The English Section


Customer is a (social) media

Information grows and crawls more and more, and in different channels we used to have. Then it goes again for the business, now, with an incredibly interactive two-ways, never seen so far. Traditional medias try to surf the wave, adapting themselves, creating “360” fake environment to trick the bulk. But in fact, everybody, with the envy, motivation and know-how can become an “interesting iterative start for debate”. Should we have to complain? I swear no, I hope no, in fact, heavens on the run makes a new kind of conversational process, that changes the way information travels.


The old challenging process for information/advertising:

Remember when you were young and fed up with commercials, again and again, repeating and stealing your brain time space…That was then, we were in the center of a huge market for noise, information and ads. But we were rarely the winners, in fact. The “too much information” spin leads us to close our receiving captors and drives us to deafness to promotion: “we’re not receptors we want to make part of this whole conversation and build the kind of relation we deserve with any brand”. So long is my ability to buy, like it, spread it to world and do it again. In the other case, I would be tempted to rejection and blacklist any purpose, whatever its pure interest for me. Advertising agencies used to “experiment” on “targets”, drew statistics, groups and behaviours to explain to brands how to consider markets and strategies. But that was before customers had speech and viral skills and the know-how to use it


The shout of the customer:

We may be on the edge of another period, and companies who ignore it, could take the charge of yelling customers…Say if you try to convince us that “things” to “buy” are good for us, take time first to understand our needs and what we “could” be interested in and opened to buy. Design with us before throw and waste unsold products. Prepare to figure out what could be your last compete ranges of smart products. In fact “WE” are the media you need to unchain your production and give it the reality it needs, to enlight it and free the pure movement to the eyes of the consumerism world. Mc Luhan started the revolution of media with the famous quote “medium is message”, learning us to hold the message inside the way it has been delivered, with the media which was used to spread it to the bulk. But today, media is customer and if mathematics could then be used again, we can whisper: “medium is message then customer is message”…And sometimes the message is unseen or unheard shout that costs companies failures and misfits…


Customer oriented, said? Try to listen first…:

“Throw away all your marketing guides as they are one direction: brand to consumers”. But as you would say and make customer first as your main value, what you could have to do is making it alive and real, to drive it believable and trustable. Who are you to affirm it’s true, while your customers don’t recognize you as a reference because you don’t listen to them while they are probably your first fans. So they are not only cash machines but also your ambassadors who are strong opportunities to make some noise for you: buzz. Already said, you’re not valuable as only “buyers” but awesome levers for awareness and your products. And think about all the social platforms that can transport and boost their reactions, for free and feed a whole community of prospects, who could become the next addicted to your brand. So “orientation” to customers is not “single direction proposition” or “quick and dirty spamming” but being in phase and alive with the attention of any kind of reaction and consider that your customers are part of your media strategy.


Medium is message. Customer is a media. Customer is a message to you…:

…And you’d better give him a tribune and consider, reward his genuine participation. Remember for any message you used to pay lots of money at expensive agencies. And take a look at the whole wave of “social CRM” which tries to close your customers inside YOUR system, while they to create THEIR: the only relevant system you need is develop your abilities to stare, listen, share and talk any time you can to your best customers. If you don’t catch the ”message”, the message will be without you, against you or with your main competitors. Build on the best system to achieve this, with your customers engaging and living your brand with conversation and passion for your story, values and experience. This famous experience they deserve, you can at least offer to them, to hold the story as sustainable success. Share power with your lovers then!





SMCFaces #22 : Interview with François Bougon – AFP


« We can definitely say that social networks are more and more important for the edition of the AFP and I think that in the future we should think how to integrate them in all every day practices. That is a challenge for all news agencies. « 

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Chair in Social Media Monetization – Social Media, between audience and virality: Pierre-François Chiron’s point of view

The Chair in Social Media Monetization organized a conference on December 13 between researchers and professionals in order to review the term “virality”. After the scientific point of view offered by Jean-Samuel Beuscart and Kevin Mellet, three professionals entered the conversation to share their perspective on the marketing consequences of the audience model in social media.

