Monday, February 25, 2013

The Kings and Queens of the Social Age


Image courtesy of WFUV.org

By now, you've probably heard that content is king.

In the age of omnipresent 24/7 media served through ubiquitous smart devices, it is the currency which wins hearts, minds and wallets.

If you haven't got a decent website or blog, good luck. You're probably going to be missed by the gazillions on Google searching for product or services, people, entertainment, news, or jobs.

And yes, even your neighbourhood coffee shop has a Facebook page and a tweeting shop owner. Heck, he is even making short videos (posted on Youtube) of how they brew that irresistibly fragrant coffee from the grinding of the beans to the steaming of the milk.

With everybody sharing, retweeting, and linking to multiple sources of content, silence is not going to be bliss.

You have to muscle your way in, bit by bit. Weave a charming and enchanting narrative that will sweep your readers/viewers/listeners off their feet. Spice it up with some drama, humour and sexiness.

But what good is a great story if nobody listens to it. What good is a possibly "viral" video if nobody cares enough to spread it. And how can your teeny weeny little company compete against the giants of content?

Enter community, the enabler of conversations, word-of-mouth effects, and virality.

If content is king, community must be queen.

With a strong community of passionate believers of your brand or cause (or branded cause), you're able to do a lot more. Every message, campaign, promotion, or product launch becomes a lot stronger.

The great thing about having a community is that you're able to sound off product or campaign ideas with your circle before rolling it out into the big bad world. Maybe some of your alpha community members can even help you to shape your product to suit their tastes.

Storytelling works better amongst a group of friends. Perhaps you can even co-opt co-authors amongst your followers and "likers" to help pen down the chapters of your corporate tale.

Naturally, the greatest advantage of having a community is that your efforts can be multiplied manifold.

If 10% of your membership of 1,000 spreads the word to 100 of their friends each, you can reach a potential crowd of 10,000 without spending a cent on advertising. What's more, studies have shown that content shared by friends or family members are far more likely to be trusted than the messages which one receives from the mass media.

What this really means is that you need to divide your time, effort and resources between creating great content and building great communities.

Go ahead to invest in nifty story writing, clever copywriting, evocative photography, and emotion-rich video production. However, do not neglect those meet-ups, face-to-face functions, and other activities aimed at building community and strengthening relationships.

At the end of the day, the best players in the new world of social know that compelling content and committed communities must work hand in hand to propel a company and its brands towards enduring success.
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