The BigTreetop Blog

  • 03:39:24 pm on July 8, 2008 | 1
    Tags: , , ,

    “Social Objects” are everywhere, and may be the key to the success of many products and businesses. The theory of “Social Objects”, though based in a lot of great Anthropological study from the 1900’s, and recently laid out nicely by Jyri Engestrom with respect to social media, is perhaps even more relevant today, and can be attributed to the runaway successes of businesses like,, Fantasy Sports, Apple, Starbucks and lots of others.

    Since the main audience for this blog is a bit more results-oriented than semi-geeky academics like myself, i’ll quickly share the common-sense approach to the theory. Here it is, based on 2 premises:

    Premise 1: Humans have a hard time relating directly to one another. Instead, we tend to relate through or around social objects. Most events where 2 or more people are involved occur around a meal, a movie, a sport, a candidate or a location. It is extremely rare that two people will just sit and talk about each other.

    Premise 2: Humans like to share social objects for free. A story about a great (or a lousy) movie, meal, celebrity, product, device or service serves as the “social object” that helps people to relate to one another. It therefore does not usually require (though sometimes that can be useful) a discount, payment or other monetary benefit in order to be shared.

    Here are 4 simple tips (based on Jyri Engestrom’s excellent presentation) on how to turn social objects loose in a business through online and offline channels (which should both be utilized if at all possible).

    1. Be on the lookout for social objects. What are employees or customers talking with each other about in your business? Are people blogging (google your business to find out), commenting (check your suggestion board), twittering (use to search for your business on twitter) about your hamburgers? Your employees? Your excellent customer service? The photos on your website? A recent concert at your venue? These are all social objects, and they’re everywhere if you look hard enough.
    2. Promote community around social objects. Once you’ve identified a few objects, promote community around them. Are people talking to each other about your yoga class? Find a way to allow them to continue those relationships outside of the class through a saturday yoga mini-conference, or a think-up on to get ideas for how to make the class better, or encourage them to post their photos or experiences or thoughts on your blog or through Twitter.
    3. Allow people to share the object. People tend to want to share social objects. Is your fantastic hamburger a social object? Provide them with a way to tell their friends by posting an experience and a photo online, or by giving a printed card to friends inviting them to try it.
    4. Turn invitations into gifts. To make the act of sharing even more fun for the sharer, give them a way to share their social object as a gift. Instead of providing a customer with a discount for telling her friends about your fantastic new coffee blend, find a way that that invite means a discount or a benefit for the friend instead.

    * AP Photo above from Mike Ditka’s Restaurant in Chicago



  • Recent Links Tagged With "socialobjects" - JabberTags 10:49 pm on October 14, 2008 | # | Reply

    […] public links >> socialobjects Find and Promote Social Objects to Improve Your Business « The… Saved by ailves on Mon 13-10-2008 Links 2008-05-26 Saved by sonfan9 on Fri 03-10-2008 links for […]

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