Pierre-François Chiron, CEO of Makemereach, talked about the conditions of virality on Facebook.

In 2009, brands could easily create their page and bring together a community of 400,000 fans in a few days… with a budget of 5,000€. Facebook Ads then consisted of notifications pop-up that could bring hundreds of thousands of new fans. Today the Zuckerberg’s firm offers fewer channels of virality, in order to force brands to pay for its services, or for the diffusion of their content.

For trademarks that wish to optimize their expenses on Facebook, the founder of Makemereach underlines the importance of the social mechanisms’ primary value: « the friends ». When designing a communication campaign, one must consider including them in the recruitment process, not only by inviting them, but also by making them to participate in the process. Moreover, to reach a significant amount of users, it is better to focus on a city or on a specific population category, to ensure that interactions are concentrated in this segment of people… and also, that the content is favored by Facebook’s algorithm, which will make it go up in the newsfeed, increasing its visibility and virality.

 For Pierre-François Chiron, whatever the purpose or the brand is, « the buzz is always possible as long as one finds an impactful idea. » Rather than focusing on the correction pen, an ordinary object, Tipp Ex dared to act outside the box and created a personalized Youtube page to increase product awareness.

 Same for Oasis, which created a series of characters, characters of little fruits, in order to go beyond the image of the product- a bottle of orange juice. Thus, the page’s fans increased from 500,000 to 2 million. The success of such campaigns lies in the transformation of fans- from fans of the brand to fans of the product. Which was a successful turn for Oasis, since a marketing research revealed that 40% of the page’s fans would be « ready to buy the product ».

Be always aware and adapt continuously: this is what is required, as the Facebook platform constantly evolves, closing channels of virality, to open others. Each ergonomic or technical novelty should be seized as an opportunity, as a new way to reach users. The vertical timeline on the right is, for instance, a fabulous virality channel for brands.

As for maintaining audience’s interest beyond the buzz: the brand must offer a strong universe, with content that engages fans and causes multiple «shares» or «likes»- which help the brand maintain its ranking.

Video interview of Pierre-Fraçois Chiron (in french with english subtitles) here.


Chair in Social Media Monetization – Social Media, between audience and virality: Rémi Douine’s point of view.

The Chair in Social Media Monetization organized a conference on December 13 between researchers and professionals in order to review the term “virality”. After the scientific point of view offered by Jean-Samuel Beuscart and Kevin Mellet, three professionals entered the conversation to share their perspective on the marketing consequences of the audience model in social media.

Among them Rémi Douine, founder of The Metrics Factory, for whom social media is evolving more and more towards a pure « media » model. From his speech:

>> The social media, owners of visibility

The ecosystem of Facebook was originally used as a publication support, as a channel of virality for publishers and advertisers. The social platform, however, is trying to extend that role and regain control of the viral content. This evolution, presented by Rémi Douine, could also expand to all social platforms « that own algorithms and thus virality and visibility » and develop into content producers.

>> Pay to be seen

Such a redefinition of the values ​​of Facebook impacts those levers of visibility formerly conducted by professionals. Until recently, the visibility on Facebook was proportional to the number of fans one page had managed to recruit. Today, organic visibility (obtained from the number of fans) is only one of the three levers to operate. It must be combined with viral visibility (made possible by the engagement of fans who share content) … and paying visibility acquired through the purchase of advertising. This model is not innovative: Google itself, several years ago, was based on such combination of direct traffic (the equivalent of the fan base), SEO (the natural virality of content) and finally, SEM, the paying fee.

