Tara Hunt at HiMA’s Interactive Strategies

As I posted earlier this week, today I was speaking for Apogee Search at HiMA’s Interactive Strategies conference in Houston, Texas. The keynote was given by Tara ‘missrogue’ Hunt, the principal of Citizen Agency.

The title of her keynote was:

Makin’ Wuffie
5 keys for maxing social capital and winning with online communities

My notes from her presentation follow.

Tara Hunt

“Wuffie” comes from a Cory Doctorow book. It is fairly equivalent to influence, trust, etc. In his world, when you ping someone’s wuffie, you get a score back.

This isn’t actually science fiction. It exists today.

She has a large number of Facebook friends and Twitter followers (8,000 on the latter). This is not about bragging as she isn’t actually that unique.

You cannot sell to these people directly. You cannot buy wuffie.

Credibility matters in the online communities.

To become an influencer (e.g. have a lot of wuffie), you need to build connections and gain credibility.

#1: Turn the bullhorn inwards.

Historically, marketing has been load and impersonal. We tend to listen to those we trust. You need to listen to your customers.

  1. Get advice and input from experts, but design for the broader community
  2. Respond to feedback, even when you respond by saying, “No thanks.”
  3. Don’t take negative feedback personally; remember that when people give feedback, they are doing so because they care and have taken the time to improve their experience.
  4. Give credit to those whose ideas you implement; nothing says “we are open to conversation” better.
  5. When you implement a new idea, make sure that you highlight it, and ask for feedback.
  6. Make small, continuous changes rather than waiting to implement everything at once.
  7. Don’t just wait for feedback to come to you, go out and find it; people are probably talking about your product elsewhere.
  8. No matter how many people like you, you will always have someone who doesn’t – mind the haters.

#2: Become part of the community you serve.

HiMA Interactive Strategies

Figure out who you serve. What problem are you solving? Knowing that makes it easier to find your community.

Don’t sell. Don’t be a voyeur. Authenticity matters.

Learn from then community and integrate it into what you’re offering.

You need to be remarkable. How does one achieve remarkability?

#3: Create amazing customer experiences.

This doesn’t need to be complicated:

  1. The Dazzle is in the Details.
  2. Go Above and Beyond.
  3. Appeal to Emotion.
  4. Inject Fun into the Experience.
  5. Make Something Mundane Fashionable.
  6. Let People Personalize.
  7. Be Experimental.
  8. Simplify.
  9. Make Happiness Your Business Model: increase autonomy, competence and relatedness.
  10. Be a Social Catalyst.

#4: Embrace the chaos.

Do you try an control the message? When you do, the community fights back.

  1. Stop moving and look around you until you see everything clearly.
  2. Transfer the knowledge.
  3. Every time you feel anxiety, acknowledge it.
  4. Define your own measure of success.
  5. Get outside of your personal circle.
  6. Realize that everything is out of your control anyway.
  7. Have patience.


In no time, you’ll feel as free as a bird.

Some food for thought:

Money is part of the market economy; wuffie is part of the gift economy. You give wuffie away, you get more.

Wuffie is only valuable when it circulates.

We still need to make money to pay the rent.

What can you give away that won’t leave you broke?

#5: Find your higher purpose.

Is what you’re doing born out of passion? Does wanting to make money mean you’re going to be wuffie poor? No, you just need to find out how to give back to your community.

  1. Find ways to do well by doing good.
  2. Think customer-centrically.
  3. Help others go further.
  4. Spread love.
  5. Value something bigger.

If you do these, your wuffie will grow over time.

Making wuffie will give you:

  • Better word of mouth
  • Repeat sales
  • Customer loyalty

Making wuffie is the here and now, not the future.

1 Comment on “Tara Hunt at HiMA’s Interactive Strategies

  1. The Guy Kawasaki Kerfluffle | BrianCombs.net

    […] reminded of Cory Doctorow’s concept of wuffie. Essentially, it represents the trust, influence and karma that comes from the quality and quantity […]

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