The core premise of localMana is based on a principle called the “Network Effect” a proven concept which implies that the more people connected within a network, the more valuable a product or service becomes. By facilitating connections, social sharing and rewards within a community focus localMana enables a business to create a network effect. The catch, the business must create content that people want to engage with and share. In most cases, this is a daunting task and the primary reason why getting results on social media has been frustrating for most businesses.
Ever wonder why customers choose a business over others, how come one company goes viral on social media, and others get just a few likes and why do some people readily refer brands, while others do not?
So, it is worth digging into a concept with a similar outcome as the network effect called social currency. It has to do with understanding why people share and the value that is created when they do. Your brand or business has good social currency if people want to share your information with their connections. While the network effect is based on the value of connections, social currency is based on the value of information when it is shared.
A good example of social currency is gossip, people will share rumors with their friends, who in turn will share with their friends, which is why rumors can spread like wildfire. But the key to understanding social currency is to understand the psychology behind sharing, why do people want to share? Ultimately people share when it benefits them, and they get some personal value out of sharing.
There are 6 types of behavior that lead to social currency: Affiliation, Conversation, Utility, Advocacy, Information and Identity. When you post you should be thinking how to touch on these behaviors. Let’s go through each of these drivers to understand what they mean and how localMana facilitates each:
Affiliation is the relationships that exists between a brand, its customers and other consumers. Brands that can create a strong sense of community have strong social currency.
localMana uses community groups to facilitate relationships between businesses, people and nonprofits. A localMana community group comprised of like-minded members creates a sense of belonging or affiliation.
Conversation is the interaction and engagement which a brand has with its customers, members, and fans. Indeed, social currency is all about igniting brand “talkability”.
On localMana the business or nonprofit drives the conversation by utilizing any one of 6 features including Blogs, Events, Ideas, Q&A, Discussions and Articles. All can be shared socially. This drives conversation and engagement. Information and knowledge are shared amongst the people in your social networks.
localMana is not about advertising or over promoting. Instead localMana encourages businesses to share knowledge that is relevant to the audience. The audience is rewarded for engaging and sharing that knowledge.
Utility is the value of the content shared. This should be considered from both the perspective of the giver as well the recipient of the content.
People have a problem to solve and more likely than not, the business has an answer, becoming a trusted authority. It is important to share information that people want to know.
Identity is the holy grail of social currency. Whatever we share will inadvertently reflect on what our brand is perceived to be like.
Perception is sometimes reality. It’s all about relevancy and quality. Over posting, irrelevant information and over promotion reflects poorly on your brand causing people to ignore your posts. Since localMana is about solving problems and inspiration, conversations are focused, creating authority. A business becomes a trusted knowledge source.
Advocacy is the attachment that a person has to a brand. It influences how he recommends or even defends the brand.
localMana utilizes rewards and gamification to create an army of advocates willing to talk about your business socially.
Pulling it all together
The localMana platform provides the framework for facilitating community, conversations, knowledge and advocacy which is how social currency is created.
The steps are simple
1. localMana community groups gives people a sense of belonging or affiliation. By positioning group membership as a VIP experience, your customers will feel special. The best aspect of group-based content is that it’s more targeted and the audience is relevant. People share products and information with people who will likely benefit from the knowledge.
2. Content - Use one of localMana’s features to start the conversation by creating relevant content that highlights your knowledge.
- Showcase the remarkable aspects of your business.
- Utilize rewards and gaming mechanics to motivate engagement and sharing.
- Associate your content with a trigger, something that people will encounter often and relate together. It may be a date or season or common words. (Gieco Camel/Hump Day)
- Use emotions to connect with your customers so they feel strongly about your brand and share it. Emotions like awe, humor and even anger can be effective.
- Make your business visible – share to social
- Offer useful tips to help your customers improve. Show them that you’re passionate about helping them
- Create touching stories or narratives. Make sure your brand or service is central to the story.
3. Once you have some interesting content, invite your existing customers to join your community. Use an incentive like get 20% your next purchase when you join. Make it compelling and a VIP experience.
4. To really get the party started, invite complimentary business colleagues that you know and trust to join your community. They in turn will create compelling content and invite their customers to join as well. Example: Pet Store invites dog walker, vet, kennel, etc. When you do, you can engage their fans too!
Here is a great video that highlights the above. Jonah’s book is called Contagious
Contagious: Why Things Catch On | Jonah Berger | Talks at Google - Bing video