What eSourcing can learn from social media

Over the last decade, social media has become ever more streamlined. From the creation of Facebook over 12 years ago, allowing individuals to represent themselves on a single page. The evolution of Twitter, limiting the number of characters that can be used in a single ‘tweet’ to 140. To the eventual creation ofTinder that matches couples based on their physical attraction to each other. Social media has revolutionised the way we socialise on a daily basis.

We have broken down social media into 6 main aspects that we believe are integral to the success of social media and what eSourcing can learn:

1. Engagement
2. Expanding networks
3. Ability to express opinions
4. Dissemble information
5. Sharing content
6. Create events

Aspects of Social Media

1. Engagement
Central to the success of any social media platform is its ability to engage users. Engagement in social media is measured by how much and how often others interact with each other and their content. This is influenced by content, usability of the system and its reach.
Successful SaaS sSourcing providers are typically easy to use and have the ability for suppliers as well as hosts to use the application anywhere in the world. Ideally an eSourcing platform would allow users to create content, potentially increasing the use of the software for enjoyment. In the future there is potential for further gamification as an avenue to explore to encourage user engagement.

2. Expanding networks
Social media platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook have the ability to bring together contacts from around the world. In recent years you can expand your network and connect with individuals who you don’t know but share a common interest such as sports teams, universities and previous job history.

Most eSourcing platforms are similarly moving down this route to connect hosts with more suppliers and also hosts with other hosts. Ideally an eSourcing system would have the ability for hosts to expand their networks of suppliers. An example of how you could do this would be a database of suppliers that would allow new hosts to invite other suppliers to their network. Thereby using the SaaS application to expand networks and find new contacts.

3. Ability to express opinions
Integral to any modern social media platform is the ability for a user to express their opinion over a particular topic. This can be done in the now popular method of ‘liking’ content.
In this case eSourcing platforms typically don’t have an option of expressing opinions due to the limited content that is shared between hosts and suppliers. However, could platforms integrate this ability as an alternative way to gain additional feedback on tenders.

4. Dissemble information – Twitter via 140 characters
Twitter has created an incredible ability to disassemble content into 140 characters or less. By limiting the number of characters in a ‘tweet’ it allows users to easily process information in small chunks.

eSourcing as with other industries are still looking for ways to further condense information into smaller forms, however the development of visuals over the last few years has gone further to dissembling information into easy to read content. Twitter has been used by past clients to advertise their tenders to a wider audience and then is certainly more scope for this.

5. Sharing Content
Social media platforms have advanced in recent years to make the process of sharing content both straightforward and effective. By using already existent content and distributing it to other users, it both lessens the need for new content and encourages or develops the relationships between users.

A form of sharing content is already being used in eSourcing through templates, guides, forums, and just in the process of general tenders. We foresee this to increase as eSourcing becomes even more integral to businesses, especially with respect to the community as a whole sharing ideas and experience.

6. Create events
Events are being used by social media applications to interact and develop relationships between users. Whether it’s scheduling your social calendar with ‘Events’ on Facebook or reacting to real-time events with ‘trends’ on Twitter.

eSourcing systems such as Market Dojo already use events such as Reverse eAuctions as a method of interaction between users. However the ability to show events taking place by other users and what is going on for other suppliers to join might be beneficial to create interaction and ultimately success.. Obviously there are issues with confidentiality and security that need to be upheld.

Overview
Social media has many aspects that are being used in eSourcing, while there are some aspects such as the dissembling of information into a very limited number of characters that have yet to be adapted. Here is a breakdown of different features that we believe eSourcing can adapt from social media.

What can eSourcing learn from social media?

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself! https://www.marketdojo.com/reverse-auctions

What are the top things to do when starting a new Pay-per-click campaign?

I recieved a question on LinkedIn recently.  Specifically it was: “What are the top things to do when starting a new PPC campaign or optimizing an existing one?”.

Not really being an expert in this area but having learnt a lot through trial-and-error recently from our Adwords campaigns, below is the response I gave.  It happened to receive the “Best Answer” accolade on LinkedIn so I thought I would share it here, in case it may be of use to our readers;

1) Typically I’d begin by thinking what I am looking to advertise, particularly if my website has a number of different products or services. I’d build that top level list of products or services that I wish to promote.

2) I’d think about the landing pages I would want for each ad and whether my current webpages match the ad objective, or whether I need create a completely new webpage that would convert the customers better.

3) I would then get stuck into clustering my ads into groups that share the same keyword types, e.g. an ad group that has ads focused on tracker mortgages, another ad group that has ads focused on fixed rate mortgages, and so on, all within the campaign, “Mortgages”.

4) Once the ad groups are created, I’d try and get into the head of my target customer and think, what do they want to see, what would make then click the link, what would make my ad stand-out vs the competitors. This would then influence what I would write for my ads, e.g. “Best Tracker Rates for the most affordable mortgages on the market, click here” or whatever! It’s important that the ad must contain words that are relevant a) to what the customer wants, and b) the keywords you are going to apply the ad to.

5) Which brings us on to the keywords for each ad. Use various Google suggestion tools and those from other sites to research a great list of keywords, their revelance, their search frequency and your gut-feel for suitability. Apply those keywords and define a sensible bid price that won’t ruin you on day 1. With high volume searches you will have a good load of feedback very early on to then make refinements, keeping a close eye on your Quality Score (mostly based on the keyword Click Through Rate), AdRank (based on cost per click and Quality Score) and overall daily / weekly / monthly cost vs return.

6) So, with the objectives defined, the campaigns set up, the ad groups organised, the keywords targeted, the ads appropriate and the landing page catered for, all that I would then do is go live! Then monitor very closely for performance and not be afraid to make tweaks along the way.

About:  Market Dojo provides business-to-business e-auction and e-sourcing software.  Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com.    

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