Charlene Li Talks Social Computing

    October 25, 2006

(Continuing notes from Forrester Consumer Forum. More here.)

Charlene: “Focus on the relationships, not the technologies.”

Who’s using social computing technologies?

Who’s Using Social Computing?

Originally uploaded by christophercarfi.

Four levels of participation: “The Participation Pyramid”

  • Creators – bloggers, etc.
  • Critics – commenting, ratings, reviews
  • Collectors – bookmarking, “save to favorites” in youtube
  • Couch potatoes – passive

Social media: “It’s not about the media, it’s about getting people to participate.”

Key point: Build community. If community exists, then dissemination is easier, wider (yahudi video #1, not the mentos guys)

Burpee Seeds: “November sales increased by 4x because of RSS”

  • Changed twice-yearly experience to a daily experience
  • Adding reviews with BazaarVoice increased the clickthrough rate by 43%

Anecdote: BassPro used feedback to redesign poor product. One lure had poor ratings, BassPro noticed, connected with manufacturer, and now redesigned product is selling well.

Getting Started

  • Decide how involved you will be with social computing
  • Map out what relationship you want to build
  • Listen to what is being said to find unmet needs
  • Participate in the conversations

How to start

  • Start with RSS because it’s easy and impactful

    – Put press releases in RSS

  • Use blogs when you have something to say

    – Anyone can have a recruitment blog

    – Anyone can have an internal blog

  • Deploy wikis where knowledge is needed

    – “Less frequently asked questions”

Test original podcasting sparingly

– Start with earnings calls and executive presentations

Best practices in social computing

– Be ready to act on feedback

– Relationships can be messy, be prepared to make mistakes

– Use existing marketing metrics to gauge your success

Key quote: “Markets may be conversations…and trust and relationships create marketplaces.”


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Christopher Carfi, CEO and co-founder of Cerado, looks at sales, marketing, and the business experience from the customers point of view. He currently is focused on understanding how emerging social technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networking are enabling the creation of new types of customer-driven communities. He is the author of the Social Customer Manifesto weblog, and has been occasionally told that he drives and snowboards just a little too quickly.