Spectrum of Online Friendship

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What can brands learn from people who are …

What can brands learn from people who are
good at making friends on the internet?

"What is a friend?" This question is constantly echoing across the internet. But, digital relationships (just like non-digtal ones) are not absolute. They are fluid. And online friendship is better described along a spectrum defined by the actions people take and how we feel about them.

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  • 1. SPECTRUM OF ONLINE FRIENDSHIP What can brands learn from people who are good at making friends on the internet? by Mike Arauz
  • 2. Some people are really good at making a lot of friends on the internet. A few examples: Ze Frank Gary Vaynerchuk David Armano Chris Brogan Julia Roy* *Full disclosure: Julia and I work together. And she’s awesome : ) 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 3. They don’t just have large audiences, they have loyal audiences who feel invested in their success. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 4. Digital technology has enabled us to create fans who feel like friends. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 5. What is a friend? The definition of friendship has evolved. Digital relationships (just like non-digtal ones) are not absolute. They are fluid. Online friendship is better described along a spectrum defined by the actions people take and how we feel about them. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 6. SPECTRUM OF ONLINE FRIENDSHIP PRIVATE PASSIVE ACTIVE PUBLIC INTEREST INTEREST SHARING DIALOGUE DIALOGUE ADVOCACY INVESTMENT Your wins I follow your work, I’ve voiced my inter- I publish links to We exchange We exchange I explicitly encour- visit your site, read est in your work by your work on my public messages private messages age my friends to are my wins your blog, follow leaving comments, own websites through referrals through email, IM, follow your work you on Twitter, etc. posting Twitter and profiles on our websites direct messages, because I share your replies, posting and profiles etc. arguments, and I care Facebook wall com- about the success of ments, etc. your ideas 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 7. Passive Interest This is the easiest level of engagement. It asks the least of your friends, and achieves the least commitment from us. But, it’s the crucial starting point. I follow my curiosity to you, I’m interested in what I find, and I choose to pay attention. e.g. repeat visits, blog readers, fans, followers, etc. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 8. Active Interest This is when I care enough to let you know that I care (in a nice way, not in a stalker way :-). It’s a small step, but a big opportunity for you to iden- tify key members of your audience who are can- didates to move along the spectrum. e.g. people who leave comments on your blog, wall comments, @replies on Twitter, etc. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 9. Sharing You and your work become part of my identity as I use it to talk to my own friends about what in- terests me. I also have made myself more valu- able, because I am now partly responsible for the spread of your ideas. e.g. social bookmarking, retweeting links, posting links and content to my own sites and profiles, etc. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 10. Public Dialogue This is the first phase that requires action on your part. You foster a relationship by responding to my interest in a public forum. By doing so, you make the rest of your friends aware of my existence, and welcome me to the group. e.g. public @replies, referrals in a blog post, and references posted to our various sites and profiles, etc. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 11. Private Dialogue We begin to transform mutual interest into mutual trust. We are willing to share directly. We trust each other with direct access, which has increasing value in an increasingly always-on world. e.g. exchanging email, TXT messages, IM, and direct messages on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 12. Advocacy Advocacy looks a lot like Sharing; but, Advocacy means that I am making an explicit recommen- dation of you to my friends. I choose to risk my own reputation to convince my friends to check it out. e.g. same tools as Sharing, but differ- ent language; usually entails recommending the person or brand, and not just a specific piece of content 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 13. Investment The brass ring of online friendship. This is the most difficult achievement to recognize or quantify. But it’s the most important because it represents the willingness of your friends to take action on your behalf. e.g. Your wins are my wins. “I know it when I see it.” Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 14. PRIVATE PASSIVE ACTIVE PUBLIC INTEREST INTEREST SHARING DIALOGUE DIALOGUE ADVOCACY INVESTMENT The deeper you go, the more valuable your friends become. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 15. Investment is only one dimension of online friendships. Investment: SOCIAL ACTIVITY To what extent does this friend feel committed to your success? Time: How long has this friend been engaged in INVESTMENT their relationship with you? TIM Social Activity: E To what degree and frequency is this friend active within their own network? 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 16. Online brand equity is a product of: – The investment that your friends feel in the success of your brand online – The amount of time they’ve spent being your friend – Your friends’ levels of social activity within their own networks 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 17. ONLINE BRAND = I T x Sa x (Investment) (Time) (Social Activity) EQUITY 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 18. So, how can brands move friends from acquaintanceship to “best friendliness”? 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 19. Have a unique point of view, and don’t be afraid to be opinionated about it. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 20. Measure the actions that create value, not just the actions that are easy to measure. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 21. Reallocate time, effort, and money to cultivating deeper online friendships. 2009 Mike Arauz
  • 22. I’d love to tell you more about this. Email me: speaking@mikearauz.com Let’s connect on Twitter: @mikearauz I left the rest of my thoughts on my blog: www.mikearauz.com Mike Arauz is a Strategist at Undercurrent, a New York based digital think tank.