20
Dec
10

Social Media; “Share and Dare” versus “Trial and Error”


What’s so social about digital media?

How did those two words come together?

Why has suddenly the Internet become the most (virtual) convivial tool?

And how did it manage to turn conviviality into a business asset?

Simple. Our crave to make contact knows no boundaries. What’s more, we are more inclined to establish contact with remote nodes rather than close ones. Remember the days when you used to write letters to your cousins in Brazil? Before they left motherland, you used to see each other on holidays only. Once they were miles away, you found yourself communicating with them more than ever, getting to know them even more than when they were closer.

This is what made Facebook so successful; not that it was its original intention.

Businesses discovered an amazing insight: Don’t get your brand closer to customers; get customers craving for your brand. The farther you keep your brand in the virtual realm, the closer you get your market to it. Paradoxical fact. No wonder Starbucks is the most Social Media savvy brand.

But don’t get me wrong! I am not encouraging brands to push away from their markets.

Here’s another metaphor: Live with someone for a year under the same roof for every single day without ever going out, and you’ll end up having nothing to talk about. Come to think about it, you’ll end up killing each other! Move away from each other for periods of time, and you’ll come back with loads of topics to chat about. The secret of solid relationships is measured by the power of people to manage contact.

The power of social media resides in its ability to offer and exchange information in an interactive and dynamic way. It is there when you need or want it only.

Social media is the “anti-advertising” communication.

Social Media does not advertise, it communicates. It does not claim, it states. It does not patronize, it educates.

We, the Digital People, hate advertising, claims and patronizing. We love communication, clear statements and education.

Social Media is the “Make-A-Friend” DIY kit of brands.

Why?

Because we choose what to browse, read and interact with. We define our digital universe, acquire the tools we feel are right for us, and most of all, we do so by learning, watching what others do and using smart synthesis. It is not anymore trial and error, but rather sharing and daring.

Think about it, trial and error are the two most scary words in business, let alone personal. Trial induces delving into unknown grounds, so unknown that it never spells “trial and success” but “trial and error”. I mean really, how encouraging and engaging is it?

Sharing puts you at par with others. So if you’re a brand you’re not condescending. You’re not “telling”, you’re simply sharing, making the receiver part of the process, a partner, a peer. Daring is exactly what you expect as a reaction. Daring is nothing like trial. Where trial sound like a jump in a dark abyss, daring is more about courage, more about knowing “where” or “what” to try. This is what make “Facebookers” and “tweeps” exchange massive amounts of information.

Look at your Facebook friends. Most of them are shy in real life, yet share so much information on their profiles. Observe your fellow tweeps and see how you can easily profile them just by monitoring their tweets.

Social Media takes advantage of a very well-known syndrome; the virtual relationship, where establishing and sustaining a contact is by far easier than in real life. This is because we feel more secure and more in control of the information we receive and interact with. The more comfortable we are, the more we dare, and the more we dare, the more we share. Simple equation.

Brands in the 21st century are striving to make friends rather than customers, advocates rather than buyers. Before, brands used media only, pushing information down our throats and expecting us to believe and purchase. It did not work, at least not as much as they expected it would. The missing ingredient to make friends and advocates was to get social.

The advent of the digital age, and the way it helped people build their comfort zones, made it ideal for brands to bring together their two ultimate dream-tools: Media to communicate and Social to interact.

Social Media, Interactive communication!

 

©2010 Ibrahim Lahoud

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3 Responses to “Social Media; “Share and Dare” versus “Trial and Error””


  1. December 20, 2010 at 20:27

    happy christmas. always follows to you

  2. December 21, 2010 at 12:48

    This is a great post and I agree with everything you say about social media. but i dont understand what you mean when you say: “Don’t get your brand closer to customers; get customers craving for your brand. The farther you keep your brand in the virtual realm, the closer you get your market to it.”
    Obviously companies shouldn’t go and communicate every single detail about their brands, consumers appetites should remain wet, but i don’t see what being close to the brand has anything to do with that. Isn’t social media all about relationship building? Cant consumers be close to a brand and crave for more?

    • December 21, 2010 at 14:10

      Thank you for your comment Diala. What I actually meant – and maybe I should have elaborated more – is that familiarity, when it gets to branding, is misinterpreted as getting your brand “stuck” to your customer. This creates usually a repelling effect. It the “make your customers crave…” that’s more important, and yes, exactly as you put it “keeping their appetite wet”.

      Social Media is indeed about relationship building, but that is not what brands have been doing. Pushing the brand, or better making a brand “pushy” has always been the trend. Social Media introduces a new methodology whereby the brand has first to be “good”, and then good for me, in order to generate a relationship. So getting your brand close is a one-way action that is not guaranteed to yield results. Putting your brand forward and make me want it, is the guarantee of solid and long-lasting relationship.

      Thanks again for your comment 🙂


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