We’re seeing an EXPLOSION when it comes to marketing and communications. Social media is now UBIQUITOUS …. It’s a global watch word…. WE ALL KNOW THAT SOCIAL IS A GOOD THING – burgeoning TECHNOLOGIES which enable us to act and COMMUNICATE smarter, be more SOCIAL, MARKET BETTER And yet. There’s concern, awe and bewilderment. In boardrooms around the world, in strategy sessions, emails, coffee meetings, train commutes, on the street. Because from a certain angle it looks like there ARE SUDDENLY MILLIONS OF MARKETERS DEVOTED TO THIS MOVEMENT CALLED SOCIAL MEDIA, seemingly unable to live without it, and in some cases, refusing see beyond it. What is happening, CEOs ask?
It’s as though marketers have a new religion in social media Here’s what I mean…
If religion is (*duck – this is not a philosophical debate* ) Essentially a set of BELIEFS… Some kind of MORAL CODE EMOTIVE force, that’s personal and powerful RITUALS and meaningful actions A WORLD VIEW COMMUNITY FAMILIAR!! ??
BELIEFS: we believe in it, good practice , furthering the cause what works, what doesn’t work – we’re sharing those now CODE OF CONDUCT: Values and principles that are largely tacit and which guide how we behave in using social technologies – SHARING, ATTRIBUTION, COOPERATION, RESPECT >> SELF-GOVERNED by the community in the sense that someone’s watching: all of us! EMOTIVE: window into the workings of our minds, where personal and professional cross over. EXPRESSION is at the heart of social media RITUAL: the use of SM is ritual for many (how many minutes does it take you to check FB, Twitter, email when you wake up?) But it also includes particular rituals: blogging, commenting, sharing and curating content (paper.li daily, RSS), follow Friday on Twitter, checking in to locations WORLD VIEW: there is no better! At our fingertips SOCIAL GROUPS: Macro and micro level, exactly that. United by our belief This is very good news >>> Why? Well….
Why? Because we can learn something important from this analogy It’s a fact: evangelism works. Nowhere near all the time, and that’s OK. We need detractors or we don’t have a cause. But it’s damn powerful AND THIS IS WHERE WE CAN TAKE AWAY SOME LESSONS AND APPLY THEM TO SOCIAL MEDIA IN BUSINESS This is how we can help people to understand the OPPORTUNITIES presented by social technologies and the behaviours we’re seeing as a result Through BELIEF IN SOCIAL MEDIA we can demystify social for those who fear it We can use the tradition of storytelling to DEMONSTRATE the benefits it brings We can ENGENDER HOPE AND FAITH IN SOCIAL MEDIA and in what it can bring in the future We can make it personal and meaningful to the individual THE POINT IS: EVANGELISM MAY WELL BE THE SINGLE MOST POWERFUL DRIVER FOR BUSINESSES IN HARNESSING SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES AND MAKING IT WORK FOR THEM
So, how do we take all of this and evangelise social in our organisation, community or industry? It’s a positive and continuous cycle, as I see it Take a look…
In order to evangelise, spread the word, you need a clear message that can articulate the vision of the what and why. Do you have this? Do you see what social media can achieve for your business? If not – stop – until you know it, live it, believe it, no-one else else will Which leads to belief. You have got to believe. Which means that your objectives need to be realistic. Belief is the basis for sharing faith in social media – that’s the spirit of hope that it can and will allow you to change the world in some way. That’s what you need to share Temper it with proof for the cynics (and realists) – there is plenty out there to demonstrate where social technologies are benefitting business, starting with ourselves Just as organised religion provides a home for its believers, us social evangelists need to provide an outlet too: somewhere that our fellow believers can join us, where the curious can learn more, where we can share our ideas and actively demonstrate our belief. And ps, there are plenty of places to worship social media out there, both online and in person. But worship alone is not useful – it needs to be balanced with the will to learn, share and explore We have to tap into emotion too. Evangelism. is all about that. You can’t evangelise without it. We have to make it personal…. Which leads to Reward. We are humans. We have needs. Maslow figured it out pretty well in his needs hierarchy, which most marketers are familiar with Beyond our basic physiological needs, we demand gratification in varying forms. It’s part of our motivation for doing things. Maslow talked about our need for purpose, respect, experience, recognition as an individual and belonging… social media does a pretty good job of providing many of these things…so we need to demonstrate how this looks in practice. And how this can possibly benefit business. And this answer is, there’s a reward for the individual here – by “being social” you feel the benefit of community almost instantly, connection is a given. Individuality, acceptance and spontaneity are all there for the taking. Social gives you springboard up the hierarchy towards self-actualization, which Maslow deemed to be the pinnacle of our needs But the reward is not just for the individual. And perhaps this is the most important message I can give you. By nurturing a community of believers who can evangelise, you build a really rich resource of connectors, knowledge sharers, creative forces, bearers and sharers of good news… What company doesn’t want that?
