Three Powerful Experiential Social Media Lessons shares three surprising breakthrough insights I’ve learned while practicing experiential social media. This is one of the videos I’ve made to share some of the most useful things I’ve learned since 2006.
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#1 The Most Surprising Thing
Top of the list is that groups of people in most social venues are trustworthy, but businesspeople haven’t discovered this secret or how to respond to it. People are fair and reasonable—and their primary motivator is helping each other. That matters because most business leaders get their impressions from internal and third party reports, which aren’t social, and the news media, which reports human crimes and other exceptions to behavior. And leaders rarely have meaningful connections with customers or employees outside their immediate circles at work. So they institute policies that reflect uncertainty at best and mistrust at worst, and these policies encourage people to mistrust their firms. Of course, they’re unaware of this.
I’ve learned that I have a very unusual window into the world. I conduct ethnographic research of social media, so I analyze the behavior of thousands of people in specific situations. I’ve learned that firms can trust people as a group although there will always be a few exceptions.
So we treat people as trusted, and you know what? They love it and they respond to it. When you trust people, you honor them.
#2 How Trusting People Transforms Business
When we trust and respect people in digital public, we don’t have to sell or promote ourselves—because our interactions tell people what they need to know. By not selling, we help people approach us because selling repels people. Think about it: how to you feel when someone’s trying to sell you something? Our interactions focus on supporting people in situations where our product is especially useful. We don’t talk about the product or brand.
In digital public, other people mention us when it makes sense, and this is more credible than anything we could say. We do this at scale, so its effect builds over time.
#3 The Firm as Community
Although this may seem out there, bear with me. Reimagine the firm as a community. As primates, humans create communities; community is our natural habitat. A community is a group of people in relationship.
This means that firms truly care about employees and customers. Reciprocity is core to community. If you want me to care about you, show that you care about me. Please don’t say that you care; that is marketing. Show that you care.
When firms are communities, they can thrive in this era of accelerating change. As tech is being baked into all objects—the so-called Internet of Things—objects interact with us because they have software and sensors. This enables people to transform how they do things on a huge scale, so society is constantly being disrupted.
The lesson is, although things around us change constantly, relationships with people are reliable, so we can be happier by building our lives and firms around people, not things. By developing trust with customers, employees and partners, firms can respond to tech disruption much more gracefully because their relationships last. Customers and employees stick with them. They don’t jump ship at the next shiny offer.
So, experiential social media helps firms discover the transformational power of trust, and how it can make them stronger, a lot stronger.
What are your experiences with trusting customers and employees.. or not?