As I restart my blog, this post Another Way to Deal with Procrastination appears at the top of my WordPress feeds.
A happy coincidence and an apt reminder to get back to my writing.
Written by Founder
February 13, 2014 at 6:42 am
Posted in Uncategorized
We have moved!!
Really appreciate your readership and let’s continue our conversations over at the new place.
You probably know individuals who are active and influential in the Social Media space.
What is so special about these people?
What can companies learn from these Social Media mavens?
It is relatively easy to figure out why some individuals take to Social Media like fish to water. They are comfortable in communicating in the digital world. They have a passion for conversations, express strong opinions, are good listeners, enjoys sharing and respect others’ points of view. Many, as I have observed, are avid readers and learners and thrive on dialogues to enhance their life.
Can these personal traits be applied to a company? What can organizations learn from these Social Media residents?
Here are a few checkpoints to see if your company already has a headstart in the land of Social Media:
Checkpoint #1 : You have a community culture
A company culture is akin to a person’s personality. It embraces values and practices that are shared by all employees. Culture is never accidental; it is carefully planned, built and nurtured. A community-based culture is where employees don’t just see their daily activities as a job; rather, it is in tune with their belief and even their own personal lifestyle.
One of the strongest community cultures I have recently encountered is Lulelemon, a Canada-based international yoga-inspired clothing company that went public in 2007.
The company’s manifesto includes a long list of statements that range from their product philosophy (“lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.“) to what seems like personal goals (“Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.“) and tongue-in-cheek green living advice (“Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.”).
And the “community” is not limited to those who are on the payroll. The ambassador program is extended to individuals in their store communities who “embody the lululemon lifestyle and live our culture”.You will find free yoga lessons at their stores over the weekends, advice on finding suitable yoga classes in your neighbourhood, and more.
So, guess what kind of employees they would attract? And what kind of dialogues would happen between these employees and Lululemon’s customers?
I had the pleasure of experiencing this infectious culture on Twitter. Their tweets showcase a communication style that beautifully weaves together announcements, polls, solicitation for feedback, customer services, encouragement, chats and more. Energetic and personal are two words that came to mind. In fact, why not follow @lululemon and see it for yourself? (NOTE: I am not a lululemon employee or ambassador, I am not a regular customer, I don’t even live the “lululemon life”. And I certainly am not being paid/bribed/sweet-talked to blog about them. You can always unfollow or even block @lululemon if you feel that my advice is a bad one! Also, there are obviously many Lululemon representatives behind the tweets so you are not tweeting with their CEO. ).
The take-away here is – if your company already has a community mindset that includes customers as part of your bigger family, Social Media is simply a technology that allows you to more effectively build, maintain and nurture these ties.
Checkpoint #2: You are hyper-responsive
Being responsive to customers is a golden rule. This is especially true for Social Media where communications happen, and are expected to happen, at warp speed. I heard a delightful story where a customer was holding for the call centre when she decided to tweet with the company – and had the problem resolved almost instantly (while still on hold). In this case, perhaps the call centre simply isn’t set up to handle the volume of calls, or maybe Twitter has been used to fill in what’s missing in their customer service area. Regardless of the channel, customers appreciate responsiveness.
I recently provided a social media strategy for a client, including a guideline on how often they should check their various Social Media points. We concluded that Facebook, Blog and MySpace are good options but Twitter is not because they simply do not have enough manpower to manage good dialogues on Twitter.
So, if your company focuses on responsiveness AND you have a solid plan to maintain this on Social Media…go for it!
Checkpoint #3 : You understand that customer feedback is more than a statistical exercise
Surveys and focus groups are great stuff but with Social Media you have a brand new way to discover your customer’s sentiments. Customer feedback is no longer a “ask, answer and tabulate” exercise; it is a way of living with your eyes peeled and ears open 24/7. On a simple level, it allows you to “eavesdrop” and see what customers are saying about you behind your back. On a more strategic level, it calls for a revamp of the company’s operation to handle a constant stream of feedback, a far cry from running a survey every 3-6 months.
If your company already has a customer feedback loop in place, good for you. With the help of various Social Media auditing tools, you are likely already ahead of your competitors.
Checkpoint #4 : You have a clear mission
In an old post “influencers and Innovations”, I mentioned how activists are potent influencers becaus:
- They have a defined cause
- They operate in organized groups
- They are infectiously enthusiastic
- They are vocal
- They are extremely creative in getting their opinions heard
The same can be said about Non-profits groups or Charities, in my opinion. Many are beginning to embrace Social Media as new ways to promote, connect and communicate.
Our client Mobile Jam Fest is an amazing example of promoting creativity, make positive changes and connect people on the Social Media platform. Working with them, we have learned a lot the explosive power of passion + mission + technology.
If you are a non-profit group, your mission can be greatly augmented by the use of the right Social Media tools, whether to spread your message or to attract volunteers.
For companies who are well-posed for using Social Media,
I recommend you spend some time on exploring the possibilities.
As always, look forward to your feedback!
It is NOT about having the largest number of followers; it is NOT about tweeting most often.
It is about people finding consistent value in the relationship.
Here’s an updated list from the original call for nomination
@oxfam (there are also @oxfamcanada and @oxfamamerica)
@wholefoods (3 nominations!)
@Delloutlet (2 nominations!)
…Coming up – What makes these Brand Twitter so special and popular?
More nominations? Please send a tweet using #BrandHoF! Thanks.
