The Reality of Social Currency


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!

Should Companies Play it Safe in Social Media?











What does that mean exactly, to play it safe? Is that creating a Facebook page just to satisfy the critics and the bashers? Is it creating a Twitter profile “in case” someone maybe be talking about you so that you can claim that you and your company are proactively listening to the conversation?  Or is it a blog that has 3-4 posts over the span of 6 months?  Maybe, possibly, and perhaps?

One of the easiest ways to opt out of the social media revolution is to do just enough to satisfy the hacks that may be looking at your social efforts who then may be writing, speaking or commenting about your stuff and trying to poke holes at it. To be honest, if I was a company who didn’t have money, resources, or time (weak excuse) to dip a toe into the waters of social, I might do the same thing. Of course doing the barest of minimums also sets you up for the hacks who love to point out the companies who…do the barest of minimums. Or…doing the barest of minimums sets you up for nothing.

So what’s happening here?  Call it paralysis by analysis. Fear of talking, orRO-myopia. But the fact of the matter is that some organizations are so fixated on social but so unsure of what to do, or so obsessed with a wait and see mode, that they end up doing nothing or prefer to just sit back and do very little. Ironically they then claim that they are social, or that they’re doing nothing, because they’re waiting for things to sort themselves out.

Does either strategy ( I use the term lightly) work? Not really. Does it buy you time compared to your comptetitors? Maybe. You see, the easiset way that you could  measure your efforts in social would be to first measure how you’re doing compared to the competition. When I coach basketball and baseball- I want to know who is the best and why. Amazing players aside, preparation can go a long way. Once my teams are suitably prepared, we measure where we are by competing. Then I know exactly where to focus my practices and future game plans.

You’re in business to make money and you’re in business to compete against others that do what you do and sell what you sell. Do you scout them? How do you compare to them? What are you doing to improve what you do, as it compares to what they do? What makes you better than them? What are they doing with social media that you are not?

Playing it safe in sports means playing for ties or not caring whether you win or lose. If that was what mattered, then we wouldn’t have to keep score or root for any teams. In business we keep score by making money and surviving.  Social used the right way, could determine both.

Social Media for B2B-10 links for the week that was in Social Media

Last week seemed to be the week to talk about social media and B2B. And rightly so. You see, THAT is the niche that all marketers and consultants need to be focusing on right now. Why? Because B2B is focusing on social media. The impact of social media on B2C is obvious, but B2B is starved for information, case studies, consultants that know what they are doing and knowledge. Most don’t know in what direction to head, or where they should start.

My word to you, point your efforts towards B2B. In the meantime, here are some links that may make you better at what you do, four of which are about…social media and B2b.

1) First up is a fun site. This site is so chock full of wisdom its not even funny, well actually it is, but check out Tweeteorites

2) I couldn’t have said it better than this: Using Balsamiq Mockups feels like you are drawing, but it’s digital, so you can tweak and rearrange controls easily, and the end result is much cleaner. Teams can come up with a design and iterate over it in real-time in the course of a meeting. IMHO, this is bloody simple and easy to use.

3) We cannot stress enough how important it is to engage but here is a post that stresses how important it is to, yep you guessed it, engage and also. how to win. How to Fail at B2B Social Media

4) Speaking of B2B, forget what you just read and read this. Forget Facebook and Twitter, For B2B, it’s all about Linkedin. How many of you currently use Linkedin in your social media marketing/marketing efforts?

5) In my humble opinion,  some really smart women get the short end of the stick in our business. However. thanks to Lee Odden, they are getting some nice recognition in this post of 25 women who rock social media. I’m happy to say that I know 3/4 of those mentioned on this list.

6) Ever heard of Shamable, the no BS social media guide? Me neither until last week. Some good content/writing here.

7) Remember when I told you to forget about Facebook? I lied. Again. New Study Reveals Facebook Better Than Twitter for Marketers So another question to you: Are you using Facebook as a marketing tool? If so, in what way? How are you measuring?

8. Buzzom has some nice analytics tools and some cool graphics. Don’t worry it’s free.

9) So all of that B2B stuff probably has you confused on what you should do right? Stop, go, tweak, advance slowly, what is it? Well maybe you should read this Forrester post on Social Media’s impact on B2B marketing budgets.

10) Lastly, I Love the concept of Twitterfall but the interface sucks.

Take all of these posts and share them. Learn from them and then do your thing. Lastly, make sure you have fun doing it. Peace.