Social Media is a Promise (here's how to keep it) by Graham D Brown
Social Media is a Promise
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A PROMISE
A promise you will let the customer’s story be heard.
When you fail to deliver on that promise, you anger customers.
Delivering on the promise isn’t a tactic but a mindset: Set Up, Step Back and Shut Up.
We’ve seen how this mindset works well for Lego. So, why isn’t everyone doing it?
THE TOP DOWN APPROACH TO MARKETING
For traditional Top-Down brands, the problem lies in letting go.
…and you won’t get fired for hiring Lady Gaga.
We’re so used to managing brands, controlling conversations and templating everything that customers just seem
to be a fly in the ointment.
The reality is, unfortunately, that people don’t want to “answer Tea or Coffee?” on your Facebook page, they want
a platform to connect with each other and have meaningful conversations.
Rather than Set Up, Step Back and Shut Up, traditional Top-Down marketing does the opposite:
Set Up: Instead of instilling a culture of fan appreciation at the very top of the organization, they see social media
as a channel strategy, an adjunct to the marketing. Top-down marketing outsource to social media agencies who
have to do their best to deal with what is left of the marketing.
Step Back: Top-Down brands have almost no contact with the customers they wanted to engage. Marketing
managers wouldn’t know a customer if she walked into the office with a $10 note taped to her head. When you are
this removed you have no empathy, no understanding of the challenges, no appreciation of the types of emotions
Shut Up: Brands just want to talk about themselves, and they’ll Lady Gaga to do it. New media becomes a
platform to broadcast their monolithic narrative just like TV, radio and print had served them for the last 50 years.
THE BOTTOM UP APPROACH TO MARKETING
The radical Bottom-Up approach to social media marketing adopted by Lego has transformed the brand into the
world’s most successful toy brand today. Sure, they have great products, but products without a promise are just
What we must commend Bottom-Up brands like Lego in achieving is demonstration that success isn’t about
deflecting the bullets and editing your message so not to offend anyone but delivering on that promise, whether
you like it or not.
Change means you can fail.
But unless you are prepared to fail, you are not prepared to change.
And this puts many people off because they’re focused on what could go wrong rather than what could go right.
BRAND INDIFFERENCE, NOT BEING DISLIKED, IS THE ENEMY
In the modern era, where the average American sees 170,000 marketing messages by aged 17 our biggest
challenge is attention.
In marketing today, attention is your biggest cost.
If people “like” you, you might as well be invisible.
Sure, you can get noticed by hiring Lady Gaga, an award-winning campaign or a clever social media viral stunt.
But, remember this, unless you’re delivering on that promise, all that goodwill is soon lost. We easily forget that
bacteria and viral outbreaks soon die out.
Creating sustainable engagement means giving customers a platform to tell their own stories.
* Lego Fans connect with senior management to share their ideas.
* Lego Fans connect with each other.
* Lego Fans tell their own stories by building homages to their passions – from Harry Potter to Star Wars to
* Lego Fans recreate stories of their youth by building together with their own children
The only way to make it work is to realize that indifference, not vitriol, is your biggest enemy.
What social media storytelling is about is something far more emotional, it’s about connecting with what they love.
And to do this we have to put customers, not ad agencies and celebrities, in control of their own storytelling.
Because in the Social Era, you can’t buy their trust and attention anymore, you have to earn it.
It’s not who’s telling your story that counts, it’s whose story you’re telling.
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