Link Post (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

How Pinterest Became What Flickr Failed To

Like a lot of people I have been fascinated by the explosive growth that Pinterest has experienced. At first curiosity, Pinterest is now a full blown phenomena that has jumped from women planning their weddings, or wishing they were planning a wedding, and foodies to mainstream consciousness.

Businesses are openly embracing Pinterest and media organizations are figuring out how to use it, much like they did with Tumblr last year. Get Satisfaction is now on Pinterest with a grassroots effort that caught fire a few weeks ago and I am continually amazed by the innovative uses for presenting visual material in the context of a business objective.

I love the fact that Pinterest exploded in popularity outside of the echo chamber that is Silicon Valley. Prominent SV angel investors passed on the deal, few people wrote about it, and it took 2 years from it’s founding (2008) to get a Crunchbase entry, much less any significant press coverage. This is the classic Silicon Valley bootstrap-to-riches story (well OMGPOP clearly has that title this week) and Silicon Valley was largely lacking in invites to the service while middle mainstream America fueled it’s early growth.

Perhaps the most bone jarring thing to consider is how Yahoo let Flickr die on the vine while Pinterest blossomed. Flickr should, by any measure, be what Pinterest is today yet lack of imagination, the constraints of a rigid business model, and a product effort that can be kindly described as anemic all conspired to kill Flickr (and it is) while Pinterest created, potentially, billions of dollars in shareholder value.

How can anyone at Yahoo escape the question “how did you let this happen and what are you doing to fix it?”. The Pinterest logo should be pinned on every executive at that company to wear as a red pin of shame.

Link Post (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Jive Comes Around, Focus on Customers

Social communities are instrumental to both social media and customer support strategy

Jive’s announcement this past week to focus more on Social Customer Service is further validation that customer communities are instrumental to both social media (marketing) and customer support strategy. Employee collaboration software offers an array of benefits for companies but increasingly what they are finding is that if they want to deliver not just on behind the firewall ROI but change their business in a way that can deliver sustainable competitive advantage, then they need to put the customer front and center.

It’s not enough to give your employees a better way to work… leading companies in every sector are discovering that they also need to deliver on a better way to collaborate with their customers!

If you will excuse me for taking a minute to pitch Get Satisfaction, this is exactly what we are entirely focused on, a better way for companies and customers to engage each other online.

People often ask me “why don’t you guys offer a help desk system?”. The answer is that while we offer a product that a business buys, the primary user is a customer and we don’t believe that pushing more stuff into a ticket based system, with the heavy workflow and attendent costs, is what will deliver a better company-to-customer experience.

I’m tempted to say that our mission is to make the help desk system less important to you, as a business, but in reality we hope to make it more important by focusing it on the issues that defy self-service help and customer-to-customer interaction.

With Get Satisfaction your customers get something better, and it’s not focused exclusively on complaints and problems. Instead of customer service around issue management we offer customer service through relationship management and what that means is that problems get resolved – certainly, this is a primary need – but questions get answered, positive feedback means doing more of what works, and questions get answered, by you, your advocates and other customers.

Get Satisfaction has as it’s core DNA that concept that a customer is at the center or a customer community. We offer a better, faster, and cheaper model than traditional enterprise software solutions, and perhaps most strikingly, we have delivered a platform that meets the needs of the very largest of companies, while also remaining approachable and productive for the smallest of startups.

I am glad to see Jive recognize that the Social Customer is an integral part of any social business. This won’t be easy for them or anyone else to deliver on, enterprise software doesn’t easily translate into strong customer experiences because it is a solution designed around a business process and employee experience first… but acknowledging that the Social Customer is the foundation is a good first start.

 

Timeline for Brand Pages: Better Customer Engagement

At the Facebook Marketing Conference yesterday the company made some pretty big announcements, one of which concerned app developers like Get Satisfaction, which is the move to the Timeline interface on Brand Pages.

“The goal is to make Pages more engaging and more social,” said Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for ads.

This is good news because Pages has largely existed as a stepchild in the Facebook portfolio, which despite over 20 million of them they represent a small percentage of the total content in Facebook. I don’t thinks it’s a generalization to say that Pages has for most companies been little more than an experiment in how to deliver promotions, in fact I recently read that a survey sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association revealed that more than 3 in 4 people clicked Like with the expectation of receiving a coupon or promotional discount (sorry, I can’t find a link to that survey).

What Facebook is, apparently, pursuing with Timeline in Pages is exactly what Get Satisfaction stands for, a better way for companies and customers to engage each other online.

The Wall is not a place where this can happen at scale, and arguably personalized engagement should not happen in one place on a Page at all, interactivity should be part of the DNA on every component in a Page or why have it at all? Among community platforms we were first to market with a Facebook application nearly 2 years ago and we have worked to extend the capabilities that our Facebook app delivers, including localization, wall-to-Topic and a deep linking feature that …

What are the immediate implications for app developers? Facebook appears to have invested resources in assuring little disruption for existing apps, the Get Satisfaction App for Facebook runs on Timeline without missing a beat. If you use a 3rd party landing page, like ReverbNation or BrandPage, then you are going to have to start over from scratch because Facebook is not going to allow redirects after March 30th when Timeline becomes mandatory.

For app developers there will be a land grab that is a function of the top apps being available in 4 tiles below the cover image… but in reality this will be 3 apps because it is almost certain that the majority of companies will elect to have Photos featured as 1 of the 4 apps that are tiled at the top. If you don’t make the top 4 then you drop down to a much smaller UI element, which doesn’t impact the functionality of your app but will certainly impact the interaction that is driven through it.

There are also changes to the UGC aspect of a Brand Page, specifically the ability of a company to curate the content that is in their timeline. However, this is not all bad because it will offer the potential to bring more of an editorial agenda to a Page which fans can contribute to and still interact with. One of the other big changes that a Page will enable is the ability for a fan to direct message a company, which will open up a new channel for fan engagement and with it expanded opportunities for app developers to build private messaging into their applications on either side of the firewall.

Here are some examples of the Get Satisfaction application on actual Brand Pages:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also added some links for additional reading on the changes coming to Brand Pages and Premium Ads:

Death of the default landing page

Cover image can’t be an ad

4 ways to humanize your brand (with timeline) 

Fast Company profile on Livestrong using Facebook Timeline to tell their story

More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on Facebook at Wikinvest

It’s Not How Hard You Can Hit

From time to time I think of this scene in Rocky Balboa, an under-appreciated installment in the Rocky franchise. As a parent you can’t help but think of how to impart on your children the notion that nothing is life is given to you and to win requires work and fighting through the obstacles that day-to-day life throws up.

If I could say nothing else to my children it would be this (as well as ladies go first and have good table manners).