So, I’ll leave you with what I see as the principles of evangelising social Hopefully something useful that you can apply in your world And a commandment, just cos I can….
Obvious, but this has to be YOUR STARTING POINT – actually for any kind of social activity What are we trying to ACHIEVE? What might be POSSIBLE? What’s the future?? How might that affect ‘US’? Why is that significant? This is what people need to understand, before they can even start to buy in and follow the cause If you cannot articulate this, STOP. Figure it out.
Next, to evangelise social effectively you have to live socially. Proof is powerful. You can be proof of the benefits of being social. It’s the ultimate vote of confidence in what you’re saying, after all But that brings its own set of responsibilities – YOU HAVE TO LIVE IT THE VERY BEST YOU CAN IN ORDER TO MAKE THIS WORTH EMULATING AND EVANGELISING ABOUT. Do you believe enough to do that?
Before you think social evangelism is all A BIT TOO POSITIVE AND OVERLY OPTIMISTIC, this is based in reality too It’s natural to have a crisis of faith once in a while. And healthy We will all reach points on our SOCIAL JOURNEY WHERE WE QUESTION WHAT WE BELIEVE IN, what’s right and what is not, whether it’s really worth it. I’ve just been there - questioning how I do things - and I’m glad. I am better at being social for it. You will be too Because technology is changing the way that we are social at a stupendous rate YOU MIGHT END UP CHANGING ONE LITTLE THING OR COMPLETELY RETHINKING YOUR APPROACH – one of the major benefits of social technologies is the speed at which our interactions and engagement can happen. So it does mean that more than ever before we can adapt our approach quickly if we need to. What was right at one stage – be it a year, a month or a week ago – may not be right now. This is a human, organic business we are talking about, and that requires us to flex. SO DON’T FEAR THE CRISES – LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN FROM THEM AND MAKE THEM WORK FOR YOU
It’s unreasonable to expect that everyone is ripe for conversion There will always be detractors and non-believers when it comes to social media – or any cause for that matter THERE MAY BE BELIEVERS WHO BELIEVE THE SAME THINGS, YET WORK TO A DIFFERENT SET OF PRINCIPLES TO YOU All of this is OK and healthy, so long as we are willing to engage with those detractors or non believers and understand their world, their view What it does is CREATE A FEEDBACK LOOP to provide us with more INSIGHT and UNDERSTANDING about the barriers to using social technologies, the opportunity to learn from differing approaches, or even failure maybe, and also to keep a sense of perspective Social is really really important. But so is other stuff. Detractors remind us of this. BUT ALSO THINK ABOUT SCALE. You don’t need to convert everyone. If you can successfully evangelise and nurture further evangelists – even one or two…. Then it’s working and it will have an impact
JUST AS RELIGION MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, WE NEED TO RECOGNISE THAT SOCIAL IS ALSO PRETTY SUBJECTIVE We may broadly agree on the same guiding principles, but we each have different filters, experiences and biases which will inform our approach And perhaps that’s the beauty of it. And the logic. BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY SOCIAL IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE. Companies, businesses, brands are not social. PEOPLE ARE SOCIAL. That’s the people who make up those organisations, who make the decisions, who supply goods and services, who review them and write about them, who buy them, test them, consume them. SO SOCIAL SHOULD BE – HAS TO BE PERSONAL. AND NEVER MORE SO THAN WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO SPREAD THE WORD. Can personal benefit the organization too? Yes! Think back to Maslow and our very human needs. WHERE DOES SOCIAL FULFIL THOSE IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT ALSO DRIVES US TO PERFORM BETTER, PROVIDE WHAT WE PROVIDE BETTER AND MARKET WHAT WE MARKET BETTER AND AS A RESULT MAKE OUR BUSINESS PERFORM BETTER? FIND THAT POINT AND YOU’VE FOUND ENLIGHTENMENT. IT’S OUT THERE.
Leave you with…a commandment Go forth and evangelise - make a difference.
Kate socialvation wl-sept10
Social: The new religion for marketers? <ul><li>KATE SPIERS • WISDOM LONDON </li></ul><ul><li>twitter.com/wisdomlondon </li></ul><ul><li>linkedin.com/in/katespiers </li></ul><ul><li>www.wisdomlondon.com </li></ul>