Phil Friedman

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Differentiation Thru Conversation: BeBee and the Quest for Market Share

Differentiation Thru Conversation: BeBee and the Quest for Market Share

THE LION'S SHARE OF ANY MARKET GOES TO THE FIRM THAT BEST DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF FROM THE COMPETITION...


Preface:  This piece could have been titled "With Some More Help For My Friends", as it is, in many respects, a natural sequel to "With a Little Help For My Friends"   And yes, I realize that what follows may not be any of my business. However, that has never before stopped me from voicing an opinion.

But before I do that, I need to make note of the following:  While I was working on this piece, Milos Djukic initiated a discussion by sharing a LinkedIn post by Mark M-G entitled, "Time to Ask an Important Question". Mark's piece questioned whether LI-designated "Influencers" were using the platform to accomplish anything significant.  And Milos's share of the article generated a what I believe is a significant comment thread which eventually turned to considering what beBee is doing or not doing to build credibility for its platform. The discussion attached to that share should not, I think, be missed, so I include reference to it here and recommend that you read that discussion, as well as Mark M-G's article.


Differentiation In a market sector is almost always the most direct path to achieving a major market share...


Every marketing person worth his or her salt knows that one key objective is to differentiate one's firm or product from the competition in the marketplace. In my experience, the most direct path to increased market share is via such differentiation ―  combined with the offer of non-price-comparable value in the product or service being marketed.

Admittedly, the strategy of self-differentiating is often rejected by firms in their quest for market penetration. Instead, some decide to self-position directly opposite the firm or firms (or products or services) they perceive as the top competitor(s) in the relevant market segment.

And to offer either

1) more benefits and value at the same price, or

2) the same value and benefits at a lower price.

A good example of this scenario was Volvo when it decided to position its newly introduced S80 touring sedan opposite BMW and Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans in the same price range.

The idea in such cases is to pick off some of the "leader's" market share by becoming associated in the buyer's mind with that leader's benefits and delivered value. If you like, credibility (instead of guilt) by association.


Sometimes it's better not  to position directly opposite the market leader..



As  I see it, the danger is that, in many cases, the market leader will kick the challenger's ass, if the latter insists on pursuing a point-by-point comparison. And this is Independent of any "interpretive" spin the challenger may try to overlay on the comparison.

For example, not too long ago, I read some statements that made a direct comparison of beBee to LinkedIn, which I have no doubt were made with sincere intent. The problem is the claims don't hold up.


1) LinkedIn is restricted to professional interests, whereas beBee combines professional and personal interests.

Fact is, there are more than 2,000 groups on LI devoted to "personal" interests, including but not limited to creative writing, art appreciation and collecting, amateur photography, music appreciation, automobile lovers, boating enthusiasts, cooking and other crafts, sports fans, and various athletic pursuits.


2) LinkedIn is restricted in terms of making new connections, whereas beBee enables you to make new connections who have interests in common with you.

Fact is, LinkedIn users are not limited to past and present connections, but are making new connections all the time.  Perhaps, the real question is or ought to be how many of those connections are strong, meaningful, or useful.


3) LinkedIn restricts you to connecting by invitation only, whereas beBee supports one-way following.

Fact is that, beside the two-way "connections" that require mutual acceptance, LI users are able to "follow" other users in a one-way, open mode.


4) LinkedIn groups are "closed", whereas beBee hives are open.

Actually, LinkedIn effectively eliminated "closed" groups more than a year ago, in a move that completely undermined the ability of professionals to operate and manage meaningful industry- and profession-specific groups.

As I will argue later in this post, beBee should be moving to provide the group management tools for hives, on an optional basis, that LinkedIn foolishly abandoned in its misguided quest for increased algorithmic control.


5) LinkedIn charges for basic services, whereas beBee is 100% free.
Again, the fact is that LI does not  charge a fee for a "basic" account, which includes the tools to 1)  build a professional identity on the web,  2) build a network of connections and followers,  3) request up to five introductions at a time,  4) search for and view the profiles of other LI members,  5) receive unlimited InMail messages (although not send them), and 6) save up to three searches, and get weekly alerts on these searches.

None of which is to say that LinkedIn is better than beBee. It is to say that, if beBee is indeed a better platform than LI (and I believe that it is), there are better ways to demonstrate that claim to superiority.



The BIG FACT  is that beBee beats LinkedIn and other major social media platforms on several counts that uniquely differentiate it from other social media platforms...

First and perhaps foremost, beBee has responsive ownership and management who are growing and evolving the platform in accord with the perceived interests and preferences of its user base.


I don't know about you guys, but I have never, ever heard personally from Jeff Weiner, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, or any other social media mogul. I have, however, several times received personal and direct messages from Javier Rica and Juan Imaz. That is not a big difference; it is a HUGE difference.


Second, beBee's Producer sub-platform comes about as close to being true "volkspublishing" as you can get.


As I see it, the publishing sub-platform is the heart of contemporary social media, which is one reason why LinkedIn experienced geometric growth following the introduction of its long-post self-publishing feature -- and why, by the way, it was driven to the folly of not allowing Pulse to grow and thrive organically, but instead to seek to control and direct it algorithmically. 


