Can Everyone See Your Whuffie?

Paul Marek of 3RING.com, corresponding live from Search Engine Strategies Toronto ’09 – Keynote Speaker #1 – Tara Hunt.

You may not know it just yet, but everyone should be able to see or feel your Whuffie.  Whuffie is social capital, a new type of online mojo coined by Tara Hunt of HorsePigCow.com and CitizenAgency.com, and author of her recently released book – “The Whuffie Factor”. As Tara says “Whuffie is a measurement of trustworthiness, reputation…” and what struck me most for the future of Whuffie, was her statement of the fact that “the next generation all believe they have an audience”… and it’s evident – they do.

Tara talks about the power of launching a company using social networks and online communities, and how Web 2.0 should be used for so much more than just getting in touch with friends.  Getting in touch and forming relationships with customers and clients is the new trend for increasing sales and profits, and is very welcome in this world of lacking customer service.

It’s easy to see from Tara’s mindset that in online communities where money has no value, Whuffie is the currency of choice, and she shows you how to raise it – because, as she reveals, “social networking has more influence over buying decisions than any other marketing tool…”

Tara offers five great tips for raising your Whuffie:

  1. Turn the bullhorn around
    • stop yelling your message, and listen to what the customer or client wants
    • typical marketing is annoying and obtrusive
    • get advise of experts, yet design and develop for novices
    • respond to all feedback, even if it’s to say “no thanks”
    • don’t take negative feedback personally
    • give credit to those who’s ideas you utilize
    • explain changes as you make them
    • make small, continuous improvements
    • find your feedback online
    • ignore the haters (trolls)
  2. Tune in and turn them on – get involved in your community
    • get out of your head and into your community
    • find out what your customers love, then use it, and relate to them with it
    • attend barcamps, meetups, conferences, etc…
    • get involved
  3. Create an amazing customer experience
    • use “automagic” – the power of technology to create a user experience so seamless it feels like magic
    • set up your user experience like you are thinking into the future for your users
    • try “throwing sheep” (poking, voting, rating, etc…)
    • lighten up! – use your ability to inject fun into normally mundane situations or tasks
      (eg: custom 404 pages, easter eggs, etc…
  4. Embrace the chaos
    • stop trying to control the message
    • create a balance between security vs. openness
    • allows you to be better prepared for the unexpected
    • you’ll join in on the conversation that’s already happening
    • provides an opportunity for collaboration
    • money = market economy, Whuffie = gift economy
    • the more Wuffie you give, the more you’ll get
  5. Find your higher online purpose
    • find a way to give back to your community
    • think customer-centrically
    • move from marketer to customer mindset
    • give your customers freedom
    • send people away from your site if you’re benefiting them
    • make your policy “to do right by the customer” (helps create buzz, & more Wuffie)
    • help others freely, rather than asking for something from them
    • spread love (linklove, good attitude)

Slides from Tara’s presentation can be found at SlideShare.