Word of Mouth and Social Media: A Tale of Two Burger Joints

AJ Bombers

Image by tray via Flickr

I moved to the Bay Area from Milwaukee about five months ago.  Among the things I miss from my hometown are my two favorite burger restaurants--AJ Bombers and Sobelman's.  Both have used Word of Mouth (WOM) to become successful small businesses, but while one built its buzz over 10 years, the other used social media to become a success in just one year.  The stories of these two businesses can provide insight and inspiration to much larger brands seeking to create benefits with social media.    

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The Secret Of Successful Social Communities: 4 Social Needs

Ever since I first started working with online social communities I've been thinking about just what it is that makes some communities successful while others fizzle and die. In particular I'm curious why collaboration communities seem to be so hard to make work.

Of course we have plenty of research into the strategies and tactics involved in setting up and running a successful social community, and we continue to publish new research and insights each month. But what do we know about the real reasons why individuals take the time to participate in these communities? What motivates them? And if we can understand what motivates them, is there a connection to figuring out why some communities are more successful than others?

While doing recent research on social computing initiatives I got to thinking on this problem again. Recently I made the connection to Abraham Maslow's work on the hierarchy of needs

Maslow suggested all people are motivated by a desire to fulfill basic human needs in an ascending hierarchy. He also suggested that unless the lower-order needs are fulfilled, the higher-order needs are not motivators of behavior.

The primary needs Maslow identified fall into five groups:

  • Physiological: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion
  • Safety: security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, property.
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