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Buzzfeed CEO: Social Marketers Need to Tap Emotional Intelligence

Buzzfeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti Offers Tips for Retooling for Social Era

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Lots of business are rethinking their models in the age of Facebook and Twitter, explained Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of social-focused news site Buzzfeed. And marketers and media companies need to tap into their emotional sides to understand what works.

But first, he said, they need to get beyond their bad habits formed by the portal-and-search era.

"We started thinking it's a game or an algorithm when really it's about humans and what we want to share and making things that are worth sharing," he said. "Understanding the social web doesn't mean [just] being smart. Too often we'll sit in a conference room and brainstorm the smartest strategy and try to find the smartest person to figure out how to get stuff to work on Facebook and Twitter."

But, he warned, you need not just intelligence, but emotional intelligence to succeed in social media.

Instead it's about "looking at a piece of content and saying, 'If I saw this on my Facebook wall would I click it, would I have an emotion, would I laugh and then would I want to share it with other people. And when I share it with other people would it make me look like I'm a good person or look smart or would it make me look a jerk?' When you look at what performs on search, leaked cell phone pics of Scarlett Johansson get lots and lots of searches but nobody sends that to their friends and says, 'Hey, check this out,' nobody posts that to Twitter."

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