An excerpt from Five Steps for Consumer Brands to Earn Social Currency from Fast Company:
Popularity. You can't just request it. As companies amass ever-larger collections of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube audiences, they should ask themselves one question: What are we doing with them? "There is a lot of wasted effort in social media," says Erich Joachimsthaler, managing director at Vivaldi Partners, an international brand consultancy. "We forget that these programs have to pay into something, a shared value or a social context where the product actually gets used."
What's valuable isn't mere buzz but what Joachimsthaler calls "social currency." "There's more to 'social' than social media," he says. A new study by Vivaldi Partners and Lightspeed Research, which fielded the data, examines more than 60 companies and assesses customers' brand affiliations, advocacy, and sense of community, among other factors, for how they create true value for the companies, no matter whether it's online or off. The results reveal some surprising insights about the limits of social media. Most notably, smug, stunt-driven apps, games, and videos generate buzz but little else. So what does work? We combed through Vivaldi's data to find the most intriguing lessons. Here are the new rules for the game.
1. Advocates trump followers.
2. Context matters.
3. Not every brand should be social.
4. Social tools are a means, not an end.
5. Gimmicks marginalize trust.
My favorite quotes from Wendy's reps:
"We let the product be the hero."
"By using expert opinions, we added value in a way that doesn't come across as shilling."