Robert Scoble visited Ripple6 HQ and interviewed Sang Kim our CEO and discussed community lessons learned. Sang tells Robert about Ripple6′s newest product Ripple6 OnDemand and how it is positioned to help many media companies and marketers who want enterprise class capabilities, but in a streamlined, low-cost, high ROI product.
Some questions Robert asks, “How does a brand participate in a [community] without being too creepy or coming across as too salesy?” Sang explains why community want the brands there, how they are the experts on the subject and how they can add value to the dialog.
Other questions and issues covered in the video:
“People are freaked out about the… negative things people say online… what do you do about that for brands?
“What attributes do you find [in] a great community?”
“How do you move conversations across networks without them fragmenting?”
So what is a concerned community manger to do when they want to change something?
Talk with your users-Duh!
So what is a concerned community manger to do when they want to change something? Talk with your users. Identify your most vociferous, super-users and invite them into a VIP Group. Discuss changes you’re considering with this group. Seek their feedback, and see what they find interesting, frustrating, useful and useless. If you happen to be running your community on the Ripple6 platform, you can use our consumer research tool Social Insights to help you create this group and monitor it. (Marketers use Social Insights to conduct consumer research too.)
You may also want to create a second group of newbies who are not experienced with the site, who can look at it with fresh eyes. The newbies will see the that your super users have grown immune to over time. Taking input from both groups and giving them a little advanced notice on upcoming changes will defuse the Revolution before it begins.
But the bottom line here is that you should be communicating with your community. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking like old media and declaring that you know what’s best for your audience. Because it’s not an audience any more. “Audience” comes from audio and it means to listen. Community is related to commune which means to meet. You work with a community, not an audience as long as you keep that in mind you’ll do fine.
Photo credit Flickr Uploaded on February 26, 2006 by weaponofchoice
Brands aren’t simply brands anymore. They are the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media, said Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Simon Clift, who warned that marketers who do not recognize that — and adapt their marketing — are in grave peril. AdAge Magazine 04/13/09 by Jack Neff
The above remarks are from from Mr. Clift’s keynote speech at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York.
So how does a brand a plan to ride out this maelstrom of change in the advertising landscape? By looking at new technologies and techniques for reaching their prospective customers. And by investing the time and resources to learn the new rules in the digital landscape.
One aspect that needs particular attention is engaging with customers in the realm of social media. People today are not only empowered by digital media and social media technologies, they are feeling that power. People know that they can talk to brands, and the brands had better listen and respond. If the brand fails to respond people will have the discussion with others in the digital landscape. Brands that fail to engage in that discussion are ceding the territory to their competitors.
Forward thinking and acting brands are finding methods, technologies and people to lead the way into real engagement with customers. An excellent example is Better Homes and Gardens, a Meredith brand. They were recently named one of the Most Engaged Media Brands by Min Online. One of the reasons BH&G was honored was their Mixing Bowl (a Ripple6) social community which was given Honorable Mention for Best of the Web in the Social Community category.
The Better Homes & Gardens brand stays ahead of the curve by creating an online community. This kind of adapting your marketing plan to the new realities is what will keep the Better Homes and Gardens brand in the lead in the years to come. And you can expect some announcements from Ripple6 shortly about other major brand names who are taking leadership positions in social marketing as well.
(For a great perspective on Mixing Bowl check out The Marketing Diva’s interview with Heather Morgan Shott.)
On April 2nd the Federal Trade Commission announced revised guidelines on endorsements and testimonials which are now under review and expected to be adopted according to The Financial Times 4/2/09.
These new rules, “…would hold companies liable for untruthful statements made by bloggers and users of social networking sites who receive samples of their products…”, according to the FT article, “…If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion and then incorrectly claimed the product cured eczema, the FTC could sue the company for making false or unsubstantiated statements. The blogger could be sued for making false representations…”
What remains unclear is the impact this could have upon community owners where users make untrue statements. Can a company that owns and operates a community be liable for the actions of bloggers on their community and liable with an advertiser?
What about the case where the community owner works with an advertiser to distribute free samples of a product and then solicits comments from the user community. Could the advertiser and the community manager be held liable for false advertising if claims were made by users who received free samples in that case? And the situation can get more muddy, what if a blogger receives the free sample and then makes a simple comment on another blog with a misstatement in it? Or what if in a general free sample offer a blogger is inadvertently a recipient of a free sample and subsequently makes a misstatement?
It’s impossible to separate a blogger from non-blogger. Does anyone who writes a comment on a public community site become in effect a “blogger”? What about people who only write comments on other blogs but do it in large volume and develop followings with technologies such as Discus?
The implications for community managers, and brands that wish to advertise and utilize social media marketing techniques can be very serious. You should read the FTC notice and pay close attention to this rule change.
This is going to be a sticky wicket that the FTC will have to figure out and they will need to make sure they understand how it will affect the common man before they move forward.
And finally, since the FTC may be listening, these opinions are those of the author and do not reflect the official opinions of Ripple6 or Gannett Company. Image by Uploaded on August 20, 2005 by dbking on Flickr
Dan Hickey explains that Meredith has been spending a couple of years laying groundwork to get ready visitors for the introduction of Social Networking. They are looking to the next level of women connecting to each other, sharing content, and communicating with each other. Syndicating community is very important And they are looking to Marketers to participate with the community, be engaged and provide value to the community, not just advertisements.
Disclaimer: On this blog we don’t speak for anyone else; these are opinions only. It’s intended to give you a lesson in how we think social media has been done successfully and that’s all!
Question: Is MixingBowl going to be able to transition users from sharing photos to sharing their lives via social networking?