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Demystifying Social Media
(in 7.5 minutes)
Mashup* Social Media 09 – 12th Nov 09
I’m going to try and demystify social media in record breaking time...
SOCIAL MEDIAʼS ALL ABOUT BLOGS,
FACEBOOK, TWITTER ETC - RIGHT?
So there’s a hell of a lot of buzz about social media. You can’t get away from it.
Everyone’s obsessed with it. That’s why we’re all here today. And when people talk about
social media, they usually mean social publishing like blogs or wikis, or social platforms like
Twitter, Facebook and the like.
ITʼS TIME TO
ELEPHANT IN THE
Except that I think it’s time to confront the elephant in the room
IT SUGGESTS THE MEDIA - THE
PLACES - ARE SOCIAL
It suggests the media – the places – are social. It makes it all about the ‘where’.
But it’s not the media that are social. It’s the ideas and the behaviour (‘what’ and ’how’).
Social ideas are ideas that get people talking – that spark conversation, which get
shared and passed on
…AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
Most importantly however, is the dynamic of social behaviour
I think it’s worth unpicking what we mean by social behaviour in a bit more detail, but
essentially it’s about two-way behaviour, engaging in a dialogue.
SOCIAL IDEAS HAVE
Social ideas aren’t anything new. It’s what brand communication has always been
about. The ultimate goal has always been to create a product, service, or piece of
communication that gets people talking. It’s about being talked ABOUT.
Lots of great advertising has been about creating lots of buzz. And lots of really successful
brands are brilliant at social ideas - getting talked about. But just getting talked about
isn’t enough to be social
Social behaviour is about actually joining in
And it’s an important distinction.
For example, Apple do a brilliant job at getting talked about.
But in terms of their behaviour, they’re incredibly anti social. It’s all about one way
communication They’re happy to be talked about, but they have zero interest in
engaging in any kind of dialogue. And maybe that’s OK, because they’re Apple
(although if any other brand behaved the way Apple did, they’d be slaughtered). But
let’s not confuse being talked about with being social.
And really that’s what the fuss about social is. It’s about interaction, participation and
ITʼS ABOUT BEING SOCIAL
NOT SOCIAL MEDIA
So let’s stop thinking about social media. It’s a really unhelpful term.
It’s just about being social. Social isn’t about what you do on Facebook or Twitter, it’s
about how you behave.
So let’s think a bit more about social behaviour – what does it actually mean to be
* THIS MEANS LISTENING AS WELL AS TALKING
Traditional communication was about brands talking and people listening. One-way
Conversation is two-way. It’s about listening as well as talking. Being human and
People don’t want to be “communicated to” – we’d much prefer to engage in
conversations about the things that matter to us.
We want to be listened to and acknowledged. We like to exchange views and ideas and
values. We like to have our questions answered.
Being social means participating in all the above in equal measure. Be interested as well
People share stuff they like with other people
We share stuff for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s simply because we want other
people to enjoy something amazing we’ve found, and think they’ll like too. Or it’s
something that’s really important to us, and we want people to know about it.
Sometimes it’s about status – looking good because we’ve found something awesome
and reflecting in the glory of people finding out about it from us.
Whatever the motive, at the heart it’s about great stuff, generosity in sharing this great
stuff, and feeling good about sharing it.
People are connecting with other people – their family and friends, their acquaintances,
and other likeminded people who share common interests or values
For brands, it’s not about just trying to connect with as many people as possible. It’s
about meaningful connections.
It might be about finding common interests and values with your customers. And then
seeing to forge a connection in the places they’re already spending time.
It might be about facilitating connections between likeminded people.
But ultimately it’s about remembering that relationships are based on reciprocal give and
People are collaborating with other likeminded people to achieve shared goals.
Social technologies are enabling people to self organise to come together to
collaborate and co-create more easily and rapidly than ever before
For brands it might be about how you can help people achieve their goal
It might be about opening up your brand and inviting people to collaborate in
developing your business, and rewarding them for doing so
The key thing is that collaboration is about working together for mutual benefit – you’re all
in it together
AND BEING SOCIAL ISNʼT JUST
If you truly put your customer at the heart of your business, then social principles shouldn’t
just be confined to the marketing department.
Some of the most successful social brands are using social communication to deliver
exceptional customer service
Now, it goes without saying that you should be delivering exceptional customer service
through every touchpoint.
Because if someone has a bad experience and they decide to share it online, it can
spread more rapidly, to more people, than ever before.
But the real time social web offers an amazing opportunity to resolve queries. Be there to
help. Answer people’s questions. Go out and proactively help people.
Everything you do as a brand communicates, and what you do is more important than
what you say – and exceptional customer service is some of the best marketing you can’t
People have a pretty good idea what they want from a brand or business, so why not ask
This could be about product and service innovation, business practices, or simply a small
change to something you already do.
The social web enables open dialogue and communication, so use this to your
Whether this is knowing that your customers are really miffed that you’ve stopped serving
lemon drizzle cake (like Starbucks did) to the development of new products (like Dell did)
or finding out what people really want you to focus on (like Barack Obama did), the
possibilities that being social can open for your business are endless.
Being social isn’t about saying something and running away. It’s not just about collecting
followers that you can sell to.
It’s about building relationships, having an ongoing dialogue, rewarding people and
giving them a reason to want to spend time with you.
It might be that your organisation simply isn’t yet set up to actively partake in open
conversation and collaboration. If legal have to sign off anything you say, then you might
not be set up to start joining the conversation.
But you can listen.
Listen to what people are saying, thinking, feeling. Understand your customer. Understand
what they think about your brand. Understand what they want. Understand what you’re
doing well, and where you could be doing better.
Listening to the conversations taking place shouldn’t be a substitute for traditional
research, but if you’re not listening to the conversation, you’re missing out.
BEING SOCIAL IS SOMETHING
YOU DO WITH PEOPLE
So I hope this has helped to demystify the world of social.
It’s not about the platforms you use, or how many followers you have, or many views you
Social’s about how you behave. It’s something you do WITH people and not TO people.
And if you can get that bit right, you’re well on your way.