>> Virality is not structural any more

For Rémi Douine, this tendency to “proprietize virality” transforms the social media into “a typical media audience model”: social platforms directly address the advertisers, taking over methods of measurement of traditional media. Facebook itself could be considered as media, indicating to communication professionals « the number of people who talk about it. » Therefore, viral marketing is no longer a hypothetical effect, hoping to be achieved. Visibility has become the heart of Facebook business: as media, it has the tools to measure visibility and to launch it… The virality in social media is no longer structural: « never again another Zynga could emerge that way. »

To support his statement, the founder of The Metrics Factory presents the results of this new policy: the « organic growth » of pages tends to decrease. Specifically, content producers and advertisers have more and more difficulty reaching their communities, and recruiting fans as Facebook reduces their visibility. Note: this tendency seems primarily to impact pages with a large community.

Finally, Rémi Douine predicted a fierce battle for proprietorship of actions of sharing and virality between Facebook, Google and Twitter. As proof, he referred to the « war of the buttons » that has already begun on sites whose pages are full of « like », « share », « tweet this » or « +1. »

Video interview of Rémi Douine (in french with english subtitles) here.


Chair in Social Media Monetization – Social Media, between audience and virality: the scientific point of view

The term of virality is often applied to each success on the web without anyone realizing exactly what it means. The Chair in Social Media Monetization tried to decipher this notion at a conference on December 13, which was dedicated to the model of audience in social media.

Jean-Samuel Beuscart and Kevin Mellet, researchers in socio-economics at Orange Labs, presented us four ways to define the term “virality”.

1. Virality as a success curve

Success curves on the web are characterized by an exponential rise to a peak from which the sharing of content declines gradually to oblivion. Social networking can be viewed as a series of collective relatively focusesthat succeed each other. Modeled in the form of curves, these sequences combine two factors:

  • A desire to watch what others have already watched: through mimicry, the user is interested in what incites general interest.
  • An attraction to novelty, which also leads to the obsolescence of the content.

By combining these components, of mimicry and novelty, the researcher Huberman has developed a method to predict the success of content from its initial audience.

However, there is a weakness in this model: from the curves’ aggregation of several effects (contagion, editorial …); it is difficult to ascertain the ideal combination that guarantees the virality of content. The video of Susan Boyle, for example, has benefited from the combined effects of person-to-person circulation and from the repeated reproduction on traditional media.

2. Pure contagion analysis

A second approach aims to identify the results of word-of-mouth, isolating the other factors. By studying the success of a set of photos on Flickr, a group of researchers has been able to conclude several trajectories:

  • Some photos can gain virality after editorial exposure: for example, after being published at the home page of a media site.
  • Others experience a gradual and growing success which takes much longer to emerge, and which is based on personal recommendation.
  • The « hybrid » way remains the most common one and it is based on a combination of word-of-mouth and editorial exposure.

The authors of this study have demonstrated the equivalence of these two factors in the success of image viralization: if the word-of-mouth can claim to be 53% responsible for their circulation, their editorial exposure is by 47%.

3. Are individuals « virulent »?

The third approach does not concern the structure of successful content, but the people using it and their potential virality.

In the 50s, Katz and Lazasfeld outlined the supposed influence of media on people: it would happen in two stages. The « opinion leaders », sensitive to media messages, would redistribute the information in their networks. As a result, recommendations of their environment would impact some people’s voting behavior or consumption habits, much more than the media.

That concept in the world of marketing would be translated into the « S curve »: the information, when discovered by a few influencers- sensitive on innovation, is transmitted to the whole population. From this arises the importance of targeting opinion leaders, as explained Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point.

This pattern, little doubted for half a century, was reviewed by J. Duncan Watts and Albert-László Barabásiqui, who tried to complicate the issue: if a network is not very concentrated, influencers cannot be highly influential. However, if a network is highly concentrated, while the influencers are very difficult to influence … the virality is therefore based on very specific conditions. It is necessary that the network is hyper-concentrated and that the influencers are easily influenced themselves … which makes those individuals appear paradoxical.

To understand the dynamics of distribution of information on the internet, the researcher Watts proposes the metaphor of fire: the wind and the dryness of the ground are just as critical as the number of outbreaks in the release of a forest fire.

