convenient customization. Also, their “Career Portfolio” function is fun to check out. Here’s what my Brazen infographic looks like (click the image to view the dynamic version):

As always, I want this post to be a learning experience for all of us. So, if you’re particularly fond of other related tools, please do mention them below.