Two Social Media Tools: Butter and Ears

by Jason Preston on November 12, 2008

The Financial Times, which I’m now convinced is one of the most forward-thinking newspaper organizations out there, dropped an e-mail in my inbox yesterday inviting me to check out a preview of their new homepage design and give my feedback on it.

Filling out surveys isn’t something that I’d think to list as an interest in my Facebook profile, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I get a sneak preview? And they might actually listen to my advice?

I’m sold. They just used leveraged two of the most useful tools in social media.

Tool number one: Butter

Everyone loves being special, especially egotistical people like bloggers, tweeters, teenagers, and young twenty-somethings. So butter it up; tell people they’re an insider, give them something other people don’t have.

In this case, the FT is giving me a special sneak-peak at their as-yet unrevealed new home page design. This is also a nice incentive to keep me on their mailing list.

In case you’re curious, here’s what their prototype looks like:

I think it’s pretty damn good, except that there’s too much Pink behind the text. I already submitted that in their feedback area, which leads me to…

Tool number two: Ears

It’s surprisingly difficult for companies to understand the connection between online surveys and free market research, but I guarantee you it is there. Look at yesterday’s post by Mónica as an example: she simply asked Twitter for input, and look what she got!

Growing a pair of ears, and showing that you have them, is one of the most effective ways to motivate your community and your customers. People are somewhat used to being ignored by large, faceless corporations, and it’s a delightful shock when someone actually listens.

If you publicly take user feedback into account, you will inspire a lot of brand loyalty, because you’ve allowed people to “buy shares” in that brand because they’ve helped to make it what it is.

Go on, tell me you couldn’t use a little brand loyalty these days.

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Sneak preview of new FT.com design | Online Journalism Blog
11.13.08 at 4:14 am

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