Is your social media strategy C.U.T.E?

19 11 2009

What do fans have in common? Why is it easy to have a conversation with some strangers and not others? Having moved around quite a bit (living in 4+ countries and not done yet), I tend to think that my village a gypsy type one. The more I think about social media, the more my ‘village fool, not so fool anymore’ analogy makes sense. Common experiences and preferences carry influence and communities are the new influencers. Consumers are influence-able, their friends do this very well:) Rethinking a brand’s community or audience’s common interests certainly makes a lot of sense.

Brands are like villages. They have constituents and those constituents certainly have things in common beyond just buying its product. I think a common mistake brands make using social media is to avoid defining their intentions with the community. Is the brand social to build a brand presence or to sell stuff? What value will your conversations create in the eyes of these customers? Brands belong to fans and twitter followers. It’s the brand’s page but it’s connected to many private spaces which belong to individuals.

So here’s a long term idea that I’m finally inking. Does your social media strategy have the C.U.T.E factor? You heard me. CUTE. CUTE stands for: “Common Unit of Transferable Experience”. A social media strategy should not only try to activate common units of experience between constituents or fans, but should also look at how transferable those units are. If a brand engages in media creation, will users share it? Such an engagement strategy should be moved from a brand or product centric intent to what consumers or customers have in common. They have more experiences in common than we would suspect (especially if the product or service is not Mac or iPhone appeal-esque…).

A brand should ask itself the following questions:
– What experiences do our customers have in common (not of your products) but around or while being empowered by your product or services? Would they transfer/share these experiences?
– What do our products enable them to do? Would they share this ability?
– How can a brand highlight the most interesting things customers do? If you sell TVs, talking about homebrewing may be okay… don’t they go together?
– If they don’t know your brand, what would they like to see first to help them build trust? Product and features or how customers are empowered with this product of service?

The CUTEs are conversation starters and sustainers and can create a great backbone for any social media strategy. You might want to think about that…

Am I a fool? Join me 🙂 Thoughts? Comments?

@YannR

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Conversation Drawers VS Sink Hole, FriendFeed kicks ass

5 05 2009

I have found lately that my amount of conversation on Twitter has decreased. I wasn’t quite sure but maybe the hype is just becoming too much or maybe it’s just because every clone can now have a social media megaphone. And then along came an old acquaintance….

I originally used FriendFeed as my ‘pipe management’ system. 12 months ago back in 2008, social networks were harder to sink and FriendFeed was just an obvious method to sink my rich media activities. But I was also being told by many, to try again, try again… so I did and it failed again. But how many screens do you need? The real success of Twitter has been to let everyone else do the work via the API and let people build all kinds of cool apps for Twitter. The best of all these apps being TweetDeck. I could finally cut the noise, do my job, be in the know and feed my appetite for new stuff. But here comes a Keyword: Noise. Cutting noise. The new FriendFeed came out in March 2009. This time, I have been really giving it a try diligently since last week. Here are some key points that are jumping at me after using it as my primary social application for 7 days:

– Pipes management: More than ever I can manage my rich media and social media activity from a single console. From Flickr, Youtube, social bookmarks, Disqus, Twitter…. or any web 2.0 tools you’re using out there, they can all be plugged into FriendFeed to share your activities. Of course you can feed (send your activity stream) to other places like Twitter.

Bookmarklet (found here): This feature is what a mouse is to a computer. (Do you remember when computers didn’t have mouse? I don’t). The gist of it: I can literally grab any webpage, with any pictures or videos in it and share all that in rich media. Exempli gratia: sharing a page and photo from BBC below.

-Share your “Likes” with Twitter, FB… If you use Twitter: RT, or ReTweet is like a rating system. Someone may like your stuff and basically push one button in TweetDeck or place RT in front of your message and pass it on. When many people do it then it becomes overwhelming. FollowFriday was born of a great similar concept but then every Friday it’s like constant noise going through Twitter. It’s ok but the overall stream of information out there is cluttered. Noise kills information. It especially kills conversation! With friendfeed, the rating system is embedded, with the likes, so you can be aware of it or not (through your lists) or look at the “Best of the day”.

– Conversation drawers: When at a good party, you might be better to track the good groups and conversations.  I remember when at The Enthusiast Group (outdoors vertical social networks), Steve and Neal had to basically stay glued to the amount of info coming in and take the best stuff to put it on the front page. Anyone who would come to the home page would see the latest good stuff. We were marrying Social Networks and Editorial power. It was the only way to keep the good stuff above. Here, and again in comparison to Twitter, each time you participate (Comment, Like, Share or simply Post) FriendFeed keeps this in your “My Discussions” tab, it’s easy to come back and you can even set alerts via emails, IM… to keep abreast of the discussions. Here on the left, the thread and discussion between everyone is right below the original post.

Lists: aka the noise cutter. I’ve heard some say “I’m lazy, I don’t want to build those lists”. At the time I kind of agreed. But then I am the first one to admit that I wouldn’t have stuck to Twitter if TweetDeck hadn’t made it easy to create groups. I am also limited by the number of groups I can create in TweetDeck. In FriendFeed, I can very easily create Lists by topics or rank of importance.

Auto-refreshing: Every other network (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin….) needs you to refresh the page if you want to get what’s new or updates on conversations. Here FriendFeed refreshes for you ‘live’ and superfast. I actually run Tweetdeck and Friendfeed simultaneously to compare both. FriendFeed is plainly ‘LIVE’.  Conversations happen and you can track them overtime. In comparison, Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook, are sink holes. It’s just hard to track things and they disappear if you’re not in front of your computer.

Any drawbacks? hmm… Oprah is not on there yet 🙂 Ok, you won’t find as many people but I find that quality is well managed here. I’ll certainly hang here for a while.

Now, where to start? Sign up here. Once you’re signed up, I would import your pipes:

Step 1:  Go to Services

Step 2: Then find your friends: import friends from Facebook, Twitter….

Step 3: Participate.  You can find me there: http://friendfeed.com/yannr



Cheers

Yann