The Pitfall of the Overestimation of Participation
For a long time when it came to consulting in digital marketing, I’d be asked what the best thing to do was to achieve a loose objective, and I’d in turn provide the usual no-brainer advice of giving the voice to the people, providing value, suggesting a permission asset, getting retweets, blah blah blah.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve failed by having little focus, and and as a result, committed the cardinal mistake of overestimation of participation. The result? Ghost towns. Disappointed. Unhappy investors. This post addresses the latter.
Just The Right Level Of Participation
In the this video I quickly give an example from this last week, namely of our church’s annual Vision Sunday where we produced t-shirts that people got when they turn up, which emphasised our vision for the year.
Wearing a t-shirt is only a little more than the lowest level of participation — it involves not just consuming, but collecting a t-shirt and wearing it. Not hard. For this church service we didn’t create a social network, start a blog and expect everyone to comment, get them to contribute time for a cause, or expect people to make their own videos. The participation was easy: wear a t-shirt. But many people do create social networks and forums and blogs and then experience little or no participation, and so I wonder,
How many people grossly overestimate the level at which their audience will participate?
My company works with agencies to help them deliver Social Media to their clients. We do a lot of consultation — and in our 9 step process for developing the strategy — a big chunk is set aside to rightly profiling the audience and understanding what level they will participate. The audience part of these nine steps goes like this:
- Profile the audience. (Who are they, when do they, why do they, what do they, etc)
- Identify their level of participation. (This is a framework I’m getting read to share with you)
- Lift restrictions. (Enable them, through the program, to do what they couldn’t do before)
This then enables you to do other things like understand what Social Media presence out of the 6 is best, what PRE stance they need, etc. It’s a thought through way to identify what your audience really needs and what you expect them to really do.
This way we don’t just think that Social Media lies in Twittering and blogging and that participation lies in retweets and comments.
Consider the worn-out ‘Social Media is a conversation‘ mantra. Yes, conversation is a part of Social Media, but not everyone wants to talk non-stop with you! Consistent conversation is a rare thing when compared to how much conversation is going on. Thinking that everyone will now post on your businesses’ Facebook Page is flawed thinking. They won’t, because there is no reason to. It’s overestimation of participation.
- Get real and stop overestimation of participation.
- Use the three step process above: profile audience, identify level of participation, lift restrictions.
- Is underestimation as a big a problem? Does it cap you and stop your growth?
- How do you maintain mass appeal with a high participation service? Can you?
- Where have you got this just right — hit the sweet spot — so that we can learn from you?