It’s Monday at 9:15am and inspiration has struck me with a hard, cracking slap across the cheek. Maybe it’s the coffee talking, maybe I am sleep deprived, or maybe I’m just THAT crazy enough to get inspired by Social Media…but whatever it is, YOU are the lucky members of my audience that will get to read the mess that follows.
At work I have been reading a book by Dave Evans, a social media thought leader currently employed by Social Dynamx, called Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business Engagement. Much of the beginning of the book explains how and why businesses in the 21st Century need to be social, bringing about the coining of the term: Social Business.
As strange as this sounds, a social business is still a foreign concept to some businesses and organisations but not always by choice, but rather out of a lack of understanding. When in reality, being social in your personal life is quite similar to being social in a business sense. I mean to say that when you create relationships with people on a personal level, you empathize with them, support them, and spend time with them. The same goes for business, and social media has truly evolved the customer relations game, allowing people of all over the world with varying demographics and psychographics to get off the bench and get involved!
So what’s so special about social media? First and foremost, IT’S SOCIAL! Gone are the days of one dimensional messaging. Now consumers have a voice and a choice, which can either result in praise and profit or loss of business and negative branding. This is why it is important to have a web presence, if for nothing else, BRAND PROTECTION.
However, if you so choose to only use social media for brand protection, you are leaving so much untapped potential for your business! Get out there. Get social. Have some fun.
And for all you businesses and organsations out there with thousands of fans and followers…does that mean you are generating social business? No, not necessarily. Engagement and participation are vital processes to ensure good customer relations management (CRM). Dave explains a sort of hierarchy of engagement (from least to greatest) from consumption, to curation, then to creation, and finally collaboration. Yes, that is A LOT of c-words.
But the one I want to focus on is curation as a result of Facebook sharing. Have you noticed that when you share a photo from your news feed, or from a friends’ page the text that was previously used to describe the image is displayed as a shadow? Like it has come and gone? Just try it. (If I was posting this from my Mac I would screenshot it in, however my office computer is much more limited in its awesomeness capabilities). Notice how Facebook almost renders the predecessor’s words insignificant by displaying them under the photo, in smaller, light grey font. Still there, just not all that visible.
Therein lies the beauty of Facebook sharing: forcing the new “sharer” to curate the information which is then posted to their timeline or on to a friends’! It’s brilliant. It’s organic virality. HUH? What does that mean? Well, take for instance the definition of organic (when you post something and your fans see it) and viral (when someone interacts with your Page and that interaction is published on *their* feed and ultimately their followers see it) from Simply Measured. To be simple, I just mean to say organic virality occurs when you post something to your page and then someone else shares it with another.
I like to think of it as “pure” sharing, almost like the organic fruit and veg from the grocery store without preserves or additives, because people are sharing and posting your content out their own desire, of their own devices.
Now, back to Facebook sharing. Once I click share, I then contribute to the conversation by adding my own two cents and I can even tag Pages or people, further adding to the virality concept.
Dave notes that (curation) is actually the first point in which a participant in the social process is actually creating something (in our Facebook Sharing case, you are creating new content by explaining why you felt the need to share the photo with the Brand or person in the first place). Curation is a foundational first step in the social interaction process which later leads to active members of your community who will go on to participate in creative and collaborative processes that drive long term support and loyalty.
So post fun, interesting, new content that your target audience (or community) wants to read. From there, organic virality will blossom all on its own, with the sprinkle of help from Facebook Sharing.