The Most Effective Element in Social Media – Passion!

You may be wondering why your social media efforts are languishing and no matter what you try, it seems your efforts aren’t delivering any measurable results whether it be fans, followers ,or subscribers.

The truth is your brand is probably missing out from tapping into a vital element. Passion!

As social animals, we are wired to share, and with social media, we are no longer restricted by geographical and physical boundaries. But it should come as no surprise that some topics fire up our imagination more than others.

What are humans passionate about? In short, the top three most shared topics across social media are:

1. Hobbies and interests

2. Causes we believe in

3. Experiences we enjoy (or hate!)

Hobbies and Interests

This runs the gamut from obvious choices such as travel, sports, tech gadgets, and gaming, to obscure choices such as airguns and zebra watching. Many of these conversations take place in community forums and blogs, which provide brands with an opportunity to engage with large groups of highly passionate and vocal members, as well as an even greater number of readers who don’t post.

The paradox is that very few brands are fortunate enough to be in this category actively participating in these conversations. Nikon is an example, despite having a group of engaged, dedicated, and indeed passionate fans spending time networking on major photography forums, you won’t find any official Nikon person there offering help or advice, let alone its own forum. On the other hand, during the Ford Fiesta Movement campaign to launch the new Fiesta, it was nearly impossible to not get a response from Scott Monty, Ford’s head of social media.

So if you’re a brand in this space, start your social media monitoring and get involved in the conversations – the good and the bad.

Causes We Believe In

If you want to generate a response in social media, just start a conversation related to politics or religion! For brands, corporate social responsibility can be the platform to engage with users by creating a cause that people passionately want to support.

Founded by David Jones, global CEO of Havas Worldwide, and Kate Robertson, Euro RSCG UK group chairman, One Young World is the world’s first global youth leadership summit. Bringing together several hundred delegates age 25 and under from the world’s 192 countries, One Young World combines the social power of the Internet with the energy and ideas of global youth to address the most challenging issues of today, and has incited a passionate response from young leaders the world over.

Experiences We Enjoy

Many of the best experiences we enjoy in life are with our friends and family, and this is naturally reflected in the meteoric increase in social networking. We’ll also passionately share our highly positive and negative experiences with a brand (and branded content like a great ad), as well as provide recommendations and feedback to our social graph.

From a brand’s perspective, this means doing two very important things. Firstly, ‘make great stuff’, which sounds obvious, but the truth is most products and services are mediocre or ‘me too’, which just isn’t talkable or shareable. Only great product and service experiences are worth talking and sharing – the iPhone and iPad are prime examples.

What if my brand doesn’t generate any passion?

If you can’t align your brand to a hobby or interest, a cause, and no one wants to talk about your brand, you still have two options:

1. Develop a creative platform or angle that aligns your brand with a passion: This is something that Red Bull has done exceptionally well by extending its brand platform into extreme sports. This is leveraged through a website, Facebook, and video channels, as well as real-world sponsorships. The end result is branded content that is shared socially by their target consumers.

2. Conclude that social media isn’t a good fit for your brand: It may sound heretical, but in some categories, the odds are against you. For example, I’m not particularly passionate about my bank or my power company. Frankly, I wish they spent more money in customer service and lowered my fees rather than trying to run promotions to fan them in Facebook. Social media is like any other marketing channel – it has a place and relevance. Just as consumer packaged goods marketing is different to automotive marketing, the application of social media is equally different or even not applicable, contrary to all the hype you may have been receiving.

Social media is most successful and easiest when your brand is aligned to a consumer passion, and then it becomes a natural extension of what you’re already doing. Otherwise, you need to create the relevance and alignment, or accept that as in life, some things are never meant to be.

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