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The Pivot Conference: Your Questions Answered, Part 2

As the host and editorial director for this year’s Pivot Conference, I asked early registrants what was on their mind. I received a fair amount of questions and wanted to share the answers with you here in case you’re thinking about similar topics. Here’s part 2 of 3. You can read part 1 here.

What 3 things are mandatory when building and sustaining a community?

The first thing is to realize that consumers most likely do not want to build a community with you. As horrible as that may sound, it is your opportunity to learn what people want and need to join and stay engaged in a community dedicated to your business. There are several new studies that show what businesses think customers want in social networks and what customers actually want. They are in fact, on opposite ends of the spectrum. The top three things they expect are tangible value, discounts promotions and exclusive offers/opportunities, and the ability to purchase or access that opportunity within the social network of choice. What they do not want over the long haul is random engagement marketing or administrative updates such as polls, questions, etc. They are starting to complain and as such, unfollow/unlike brands who pollute their news feeds.

With ‘Choice’, comes large amounts of pressure for brands to “rise above the clutter.” What is one key element the brand should remember?

Not to sound overly complicated, but because social media is inherently social, people are in control of their own online experiences. Everything must be reverse engineered starting with two things: the people you are trying to reach, and what it is they value. Choice is the keyword as you said: you have it, I have it, and in many ways, we are the people we are trying to reach. I recommend ‘a less is more’ approach rooted in user-defined intelligence before engagement. What people want and how you connect the gap between that want and your value proposition is yours to define.

Will 2011 be the year that game theory within social media jumps the shark?

Before I can answer, I can’t believe that Happy Days culture is still alive. When will jumping the shark finally jump the shark? I believe that in social media as anything jumps the shark it means it’s starting to take a strong foothold within the mainstream. This is good because that means we, as everyday people, have a say in the direction of new media and more importantly, how we discover, share and learn. Game theory and gamification hold promise in how people interact with information. When used as a mechanism for interactivity, where people walk away with a sense of value, then the future is bright for game theory. Badgeville is testing frameworks for improving visitor engagement and readership on websites and blogs. Fangager is boosting interaction in Facebook. There are also other examples that are moving beyond the simplicity of gaming for the sake of gaming. It will make for better website experiences, for more enriching exchanges in social and mobile networks, and I believe it will also help reinvent our education system. Seth Priebatch of SCVNGR offered a glimpse of what the future of game theory holds in our culture at this year’s SXSW. You can read more about it here.

About Pivot

The Pivot Conference is designed for brands and their agencies and will take place October 17th and 18th in New York. This year’s theme focuses on an important shift in marketing as brands respond to “The Rise of the Social Consumer.”

If you’d like to join us, you can register here. Please use SOLISVIP for a special 20% discount. Contact Mike Edelhart at to inquire about sponsorships.

For more, please read our first report, “Brands Pursue the Social Consumer.”

3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The Pivot Conference: Your Questions Answered, Part 2”

  1. T_marsh83 says:

    I am curious about more brand specific expectations from social media.  I can see where I don’t have very much to discuss with Pepsi, and therefore I don’t need them polluting my news feed with jibber-jabber about my weekend plans, and making sure I “take pepsi with me” (just as an example), but in a more segmented brand/product space, say a brand of fishing lures, is there more of a desire to have that random interaction about what is working, what isn’t and what plans for the future may be?

    Of course we all expect exclusive content, deals, or promotions when we dedicate a part of our time to a company, but have there been any studies to show what brand segments are more tolerant of, or actually seek out the conversational discussion of their brand segment identity?

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