It’s not the tactic, it’s the people
In this article, Steve Rubel says this:
“If marketers want to succeed in this Web 2.0 world, they need to follow their audiences, not the technologies”
Steve writes a great blog called micro persuasion. He’s essentially saying that Web 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) is about the people who are in communities that have sprouted up around your product. What you need to do is this: instead of simply thinking about the tool, think about what motivates people to join the tool.
What motivates people to share images on Flickr? To share videos on YouTube? To share what they are up to in 140 characters or less on Twitter? To share likes/dislikes on Facebook. One of my favorite quotes is from the guy who founded Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. He said something like this:
Communities exists. Instead of trying to create one, think instead what the community wants. And give it to them.
I didn’t put that into a quote because I’m paraphrasing. I also read the quote from a slide show on slideshare, so I can’t guarantee authenticity. But I love the idea of the quote. I think people are motivated by the desire to share (hence the name of this blog).
Why do they share? I think it comes down to this simple insight: people like to be noticed. Thus, one thing a community might want from a brand is recognition from said brand. I know that when I wrote a post that mentioned Dell, they noticed. I would argue that this simple interaction had more impact on me than any ad ever would. No ad could connect on that level.
So start noticing. In doing so, you’ll get a feel for what people are saying. Because I sincerely think that you have to or people will notice that your brand isn’t looking.