Innovate or Die – How Social Media Can Help

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Last week, the Text100 Paris team attended the MasterClass “Innovate or die: How will social media help?” at les Assises des Médias Sociaux.

The session brought together a number of influential digital experts from France and abroad. The main speakers were: Stephane Hugon, Sociologist, François Pétavy eYeka’s CEO, and social media expert Brian Solis.

Stephane Hugon, a sociologist specializing in the sociology of imagination, kicked off the event with d discussion on how in the last 10 to 12 years our society has been completely transformed and as such individuals and brands need to think differently.

We are now in a co-creation era.

Technology influences usage; usage defines technology. Innovation and creation enable us to create new markets. François Pétavy of eYeaka (a global market leader in online consumer co-creation) explained how co-creation can be considered as the future of social media and marketing.

For François, co-creation is an incredible listening tool that allows consumers to express themselves. This is not only a way to engage your community, but also a way to make people participate with your brand and become part of its history.

Co-creation provides an incredible opportunity to get ahead of market trends as consumers give their ideas and feedback about a product or a concept and accelerate its arrival to the market.

Co-creation is not only about customization – it’s also about sharing ideas, following the 1-9-90 rule:

  • 90% of users are the “audience,” or “watchers” – people that tend to read or observe, but don’t actively contribute.
  • 9% of users are “editors,” sometimes modifying content or adding to an existing thread, but rarely create content from scratch.
  • 1% of users are “creators,” driving large amounts of the social group’s activity. More often than not, these people are driving a vast percentage of the site’s new content, threads, and activity.

The question is, why do those people participate?

  • 83% of them say for fulfillment
  • 81% for fun
  • 80% for fortune
  • 80% for fame

The keys for a company that seeks feedback from its community is to keep the right attitude, ask the right questions, and choose the right players. Examples of companies doing it right, according to François, include Nike IDLocal Motors, Lego ID and My Starbucks Idea.

The second half of the evening featured special guest, Brian Solis, who explained his point of view around the topic, “Innovate or Die: How can social media help?”

For Solis, co-creation is the key to innovation and innovation is essential to transform businesses. This is what he refers to as calls Digital Darwinism. We live and compete in a perpetual era of Digital Darwinism, where the evolution of consumer behaviors with society and technology moves faster than our ability to adapt. People are more comfortable with how things are now, rather than how they could be.

What is engagement?

Solis says likes, comments, tweets, retweets, etc. are not engagement but activity. Engagement is finding where your brand interacts with customers.

There are many ways for a brand to talk with its audience. While in the past it was one-to-one, with a newsletter for instance, with the rise of social networks, it has become one-to-many. And whether they realize it or not, customers contribute to the state of  brands in the marketplace simply by sharing their experiences. This is where co-creation begins. Businesses are optimized to work in groups and collaborate in the matrix.

So businesses need to transform – but why? For Solis, here are the top 5 reasons for transformation:

  1. A new audience of connected customers is emerging and becoming more influential than your business.
  2. Social platforms create new touchpoints and expectations.
  3. The role of the customers (and employees) are greater than the reach of marketing. Co-creation is part of an engaged businesses.
  4. Without co-creation, customer activity and shared experiences steer conversations and actions and shape experiences.
  5. Co-creation improves products and services, builds trust between employees and customers and says to the world, “We’re listening, We’re improving. Thank you”

How can a brand start transforming itself? Solis had tips for that, too:

  1. Become the champion: find the courage to take the first step.
  2. Run an internal audit for capabilities, opportunities and needs.
  3. Understand customer behaviors and needs. Create a short list of engagement initiatives. The platform and the process should fit the objective, not the other way around.
  4. Scope and metrics: Begin with the end in mind and dream big!
  5. Select the platform that fits your objectives best.
  6. Community engagement and rules of engagement: define how best to approach your target. Determine if the program is private or public.
  7. Transparency is critical. Set clear expectations and give feedback.
  8. Identify patterns and trends in stakeholder input.
  9. Reward users for participation with badges, points or other forms of acknowledgement, not with dollars and discounts.
  10. Become the change you want to see. Create an innovation center of excellence and lead a culture of innovation based on proven process and results.

Solis left us with this thought:

“This is the time of risk takers and visionaries, those who see what others don’t and do or will do what others won’t.”

Check out this interview with Solis shared on the French blog, FrenchWeb.