When googling something, try to do it with Bing - Fun video by CollegeHumor
Tired of all the Social Media gurus and experts who put all their skills in allowing you to grow your follower base on Twitter or the number of your blog readers or friends on Facebook? Let’s try something different.
How to get less followersThe number of people you’re connected to is not irrelevant. It’s fundamental. Meaning that you need to keep the number of connections limited. Your time and attention are limited, so you can interact only with a restricted selection of people.
The main task you accomplish when you interact on Social Media is filtering signal from noise. As soon as the noise increases, you must spend more time and resources in excluding what’s unimportant and have less time for content and connections you want to nurture and benefit from.
You can’t please everybody. And, if you try to, you’ll be less effective on the ones that really matter to you. This is a very basic rule of marketing. That’s the reason why marketing works based on “targets” and “clusters”: you can’t just speak to everyone. Select people you want to build a conversation with.
Wipe out the noiseThere are a few tricks to do it.
Stop following back anyone who follows you. Forget auto-follow. It’s very unlikely that people might be so interesting to you just because they follow you. They can write to you, attract your attention with clever, fun, emotional, insightful messages and in a thousand ways more. But the action of following doesn’t make them automatically interesting.
Same for Facebook.
Same for your blog. What’s more valuable? A lot of unengaged readers or less – but strongly engaged – community members?
Selfish?You might say it’s selfish to exclude some people from your conversation. Well, you’re not excluding anyone, but just focusing on a selected group of people, allowing anyone to directly contact you with direct @ replies.
It’s also very important that you listen a lot to what’s being said outside the conversation you’re part of. Set up some monitoring tools (e.g. a Google Reader that aggregates results from at least search.twitter.com and blogsearch.twitter.com). You’ll be warned when something’s being said that could matter to you and you can choose whether or not to interact. Through listening you’ll find out new people you want to follow and add to the group of people you follow.
Let’s get back to the question: deciding to focus on people that matter to you is not selfish, it’s an act of generosity to the few people who really matter to you and with whom you want to build a conversation.
Use perspectiveOf course this applies to people and brands with different weighs, depending on the effort they’re putting in their social presence and on their strategies and objectives.
“Few people”, “A lot of people” can range from 10 to 10000000 followers. The focus is on quality, not on quantity.
Find out what the right amount is and…. Go for it.
What's your take? Are you giving your followers the best of your attention or spreading it to anyone?
Photo credit: LuMaxArt
I really like simple revelations that bring us back on planet earth. I think the real value of research is connecting with "the real world". Since you're reading this blog, I assume most of you are into digital marketing, communication or brand engagement. So, it's crucial that the communication strategies and initiatives you work on are build around... people.
It's important to do a reality check about what we do. Everyday. More times per day. This will help focusing on who we do it for: the consumer.
This short clip is about an interview that Google did in Times Square, NY: less than 8% of the interviewed people knew what a browser is.
Enjoy. Think. Refocus. ;)
Let's get back to consumer research. Since all we build revolves around people who will interact with it, it's a crucial part of our job. When you see it turn concrete it's great. When you measure results and refine it's even better. It always amazes me when I get to see results for our initiatives, especially if they're coherent with the evaluations we made at startup.
Recently I've been able to measure behavior before and after the startup of a big project and come out with interesting results.
Consumer research: inductive processAt startup, we've set up a strategy based on the client's main clusters. Then we referred to Forrester Social Technographics and other sources to find out the behavior that our target has on Social Media. We've build a pretty precise idea of what kind of relationship we could expect to establish with each single socio-demographic segment of our cluster.
Consumer research: deductive processAfter the startup, a few days ago, what we set up has been successful and attracted a lot of people, we have been able to measure the target all the way around: starting from our user socio-demographic profiles. Since it was an activity that developed consumer engagement through social media, we had several needles to tell us who interacted with our initiative: insight tools (e.g. Facebook, YouTube), Social Media monitoring tools and analytics stats.
Top-down = bottom-upThe real interesting thing is how much the actual target resembled the picture we defined at the beginning. The coincidence was almost complete.
It feel so good to understand the possible target behavior and to build experiences that are relevant, useful and interesting for our clients' consumers. This applies to huge project and to tiny little initiatives as well.
This is one of the main reasons why I love what I do.
Photo credit: richkidsunite
People who are able to find something are infinitely more valuable than people who have that something. In a recent post I wrote in a provocative way that knowledge is nothing. Gatekeepers (people that can help seeking an information) are so much more valuable than anyone who "just" knows something. Knowledge can be achieved fast today, it's harder to achieve the ability to locate knowledge and to share it.
How does this apply to brands?
