This week at SES Toronto, Tara Hunt shared some insights from her new book, The Whuffie Factor. In Hunt's definition, "whuffie" is social capital, composed of reputation, trust, connections, influence, and other factors. It becomes a kind of currency.
As it turns out, her message was echoed elsewhere at Search Engine Strategies Toronto, and throughout the search industry today.
Basically, you need to treat people with respect, deliver what they need in a way they enjoy, and don't try to hold onto things too tight.
Hunt shared a few tactics that would help marketers accomplish those goals, with 5 Ways to Raise your Whuffie:
- Turn the Bullhorn Around. Instead of shouting impersonally at your customers, listen to them. Become a "beacon for constant feedback." Focus on individuals, and understanding the needs of the community. People want to be treated like "special snowflakes."
- Become Part of the Community You Serve. Get out of your head, and into the community. Collaborate and share with them. Fall in love with what your customers love. Figure out what problem you're solving, and for whom you're solving it, then join them.
- Create Amazing Experiences. Become remarkable. Solve problems for your customers so seamlessly, it feels like magic. Engage in fun, lightweight activities that encourage user participation, aka "throwing sheep." Lighten up.
- Embrace the Chaos. You cannot control the message. Get that through your head. Let go of your perceived control, and you'll see good things come back to you.
- Find a Higher Purpose. Find a way to give back to the community. Whuffie is part of a gift economy. It's only worth something when it circulates, and the more you give away, the more you get. Do well by doing good.