For all the skepticism of ‘love’ and other such metaphysical language in the marketplace, it’s interesting to watch the TED Talks. In fact, it’s interesting to watch this TED Talk in particular by Rory Sutherland. Listen to the language – it’s about value, perception, resources, persuasion, emotion, compulsion, desire – all from the mouth of a highly respected advertising genius. In other words – the guy who gets paid millions to bring home the bacon for the brands, talks about emotion.
In actual fact, as you listen to these wonderful people appearing at TED, they continually reduce incredible things down to things of the heart. Emotion.
As I first stated yesterday, and refined with help from @Claire_Sloane , the successful social media practioner is a master of relationship before they are a master of ROI. Everyone who successfully uses social media is doing something different from the businesses that don’t get social media – they are aiming to add value, not aiming to sell stuff. We all recognise that business is about relationship – especially with small businesses – and social media is simply an enabler that magnifies and intensifies this. You can check out and use my framework that looks closer at this on the concept of lifting restrictions here.
Consider Maz Nadjm‘s work at Sky Community (watch the Like Minds keynote here). Why, essentially, does it work? Because people care about their entertainment and information. Consider Like Minds itself – the success is in providing a platform for people’s passions around social media and innovation. Consider Dell’s $3m profit from social media – they weren’t just churning out tweets – they were listening to people who had problems, and fixing them. All value.
The out of the blue hard sell and incessant ‘buy our products at this great special rate’ doesn’t work with social media because people choose to follow you and can choose to unfollow you when you make too much and don’t provide any value. And even when you do release the tweet or make the status update that does add value, I’ve got news for you – a wave of noise will come shortly after, flushing your message out of sight. And another news update: playing the percentage by volume game will take an awful long time to work, and will ruin your reputation in the process.
The need, then, is for engagement to elicit emotional response: happiness, interest, help, pity, joy, anger, frustration, relief, curiosity, etc, etc. And you can’t do this with one tweet. You must either increment a reputation and relationship, or provide relief.
The 6 Types Of Social Media Presences You’ll Meet In Heaven
Let’s clarify what different methods for maintaing a social media presence are, with a view to generating revenue by adding value: (assuming you are starting from scratch. Also note, I haven’t included model’s that people use but don’t work. This is just the good stuff.)
1. Leadership. You use social media as a recruitment tool to unite people. People unite around either 1. a common person, 2. a common cause, or 3. a common enemy. You must fulfil one, preferable two, and a gold star if you get three. Examples:
- Guy Kawasaki unites people around himself.
- Chris Brogan unites people around himself, and around the cause of social-social media.
- Barak Obama united people around himself, the cause of a new America, and the enemy of the old regime (notice on MyBarackObama the words ‘It’s About You’ – that’s uniting people.)
These people, in my PRE triangle (personal, relational, expertise), typically have less personal and more expertise. The emotions that are elicited here are very strong. You generate income from small amounts from many for sovenigners (like £25 for a conference), and large amounts from few for specialism (like £150 for consultation).
Important to point out that a crowd attracts a crowd. Your leadership grows quicker the more it grows.
2. Active Authority. You talk about your economic offering, provide a small level of leadership for the few (normally your clients and/or staff). You actively cultivate awareness, and this works very well when tied to geographical area (don’t listen to the lies, geographical still makes a huge difference.)
You talk about your area of expertise, as small businesses are very relational, and to gain extra love, you are quite personal. The trick to doing this without hard selling is through a rhetorical technique called paralepsis. This is the art of saying something without saying it, i.e, “I had a great time helping a client with their WordPress install today. I love what I do” tells your followers that you offer WordPress services, without saying that.
You also display thought leadership and act as a knowledge holder. This means you tweet / post articles on your chosen area of expertise.
Revenue is generated by you being the active authority on your expertise in your locale. The best revenue streams attached to this are providing services and products. You are the ‘go-to’ when people in your locale need your expertise – but probably not before they need it. Therefore, you must reveal the pain points that make them feel they need your expertise.
Further non financial impact comes after translating online engagement into an offline sale, which will create a new brand advocate for you, because your new client will be so pleased that, in their mind, ‘they found you on Twitter.’
3. Solution Support. In a small business, the MD is often the Active Authority, with staff taking the role of Solution Support. The Active Authority role is visionary to a degree, and that person will often lack the time to enter into deeper solution support. This role encapsulates those who are more personal and relational than expertise, but they step up to the plate when a potential client is seen having a problem that they can resolve.
This role cannot work in a vacuum, where as the first two often can create something from nothing in order to fill the vacuum. This role does not provoke strong emotions, not does it ‘build’, but rather ‘solves’ and ‘restores’ things, either back to their original state, or to a better one. An example of Solution Support is spotting the person who is having “trouble with getting categories to work in WordPress.” Either the potential client is restored to their original state, or moved to a better one.
This person is known in their own right, but as I said, this role is supportive to the Active Authority, and as such, rides on part of their stature.
4. Passive Presence. Let’s say you’re having problems with your WordPress installation – if a company has a Passive Presence model set up, you can Tweet or contact them through this. It is a contact point that alerts you, but is not actively engaging. By providing public customer support, this generates awareness as others can see how good your customer service is. This is how it generates revenue, along with also being another touch in your multi-touch strategy.
5. Passive Publishing. An announcement and broadcast solution that typically only your followers will follow. Many businesses accounts become this, because there is no person, cause or enemy to unite people around, and so the social media profile becomes stale. This rarely generates revenue, but is effective at generating awareness because people will still see the updates. @SkyNews is an example of passive publishing – it generates no revenue, but is effective at generating awareness.
6. Monitor. This is a response-only approach that monitors keywords, and initiaties engagement based solely on them. PayPal and BT do this. Revenue is generated by catching someone in their moment of pain or query, and offering either a direct paid solution, or providing a free half-solution with a paid upgrade. The tactics here are very simple, using free tools such as Twitter Search, Google Blog Search and CoTweet.
Wrapping It Up
You can see that I have written far less about the last three because they are less relational. And guess what – they are also less profitable – except in the case of Dell who found, through monitoring, that they could find immense pain and frustration, and deliver an immediate pain-relieving solution.
Your homework: establish which ones you can offer. As you climb up the levels, the need to be more emotionally engaging is necessary.