Archive | Community Management

Seth Godin, Tribes and Brand Communities

Was watching this new inspiring TED talk by Seth Godin and remembered my earlier research about tribes and brand communities which are so important  in analysing the post-modern consumer behaviour . Here are some of the main concepts of tribes and brand communities reviewed in the research:

“In the post-modernity period which encourages a move away from individualism towards a search for more social bonds, these communities tend to reorganize themselves into neo-tribes, networks of people gathering homogeneously together for social interaction, often around consumption and brands (Simmons, 2008). From the marketers perspective it is very important to consider tribal relationships as it may be a powerful tool in building loyalty and trust among the consumers. Even though neo-tribes and brand communities are two different concepts they share very similar features and often are very related to each other. According to Cova and Cova (2002) the main differences are that the brand communities are explicitly commercial whereas tribes are not, furthermore, brand communities are concerned about relationship between brand and consumer, whereas tribes – relationship between consumers. Muniz and O’Guinn (2001) (citied in Ouwersloot and Odekerken-Schroeder, 2008) describes a brand community as a specialized, non-geographically bound community that is based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand. Mairinger (2008) suggests that:

  • The brand community is not just formed around a brand; it creates the brand.
  • The brand community is not just formed around a product; it is part of the product.

Therefore, the creation and development of brand communities is one of the most important tasks of the marketer as it can guarantee the company success in the long term. According to Mairinger (2008) brand communities can add real experiences and emotion to the brand, reach the long tail, address both individualism and collectivity needs and replace the celebrity endorsers with community brand advocates. Considering that 49 % of people made a purchase based on friends recommendations on social media property (Razorfish, 2008), social media can be viewed as an important channel and tool to interact, manage and enable these brand communities.”

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What James Bond and Social Media Expert have in common?

So what James Bond and social media expert have in common? Well, apparently quite a lot. I’ve noticed this ad by MI6 (UK equivalent of CIA) on the train which said:

"Knowing what intelligence to gather and who to target is at the heart of everything we do at MI6."

I think this phrase should be written in capital letters on every social media practitioner’s notebook as it seems too often people in social media forget why they are doing what they are doing. A good research (or as we call it "listening" process) and knowing how to apply that research is at the heart of social media and marketing in general. Furthermore, identifying your stakeholders and knowing for what kind of people/companies you are looking for while doing the social research is vital for a successful social media campaign too. If you just simply start following/friending everyone you just waste your time and opportunity to talk with your target market. 

If you haven’t got time  to figure it out and you are implementing either Facebook or Twitter campaign I suggest you at least doing the research for these 3 main audiences relevant to your services:

  • What are your competitors  doing on social networks – in order to find out how to differentiate yourself.
  • What are your possible partners (from related services) doing on social networks  – in order to get referrals.
  • What are your consumers doing on social networks – in order to find out their wants and needs.

It is all quite obvious, but still a lot of of people don’t get it. So keep in mind these three simple steps and become a social media Bond, James Bond :)

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How to start and manage your community

 

Just wanted to share this short brilliant talk about leadership and community management by Dere Sivers. A few lessons to learn for the community managers:

  • You have to make it easy for people to follow you
  • You have to become “equal”  with people who follow you and know how to transfer the sentiment.
  • You have to remember that followers attract more followers – not the leader.

I hope you enjoyed this video and have a great Easter everyone!

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What the Priests and Social Media Citizens Have in Common?

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I am not that much into religion, but was having some thoughts about social media community and it’s Teletubbic vibe or the goodness surrounding it. It brought me to this idea that goodness is very transferable and viral in it’s nature, therefore I’ve decided  to analyze what do social media people have in common with priests and what they could learn from this honourable profession.

We listen

Well we know that social media is all about good listening. Social media people are a bit like the priests in their confessionals, waiting for the users to acknowledge the “sins” about their need and wants, that they could “help” them with the brilliant content, products or services. I think one from the many things we could learn from the priests is that listening is not one way process  – you have to ask the right questions in order to get the right answers.

We preach

Well, I’m just being honest with myself – I love to preach. I bet that there quite a few social media professionals who feels the same way. The blogosphere is an ideal place for that; it’s like a big church where you can push your ideas to so many different audiences. The one thing to remember though, you have always to remember the purpose of your preachment – it’s not about you it’s about what your audience can take from your lecture.

We build communities

Religion is all about community building and transferring the values and beliefs to the community. It sound a lot like what community managers are trying to do for their clients – transferring the emotion, values and belief of the brands to the community. Social media citizens have to remember that building the real functioning community takes a lot of time, work and patience.