As I often do, I tried to figure out if and how this could apply to marketing. Then, tonight, a tweet by Jeremiah Owyang gave me started a sparkle in my mind:
"Although many brands are doing social pollination (spreading content to social sites), few are doing the opposite of aggregation."
Probably this is the key. We shift from a digital world in which everything is organized in folders and labeled to a world where:
- Humans are the most valuable feeds
- Brands (not just people) need to be human to set up effective conversations
- Tools try to speak human language to act as gatekeepers (see WolframAlpha)
- Collaboration moves in waves (see Google Wave)
In this scenario it comes clear that people put an awesome value in everyone who can act as a lighthouse, leading their way to information and content that can be worth for them.
What does this mean for brands?
This is a great opportunity for brands: they have an awesome source of information about what consumers look for. Consumers look for content, information, engagement, connection, support, services.
Brands acting like humans can build aggregators that concentrate everything related to their world that their consumer might look for. Aggregators can be built in many ways: through a community management activity, through an editorial staff or even leveraging on the consumers suggestions.
Brands can become gatekeepers, thus building places people can refer to and use those places to nurture a conversation and a relationship. This is valid for both personal and "standard" brands. Aggregate content, information, elements of engagement, connections, give support and provide services in one place. Be the one who is able to find things, not the one who owns things.
The great chance stands right there. And remember: do not limit your plans to your service or product. Extend it to the universe around it. Are you selling boats? Talk about the sea. Are you selling forks? Talk about eating.
Broaden your focus,
build a relationship,
be a gatekeeper.
Photo credit: rachel_thecat
Internet today is an overflow.Information, relationships, interactions and experiences in general are as near and accessible as we can think.
This is a great advantage, but if you look at it closely it can turn into a problem. Having so many situations to deal with is difficult and we need to:
PrioritizeOur digital experience is all about giving priority. The search engine result page is nothing but a prioritized list of content. Our news feed on Facebook decides priorities and show updates to you accordingly. Twitter has a priority based on timing: latest updates show up first.
We need rules to define priorities but rules are - by definition - not adaptive. As the environment changes, rules don't change. And the scenario we live in is driven by change.
Prioritising is good but we don't need rules, we need to:
TrustOur experience gets a lot more effective as soon as we learn to establish a relationship and trust peers who can select, suggest and promote content with us (and for us). While rules limit, trust empowers.
Try looking at everything that comes into your daily digital experience and see how much you weigh inputs that reach you from people you follow / relate / deal with.
You will need to:
Find gatekeepersWe shifted from an organized world (metaphor: folders) to a tagged world (metaphor: search). Now, gatekeepers are more important than search.
Think about it: knowledge is valuable, but it's nothing compared to the ability to find, share and connect. This applies to every detail of your digital user experience: it's more useful to look for people who can help you finding what you need than just asking and get an answer.
Have you found your gatekeepers?
Do you feel like your peers are many times more valuable than search and traditional - non-human ways?
Have you already found out who your influencers are?You don't want them to do something good for you, you want them to do something great with you. The best way to have an influencer with you is... influencing.
You want to influence the influencer
There is nothing that can keep up with real motivation that someone gains spontaneously from your brand. Sponsored conversations might work fine (as soon as you disclose them openly and allow people to say whatever they want about your product / brand) but they are just one of the many way that can help a brand build influence on the first generation of influencers.
Short term: be relevant
You need to build awareness for your message. Remember you're working to build awareness for influencers: the messages and channels you use can be very different from the ones you'd activate when communicating to the your end consumer.
Select touch points, both digital and off-line, where you can meet people you want to influence and make yourself known. Someone does it by sending direct mailing, some organize events, some meet people they want to influence in person. It really doesn't matter how, but you need to get known.
Mid term: be useful
You're not trying to make a deal with people you want to influence: you're making something a lot harder. You want to be so important for them that they'll feel the need to share what you provide them with others.
This can be a content, a service, an experience. Anything that generates goodwill in the ones you need to influence.
You need to make an impact. It should be something that's useful for them and you'll be even more successful if that something is useful for people who are influenced by them.
Long term: be interesting
On the long term, you need to keep the influencers' attention, hoping they are willing to transfer this to people they influence.
Building something interesting isn't easy especially when it's not going to be a one - shot activity but a longer engagement.
In this case, don't think about something that's just interesting for people who you want to influence directly, think about something that they could use to be interesting for the people they influence.
Next generation is the key
As soon as you've understood how to influence the first generation by being relevant, you really need to shift your paradigm and think about the following generation of influencers to be effective.
Remember, everything in social media is powered by the act of giving. The best thing you can give someone is the ability to give to others.
So, influence the influencer by giving something that can be shared.
What's your take and your experience about it? I'd really love to read your point of view.
Photo credit: savannahgrandfather, dominicspics, nesster