Javier beBee and Juan Imaz have committed to the stable organic growth of the Producer publishing platform. And indeed have committed publicly to delivering 100% of a writer's posts to 100% of that writer's followers 100% of the time -- another HUGE differentiator for beBee versus LinkedIn and the other platforms such as Facebook.


A third big plus on beBee's side of the ledger is its policy of nurturing the organic growth of personal and business networks on the platform, rejoicing in their development, rather than treating them as a threat -- the latter being something I long suspected LinkedIn of doing.


The fourth and final point in this string of differentiators is the fact that the "conversation" on beBee is on average more literate, colorful, and intellectually lively than what I've seen on LI in all the years since I first joined in 2009.


BeBee implicitly encourages all manner of creativity and does, in general, live up to its claim to have a place for everyone -- even the likes of Jim Able who delights in taking satiric pokes at beBee, its ownership, and its buzzing bees.



BeBee may "bee" able to differentiate itself from the competition, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...

Yea, I know, I know. Here's where I defend myself against the frequent charge that I am too positive.

As I've said several times before, I am an early-adopter of beBee, as well as a friend and ardent supporter of the platform. And I believe that friends don't let friends drive off the road -- at least not without trying to set them straight. So, here are a couple of marketing points that have been rolling around in my head for a while and which are presented at this time for what they may be worth.


If I had my druthers, beBee would move to structure some hives in the way that LinkedIn used to structure its groups, but abandoned.

Initially, the owner of an LI group could optionally designate it "closed" and/or "private". Closed meant membership in the group had to be approved by the group's management team. And private meant that the exchanges in the group could only be seen by group members. This enabled the creation and maintenance of groups based on professional or industry affinity. And those in which frank and open discussions could be conducted.

Even in "open" and/or "public" groups on LI, owners could opt to have postings of discussions and articles to the group subject to moderation. This enabled group ownership and management to keep the group postings free of extraneous articles and discussions, unrelated to the group's raison d'etre. And would be a big advantage in growing Affinity Networking in a truly meaningful way.

This is not a suggestion to restrict membership or postings in all  beBee hives, only a recommendation to provide an option to hive owners and managers. The result would be attractive to a large number of LinkedIn group owners, who built major groups on LI with tens of thousands of members, only to find those groups effectively destroyed by LI's changes to group management capabilities. Moreover, in the current market circumstances, the move would provide beBee with still another exceedingly strong point of differentiation.



A final thought:  if you're marketing coal, you don't do it in Newcastle...

The United States has a U.S. Ambsassador to Canada. And a U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. And one to France. And Russia, China, and so on. Even a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

But what the United States doesn't have is a U.S. Ambassador to the United States. Why not? Because you don't preach to the choir. Or -- to put it in terms that might make sense to beBee fans of Jesse Kaellis's writing -- you don't get all full of yourself for managing to bed a Las Vegas call girl.

When beBee first announced its Brand Ambassadors program, I thought it was a marketing masterstroke. Whether one saw it as a variant of "influencer marketing" or a version of "advocate marketing", it appeared to have the potential to place brand boosters out into the hinterlands not only to sing the praises of beBee, but to cross-post cracker-jack content on competing platforms and, thereby, pull potential users in large numbers over to beBee to look around.

But speaking bluntly -- perhaps, too bluntly for some who may read this -- the reality is that only a relatively few ambassadors are actually laying their "honey traps" in the woods, while most are spending their time in concierge services and in boosting each other on beBee itself. Which may make for a warm, fuzzy environment, but is reminiscent of hunting for bear in the barn. IMHO.  -- Phil Friedman


Author' Notes:  If you found this post interesting and worthwhile and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

As well, you comments, likes, and shares are always welcome, whether you agree with what I've said or not.

This post is part of a series on beBee-related issues. Should you be curious about the other posts in the series, you can find them at:


"Affinity Networking Is On the Line" (#1)

"I Wish, I Wish ... for a Perfect Publisher" (#2)

"How Do You Really Build Engagement?" (#3)

"With a Little Help for My Friends"  (#4)


About me, Phil FriedmanWith 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.


Before writing comes thinking.  ( The optional-to-read pitch) :  

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement... which I have found to be the natural precursor to improved writing.



To schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult or to sit in on one of our online group sessions, email: info@learn2engage.org. I look forward to speaking with you soon.




#BEBEEVERSUSBEBEE #AFFINITYNETWORKING #BEBEE

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Comments
Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #80

Well yes, Nic, because there are a number of LinkedIn-malcontents on beBee who battled for nearly two years to keep LI from shooting itself in the foot -- which I guess it didn't do given its recent sale for $26 billion. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #79

#157
Debasish, I agree with you, in the main. I know of no Ambassador who has openly said he or she will not accept the promised future contingent compensation when the platform is sold or gathers significant additional capital investment. So, despite a number of protests and assertions that beBee Brand Ambassadors are not "paid agents of the company", the fact remains that they are. And I don't really know whether that situation is any more questionable than Advocate or Influencer Marketing in general, in which product or services endorsers are paid for their positive reviews. What I do know is that it seriously dilutes the value of what we used to call in print-based marketing and advertising "independent third-party" endorsement. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #78

#152
Thanks, John. Interesting to note that someone zeroed out the ups on my comment on your post, and has done the same thing here on your comment on my post. It is a prime example of how you cannot give the user base tools for expressing anonymous dissent and expect it not to be used and abused punitively and spitefully. When you click a "relevant" on a piece, hovering over the notice pops up a list of those, including you, who have clicked relevant. But there is even more motivation to bring transparency to actions which are negative expressions.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #77

#153
Thank you, Jared, for reading and sharing... and for the kind words. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #76

#128
#129 Thank you, Juan, for reading and commenting. And for the kind words. Contrary to a few (very few) interpretations expressed in this thread, I have in no way said that I wanted to control how beBee develops or how it's operating procedures have to be. As always, I have only expressed my opinion and recommendations as to what I believe would be advantageous to the stable growth and ultimate success of beBee -- based on my experience in business and as an active user of social media since about 2009. And I believe that you and Javier understand that. My thanks to you for what you guys have done to keep the platform open to independent writers and to keep the playing field reasonably level. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #75

#148
Pretty obviously, Elizabeth, closed groups should not predominate on a "social" media platform. But, as a natural matter, they would never do so because the owners of most groups want high membership numbers. But sometimes and for some purposes, a closed group works best. (Closed in the sense that only group members can see the interactions.) I own a long-established writer's group on LinkedIn, which was closed, And because it was, members could comfortably discuss their work candidly, critique each other's ideas, styles, and so on -- and in general have a sometimes raucous good time without fear of being ridiculed by trolls or others. I also own an industry-specific group there, which is composed mostly of industry professionals and business people in that sector, and before LI changed the rules concerning moderation, we had many very informative and intense conversations about issues pertaining to the particular industry sector involved. You just can't do that when anybody and his brother can willy nilly post whatever blather they feel like posting, relevant or not, informed or not. My point is that private and closed groups can work out better when set up and run properly. As I'm sure you will agree, although one had the right to speak his or her minds, we don't have the right to force everyone to listen or to expect free access to all conversations. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #74

All - your engagement and contributions to this conversation are genuinely appreciated. For those who may not have seen or read it, the following post is recommended as a precursor of this one: ( https://www.bebee.com/producer/@friedman-phil/affinity-networking-is-on-the-line ) Thank you all for all your contributions. Sometimes the comments and discussion are more important than the post itself, and this is, I think one of those times.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #73

Thank you, @Andrew Goldman and for liking and sharing this post.,I think the conversation is important, indeed, more important than the piece itself. Thank you, as well, for your support.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #72

#139
Really? Being a MEMBER of a group has nothing to do with it. And if you were a MANAGER of an LI group with 500,000 members, please tell us which one. I am saying that as an experienced owner and/or manager of several profession- and industry-specific groups and of one of the few business-related hives on beBee, my considered opinion is that the additional tools suggested in this post would help make management of certain types of hives more feasible. I am not suggesting that anyone tell you how to run your hive(s) or groups. You may do as you wish. What I don't see is why you don't want to reciprocate and allow me to run my hive(s) the way I see fit. Let's just agree that this is a matter of opinion and personal preference and leave it at that.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #71

#139
If you were a MANAGER in an LI group ad half a million members, please tell us which one that was. And if you think it is easy to recruit conscientious administrators for large groups, then I doubt you've ever done it. I have no interest in debating the matter. I am saying that a hive owner should have the options I've suggested, and that having those options will encourage the growth of industry- and profession-specific hives.IMO. If you disagree, let's leave it at that. And let others decide for themselves.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #70

#137
No, that is just plain false. Removing posts after they have appeared and remained for some time, and possibly received some counter-comments is disruptive to the discussion threads. And people in profession- and industry=specific groups get tired of seeing posts that are totally off topic, even if they are removed after being posted. Pre-moderation is the best way because it allows owners and managers to deal with the issues related to topic filtering at their convenience, which should be their prerogative. Not for everyone, just for those who want the ability. And being able to block persistent, repeat offenders and spammers and other disrupters is essential. It doesn't have to do with the length of one's experience alone, but with the size of the groups one has experience with. For example, I help manage an industry-specific group with about 7,000 members (used to be more than 10,000 before LI changed the rules for groups) and losing the ability to pre-moderate was a big blow in terms of the time required.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #69

#135
Yes, I am fully aware of that. Please see my prior post ( https://www.bebee.com/producer/@friedman-phil/affinity-networking-is-on-the-line ) You may have missed it, since it did not receive much notice. I am talking about something that is much more complicated than you presume. The simple ability to remove an inappropriate post from a hive becomes seriously insufficient when hive or group membership grows into the thousands and tens of thousands. Or, for that matter, when the general user base grow into the hundreds of thousands. At these levels of activity, post-removal becomes cumbersome and impossible because it sucks up too much administrative time. I speak from experience, as the owner and manager of a number of LinkedIn groups dating back to 2009, a couple of which have memberships in the tens of thousands. My experience as one of the earliest hive owners on beBee USA confirms this as well. At a certain level of participation on the platform in general, and in hives in particular, it becomes necessary to be able to pre-filter and moderate, if topic- or industry-specific hives are to be properly administered. As well as the ability to block spammers, trolls, and other disrupters who seek repeatedly to interfere with the operations of a hive or group. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #68

#129
#128 #130 - Juan and Javier continue to demonstrate the power ownership and management engagement with their user base. And I for one, can visualize a PR and marketing campaign focused on that point of differentiation. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #67

#132
Thank you, Mohammed, for reading and commenting. Your enthusiasm for beBee is very likely infectious, and hopefull will spread off-platform, as well. We supporters of beBee need to take care not to end up talking just to each other. Cheers!

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #66

Phil Friedman Pensive post, with vivid comparison between beBee and LinkedIn. I think it’s time to grab some insights and updates to keep buzzing in momentum. Yea…when every bee becomes passionate to bolster beBee, then that’ll trigger beBee’s popularity more…and definitely beBee is going global, with upcoming novel features and growth strategies, besides more ease and options. Proud to say that being part of expanding beBee platform, plus the cordial, spirited virtual environment along with the responsiveness of beBee founders comes as a great jubilation. And then, brand ambassadorship at beBee is a worthwhile brooch of role recognition. So, with dynamic attitude, let’s all be on the move!

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #65

Phil Friedman Pensive posts, with vivid comparison between beBee and LinkedIn. I think it’s time to grab some insights and updates to keep buzzing in momentum. Yea…when every bee becomes passionate to bolster beBee, then that’ll trigger beBee’s popularity more…and definitely beBee is going global, with upcoming novel features and growth strategies, besides more ease and options. Proud to say that being part of expanding beBee platform, plus the cordial, spirited virtual environment along with the responsiveness of beBee founders comes as a great jubilation. And then, brand ambassadorship at beBee is a worthwhile brooch of role recognition. So, with dynamic attitude, let’s all be on the move!

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

#117
I agree, Phil and will add that beBee continue their improvements and welcoming attitude. The leadership and team interaction is a major draw, IMO. I think of beBee as a small town with a big city atmosphere, where the members are not just a number. I realize this probably won't last forever but hopefully the personal touch will remain to an extent. From my POV, this is what LinkedIn lacks and that is the personal touch.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #63

#121
Debasish > "... but i won't be surprised when beBee will equally eliminate you, despite your sincere effort to make it an acceptable portal of social networking across the world ..." Well, Debasish, others have tried to "eliminate" me before this... and I'm still here. Although I ain't sayin' where "here" is ... just in case you mean "eliminate" literally. Gerald Hecht, keep those recordings safe, and remember, only release them if you don't hear from me in any 48 hour period. NYT first, then London Times, then the others on the list.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #62

#120
You are correct, Gerald. Soon there will be all manner of "10 tips on marketing to new users"... or some such. Daniel Roth, the intrepid Executive Editor of LinkedIn, called it "riffing" when he recommended that would-be writers watch for the developing trends in publishing on social media, then rip off the trending ideas as rapidly as possible. Before social media, we used to call that plagiarism. But Roth never shrinks from recommending the shallow and trite, when it pushes up the activity numbers. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #61

#118
Mt pleasure, Gerald. Being simple-minded, I've tended most of my adult life to boil things down to elemental statements -- which I can remember. Aristotle called them "first principles". Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #60

#115
I agree, Franci, but the question is how do you best do that? I personally believe that the best way is to assure that 1) the level of engagement overall on the platform remains high, and 2) a relatively high percentage of the content remains interesting and of substance. Admittedly, those are both somewhat subjective and imprecise concepts. However, not being able to define precisely what they are, does not mean we can't recognize clear examples each side of the line. We know pseudo-positive fluff when we see it in comments, and we know uncivil trollish turmoil and other forms of pure BS when we see that as well. In the circumstances, "policing" is not an option, but setting a good example is. I thank you and Aurorasa Sima for joining the conversation here. Cheers!

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

#113
Ditto, Jim Murray. I recommended Phil quite some time ago.

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

#107
Thank you, Aurorasa. I commented before that it's very important to keep our memberbees happy.

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 years ago #57

#112
Gerald Hecht. I thinl we need to start a movement to make Phil and Ambassador. In fact it's already started with a letter Don Kerr send to Javier.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #56

#108
Harvey, I agree that affinity is at the heart of the matter. Which is why having available a full complement of tools for users in their efforts to build their own tailored networks is so important. Thank you for reading and joining the conversation. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #55

#105
#105 Thanks. Clearly, there are those who disagree... which is their prerogative. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #54

#107
Thank you, Aurorasa, for reading and commenting, and for your support. I think that, perhaps, "lashed out" is a bit on the strong side when talking about my very last point in the piece... which was more on the order of a pretty mild reminder concerning what marketing is all about, namely, reaching new potential users and not just talking around the water cooler. But the image of me in a positivity headband with a unicorn horn is, um, frightening.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #53

You raise some challenging thoughts in the growth of Bebee. I am new to social media and not quite as active as most. But my experience with LI and now Bebee has shown me some of the same challenges you/comments mention. Bebee will face some headwinds as it grows and develops its user base, specifically the affinity aspects. More challenging writers such as yourself are seeking a higher level of interactivity that can be refined through management tools, where someone like myself just enjoy the affinity aspects of the site. Each social media site at some point will have to monetize its efforts. I enjoy the VC money at this point in creating the free and affinity network, but all good things come to an end. Javier will have his hands full when he begins the monetization of the interface. I do believe that some of your suggestions would aid in this transition. The groups could offer the value needed to transition. The larger question, is there enough value left after transition, to support Bebee? How Bebee positions itself within the users will define its competitive advantages.

don kerr

don kerr

4 years ago #52

#104
if I tried real hard I could not agree more Jim Murray

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 years ago #51

It's official. It takes 12.7 time longer to read the comments than it does your post. Why the hell you are not an Ambassador for this site is one of the really big mysteries.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #50

#98
Gerry, it doesn't matter where ultimately the money came from. The point is that they guys who did the work did not have to let their children go without shoes and they did not live on beans and gruel in order to bring the service of the internet and the worldwide web to fruition. If what you are saying is that you are personally prepared to put out the enormous effort and large amount of time required to build and manage a major group of the type I've referred to, the more power to you. Personally, I still have to work to make a living, and so do not consider it building a major group a real possibility, without some way of monetizing the effort, at least to some extent.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #49

#96
Ian, if I understand you, you are suggesting that you have materials (courses, texts, etc.) that you want to market through beBee. I think you can do that now, except you have to do your own marketing or hire an independent to do it for you. I also understand that you want beBee to endorse your material (a kind of peer review, although not quite) and market them to the beBee user base. Correct me if I've misunderstood. First, I am not at all sure that the expertise exists in-house to evaluate and "certify" such products for sale, and even if there were, I bet the costs would add prohibitively to the retail price of the products. Second, I think what you are proposing would move the platform away from "volkspublishing" and create conflicts of interest that would undermine the openness and universality of beBee. I personally think that beBee can very well remain a neutral vehicle. For example, I recently launched a writing improvement program, which I am marketing on various social media platforms, including beBee. ( http://www.learn2engage.org ). BeBee has not evaluated it, and does not endorse it. I depend entirely on testimonials and my own experience and work samples to legitimize it. And I think that is the way it should be. But hives (groups) are to my mind another matter entirely. Note that my suggestion to create a path to monetizing the creation and management of large groups does not involve beBee in judging which groups to "endorse", but only to provide a level playing field for development and promotion, and a structure for monetization. BeBee could then let the audience (the market) decide which hives it wants to join, and leave it to, for example, the advertisers to decide which space is worthwhile buying. As I said, pretty much like the situation with special-interest magazine publishing. Thanks for reading and commenting. Some very interesting thoughts.

Ian Weinberg

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #48

Here's a thought @Phil Friedman There are many talented individuals contributing to beBee at the present time. I would suggest that beBee consider establishing a platform where individuals could contribute their expertise (courses, texts etc) to a captive market (the beBee community) sharing those interests. The managers of the platform would review the individuals and their products for value and authenticity. As an extension, the platform could control the flow of revenue - payments into beBee Product Trust Account and release once product successfully sold/implemented. From a personal perspective I would trust product reviewed by the beBee Management and would be happy to pay in. Conversely I'd be happy to sell my online program at a preferential rate through beBee and pay the management/administration fee. This would be a giant step towards a University of Life, mutually beneficial with organic growth possibilities. This is honest, value-based revenue befitting the zeitgeist of this moment.

Ian Weinberg

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #47

Here's a thought Phil Friedman There are many talented individuals contributing to beBee at the present time. I would suggest that beBee consider establishing a platform where individuals could contribute there expertise (courses, texts etc) to a captive market sharing those interests. The managers of the platform would review the individuals and their products for value and authenticity and receive appropriate commission for product sold. As an extension, the platform could control the flow of revenue - payments into be

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #46

#87
You know, Gerry, this always seems to crop up with working academics, who get paid not only to teach, but to "think and write". Believe it or not, owning and properly managing a major independent group or hive requires a huge investment in time and effort. And without some ability to generate some modicum of revenue, you will not see such groups growing up. Instead, you will see only the hidgepodge you see now, or groups run by marketers for their own non-transparent purposes. Simply seeking to support some valuable, but otherwise uncompensated material work is NOT to worship at Mamon's feet, as you seem to imply. It is only to recognize the reality of what it takes to nurture repositories for meaningful content. Even the "volunteers" who founded the Internet did so while supported by pay checks from universities and other public institutions. So please, drop the self-righteous pose. Cheers, buddy.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #45

#80
Thank you, Claire, for reading and commenting. Your remarks are always on point and truly appreciated. I hadn't thought about a couple of ads, but that might not be a bad idea, say in a right-side vertical banner. Rates could be set according to hive membership (similar to what is done elsewhere in the publishing industry).The ad space could be sold by the hive owners or offered through a beBee-based clearing house service, with a split of revenue between the hive owner and beBee. There are group owners who could bring literally tens of thousands of users to their hives, which as a readership, compares favorably with the readerships of many special-interest magazines. I doubt that really big dollars would be involved, but perhaps enough to make it worthwhile to actively build and maintain a major hive (group). Thinking out loud. Cheers!