Similarly, for virality, it is interesting to identify the source and the crossing points of content, but one should also take into account the intervention of external parameters: for example, the work done by conventional media or advertising, which can raise awareness to the population in order to accept innovation and share it.

4. The nature of content

Three theoreticians propose focusing on specific characteristics of viral content.

  • Jonah Berger, an English researcher, explains that people primarily share « frivolous or emotional » content, not in order to achieve a certain goal, but as a way to forge links from a distance. Since it is difficult to share strong feelings from a distance, the internet facilitates the circulation of content with a strong emotional dimension. Hubert Guillaud published a report of this study on InternetActu .
  • Henry Jenkins in Convergence Culture opposes to the metaphor of virality that treats internet users as passive ones. A major figure in cultural studies, the researcher explains that content is viral above all, because it is subject to reappropriation by individual users … for instance Lolcat, that represents the quintessence of viral culture, is suitable for permanent reinterpretation, or for « cultural poaching » as Michel de Certeau said.
  • Bill Wasik, the inventor of the flash mob, suggests that content is not very important. The viral potential is more of a « self-referential game « : the content could be moved to the background. What is important is the dynamics of buzz, the fact of being, or at least guessing what will be the next buzz.

In conclusion, these different studies make possible the identification of viral forms through sequences of focusing public attention, but it is very difficult to identify the ways of pure contagion.

The only certainties:

  • There are no individuals who are influential under all circumstances.
  • The buzz seems to happen on specific types of content, but is not easily predictable.
  • The buzz is always a combination of several influences including those from the media. The legendary « word of mouth » usually makes us forget that.

For further study, Jean-Samuel and Kevin Mellet have written « Le succès sur Internet repose-t-il sur la contagion ? Une analyse des recherches sur la viralité (Is success on the Internet due to contagion? An analysis of research on virality)« , an ar
ticle in the journal Tracés, n° special issue « contagions » (co-written with Thomas Beauvisage and Thomas Couronné).

Video interviews of Jean-Samuel and Kevin Mellet (in french with english subtitles) here.



SMCFaces #21 : Interview with Pierre-François Chiron – Make Me Reach


« The key to a successful Facebook fan page of a brand, is to provide content regularly ; we can not just copy and paste what the brand already says on its website. We must bring exclusive content to fans, so to have the impression that the brand really cares about them. We must not forget that fan pages require strong interactions: the brand provides information that fans share or comment. That’s why it is important to have exclusive content, in order to engage a community and have active fans. »

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SMCFaces #20 : Interview with Simon Decreuze – Atelier des médias


« The Atelier des Médias is primarily a radio show which then became administrator of two communities. One of them, called « Mondoblog » was created after a contest: we selected the five best bloggers among our listeners to assist them for six months, both in the technical part as in editorial part and we created a blog connected with our platform. Today we represent a broad spectrum of different Francophone cultures around the world. This project has led to the creation of a community, within the meaning of the word. In fact, the team realized that the project went far beyond the production of information as the community has enabled a expanded sharing of knowledge or even formation. »


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SMCFaces #19 : Interview with Yann Guégan – Rue89

« In Rue89 we wish to allow to Internet users more functions than the traditional ones, « comment », »vote » and « share ». Though we do not allow users to self-publish, we entrust them other tasks: comment moderation, animation and creation of pages or sections, control on links and even correction of articles. In this way, we address Internet users who want to contribute actively to the development of information, without necessarily commenting on the articles. »

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SMCFaces #18 : Interview with Thibault Viort – Is Cool Entertainment

« To engage players in a game, it is all about « game design « , that is in other words, how the game is made. The mechanics of growth are also important, it is necessary to inspire people to come to the game, either because their friends have invited them or through an operation of community management. The goal is to have a maximum of players who come back to play online every day. « 

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SMCFaces #17 : Interview with Olivier Desbiey – Groupe La Poste


« The Post is a company that has built a trusting relation with its clients for a long time. In a digital world, it still has a role to play. So now we try to recreate, restore this relation in the digital age. « 

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