The Creation / Curation of Content for Consumption and/or
Collaboration in Clusters of Connected Communities
Believe me, it’s easier said than done, and it certainly isn’t easy to say!
But as any consonantal alliteration, the 8Cs is a framework to help structure thinking around social media. Knock it down, tear it up and build on it to make it work for you. We’ve used it in that way, just a stepping off point.
First and foremost you’re choosing to get involved or not. If you choose not to get involved you must accept that the conversation, the content, will be happening without you. I fear for any brand that doesn’t engage. Social of course
isn’t new. It’s just a much more open kind of interaction, but may raise questions about how quickly and how deep you get involved.
Imagine a huge room where a party is happening. There are lots of different groups of people holding multiple conversations. There’s background music. There’s entertainment. There are side rooms with groups of people.
Imagine that you walk in the room and without a second thought... you start shouting to anyone and everyone that will listen, irrespective as to whether it's
appropriate, relevant or of any interest to the people that happen to hear you?
You know that the party is noisy, with a lot of distractions, so you ensure that you are loud enough and that you repeat your messages with great frequency to ensure that you can be certain that you've been heard.
What kind of impression would you make? (we all have one of those friends, and if you don’t recognise which friend it is, you may have considered the above to be a perfectly reasonable behaviour at a party).
OK - It’s a silly example, but many brands have rushed into Social without thinking through the consequences, or with an old world “broadcast” mentality. You simply cannot transpose what was successful in the past into Social and expect
it to work.
So listening, reviewing and understanding the landscape or environment is crucial. It will also help significantly with measurement. So before you start churning out Content, you have to think about what your purpose is:
- Why & What? – your core strategy
- Who and Where? – your plan (in context of Why/What?)
- When and How? – your execution & tactics (again – in context of the Why/What/Who/Where)
It's almost always better to have a smaller, more engaged audience than it is to try to engage a large audience with something less relevant.
Your approach may be different for different parts of your organisation, and you will need to understand the right operating model that fits for you (and there are many different approaches). Moving beyond a customer service/ contact point or a PR outlet
is a big decision. And measurement is tough. Not impossible, but a leap of faith may be required.
With a clear purpose, you’ll start to understand how much dialogue and interactions you will likely have with consumers. Are you pushing content out for Consumption alone? Are you prepared for a dialogue? Do you intend to Create a dialogue
and Collaboration? Do you have a right or natural fit with the Content or the Cluster you are intending to engage? Are you set up from a competency and organisational design perspective to deliver success?
Social Content itself will live on for a long time, unlike traditional marketing media. You are merely participating. You may be an authority voice, or a credible voice. You may be a cheeky upstart. Your understanding of your position, or finding or
evolving your voice is important. Developing your personality. This is one of the most visible manifestations of your brand. Interactions with a potentially huge audience.
Your involvement doesn’t necessarily need to be in your own official or “owned” channels (and it isn’t always best to take a “Field of Dreams” approach). You don’t
always have to try to build it and make them come. You can Create or Curate Content where the audience is, or where and when it’s
most appropriate to have the engagement. You may even need to think about borrowing equity, or credibility from a partner.
Beats By Dre near real time engagement on the Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMA’s,
Oreo’s response to the Super Bowl blackout, or
Lynx’s response to an potentially brand damaging endorsement in a UK channel 4 documentary “dogging tales”. You may have noted the speed, or the opportunistic nature of the content in those examples. No 12-week-brief-to-production timeline. You will
need to understand the organisational impact of an “always on” approach. Social is global. 24-7. Real time.
Payments have historically been quite private and almost invisible.
But there have always been statements made. The prestige of plastic. The Gold, Platinum, Black cards. We’re moving to a place where
transactions and payments are becoming increasingly digitised, and have the potential to be increasingly visible. Consumers are sharing their experiences. They're sharing offers and deals. They're sharing locations, experiences and recommendations.
The social networks are becoming more commerce friendly, and engaged with payments.
There’s a huge space for wallet providers and transaction facilitators to be absolutely integral to this social experience. And most importantly, having permission and the right to be involved and facilitating this experience. I think
this is all possible providing it’s done in a transparent or as I’ve said before –
a symmetrical and simple way.
Recognising that you can engage with Communities, in real time with content that is of interest, timely and important is really crucial. But also monitoring and being able to react in real or near real time is a challenge that even the most nimble and flat
organisation can struggle with, not least from the data perspective but in the organisational sense. Who’s empowered? How does content get managed and deployed?
And consumers may choose to ignore your messages completely. In a world of democratised information and connectivity, the consumer however has massive power. To a degree you can target your content, at least in intent by selecting clusters of consumers
that you wish to engage with and finding ways to identify or attract them.
But do recognise that in an open, connected world it’s quite likely that you will engage much further than your intention, and some interactions will not be on your chosen topics. Consumers will campaign. They will vent. They will want
to be heard. So listen and react accordingly. Prioritise. Understand connections, influence and the dynamics between the communities. The ants have megaphones now. Thier voices will be heard. Take the recent
BA complaint on missing luggage. Could an individual (albeit a wealthy business owner) really have had that much impact, in such a short space of time in traditional media?
And it does become somewhat of a virtuous circle as you need the outcome in the Communities (the Consumption and Collaboration) feeding back thorough to your Creation or Curation approach. You need to understand what works, what doesn’t and how to react
and change and evolve. Every day will be different for sure, and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. The pace of change is immense.
This wasn’t intentionally written to sound too preaching (or indeed be as long). It’s just a perspective and a way of thinking about the opportunity. And optimistically assuming you’ve read this far - I hope it has made you think or compare to your own
views. Happy as ever to hear them in the comments!
Failing that - take a leaf from a