The introduction of Social Media has changed the way we behave both as marketers and individuals; its advent has seen many brands and companies adapt personality and thus activities as a necessity to maintain relevance and humanity. The world has indeed shrunk making almost anyone contactable to almost everyone; the six degrees of separation rule is now clearly apparent. This rule was illustrated beautifully in the six degrees of Kevin Bacon meme that rose to popularity a couple of years ago. Subsequently, harnessing the power of the meme, Google added the Bacon Number feature to relevant searches and more recently EE introduced Kevin Bacon to their marketing campaign. Perhaps appearing a little esoteric to those not familiar with the meme but appealing directly to its target audience; those switched on and in tune with social and highly engaged. EE were cashing in on the idea of connectivity beyond mobile; the future is invested in social and the numerous apps and websites available for us to participate in, in many different ways at any given moment.
Social is constantly being pitched as a revolution; a new concept in communication. But how new is the concept and what are its uses? How can we harness the power of social into our digital marketing strategies? Is inclusion in social media socially liberating or socially isolating?
VIVA LA SOCIAL REVOLUTION!
Social media is in fact as old as time. It’s all about communicating to a large amount of people in a manner that will appeals on mass. We can look at cave drawings and even language itself as early tools of social media. The most important moment in history for social media prior to the digital revolution might have been the print revolution. Guttenberg’s invention of the printing press suddenly made messages available to the masses. It was trendy, it was democratic, it allowed the sharing of information separately from the government and it allowed one to side with a political or social idea or concern simply by owning a copy of printed matter; regardless of whether you could read or not. The pamphlet was a radical form of media that had world shattering consequences. The public sphere had a voice and the masses could be rallied in order to provoke change. A similar thing is seen today in the Middle East uprisings and the Occupy movements rallied through digital social media. Democracy becomes apparent through sharing and participation. But what does this mean for marketing?
History Keeps Repeating Itself
Social media fosters change; in perspectives, opinions and behaviour. Social movements are an extreme example of this, but its stages are easily identifiable and predictable. David Amerland argues that by analysing these political social changes we can easily identify seven steps which we can take away utilise in our own marketing strategies.
1. Create a focal point
2. Use technology
3. Create Accessibility
4. Generate Engagement
5. Create Meme
6. Social Networks
7. Foster Gamification
Basically, we are identifying human behaviour and the circumstances under which change becomes possible. These seven steps are discussed and spoken about in relation to the Guttenberg press and The Reformation in the video below.
If the circumstances are taken advantage of and the audience understood then it is possible to manipulate a successful marketing campaign. Companies executing this strategy well include Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty, Evian’s Baby app, World of Warcraft and Chuck Norris all of wich involve meme or have gone viral.
The potential failure of Social Media Marketing is down perhaps down to a lack of control: you could have all the elements towards making a splash on social but at the end of the day you cannot control reception and response. Most importantly of all you cannot control online chat. This is not a failure of social media itself and in fact adds to the democratic nature of the online environment. There is a fine line between success and obscurity. Control can be overcome if you get on the right side of influencers; it is important in digital marketing to maintain a good network or relations and the best way to make these connections and grow your network? You guessed it: Social media. Smaller business may struggle as big influencers normally take the form of big online publishers and such big publishers tend to give favour to brands.
As a reminder to one and all, online social can only thrive if it coincides with real life social. Every day encounters add to the richness of life’s tapestry. Social change rallied online always has a consequence on reality. The individual is your target audience, you may not know these individuals personally but finding a way to reach one can provoke the change you require. Social revolution involves rallying the masses but what if modern social media has the opposite effect? Separating the individual from the groups you are trying to cultivate. It is important to remind the individual to look up from their phone/tablet/computer from time to time. The following video: Innovation of Loneliness is a beautiful reminder of why we should put our phones in our pocket from time to time and participate in a real world, not just a virtual one. We can’t stress it enough here at Netleadz, digital is inclusive of the external world, both need to work together harmoniously in order to implement a successful digital marketing strategy.