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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Relationships reinforced by Social Computing

Great presentation on social computing by Charlene Li -

A quick overview

A. What is social computing?

Social computing = technology puts power in individuals and communities, not institutions

It's the social aspects that are important for businesses to understand and take advantage of

Blogs are reverse chronological journals that are very easy to use
GM's vice chairman Bob Lutz has a blog - gives a human face to GM. People are writing back to him. GM is developing relationships with people before they even buy a GM car

What are the things people are passionate about? You'll find social networking there:

Blogs: e.g. www.dogster.com
Advertisers are there: Nintendo is advertising a new dog game there

RSS = Really Simple Syndication e.g. Burpee.com for gardeners

Podcasts: www.Whirlpool.com
Supporting families, talking about topics families are interested in

Viral Marketing: e.g. Microsoft targeted gamers in stealth campaign "IloveBees.com"
Halo 2 as a result of campaign got 1.2 million pre-orders

Social computing adoption is small but growing, here are the increases in percentage of people who use these social computing media at least once a week or more, between 2004 and 2005:

Use blogs at least once a week or more
5 to 11% of households

Use a social networking site once a week or more
4 to 6%

Use RSS once a week or more
2 to 6 %

B. Successful social computing requires ceding control to build the relationship

Charlene Li's 5 rules for successful social computing

1. Engage in conversation
e.g. Microsoft's Channel 9 - videos of engineers talking about product, community discussion boards, individual profiles
e.g. Maytag's Skybox - blogs provided product support for customers

2. Enjoy the conversation
customers can tell if you are not being truthful or if you are faking it
Bob Lutz of GM"Often I find your comments insightful and compelling. At times your criticism is harsh, but..."

3. Let customers tell you what they need
e.g. iTunes gives users great control over their RSS to customized to their needs

4. Put experience in the hands of the user
e.g. Austin City Limits Festival
Let readers be the reporters and blog their reviews and their passion for the music
e.g. www.SubservientChicken.com - let people tell the chicken do any one of 400 things
its an ad!

5. Admit when you've made a mistake
- Deepens the relationship to increase the level of trust

C. Charlene Li's recommendations on how to get started:
- at a minimum start to listen e.g. Unilever turned Dan Entin into a Brand Advocate when they noticed him complaining about the difficulty of finding a store that stocked one of their products

- Start small e.g. recruitment, press release RSSS feeds, earnings call podcast

- Promote social products: Allowing customers to customize your brand deepens their engagement with your brand

- Measure engagement e.g. try examples and measure results - how many come? how long do they stay? (like Forrester is doing with these videos of their analysts: Charlene and others)

Risks of ceding control are actually less than not ceding control, do proceed, but take some precautions for example: Confidentiality can be an issue, if so, have someone else check it first before publishing

Social computing resources

Measurement: Biz350 Cymfony, Intelliseek
Blogs: Six Apart, WordPress, Roller


1. Successful social computing: marketers to cede control to consumers
2. Technologies come and go, relationships will always be there
3. Tap into the power of consumers: Let them drive your brand and products

Social computing is a way to develop brand advocates

Great talk by Charlene, if you have 20-30 minutes, give it a whirl. She's a fun and engaging speaker. Look for her reference to "man cave" - its hilarious.

Thought from Mei Lin - I found out about this because I have a Google Alert on Charlene Li, so that's yet another social computing tool that's out there that customers are using to gain more control over the information want to find.

1 comment:

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