Making Waves In Social Media

I recently attended the Digiday Agency Summit in Utah and was inspired by a talk given by Daina Middelton about participatory marketing. What was interesting to me about her talk, was how focused it was. So often in technology, we’re seduced by emerging platforms, new functionalities and features, but at the end of the day, it’s people interacting with products and people’s behavior that dictates if those products live or die. While technology changes rapidly, people’s motivations don’t. I enjoyed that she didn’t talk about trends or platforms and instead focused on the heart of social, inspiring participation.

She proposed that we not write creative briefs, but participation briefs and referenced self-determination theory as a driver of social motivations. She then proceeded to outline a formula for inspiring participation:

Discovery + Empowerment + Connection = Participation

She gave a wonderful analogy about the dynamics of fan waves at live events. “It only takes a few fans to start the wave. It’s about making people realize that they have a meaningful role to play. We are the wave. We are starting it.”

Inspiring a movement

Indeed brands are now starting waves by naming movements and giving fans and followers the chance to join in and make ‘waves’ happen.

How Can Brands Inspire Participation In Social Media?

At a tactical level, there are a few tried and true ways to inspire participation and also a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Know Your Audience: know what motivates them, what they like and what issues they care about
  2. Build in the Right Pay Off: know what matters to your audience and build in a pay off that appeals to their unique interests
  3. Make it Easy To Be Involved: not everyone wants to be, or will be involved to the same degree. Make it easy and fun for the masses to participate

Motivators or Pay Offs:

  • Let Me Show My Influence – let the influencers face off and put their influence to the test
  • Give Me 15 Minutes of Fame – let fans compete for their day in the spotlight
  • Solve My Problems – identify a problem and come up with a creative solution
  • Make Me Feel Good – enable fans to easily learn about and get involved in charitable causes
  • Surprise & Delight Me – turn negative customer experiences into opportunities
  • Show Off & Compete – enable fans to engage in a little fun, social competition
  • Give me Rewards – everyone likes a great deal
  • Make Me Feel Special – grant fans special access and experiences

Share your thoughts with me! Write a comment below, or tweet at me: @NessaCameron

(Image via Bleacher Report)

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