Have you ever followed a brand only to be disappointed by their tweets?
Did you ever want to tell a company “You don’t even know how to do Twitter!
Stop following me!”
Or, have you discovered some great values through tweeting with a company?
Now it’s YOUR chance as a CUSTOMER to tell brands what YOU expect in Twitterville
List of Nominees so far
@Wholefoods (nominated twice!)
To nominate your favourite Brand Twitter, please
- Tweet the name and @ of the brand
- Explain why you like this Brand Twitter
- Include #BrandHoF
If you are just getting used to Twitter, the following tips may help:
- Anything begins with # is called a Hashtag. It refers to a topic of interest. For instance, anything you wish to discuss about Brand Twitter Hall of Fame, you can include #BrandHoF at the end of your tweet. Here’s a list of all hastags on Twitter.
- To search for nominations or tweets related to this topic, simply use the Search function, either on Twitter Search or other search tools on your Twitter viewers like TweetDeck or Twhirl.
- I can be found at @evelynso – please feel free to follow! Or you can go to my Twitter page and click on “Follow”.
Nomination via Twitter is preferred.
But if you rather do so here or remain anonymous, please feel free to email me or leave a comment!
Web 2.0, oh you hyperactive child who refuses to slow down or keep still!
Want to grow up to be a nice and strong Web 3.0?
Talk to your folks, Web 1.0 can teach you much about
the importance of user experience
I have been having a lot of deja vu moments:
Web 1.0 – “Are you on the Internet yet?”
Web 2.0 – “Are you on Twitter/Facebook yet?”
Web 1.0 – “Do you have an email address?”
Web 2.0 – “Do you have a Twitter/Facebook account?”
Web 1.0 – “Just find me at <website>”
Web 2.0 – “Just find me at <Web 2.0>”
Web 1.0 – ” We need content for our web pages”
Web 2.0 – “We need content for our blog/twitter/Facebook”
Web 1.0 – “Marketing needs to get on that Internet thing”
Web 2.o- “Marketing needs to get on that Web 2.0 thing”
Both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are big waves that have transformed our communication culture on a global level. For those who want to join the game, or to be ahead of the game, it makes sense to do a 20/20 and find out “What did we learn from Web 1.o that can be applied to achieve a better Web 2.0?”
Step 1: Understand the Adoption Lifecycle
Here’s the pattern:
Technology –> Early Adoption –> Word of Mouth –> Mass Adoption –> Call for Improvements –> Improvements –> Cultural Integration
Both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 start as technological breakthroughs. Early adopters are typically those in the technology industry and/or those who have vested interests (such as marketing through emerging media). The noise finally reaches the rest of the world who, up till this point, operate quite happily within their comfort zone. Through media and influencers, awareness builds up and the crowds think “hey, this is new and neat and I want to try it out”.
Mass adoption then results in a call for improvements, taking the pioneers out of a technology-driven approach into a user- and business-centric mindset:
- How can we make this technology valuable and appealing to users and businesses?
- What needs to be improved so we can move to the next level (commercialization or monetization)?
- How do we collect, filter, analyse and understand user/company feedback in order to improve?
- How can we stand out and survive as the must-have technology?
Web 2.0 is at the “improvement” milestone. One of the most talked-about cases is Facebook. More than 1.7 million is revolting against the redesign by joining the “Petition Against the New Facebook” group. Facebook has issued a statement that welcomes continuous feedback. Facebook has also been gradually building itself as both a personal and business destination, offering pages, widgets, privacy settings and more for people to manage their multiple lives in (so Facebook hopes) a single Web 2.0 space.
Step 2: Place User Experience as #1 on To-improve List
Weeding out the bad from the good, building the good to be the best. How do we know what needs to improve? What are the priorities?
In previous posts, I talked about 3 things that drive adoption of innovations, one of which is technology transparency.
Innovations that target everyday consumers must be delivered in such a way that users do not see the technology – they only experience the benefits.
For mass adoption, there is no doubt that new technology must offer a simple, walk-up-and-use experience. Users don’t care about codes or backend complexity; they want to enjoy the benefits.
Note that users are willing to pay for good values and good experiences.
Granted, Web 2.0 is more complex than Web 1.0, in terms of concept, technology, design and speed of development. Yet none of these is an excuse to keep throwing new stuff against the wall and hope some may stick.
Take Twitter for example. It is a tremendously valuable platform for both personal and professional purposes. Yet it is also notoriously difficult to understand (concept) and confusing to use (function and interface). New applications such as Tweetdeck and Twhirl, neither owned by Twitter, came to the rescue.
While there is still much room for improvements, tweeting has came a long way from the original experience. I eagerly wait for the next generation of tweet applications.
Better user experience/usability has greatly helped Web 1.o to
grow into an integral part of our daily life.
Web 2.0, now it’s your turn.
So, Brands are conversing with their Customers via Twitter.
The Important Question is: as a Customer…
Who would you accept as a follower?
Who would you follow?
What brings you true values?
As brands discover the values of Twitter, we begin to see an emerging pattern of “Company Twitter Personas”. At the Twitter Talk panel, we had a great discussion on the pros, cons and challenges about separating “Personal” vs “Professional/Company” on Twitterville.
As a Customer, who do you think should be behind those tweets? What makes sense to you? What brings you the best value in this relationship?
Thank you for your vote.
Comments encouraged, as always!