The following slide deck from Marta Kagan, which in my opinion, is one of the best I’ve seen to date on the subject of Social Media. Partially because of its engaging format and eye catching messages but also because it is well researched.
After reading through this slide deck and only imagining how great the presentation would have been live, it got me thinking about a very relevant point made in Clay Shirky’s book – Here Comes Everybody. He observes how Social Media and the communities that are formed from these ‘new’ tools actually lowers the cost of failure. This is particularly relevant when you think of this in the context of an example Social Media campaign where those in the community are empowered to create short videos say, of them using a product. From tens, hundreds, or even thousands of cheaply created contributions, many are going to be poor, some OK, and a minority are going to be fantastically engaging. This power law (reverse exponential/long tail) shows how Social Media lowers the cost of participation to increase contributions and therefore increases the likelihood of discovering that golden piece of content that casts a large shadow over the others that does far more good than the others put together.
Naturally, there are risks involved also as the potential negativity is also large. However, I don’t fear this as I’ve come to think that the nature of Social Media is a leveler or regulator of behaviour. If you are seen to be pushing your brand unethically or are self-obsessed without desiring to understand the true value of your offering, then you’ll be found out and Social Media will provide a platform for people to call you out and damage your brand. If you’re honest about the mistakes you make and open about what you are trying to achieve, you’ll be supported and supported in ways you never thought you would.
The main take away point from all this for me is the affirmation that we should all be empowering the communities that exist around our brands. Whether large or small, it is the community that contains a brand’s most powerful “brand ambassadors”. Giving them a voice and listening to what they have to say is far more powerful than making isolated decisions. I remember once someone stating to me “never assume you know more than your audience”. In today’s Social online world, never has that been so true.
Enjoy the presentation!