The Reality of Social Currency

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One of the tougher jobs on any given days in the digital space is the curation and or the creation of good content. It’s everywhere and sometimes it doesn’t matter what RSS feeds ot Flip Boards or whatever you use to find it, it can slip through the cracks. Case in point, this morning I came across an interview with Erich Joachimsthaler, a former Harvard professor, author of over 40 articles & two books on brand strategy and the CEO of Vivaldi Partners Group. The interview, conducted by Steve Olenski on Explore B2B was titled: What Twinkies Can Teach Marketers About Comebacks And Social Branding.

Though it was a great read, I was struck by two particular exchanges that I’m semi-condensing. Pay attention to what Joachimsthaler says about social metrics.

Steve Olenski: What are some of things Hostess has done right in re-introducing and re-engaging the Twinkies brand with its fans in your opinion?

Erich Joachimsthaler: They have done well by building on key drivers of social currency mainly conversation, advocacy and affiliation (#cakeface instagram, etc). That is, the comeback campaign sought to activate loyalists and fans through various efforts on social networks. The good part about this effort is that it stretches the marketing dollars because it creates more visibility and awareness for the re-launch. At best, the effort creates some awareness to consideration conversion. The problem with this effort is that it does not lead toward purchase and loyalty.

The category requires constant and always-on top of mind marketing/PR buzz and it is hard to sustain such effort on social channels alone, and media advertising which is relatively expensive and not sustainable. I would say, it is impossible in today’s media cluttered environment, and consumers’ who tend to have ever shorter attention spans.

Olenski: How can Hostess ensure this (Twinkies return) will be a sustained effort and not just a fad that will eventually fade?

Joachimsthaler: Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers. It has about 650,000 likes on Facebook, compare this to more than 17 million for Nutella and 34 million for Oreo for example. Don’t measure the re-launch and sustained success on these metrics. Sustainable success will require driving consideration to purchase conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion. Those are the social currency metrics that really matter.

What caught my eye?

  • Social currency metrics worth measuring are driving consideration to purchse conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion.
  • Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers.
  • The key drivers of social currency are conversation, advocacy and affiliation

I know you’ve read and heard it all before about social currency and social metrics, or maybe not, but sometimes the message can resonate in different ways depending on the context in which it is said. In this context, it was said matter of factly. Well done!

The Biggest Social Media Story of 2013

Remember this? It’s one of the classic lines of all times in a movie. Greed is Good.

greedisgood

Remember this? It was one of the biggest acquisitions in 2013.

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Remember this because it will be the social media headline of 2013…

 

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To quote The New York Times:

What business makes no money, has yet to pass its third anniversary and just turned down an offer worth billions of dollars? Snapchat, a social media service run by a pair of 20-somethings who until last month worked out of a beachfront bungalow in Venice, Calif.

The answer is in this last headline.

 

nytimes

 

A better offer…

Children and Social Media Project

I’m starting a new project. I have no time to really be doing this but it means that much to me; and I know it will have an impact, so I’m doing it. First the backstory. It started with an email I sent to the superintendant of our school system. It went unanswered. Here’s a few excerpts:

Dear ____ It’s been awhile since we last talked, the most recent being when we held a social media summit meeting in your office with some of the other “social media” people in our area….
…I continue to think about the impact that digital and social have on our kids. In as much that my children, are pretty heavy users, I’d like to think that I’m better than most parents at monitoring their usage; and that’s what scares me. I have come to the realization that the digital environment in which kids swim in is downstream as their parents swim upstream. We need to fix that
I don’t have the answers right now but what I do know is that there has to be an approach that leverages what we learn from their usage versus what they learn while at school and what parents learn on their own. There is a definite gap. Eventually we won’t be able to escape BYOD in the school sytem, but beyond that, where I think the gap is largest is in a lack of understanding of the mediums and the platforms, their impact and their implications.
I write this as someone who cares not only about my kids but also the kids of parents who just don’t know. I see a lot of kids, mine included, who sometimes don’t handle social properly, understand the impact of social and don’t realize the search implications of social. We have to fix this….
It starts with the wireframe below. it’s just a wireframe but it’s a start. I already have the URL too. It’s called The Social Parent.  I’ll eventually hand this over to some developers, but I’m still trying to flesh out what content needs to be there. the key? It has to be updated constantly. Things are changing rapidly. I’m not looking to make money, just make a difference. 🙂
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What’s Next for Tumblr?

Yahoo’s recent announcement of its intent to purchase Tumblr has brought out the virtual fangs. Lets take a look at some of the more creative responses.

Tumblr users are passionate and are worried about what will happen to their platform. Is that passion enough to keep their pages safe from being “Yahoo’ed?” If the deal goes down, Tumblr as you and I once knew it, may be done. Though the spin is that Yahoo will not screw it up, it’s tough to think that advertising, for example, does not become a focal point of the pages.

The evolution of a “social” start-up usually takes two paths, maybe three. There’s the fledgling, cash strapped version that dies the slow death never fully realizing its potential. There’s the doomed from the start version that never gets the funding it needs or just may be a good idea poorly executed and then there’s the Flickr, Posterous, Instagram, Tumblr variety. The types that get bought and are altered forever. Never fully being what they once were and not resembling what they once used to be in their newest and improved iteration.

Picture the arc of the  social startup looking something like this…

Lot’s of hope and promise, a grand show, a fitting finale that everyone loves and then it’s gone. Is that what lies ahead for Tumblr? How about Facebook?

Yelp is Broken and Social Flashmobs Apparently Rule

I was just reading about the social media meltdown of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, if you’re not familiar with it, the restaurant was featured on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares production that airs on the FOX Network. To give you a quick recap, things did not go well for the owners of the restaurant and for the second time since Ramsay has been doing the show, he walked away and essentially refused to help the restauranteurs out.  This act in and of itself says a lot since in his own right, Ramsay can be pretty irascible. So for something to essentially send him packing, when we know what he’s capable of, it had to be pretty bad. Suffice it to say, the owners of this restaurant, took it to another level via these  Kitchen Nightmare Youtube videos.

Watching the videos of the show you can see why. But, not surprisingly, I found out about the particular show via social media. Why? Because the buzz of the show, the videos and of what the owners did  started to play itself out on Facebook.  When that happens, things can move quicker than an Arizona brushfire in July.  So quickly that the brush fires moved over from Facebook to Yelp and Reddit as well.

The gist or the fuel? Apparently the owners decided to respond to the trolls that were commenting about how bad they came off on the show.  This doesn’t absolve the restaurant owners but it does highlight the typical flash mob actions that occur on social networks.  Give them anything and they will run with it. More importantly however, it highlighted something else.

Here comes my point and it’s about Yelp.

Yelp may not be the go-to source for restaurant reviews.

Why? Well, The ABC restaurant has 1131 reviews, some of which might be good, but most are not. 99.9% are snarky, mean, negative “reviews. ” The point?  How many of those 1131 reviewers actually ate at the restaurant and how many just piled on for some good old flash mob social media bashing? 99.9%

What can Yelp do about that? Doesn’t that mean you can go and bash any restaurant, anywhere? Seems like it to me.  Unless I’m missing something.

Help me to understand.