First off we want to give a huge congratulations to Laura B who was our March video contest winner. Thank you to all of those that participated and we are giving you another shot to win a free pass right NOW!
We’ve asked you for the written word, videos and now it’s time for photos.
As you know, “selfies” are all the rage! For our final contest before LiNC we are asking you to submit a Social Selfie for our April contest. We’d love to see a selfie around your work, community, social experience or frankly we will accept anything that inspires a social selfie (No rude shots though!)
The top 3 most kudoed responses will go forward and the final winner will be decided by our thought leaders here at Lithium: Dr. Michael Wu, Joe Cothrel and Dave Evans. Winners will be announced shortly after the contest ends on April 30th. Get snappin’!
>>Go to the Contest<<
... View more
1. Save Money NOW! Early Bird pricing ends soon! 2. Groovy nautical entertainers Mustache Harbor
3. Jonah Peretti, CMO of Buzzfeed
4. Industry thought leaders like Dr. Michael Wu, Joe Cothrel and Dave Evans. 5. Real customers with real best practices 6. Lithium product experts to help you get the most of your investment 7. Industry recognized certifications and training 8. Evenings at The Fillmore and The Tonga Room – Enough said! 9. An opening act that has to be seen to be believed 10. Did we mention it’s cheaper to register right now? No more #FOMO
Have we convinced you? Register NOW!
See you in SF!
The Lithium Team
... View more
Welcome to Austin. As I stepped off the plane and after following the walking escalators and signs toward “ground transportation” I got my first whiff of Texas air and stared dauntingly at the taxi line at least a hundred people long.
After a long flight you might think standing in line would be the last thing you want to do, but it was exciting. All these people were here for SXSW and, like a good party (ahem, I mean interactive conference), the more the merrier.
I started off my SXSW experience aboard our kick-**bleep** bus serving coffee and breakfast burritos. Our bus was quickly recognized roaming the streets with horns on the front and a real cow **bleep** on back (we are in Texas after all). People flocked to us when they realized we were giving out free food and even left their place in line to grab some grub. We took full advantage of the bus, giving people free rides and not to mention keeping ourselves dry from the sub-par weather.
The second day of SXSW was the day I met Shaquille O’Neil- met is a loose term but I was super close to him- and our bus got pulled over by the police. Let’s talk about the bus first. Apparently, we were too cool on the school bus driving around feeding the hungry, so the Austin police pulled us over, ticketed us and told us it could no longer roam the streets of Austin. But through the Twitterverse our bus lived on and peoples’ attempts to #freethebus were heard round SX. Unfortunately, it was never freed, but next year we will be back and better than ever.
Now, if you don’t know me, and most of you don’t, I love Shaq. It all started when I was little and has become a somewhat obscure obsession. If you want to learn more about how it all started, watch my video below!
On my final day at SXSW we spent a lot of time interviewing people on new tech trends and how brands are harnessing the power of communities and fans to elevate their brands. We also got the chance to get one degree closer to Kevin Bacon. I believe all you readers are now two degrees away from KB so you’re welcome!
All in all, SXSW was awesome. It’s amazing what can happen when you bring people together that share common interests and put them all within a couple square miles of each other. The energy and knowledge coursing through the streets of Austin was palpable. I learned more about the future of technology and the impact of social than I could have anywhere else. SXSW really did grab social #bythehorns. See y’all next year!
... View more
NOW That’s the Spirit!
Our CEO, Rob Tarkoff and our CMO, Katy Keim can't wait to see you at LiNC 2014, May 20-22 in San Francisco. Check out what we have in the works this year.
Join the Unconference- Share your knowledge
This is the “No-Powerpoint Zone.” The prepared remarks are over. Choose from a handful of topics where the only rules are– there are no rules. Nothing is off-limits. No agenda required. The polished presentations are done.
NOW it's time to hear directly from fellow customers about how they make the Lithium Platform sing. Hear from customers like Sony, Google, Canon and Time Warner Cable. It's unfiltered, unprepared and unlike anything you've seen before at LiNC. Learn more and submit your ideas here.
