Gearing up: The Science of Social

On May 9, Dr. Michael Wu (Chief Scientist, Lithium) visited the University of St.Gallen to give a presentation on „The Science of Social“ for Master, MBA, and PhD marketing students. In his keynote, he introduced a four gear model of social strategies for long term business advantage – and the science behind how they work.

Based on Dr. Michael Wu’s research and the experience of Lithium, companies have to learn how to spin all four gears simultaneously for success in social media:

  • Acquire: Starter gear that enables companies to attract and capture new customers. Based on the sheer volume and complexity of the web, managers have to understand the differences between social networks and communities and learn how to combine the two to drive awareness/interest.
  • Engage: Power gear to nurture prospects as well as customers and to cultivate long term loyalty. The key challenge is to strengthen customer relationships and move them from passive to active engagement. Key elements of a strong relationship are the time spent together, intensity, trust, and reciprocity. While Facebook is great for awareness, communities are best for conversion.
  • Monetize: Performance gear, which helps companies convert, deliver, satisfy, and upsell.  Monitization of communities directly shows in purchase influence. For instance, superfans of the Sephora community spend 10x more than average customers. In addition, communities have an indirect impact on monitization in the form of reduced support costs, enhanced marketing effectiveness, and increased innovation.
  • Enlist: Turbo gear that turns customers into advocates and then influencers (superfans). To deepen engagement, companies should try to leverage mechanisms of gamification and get players into a mode of flow.

Here are some impressions of the keynote presentation, which was followed by an apéro on invitation of Lithium.

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If you have missed the presentation but want to learn more, please check out the book The Science of Social 2 by Dr. Michael Wu.