Previewing SES New York: Michael Mothner, Wpromote CEO, Talks Social Commerce

SES New York kicks off today, and another panelist, Michael Mothner, Founder and CEO of Wpromote, was kind enough to give us an inside look at his panel The Psychology of Social Commerce (Do Not Be Afraid!). Mothner’s panel is part of the five-track program offered at this year’s SES New York.

If someone is considering attending SES, why do you think they should and why pick your panel?

Because I’m on it! But in all seriousness, I think we will be covering one of the concepts with the least amount of clarity for online marketers: how to execute a social media strategy that is able to produce measurable results. To date, it still has been the “shiny toy” of online marketing, or at best, the hot area that nobody wants to ignore but hardly anyone has really figured out. We’re going to dive into some concepts that hopefully will have users leaving the session with actionable concepts that will really change the way their social media strategy is structured.

Getting started in social commerce can appear daunting to beginners. What’s the most common mistake you see beginners make and how can it be avoided?

It’s absolutely daunting to beginners, and I think partly because there really isn’t an established best practices to fall back on (because again, nobody has truly “cracked the code” yet, or at least that is talking about it). Interestingly, I think that the two most common beginner’s mistakes are to be focused on the number of followers and not the quality and engagement of them and to have messaging that is too focused on promotional themes. If you are a dentist on Facebook, you want to have a mix of community information, fun facts, funny comments, and only periodically mention teeth whitening discounts. Your audience will tune out if you think like a dentist with a Facebook presence versus a member of a real community.

Businesses are sometimes disappointed when they don’t see instant results. What interim metrics do you suggest teams watch to help them gauge if they’re headed in the right direction?

With the above point of messaging being so crucial (and so abused by so many marketers), one go-to metric that is useful even with very small audiences, is what we call “Engagement Ratio,” which is comments and likes divided by total followers. This is really a key metric in finding those sorts of messages—promotional, questions, photos, newsy links—that resonate the best with your audience. When we run social media campaigns for our clients, we watch Engagement Ratios very closely to make sure that our communication with our clients’ followers match really well with their expectations and interests.

Things like the “do not track” button and other privacy initiatives have the potential to impact social commerce strategies. What alternatives do you recommend businesses look for to help compensate for that loss of insight into customer behavior?

Well obviously the fewer actions that are able to be tracked the harder it is to optimize strategy and measure impact and results. However, as of this point, the basic tenets, such as the Engagement Ratio, total followers, and of course, tracking referrer traffic from social media sites to your websites are all staples that won’t be going away, and for most marketers these are truly sufficient to run and optimize a social media effort for the vast majority of marketers.

SES New York runs from March 19-23 at the Hilton New York.

About Britt Raybould

Britt Raybould has a passion for telling stories and she specializes in helping companies figure out how to tell their own stories. Through her firm, Write Bold, she shows companies how storytelling can define them, both to their customers and within their industry. When she remembers to, Britt blogs on her personal sites at and You can find Britt on Twitter @britter.

Twitter: britter

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