The Power of Social Networking
Using the Whuffie Factor to Build Your Business
By Tara Hunt
(Crown Business, Paperback, 9780307449405, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
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The book that catches the crest of Web 2.0 and shows how any business can harness its power by increasing whuffie, the store of social capital that is the currency of the digital world.
Everyone knows about blogs and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and has heard about someone who has used them to grow a huge customer base. Everyone wants to be hands-on, grassroots, and interactive, but what does this mean? And more to the point, how do you do it?
As one who has actually launched a company using the power of online communities, and who now advises large and small companies, Tara Hunt (named by the San Francisco Chronicle, along with luminaries Jimmy Wales and Tim O’Reilly, as a digital Utopian) is the perfect person to do this book.
While The Whuffie Factor will traverse the landscape of Web 2.0 and show how to become a player, it is not just another book about online marketing. People see the huge business potential of the online world and the first impulse is: Let’s throw a bunch of money at it. To which Tara Hunt says: “Stop! Money isn’t the capital of choice in online communities, it is whuffie–social capital–and how to raise it is at the heart of this book.” In the Web 2.0 world, market capital flows from having high social capital. Without whuffie you lose your connections and any recommendations you make will be seen as spam–met with negative reactions and a loss of social capital.
The Whuffie Factor provides businesspeople with a strategic map and specific tactics for the constantly evolving, elusive, and, to some, strange world of online communities. By connecting with your customers through community interaction, you’ll raise your social capital, create demand, and sell more product. Consumer loyalty is a direct result of whuffie. With great stories of online business successes and cautionary tales of major missteps–recording industry, anyone?–Tara Hunt reveals how social networking has more influence over buying decisions than any other marketing tool and how your business can tap into the vast world of Web 2.0 to build an unshakable foundation for twenty-first-century-style online success.
For those without millions–even thousands–to throw around, here is a fresh perspective for using social networks to help build a business whether you are a start-up or a Fortune 500 giant. Even those in big rich companies need to learn how to be effective and not waste their money. For them–as well as the entrepreneur–The Whuffie Factor is an eye-opening guide to a world they probably don’t understand all that well.
TARA HUNT was the cofounder of Citizen Agency, a community-marketing consulting firm based in San Francisco, and is now leading the marketing efforts for Intuit’s partner platform. She has been cited in national newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and is well-known in the Web 2.0 technology and start-up worlds for her community-marketing experience. Her blog, Horsepigcow.com, explores themes in marketing and economics and has been pivotal in raising Tara’s own whuffie in the online marketing space.
“Embrace the chaos! The Whuffie Factor weaves stories from Moleskine, 37Signals, Threadless, Willitblend, and Gary Vaynerchuk into a compelling story of the way business is now done. Tara doesn’t just talk about it, of course, she does it herself.”
—Seth Godin, author of Meatball Sundae
“Marketing–or doing business at all–in the age of whuffie and the world of social media means authenticity, listening, engaging, and trusting. That’s what Tara Hunt says, and it’s also exactly what she does. If you are in marketing now or starting a company that has customers, you need to read this book to understand exactly, and I mean precisely and with detailed examples, how the conversation between vendor and client, business and customer, has changed radically. Tara Hunt knows her stuff, and she knows how to put a great deal of knowledge into compelling stories that are a pleasure to read because her voice is not just the voice of extensive experience: Tara Hunt’s voice works well in this book because it’s who she is.”
—Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs
“Social capital may be the most powerful currency of the twenty-first century, and this book is a guide to its care and feeding. Bursting with energy and enthusiasm, Tara Hunt shows us how to win friends and influence people in a Web 2.0 world.”
—Tom Kelley, cofounder of IDEO and author of The Ten Faces of Innovation
"The market power of social networking continues to grow exponentially. It may well overwhelm all other communication vehicles--and in short order. The Whuffie Factor is exceptionally readable, and both instructive and fun. You'd be foolish to pass it by, or fail to heed its advice."
—Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence