I just got off a call with Kyle Sollenberger and Aaron Gotwalt of TomorrowPants, a little company that “believes in the future”. Kyle and Aaron are working on a project called Co:tweet, which is a new approach to company/team tweeting. These guys not only have a solid set of technical goals, but I really appreciate their philosophical goals for the project as well.

On the call, I caught myself spout off one of the important bullet-points for me: “Raising the Intrigue”.

I liked that meme and while it was fresh in my mind, I wanted to riff here.

So the conversation we were having identified that one of the more common uses in social media is the more obvious one: customer service and feedback. Social media excites companies because they have the ability to monitor mentions of themselves, even their competitors, and respond. Unfortunately, in many cases, this gets out of hand quickly and runs the risk of becoming big-brother-y.

Remember, it’s better to guide than to impose.

But what’s this about intrigue? We’re getting there. Hang on to your (tomorrow)pants.

So the other side of the customer service angle of social media is the “open kitchen” marketing affect: in a business, like in a restaurant, I like an open kitchen because a) it’s entertaining and b) it lets me see where my food is being made. People don’t connect with brands or companies, they connect with other people, and the ability to get some insight into the people who make the company “tick” provides value for the customer.

So that’s a reason to initiate with a company’s social media presence. But why would I continue to subscribe/follow/listen? Because that company has done things to “Raise the Intrigue”.

I think this may be one of the many elusive variables to that nasty, nasty concept of something being “viral”. We all know and agree that you can’t manufacture “viral”. But we know what the end goal is: we want people to say “OMGWTF…I have to show my friends”.

But how long does that viral “moment” last? Most viral campaigns quickly hockey stick, and then vanish into the portfolio of the PR company that claims responsibility for it.

Most companies don’t really want to shock their customers into being interested. It’s got the potential to cast shrapnel all over the place (citation: the recent “MotrinMoms” debacle). Are there ways to Raising the Intrigue without shocking the audience? How do you make an experience worth sharing?

STORY TIME! How a little red fish made a big impact

My friend and one of my business partners, Matt Cohen, is the CEO of ChoiceShirts, a respectably large online t-shirt store. ChoiceShirts has always put a huge emphasis on customer service and responsiveness, so getting Matt involved on twitter was a natural move. But that’s not what this story is about.

One of the things that Matt made mention of in his early musings on twitter was his love of Swedish Fish. After a handful of responses from followers about that being their favorite, and Matt got a great idea.

ChoiceShirts Swedish Fish

By including a single-serving Swedish Fish and the note above, Matt did two things: One, he created an opportunity to connect with the PERSON behind ChoiceShirts, which is a memorable (and sharable) moment.

Two, he raised the intrigue. By providing some insight into himself, the customer has an opportunity to ask more questions, about Matt or ChoiceShirts. Maybe even about themselves.

That’s even better than a memorable moment.

There’s nothing sustainable about a memorable moment, especially with how short our memories are these days.

Intrigue, however, is easily sustained. So long as you’re continually growing and innovating as a company, there will always be opportunities to intrigue.

What makes you, and your company, intriguing?