There is a phenomenon that is growing in the social media sphere known only as “whuffie”. But just what is “whuffie”? It’s social media capital. In other words, it’s street credibility. It will have considerable effect on whether the information you post on your website is repurposed, spread virally or redistributed, or commented on. So how can you build on whatever “whuffie” you have right now? Simple. Read Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor and you’ll find five easy steps for you to be able to improve your social capital.
So what are the five steps to improving your “whuffie”?
1. Turn the bull horn around.
2. Become part of the community.
3. Create amazing feelings.
4. Embrace the chaos.
5. Find your purpose.
So let’s now examine each one individually and see what Tara Hunt means in The Whuffie Factor.
Turn the Bull Horn Around. Since when do we use bull horns? Metaphorically speaking, marketers have always been using a bull horn. It’s probably the most used way to try and get your message heard across the noise. It’s either that or we’ve been shouting in the ears of our customers just to make sure they get the point. Shockingly, that hasn’t been working, but yet we’re thinking that social media will let us get away with this same tactic. Unfortunately, we’re wrong. What? We expect a new avenue of promotion where people can spread conversation and hate against our brand quicker than we can guzzle down a cup of Starbucks coffee to be part of the status quo? Absolutely not! By turning the proverbial “bull horn” around, you’re now able to focus on letting the customers shout their feedback and issues at you. So instead of you shouting to millions of customers, it’s the reverse. Millions of customers are shouting at you. So pay attention and LISTEN.
Become part of the community. Don’t think of a community as a solid entity that you can simply shoot over a press release and everything will be fine. They’re not going to exclaim from the high heavens that they’re stoked about receiving a press release from their “favorite brand”. Rather, they’re going to look at it and most are going to pass it over, some are going to think you don’t know who they are, while you might have a small number read it but file it away. Mission Fail. Look at the individuals in the community and reach out to them. Learn to talk with the community members, not at them. And yes, transparency and authenticity do count so they’re not just for show.
Create amazing feelings. Stop being so stale. Your design and creativity efforts haven’t worked. So spruce it up and look at what will appeal to them, not just what “looks good”. Your customers and community already know you, once you’ve reached out to them, of course. Learn to lighten up and react to how they behave. Examples of how to create these feelings were given by Tara Hunt during recent presentation at WordCamp in San Franciscio:
If you’ve used Dopplr, you know that it’s a travel “management” site. It will share your trips with fellow travelers you’re connected with on the network & also offer you some personalized travel statistics. But here’s where it’s not all numbers and trips traveled: they analyze your travels and give you the “velocity”. In Tara Hunt’s case, it indicated that she had the velocity of a squirrel. Yup. That’s right. There’s the amusement in everything. They give you the velocity analysis in the form of animal speed. You wouldn’t have expected it, huh?
What about how Southwest has helped create a lively environment with its community. They know how to have fun in person, but the true test is distributing that hilarity and personality to its online community. This YouTube video pretty much illustrates that:
Lighten up and remember to create feelings of happiness and appreciation towards your community.
Embrace the chaos. I’ve been a firm believer that the community runs its own existence. You have no control over how they interact with each other. The same should go for what you do communicate to them. Once you’ve released something, whether it’s a new campaign or product, then let it go and see how it progresses. If you think that your marketing message is being distorted, do NOT try and reach out there to realign it to what corporate wants. Rather, embrace how it’s been deviated, if it has. The community are your evangelists. You can educate them on what you’re doing but they know how to reach out to their friends and other people who might see them as influencers. Remember, once out there, you have immediately lost control. So work with the chaos, not against it.
Find your purpose. You don’t let the community run by itself without showing some appreciation. Look at the number of referrals they’re giving you and all just because they’re evangelizing your product. Don’t be ignorant to their efforts and support them. As Tara Hunt states, you need to find a way to give back to the community. You need to find a way to give back and offer them reasons to continue referrals or the proverbial “well” will run dry.
You can read more about The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt in bookstores now or by purchasing it on Amazon. Make sure you read this so you understand fully what’s at stake and how you can strengthen your credibility with your community.
Photo Credit: Kenneth YeungGoogle+