As Cheryl and Jenny mentioned, I had the chance to attend the Social Media and Community 2.0 conference this month. This was my fifth year attending the conference and my fourth year speaking. This year I was asked to be the conference chair. It was fantastically fun to talk to the speakers before the event! One of this year’s speakers was Scott Stratten of UnMarketing fame. I found Scott’s talk to be powerful in the simplicity of concept. Sometimes, those of us who have been doing this for a while need a gentle reminder of the core philosophies of customer service. As someone who needed this, thank you Scott for these reminders!
Your mission statement doesn’t matter.
What people remember is the feeling they get when they interact with the company. That feeling doesn’t come from the website or the leaders—it comes from the front line. For us in the social space, this is a huge point about how we personify the brand in our communities. In the State of Online Branded Communities report, we found that more than 60 percent of communities had no active face of the community. How can our customers interact with us if there is not a person behind the brand? Scott suggested that you do three things to build a relationship with your customers (B2B too): Know, Like and Trust. Know your customers, be someone worth liking and build trust.
Scott had this wonderful picture:
His point was that people don’t spread “Meh”…they spread AWESOME. Make sure your content is awesome. He talked about this concept in terms of a blog post. How many people share a post that is just OK? How many people spread awesome? For your brand, awesome might be the most highly technical content, or perhaps it’s the company subject matter experts sharing their thoughts on a topic. Awesome is going to be very specific, but you have to reach that high bar of expectations. If you post mostly “Meh,” you will lose the audience. If you post only once a month, but the content is awesome, you will have more viewership and loyalty.
Exceptional is sexy.
Scott is often asked about what’s new in social media. His response is that it doesn’t matter—it is not about what is next, it is about being exceptional at what we have now. Social media is a set of tools. We have plenty. If we fix what we have now, then it’s easy to be exceptional in what’s next. He also makes the point that social media doesn’t fix your brand or products. If your “product sucks, it still sucks,” and if someone (person or brand) is a jerk, they are an even bigger jerk on social media.
End discussion roadblocks.
Scott mentioned three things that are big roadblocks to having sharable content. First, of course, is having “Meh” content. Second, make it easy to participate. With every additional field in a registration, you lose 10 to 30 percent of people. Third, if you are trying to have a conversation, nothing kills it like getting the “awaiting moderation” window after submitting a comment.
Without a doubt, we are in a cutting-edge industry. Like me, I am sure other early practitioners in this space are also drawn to the new and unexplored frontier of social media. It is really important that we make sure we don’t lose sight of the larger customer focus of what we do. Sometimes these reminders have the most value! Thanks again, Scott!
Community 2.0: A Shared Experience with a Common Purpose.
It’s all about the headline.
Community 2.0. It was a small, intimate affair that spanned lots of different topics, including great case studies and even some of the science behind what we do. Yes, there is an app for that.
It was energizing to hear stories and anecdotes from those who have been successful. This year it was all about the headlines and nuggets of knowledge shared by others. Here are my top five headlines from this year’s speakers:
5. “Brands struggle to humanize themselves” (Marc Gobé, Emotional Branding)
4. “Become part of pop culture” (Heddy DeMaria, Kraft)
3. “Closing the loyalty loop” (Kellie Parker, SEGA)
2. “Mission doesn’t matter, actions mean everything” (Scott Stratten, UnMarketing)
1. “The nerds have won” (Michael Tchong, Ubercool)
Community comes natural.
Most interesting to me were the engagement behaviors exhibited by the conference attendees. It was as if we belonged to a “Community” Community with a shared purpose. Just like community members, we:
· Registered for event access
· Created, rated and curated content
· Told stories
· Made new connections with people like us
· Shared relevant content with our networks
· Offered advice, best practices and tips and tricks
· Provided feedback on the experience
· Had access to experts
· Consumed the content most relevant to us
Is it because, as practitioners, we have social engagement on the brain? Maybe in part, but mostly it’s because community is fueled by people who want to learn, interact with others with common passions, causes or challenges, or contribute expertise and ideas. If executed correctly, communities allow companies to solve the issues we just talked about:
· Being human
· Becoming part of the culture
· Thanking their loyal customers and fans
· Acting quickly
Social is a no-brainer.
And lastly, the number one message that rang loud and clear is to get a move on things. People behave differently today in this age of Instant Gratification. If you are still toe-dipping with social engagement, it’s time to get off the shied. The nerds have won, and the Digital Natives are restless and abbreviating as we speak!
I had heard good things about the Community 2.0 conference in prior years, so despite how crazy it was at the office, I decided to join a small ComBlu contingent and head out to Boston last week. It didn’t disappoint. Here are a few key takeaways from a Social Media and C 2.0 conference first-timer.
Face it: it’s an ADD Culture
Michael Tchong @Ubercool points to “time compression as the accelerator of life.” Taking hold in the late 1940s with the invention of the Polaroid camera and Radar Range, the trend has been picking up steam ever since. People have less and less time for hobbies, and “found time” is a precious commodity. While we split our “connected” time across Facebook, Twitter and mobile, consider this: the average time spent on a website is just 56 seconds. Not a lot of time to make an impression. As marketers, we’re fighting for the fragmented attention spans of consumers who are busily multitasking.
Find Your Social Voice
Given the limited time to engage, stop pushing information and look for ways to collaborate. Marc Gobé argues that connection needs to be made on an emotional level. He warns that many brands are still married to a “blowhard” strategy when they’d be better served by finding an authentic social voice that’s more humanizing. Tell consumers what you believe in, what you know about them and what your leaders stand for—that they are inspiring, genuine and ethical people. Better yet, let your CEO tell his or her own story. Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing, echoed with a reminder that people do business with people they know, like and trust.
There’s Still No Substitute for Flawless Execution
The social media team and community meisters at Scottrade know the value of social engagement. Members of their private customer community are 28% more profitable. During the same period, the difference in trades between community members and non-members was a whopping 58%. And by the way, there are nearly 50,000 members. Their formula for success is pretty straightforward:
· Welcome new members; give them homework to get over the initial activation hurdle.
· Watch closely so you know who your next brand enthusiast is likely to be.
· Engage by starting a conversation, introducing them to like-minded members and posting challenges to get their attention.
· Encourage continued participation by praising helpful contributors.
· Celebrate milestones to reinforce that they’re important to the community.
What’s more impressive is that they affect this level of engagement in a highly regulated industry.
Strive for Awesome
People spread awesome. By contrast, “meh” goes nowhere. Stratten offers a few more reality checks:
· Stop dancing around the need for great content—it’s non-negotiable.
· Write for readers, not Google rankings.
· If you phone it in, it will be noticed, and you’ll hurt your cause.
At Sega, Kellie Parker’s team is constantly looking for ways to do something amazing that will resonate with fans. To inspire the community management team itself, they’ve created a Wall of Awesome: a collection of stories, fan letters, artwork and generally cool stuff that helps keep fans top of mind. Brilliant, since those team members are the face of Sega to the fans. If they’re not engaged…well, you know the rest.
Now, think about your work—what would find its way to your Wall of Awesome?