The Social Media Cat-a-pult is a device that has been assembled to help you become more agile, tribal, collaborative, and peer-to-peer. These approaches can hopefully inspire you to create and share more valuable content in a space that is becoming increasingly cluttered.
1. Study the tribes you want to reach
If you have a message or idea that you want to share with people online, then embrace the idea of social fully. People do not only act online as individuals, but as members of tribes that gather around strong passions and emotions. That’s why it’s important to not only map individuals, but the tribes they influence. Each tribe has their own values, jargon and shared experiences. How well your ideas resonate with a tribe, does not only depend upon how well you identify and collaborate with influencers, such as curators. It also depends upon their cultural compatibility and relevance.
2. Elasticise your ideas
The insights you have gained about the individuals you want to reach, and their tribes, should inspire your ideas. If you have a tribal approach this may include a tribal brief. The difference between a good and mediocre brief is that a good brief does not only describe what is, but what could be. People and tribes are not static, but on the move, and a good brief should describe that movement. Many ideas get caught up in leeching, but the really inspiring ones tend to develop and lead.
Your ideas can become bridges towards the change people desire, for example by helping them do new things, express who they are, and connect with others. The ideas you create should take at least two interests into account. Your own goals and motives, as well as those you want to connect with.
3. Don’t launch one big idea, launch many small
The reason you want to launch many small ideas, rather than one big idea, is to become more agile. You may have heard about agile methods for software development, but they can also be applied to communication. Rather than developing a bombastic idea in an ivory tower, or garage, you want to create small refining loops that move from planning to action and back again. The ideas are small, not because they are less ambitious or spectacular, but because they have not yet been fully developed. The world is your lab, and testing and evaluating your ideas “live” is part of the process. Another benefit of launching and testing many ideas, is that you haven’t placed all your eggs in one basket.
4. Listen for a positive response and discover why
There are many tools for measuring the quantitative impact of your activities, but what you also need to do is monitor echoes. The more your valuable your ideas are – for example in helping individuals and tribes do, become and belong – the more likely they are to provoke engagement and response. Sometimes an idea is not bad, it just needs to be repackaged or relaunched in a different way.
Now is also an excellent opportunity, in the spirit of agile communication, to sharpen the insights you gained in your initial study. Discover why your ideas resonated and why.
5. Expand your best ideas together with others
You might feel that you have succeeded when you have managed to spread your small ideas in a mass-protocol and top-down fashion, but you have not yet begun to leverage the momentum you have created or the wonderful capabilities of social. At this point you will know which ideas worked, and why. Now is the time to open up the doors and let people in. Build upon the ideas that resonated the most with individuals and tribes, and invite them to expand upon them and build new ones. Create wonderful things together with others in the true spirit of social and sharing, and empower your new friends to share with their tribes.
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