Javier 🐝 CR

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #44

#70
Lynda Spiegel you are rigth. LinkedIn is much more about recruiting, and beBee about professional engagement through passions. So you should keep both because they have different focused. Anyway we will enforce our recruitment capabilities, but - again - it is not our CORE business, as Linkedin. So definetly both have different purposes. !

Claire L Cardwell

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #43

#51
That's a great idea re monetarising the larger hives like producing a magazine. Perhaps one or two advertising spots in these hives would work as well, but just one or two! Really enjoyed your article Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #42

#77
Thank you, John, for reading and taking the time to say so. I think we're agreed that one of the objectives is to recognize the key qualities that recommend beBee over other social media platforms, at least as a main base for users, and to get away extraneous claims and issues. Cheers!

John White, MBA

John White, MBA

4 years ago #41

This is a first-class piece, Phil Friedman. The marketing jargon and claims hold no meaning if the platform is not delivering value. You did a nice job of breaking down the difference between the fluff and the meat and potatoes of beBee.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #40

#74
Yes, Wayne, that is a major point for me, namely, beBee is suer-centric, and we have the opportunity to affect how the platform evolves. Thank you for reading and commenting and for sharing. Hopefully, the conversation itself will in itself demonstrate the superiority of exchange here. Cheers!

Wayne Yoshida

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #39

Excellent points, Phil. Glad you pointed these things out to all of us. Let's all consider this observations and recommendations, including the idea of reaching outwards to others. Sharing out there -- and via PMs. This is an amazing place to create what we - the beBee users - want to see in a new social media platform. The best part of beBee is the proven actions and reactions from beBee founders and Hq staff to requests, suggestions and input from us users. Where else is this level of customer-centric activity demonstrated?

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #38

#71
Max, I refuse to enter into a discussion with you for two reasons. 1) It was not too long ago that you posted malicious and libelous lies about me personally on your website as a result of a couple of brief interactions between us on beBee. before you openly and publicly trashed the platform and left. 2) As I stated below in a comment to Franci, "This is a post about marketing beBee and, I submit, marketing in general. That is what we are talking about. The topic is not about social media troll-ing which, by the way, comes in many forms. One form is when a user posts an entirely irrelevant comment, then seeks to use the non-sequitur to hijack the conversation and turn it into something about the commenter." Max, please do not clutter this thread with extraneous comments and fake issues. I am not obligated to answer your comments. And I will not do so, as long as they fail to be on point, and continue to attempt to divert the conversation to your own purposes. Thank you for respecting this request to cease and decist.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #37

#70
Lynda, thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, truth be told, the amount of consulting and writing work that I've secured on LinkedIn far exceeds in gross dollar value any that I've so far received directly from my activity on beBee. Which is why I still pay attention to LinkedIn. This may change in future, as more professionals and business people join beBee. And I don't personally think that is going to happen until we have the tools to moderate hives for those who are interested in discussing and doing business on beBee. In my view, the sooner the better.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #36

#68
Milos, thank you for reading and commenting. I have sent a separate PM to Mark M-G on LinkedIn, where we have been exchanging comments for several years. As Mark wrote to me a while ago, "Dear Phil ... As you know, I've always enjoyed hearing your comments on my posts. And, after an absence of a few months, I posted again today. So I hope you have the chance to read it sometime - and also that everything is going well for you." Well, I am personally always pleased to read Mark's work, and I sincerely hope he will see fit to try joining us here on beBee. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #35

Post: "The Difference Between Influencer Marketing and Advocate Marketer - Are the thoughts by "influential" on LinkedIn :helpful for working class....?" Link: LI article titled: "Time to ask an important question.." by Mark M-G. The link to discussion attached to that share (post) can not be attached here. Any clue how John White, MBA. Thank you and cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #34

Milos Djukic, you are mentioned in the preface to this article. Hope all is well. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #33

#59
Thank you, Gert, for reading and commenting. And for the kind words, which are very gratifying. I obviously agree with you and would add that if we only talk to and among ourselves, nobody outside beBee will hear. Cheers!

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #32

Phil Friedman In my home language we have a saying which goes: "You can't sell sand in the Kalahari." I think you are spot on and balanced in your overview and analysis of beBee. You have, as always, stirred my thinking. Thanks for a landmark article Phil.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #31

#57
Mohammed > " ... positioning is not about creating something new and different ... It's an idea about your product or your competitor products.". Precisely, Mohammed. And the marketing claims about which I speak in the article ARE claims intended to spin the IDEA of what a user sees in beBee as superior to LinkedIn. The claims listed are not made up, by the way, but are direct quotes from some beBee marketing material. The problem with the statements is that, as I have explained, they don't hold up if anyone actually knows much about LinkedIn. Consequently, I submit that "positioning" against LinkedIn in this way is a snare and a delusion, and will ultimately not help beBee. What will help beBee is to emphasize it uniqueness from the other social media platforms -- a claim that CAN be substantiated and defended. The entire point of differentiation is that it is used in place of positioning when the perception of your firm, product, or brand benefits from being seen as distinct and different from the nominal competition. Cheers!