NOW for Some Other LiNC Updates
Show of your social prowess --Submit for a “Lithy”—a Lithium Social Customer Excellence Award
Early Bird pricing is still available
Get in on our pre-conference workshops led by Joe Cothrel and Dave Evans
Don’t forget to enter the March video contest to win a FREE pass to LiNC’14
Register NOW for LiNC’14
The Lithium Team
... View more
Our very own Joe Cothrel’s Ten Mistaken Beliefs About Customer Communities was published this morning in the Wall. You can also dig into the full text below.
Ten Mistaken Beliefs About Customer Communities
Starting a community? Here are ten things you might believe — but shouldn’t.
I had a meeting two weeks ago with a customer whose community went live back in March of last year. There’s so much that a company learns in the first year of having a live, real-time dialogue with customers happening every day on its website. At one point in the meeting I commented about an issue they encountered. “You know, everyone is afraid of x, but what they really need to fear is y,” I said. She immediately smiled and replied, “You’re right!”
After the meeting, I started to think about those things that companies mistakenly believe when they launch communities for the first time. Here are ten that come to mind.
“Negativity is going to be our biggest problem.” It’s an understandable fear, but usually misplaced. There’s almost always less negativity than you expect, and what you get is much more manageable than you think. I can’t tell you how many executives I’ve spoken to who openly marvel at the intelligence and patience of their customers, once they get to see them live rather than hearing only the bad stuff.
“We have to keep the audience small we don’t get overwhelmed.” As I always say, I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years, and one thing I’ve learned is: no one ever gets overwhelmed. I’m not kidding. On the other hand, you can endanger your entire investment – and your brand image – by under-promoting your community so much that it fails to gain adoption. Start small in terms of features and programs, but don’t cheat on audience size.
“Let’s start with a basic platform. We can always upgrade if this is successful.” This might work for your chess club or neighborhood association, but for companies, it’s not as simple as that. Remember that your community has to be successful from two perspectives – for your customers, but also for your brand. Success for your brand means you’ve got to manage and measure your efforts. Basic platforms won’t help you do that.
“Our goal is adoption. Business goals can come later.” No, it doesn’t work that way. If you don’t define from the start why you are doing this as a business, you’ll probably need to make radical changes down the road – or have to close it down for perceived lack of ROI. In either case you’ll be breaking the implicit promise to customers you made when you started. Better not start at all than start badly.
“We have to make it sexy.” Many companies devote 80% of their effort to design, and only 20% to the things that will really make them successful, like management processes and effective promotion. In fact, there’s often an inverse relationship between aesthetics and performance—because designers often lack an understanding of effective social design.
“We have to create a rich experience for users.” That usually means lots of features and functions. Unfortunately, customers would rather you do a few things well than many things poorly. A successful community has a roadmap—a thoughtful plan for how new features and functions will be introduced over the first 12 to 18 months.
“This is new—we have to learn as we go.” It may be new for you, but companies have been building online communities for two decades. Learn what they know. If you don’t have to guess … don’t guess. If your vendor can’t tell you how other companies succeed or fail, then get a new vendor.
“Our problem is that our executives don’t get it.” If a little voice in your head—or on your board—is telling you that you won’t succeed, you should listen to that voice. It generally means that you don’t have a good plan for success. If you create a plan and communicate it effectively, you’ll see resistance melt away.
“We need to have a private community, so our competitors don’t see our problems.” Sometimes private makes sense, but take a look at other companies in your industry—are their communities open or closed? Most companies create open communities. It’s not because they are less risk-averse than you, but because they are more risk-averse. They understand that you risk your entire investment when you erect barriers to adoption.
“It takes a long time to build a community.” Actually, you’ll know pretty quickly—often within one day—whether you’ve done this right. Of course the value of the community grows as your participation grows, but all the signs of success—people joining, starting conversations, getting responses—should be there on day one.
Joe Cothrel is Chief Community Officer of Lithium and coauthor of ‘Social Customer Experience: Engage and Retain Customers through Social Media’ (Wiley, 2014). Follow him on Twitter @cothrel
... View more