I noticed this article, “Igniting Movements Around a Social Heartbeat” by Vincent Teo. Teo notes:
“People are social by nature and we have been this way for a long time. Social media merely provides the tool to amplify the way we communicate. The Roman Forum was one of the first social networks in history. Without technology that we know of today, the Romans had a slave stay in the Forum 24 hours a day to take down and distribute messages between citizens. Like Facebook but with real and actual wall posts. So it’s not what we have done that has changed but rather the scale in which we do it.
“A study was done by The New York Times on “The Psychology of Sharing” and more specifically “Why do people share online?” It found that sharing was not new but very much part of human nature. However, in the age of social media, people now share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often, and more quickly. In the study, it was found that 68 percent share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about (to define themselves to others) and 73 percent of the respondents shared information because it helps them connect with others who share their interest (and thereby helping them grow and nourish their relationships). Moving higher up the hierarchy of needs, there’s also the need for self-fulfillment (69 percent share because it allows them to feel more involved in the world) and to get the word out about causes or brands (84 percent share as a way to support causes or issues they care about).
“In the fight for consumer attention, most brands understand that in order to be successful and cut through the clutter, they need to stand for something. People are constantly searching for higher meaning and purpose in life and brands that are able to mirror these beliefs in the way they act will be the ones that will gain momentum, brand consideration, and advocacy.”
There are two important concepts at play in Teo’s article. One is the idea of the need for a brand to stand for something.
Finding a real vision for your brand is an important aspect of social media. While at SXSW, I attended a session called “Branding Without Bullshit,” and one of the takeaways for me was the need for brands to find the vision and make sure everyone in the company is onboard.
That means a real, authentic vision with the hype stripped away. Good brands are tough to bash online, because they are being authentic – they are “walking the talk.”
That means explaining the vision and the strategy to every member of the company, from each new recruit to the top-level fat cats, and getting the full company behind it.
That means building your social media strategy and personality around that vision.
Customers decide what you are
Another important thing that he touches on is the need to socialize your content. Brands are no longer the story tellers. Brands are becoming the hosts and people are telling the story.
That means getting out in the world (not a focus group) or at least listening to social media conversation. Is there a difference between your vision for the brand and the way it’s being perceived?
Later this week, I’m planning to write about some ways to socialize your content, but if you have any suggestions I’m all ears!
Until next time…