We work for a better cause

Ok, I’m under no illusions that blogosphere and social media enthusiast don’t want to earn money, but the thing I like about social media that you can add value for yourself by creating some added value for someone else as well. Everyone is doing what they are doing with some intention – the church leader wants to become a Pope one day as a social media professional wants to reach the new highs in his/her environment, but an important point to remember is how not to forget the main cause – to create value in order to get value.

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Are you here to make friends?

 

I’ve just read this brilliant quite personal story by Peter Bregman on Harvard Business Review “Why Friends Matter at Work and in Life“ . The author analyzes a few interesting researches how friendships affect your business and everyday life. I love the authors points taken out of the research:

  • If you’re looking for a job you’d better have friends. The number-one way people find new jobs is referrals by friends.
  • Once you’re on the job, having a best friend at work is a strong predictor of success.
  • Friendships in high school were a strong predictor of increased wages in adulthood — to the tune of 2% per person who considered you a close friend.
  • Want to stay in that job you have? Then you’d better have friends.

In my opinion the real friendships are of vital importance factor in Social Media and community building. I know that this topic of friendship has been discussed over and over again but there is a big difference in having “fans” and having at least a few very good “friends” in the community you are building, mainly because of there reasons indentified by Peter :

  • Friends can refer your business to their friends
  • Friends can  stand up for your business and brand values and send the right message to their friends
  • Friends can help to grow your business by heavily engaging in your social media activities (commenting, sharing and etc.)

So are you here to make friends?

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What Are You Doing Wrong on LinkedIn?

So you’re ready to get started networking on LinkedIn and converting those contacts to leads and partnerships. But what’s the best way to go about it?

Think of LinkedIn as your online resume. It’s a spot for potential employers/clients to find out more about you. Make sure to completely fill out your profile (including an appropriate photo) and keep it updated. (The more complete the better – LinkedIn profiles adds to your overall SEO power.) Don’t forget to ‘tag’ your profile with the appropriate keywords, as it will help others find you.

Get the custom URL by clicking the “Public Profile” link in your edit tab.

Add LinkedIn to your email signature. This encourages everyone you come in contact with to link to your profile.

Import your existing contacts.  This couldn’t be easier. Just let LinkedIn import your contacts. Once it does, you can customize a list of connections.

Get connected with anyone you meet professionally. This is a cornerstone of relationship building. That company might not look like a client today, but could be a perfect fit tomorrow. And they have lots of connections you don’t.

Use the LinkedIn Browser or Outlook toolbars. These toolbars make it easy to see LinkedIn summaries of other members and allows you to invite new connections straight from your Outlook or Gmail.

Don’t invite people you don’t know or have never met or corresponded with. LinkedIn keeps an eye on how many people mark you as “don’t know” after a request. Remember, by connecting you are associating yourself with this person and their reputation – be sure you want to. (Same goes for accepting folks on your page.)

Some final thoughts:

Reciprocate recommendations. If someone takes the time to write one for you, do the same for them. It’s just plain smart and good etiquette.

Request introductions. Don’t hesitate to ask a connection to introduce you to a new connection. All they can say is no. And they hardly ever do.

What else would you add?

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Converting Your LinkedIn Connections to Customers

Last time you checked your LinkedIn stats, you had a good number of connections, and it seems to be growing every day. But what does it all mean? How can you take those numbers and turn your connections into business?

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Create a strong profile

Don’t even think of beginning a growth campaign without a strong profile. It’s the first place people go to learn more about you! Make sure your profile is not only complete, but thorough and engaging.

Give and request recommendations

Ask colleagues, former employers, clients and subordinates to rate your work by writing a recommendation. Reciprocate by recommending others as well. Those who visit your profile definitely read these recommendations, and they can be a strong motivator in getting prospects to contact you.

Join or create groups

Look for groups that fit your target or industry, those with lively discussions and invested members. Do you see a niche that needs to be filled? Create your own group. Either way, you have to add value by joining in or initiating discussions that showcase your expertise. LinkedIn groups are all about sharing your experiences, advice and tips to make a connection. This is valuable to group members because it provides a forum to be heard, an environment of camaraderie, and insights into new tools and advances. But don’t just join groups serving your own industry! Think globally- join groups that may serve your future clients.

Take the time to answer questions and help others solve their most pressing problems. Once you’ve established yourself as knowledgeable and willing to contribute, people will look to you for help.

Be careful about selling

LI is about sharing, not selling. Some LI members break this rule, but you shouldn’t. This will only alienate the very people you hope to attract. Once you’ve established a relationship with another member, it’s ok to talk about your services.

Now what is your story?  How has LinkedIn worked for you?

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