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

#31
hahaha, Gerald. 👗 👙👡 👢 👞 and 📊 📈 📉 = 🚫 ❌

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #29

#48
Mohammed, what you say is true. But it is definitely not new. See Vance Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders" (1957). It is true that marketing and advertising often sells not the product, but a mental image (expectation?) of sex or something else unrelated to the product. However, that is not what is generally meant by the term "positioning". Positioning is generally taken to mean who a firm takes to be its or its product's primary competitor(s). For example, when it came to good looks and stage presence, I used to consider my primary competitor to be Robert Redford. Unfortunately Redford got a bit long in the tooth, so I now position opposite George Clooney. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #28

#49
Joris, I believe that, unfortunately, you have taken my reply to you mean exactly the opposite of what was intended. I was actually poking fun at Gerald Hecht, who I am pleased to say is a long-standing friend of mine, and not in any real way objecting to your comment. I regret any confusion. Feel free to comment on my posts any time. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #27

Don Kerr, thanks for sharing this post. Best.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #26

#30
PS, Graham Edwards, you are absolutely correct that much differentiation lies in the discussions. Which is why to make some hives really work as serious affinity groups, hive owners and managers need to tools to control the discussions and keep them on point. We used to be able to do that on LinkedIn, and I cannot tell you how many serious professional and business discussions I took part in there. But before LI felt threatened by the success of some very large and popular groups, and moved to dismantle the ability to run those groups properly. But here's the thing. Even with those tools, it takes a lot of work to nurture conversation and build a significantly sized group. And I have suggested to Javier and Juan that they look at the possibility of enabling serious group owners who build the memberships of their respective "hives" to in some form, albeit minor, monetize what amounts to developing and running a digital "magazine" that works to attract users to the beBee platform. IMO

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #25

#33
Joris, thank you for reading and commenting. I do find your comment somewhat disturbing in that I have spent a good deal of time, sweat, and even intellectual blood learning to understand Gerald Hecht -- what little that I do. Now, you come along a present me with an obscure comment that makes me think I have to start all over again with you. Well, that's okay. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #24

#30
Thank you. Graham, for reading and for the support. We contrarians need to stick together, lest we be overrun by the "positives" of the world. For what many do not understand is that progress is the byproduct of dialectic -- and that without negativity, positivity has no real meaning. I think I read that in Hegel somewhere... or not. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #23

#29
Mohammed, thank you for reading and commenting in detail. I think you make several excellent points, although I tend to think of differentiation in terms of how a firm "positions" it product, service, or brand in the marketplace. That is something, I think, that the marketer controls by virtue of what it says and does. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #22

#28
Thank you, Franci, for reading and commenting. Your support is always welcomed, as is your level-headed view of how things can and should work. I am pleased to hear that you (and a significant number of others) are coming over to my view that hive owners and managers need, in at least some cases, to have the tools to filter and control what appears in their hives and, I would add, who gets to participate in conversations. To my mind, that is the only way to be able to build truly professional- and industry-specific hives, in which extended discussion can take place among true peers. Not for every hive, Not for everyone. But at times necessary. You can see a very good example right here. This is a post about marketing beBee and, I submit, marketing in general. That is what we are talking about. The topic is not about social media troll-ing which, by the way, comes in many forms. One form is when a user posts an entirely irrelevant comment, then seeks to use the non-sequitur to hi-jack the conversation and turn it into something about the commenter. Being able to moderate the comments coming in, and even to block comments by people who repeatedly do this, is essential to building hives (groups) that appeal to professionals and business people. Thanks again, and cheers!

don kerr

don kerr

4 years ago #21

Bang on Phil Friedman

Graham🐝 Edwards

Graham🐝 Edwards

4 years ago #20

Phil Friedman, my contrarian friend... you can get a discussion going like no other; please keep it up. It is in the discussion that there is a big differentiator over other social media platforms... in my humble opinion.

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Stellar post, Phil. I especially like "First and perhaps foremost, beBee has responsive ownership and management who are growing and evolving the platform in accord with the perceived interests and preferences of its user base.". This is a major factor, IMO. I also like your statement "The fourth and final point in this string of differentiators is the fact that the "conversation" on beBee is on average more literate, colorful, and intellectually lively than what I've seen on LinkedIn since I first joined in 2009." I agree and this is one of the reasons I am bored with LI, is that so many of the posts hit on the same subject. I am leaning more towards your idea of the hive owner being able to channel pertinent posts to the appropriate hive. Why have a hive related to business filled with posts about fashion. Thank you for the mention. I consider it a real compliment.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #18

#22
Thanks, Gerald, for reading and commenting -- on point. Notwithstanding the use of a metaphor in response to my use of metaphor. It seems that we are both graduates of the U.S. Army School of Metaphor Signals... or are those semaphore signals? Whatever. I think you catch my drift. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #17

#19
Thank you Paul \ for reading and taking the time to say so. Also, for sharing the post on Twitter. You are one of the people who does a yeoman's job of marketing beBee where such marketing will do the most good. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #16

#20
Thank you, Michele, for reading and commenting. As well, for the kind words and for sharing the post with your network. I have always believed that beBee has huge potential precisely because it began by being sensitive to what users feel they need and what bloggers and other writers are looking for. My hope is that ongoing open discussion will help beBee achieve its full potential, and that we will all, together, set a new direction for social media. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #15

#14
thank you Javier beBee for reading and commenting. That this conversation exists is testimony to how Awesome beBee can be, and how differentiated it is in terms of its ownership and management. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #14

#13
Thanks, Paul Burge, for reading and for the kind words. I know you correctly perceive -- and that most others do as well -- that I speak as a big fan of beBee and its ownership and management. And believe that one if the differentiating factors is precisely the kind of conversation that this represents. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #13

#12
Paul, thank you for reading and commenting. To be perfectly clear, I did not say that nobody among the Ambassadors is marketing off-beBee. There are a number of Anbassadors who are actively pursuing the social marketing of beBee, e.g., Jim Murray. My comments are directed toward the program as a whole, which I submit is, to my mind, significantly under-fulfilled in its primary function as a marketing tool for off-platform promotion. Always IMO. Cheers!

Javier 🐝 CR

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #12

Phil Friedman thanks ! 1.- Despite of having personal groups, LinkedIn's focus is strictly professional. beBee is professional and personal. 2.- LinkedIN is about past, present and future contacts VS beBee's focus is engaging professionals through passions. 3.- beBee will be always open and free for our userbase. LinkedIn's focus is to monetize limiting you trough payments. 4.- LinkedIn's feed is algorithm-controlled and beBee's one is self-tailored. 5.- LinkedIn is seen and used by many as a business contact directory. beBee is based on openness, engagement and time spent on the platform. 6.- On beBee we are focused on both: white & blue collars 7.- beBee has low cost of operations ( we don't need HR consultants , etc ) 8.- As a result, beBee has the double of Monthly Active Users. Our mission is to make the professional world more open and connected. We will work always on facilitating networking among professionals. We are launching new features and a new platform during the next first quarter , and we are excited about it !!! Thanks a lot to all our bees for giving us so many good ideas on it ! BUZZ ON !!!!

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

4 years ago #11

Phil Friedman for instance. I also see some of my posts on FB "shared ' by bees I dont really know. So in a way the wave is building.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #10

#10
Thanks, Pascal, for reading and saying so. Think of the scenario you describe, then add to it the fact that the "outside sales reps" try to do their job without leaving the building. Cheers!

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #9

The most constructive and balanced article on the topic that I have read in a while...... Sales reps on the road with one day admin and meetings with da boss ☺

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #8

#8
I agree, Randy, and you make my point about AmbassadorsNamely, that they should be doing much more "ambassadoring" on social media other than beBee. For that is what social marketing is in the main about. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Randy Keho

Randy Keho

4 years ago #7

Like so many others on beBee, I learned about this platform while on LinkedIn. I was in search of new opportunities and thought networking would be beneficial. However, I was not only unable to find opportunities that matched my desires, the content didn't lend itself to beneficial networking, either. The "influencers" I followed were little more that false prophets, publishing the proverbial 10-point tips that would make me a better one thing or another. There was no authenticity to be found. To me, that's what really differentiates beBee from the rest of the crowd.The majority of its members, as well as its founders, are authentic. You're conversing with real people who have real experience and they're more than happy to share as well as discuss subjects related to that experience. And, as an ambassador, I'm more than happy to spread the word whenever and wherever possible.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #6

#3
Thanks, Kevin, for reading and commenting... and for your support. I sincerely hope that beBee is going to be the growth phenomenon that we all believe it can bee. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #5

#2
Thank you, Jim, for reading and sharing this. As well as for the kind words, especially gratifying coming from a marketing pro such as yourself. You are, BTW, one of the Brand Ambassadors who I see actively marketing beBee in the hinterlands, and not simple right here at home. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #4

#1
Thank you, David, for reading and commenting. And for the very kind words. I hope this piece will be taken by everyone in the spirit it is offered. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #3

To paraphrase Meg Ryan in "When Harry met Sally"... "I'll have what Phil's having!" I fully agree. beBee has lots to differentiate itself, and potential to do so much more by blazing its own trail, not trying to measure up to the big boys. I do like your take on the concept of Ambassadors... Hanging out in the head office all the time is no way to grow a following.

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 years ago #2

Well, haven't you been a busy boy? This is actually quite brilliant. Hope everybody reads it, because it's a valuable document.

David B. Grinberg

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #1

Thanks as always, Phil, for taking the time to share your broad expertise with the intent of further improving and growing beBee -- or taking it from "Good to Great, to quote the title of the best selling business book by Jim Collins. You offer a lot of "food for thought" for which I'm sure the beBee management and leadership team will give serious consideration. How do I know? Because when Phil Friedman talks (or writes), people listen. This has been evidenced by the high engagement you have consistently received on your Producer blog posts. Moreover, as you note, Javier has set the Gold Standard for social media CEOs in responding to users and implementing some of their recommendations. Thanks again, Phil! cc: Javier beBee

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