Incubator 2.0: Social Cooperation for SME and Start up Marketing
A new way of doing business is here. Most don’t even recognise it yet, but they take part in it daily. It is collaborative or cooperative marketing. Whereas there is still flexibility in the definition, it is based on the simple common sense ideas as strength in numbers and the sum of the parts are greater than the whole. But it is also based in sound results data which makes it undeniable.
Jeremiah Owyang (@JOwyang) has recently released some powerful financial data on the “collaborative” economy reaching back to 2002. His definition is about technology that allows for efficient sharing of services such as UBER and AirBNB. This definition has popularity as it is the basis for most current start up models.
Small Business Saturday takes social cooperation to the street with streets. Started by American Express to coordinate marketing efforts of SME’s to promote sales for the Saturday following Thanksgiving in the U.S., it has proven hugely successful. As reported in an article by CNN in 2012 SME’s reported that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had little effect on their sales, but the coordinated marketing effort for Small Business Saturday delivered US$5.5 billion in sales for the day. Note Black Friday, which favours large retail outlets, saw only US$1 billion in sales in 2012.
Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) is developing the extended incubator. Having seen the success of other incubators such as Y-Combinator has envisioned extending beyond development to product launch. In the incubator model, resources and knowledge are brought together to provide a heightened environment for success. However, there does not exist an “incubator” for after the product is developed. How do you go from not known to a necessity?
In these three examples I touched on three key points of Incubator 2.0 or as I like to call it the Social Media Cooperative. And the there is the fourth which differentiates from the common aggregator model which collects and lists businesses under a single brand (e.g. Uber, Expedia, Yelp). The key points are:
Having a platform and interface that allows SME’s to join, contribute and participate
SME’s power the world, they generate more revenue and employ more people than the multinationals could even dream about. SME’s ROCK!
There needs to be an effective model where SME”s can tap into an existing collective of resources and knowledge
Rather than aggregate the model needs to propagate
Unlocking the secrets of social media:
Fundamental to all social media and including search is Like, Comment and Share. The more you do, the better the results. This model suggests that instead of creating an app that aggregates businesses such as Groupon mobile app which may have 100,000 businesses represented, we advocate establishing digital footprints for each brand. This would mean 100,000 Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram streams, Blogs etc. and the good search that results from this optimised content. But more importantly you have 100,000 healthy communities built of Fans/ customers that have joined these brands because they chose to. Consider this, which do you think is more valuable to a business for ROI?
Having 10,000 Fans on your page that chose to be there and are actively engaged
Paying Facebook to push your ad to 10,000 random people
Now that we have these 100,000 businesses how do we get it to work? Technology and expertise play a large role. Social media is all about understanding algorithms and online consumer behaviour. By leveraging knowledge of these along with a proven process and a technology backend driven by a crowdsourcing model, science becomes magic. By effectively posting on these 100,000 businesses profiles using optimised content and then systematically cross promoting through Share, Like and Comment we have proven to increase Organic reach by 20 times! And in addition to an increase in organic reach, each brand that cross promotes using Likes, Comments and Shares gets exposed to a new and wider range of Fans/ customers. This works the same way as when we share a post from a friend and in doing so all our friends get to see this post and they also get to see who it originally came from.
This can only work with cooperation. SME’s must recognise the value in sharing promotion. What we have found odd is that a brand will not hesitate having their advertisement on the same website, newspaper page or bus stop as other businesses, but they hesitate when asked to cross promote. This is where successful activities like Small Business Saturday are proving that by sharing and cooperating a business does not jeopardise their brand and market share, but in fact, increases it.
The technology and process is too detailed to go into here. PRDA has been proving this concept for 6 years and it has remained successful despite changes to algorithms or popular apps. Fundamentals change more slowly and the concept of cooperation being good for outcome likely to not change anytime soon.
Access to a large pool of engaged Fans/ customers through shared communities
Highly effective organic results and search through optimised content
Efficiency of process, technology and scale: