I went to the BazaarVoice Social Commerce Summit last week in Austin, TX – what a great city… It was the best conference from a pure learning’s perspective I have been to in ages, and I have to admit the party events they put on were stellar.
I only made it to the Bat Cruise (awesome, live music, cruising on Lady Bird Lake, great people) and then to the incredible Salt Lick thingey-do. Picture beer-donkeys, chicken s**t bingo, mechanical bull riding, live western band, great Tex-Mex and fantastic hosts, great people… and you can’t do it justice.
I wanted to put a summary of my key learning’s down for everyone, and hopefully show you how much you all missed and how much you really should try to go to next years.
First, if you didn’t see their see zany intro on ‘The Forbidden Zone: Missing Influentials’ I highly recommend it (+/- 5 minutes excluding outtakes).
This is basically the media you apply to any viral strategy you employ online via the socnets, or aimed at the social network market.
It works best when targeted at personality types (I particularly liked the “mullet” definition applied to personality – work in the front, party in the back!). The idea is to split your target market within a social network by personality type and target those personality needs and wants via different approaches.
The Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti explained how they apply real time metrics and template movement facilitation to their editors to move popular topics up the page, less popular topics down the page, and offer front page real time involvement based on user interaction. In the background they have links to popular socnet conversations, sites, topics and offer great web-wide interaction for all readers. A measure of their enormous success is in their growth, and in Jonah’s incredible entrepreneurial ability and foresight regarding socnet interest including the Nike Sweatshop initiative featured on NBC.
Apart from targeting personality types, it also works best when the expectations are set to those types regarding rewards for involvement: for some folks it is reward enough to be part of a community – for them pure collaboration is the name of the game. Others want something tangible; so you can think contests, rewards, sweepstakes etc… it is well worth exploring your social network targets, defining your markets and then nailing your personality types and developing your engagement strategy based on those learnings as well as your objectives. If you want pure collaboration, that market is approached differently to a market that you may want to engage to encourage pure viral spread in the form of open sweepstakes.
A big take-away for me was the fact that it is possible to identify your major influentials; your multipliers. In the case of the speakers on this topic, affluent middle-aged women were their target multipliers. How to target them? Well, I’m not going to spoil next years conference for you, but apply basic target marketing based on demographic strongly salted with socnet requirements, and peppered with the online bus objective for your initiative.
Another big take-away was that supporting evangelists and dealing with detractors is not the be-all and end-all of your approach. What you really need to be doing is turning your neutrals into fans, and then your fans into ambassadors.
Determine what these folks want, apply an open stealth campaign to integrate and engage them, push the engagement into collaboration via a securely defendable social media plan, and make tactical refinements based on learnings.
- social media is not that new that there are not a lot of very strong, very savvy players
- social media is still new enough that even the biggest folks are learning and make mistakes.
If you make a mess of something, own up straight away, apologise and offer an alternative. If something works, give kudos to your socnet members and participators; especially your multipliers.
WHAT ABOUT THE ENGINES?
Another take-away was to make use of the SERPs as a playground for social media target research. Pick some phrases you would like to be associated with, and some you do not want to be associated with… this is very different to traditional keyword research as it is based on wording and commentary you will have picked up in the socnets via reputation management tools (like Radian6).
Check out what Google listings are for those top 10-20 positive and negative terms and proactively target those terms in the social networks, including online PR.
This is a small sample of stuff from only 3 sessions I attended (and takes up 3 slides of my 17 slide feedback ppt presentation). Obviously as my employer (Intuit) paid for me to go, my learnings in toto will be applied to our offerings, and I can only strongly encourage anyone who reads this blog to attend next years BazaarVoice Social Summit. It’s interesting and groundbreaking, and the insights are all easily applied and implementable – if you have a progressive management team willing to let you play in the Social space. Read more about how you can encourage your management to do just that!
Customer reviews are the way to go regarding UGC integration from a marketing insights and R&D learning platform direction at the very least. Quite simply, these guys rock.
Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter and let’s see what we can continue to do together to make social networks a legitimate point of customer collaboration, communication and learning, not just for marketing, but for R&D… better products and better services will make for a greater global competitive advantage for our businesses… we need that, and we can do it, together!
Disclaimer: nothing I say here may or should be attached to any employer, current or previous. This is my personal blog. The views expressed on this page are mine alone and not those of my employer.