One of the main things, besides opposable thumbs, that differentiate us from most other mammals. Usually tools are born from a need to solve a problem, make improvements to an existing solution or to allow us to do something we’ve never done before. Oddly enough, as far as we’ve advanced from early primitive tools and discoveries we often forget that these three things when it comes to the tools of social media.
Many of the major social networks like Facebook and Youtube were born from an attempt to solve a simple problem then expanded from there. Unfortunately, for many corporations and organizations that use these channels their use of social media consists of a continuous stream of event announcements, award stories, staff highlights instead of using the full potential of what’s available.
Real World Examples
What often gets over looked is how an innovated approach to social media can not only solve a problem, but can get far more attention than the typical day to day messaging.
Take Seattle Children’s Hospital for instance. They took to their Facebook wall to make Maga’s day. By placing an appeal to the hospital’s Facebook wall for cat pictures they tapped into their large audience on Facebook and received 1,000 comments, the majority having pictures attached. In the end over 3,000 pictures were added to the collection.
The end product was one happy 16 year old girl and a cat slideshow immersion experience that was videotaped then posted to Youtube, where it has been viewed 200,000 times. The story received considerable news coverage and social media exposure. A pretty big payoff for a humble request.
Coca-Cola on the other hand, used Facebook Places as part of a larger recycling campaign in Israel. They tagged the location of over 10,000 recycling bins all over Israel in the Facebook Places index. Next they launched the Recycling King Challenge. During the contest people checked-in at the recycling bins while uploading pictures of their experience.
The results were 250,000 check-ins via Facebook, 26,000 pictures uploaded to Coca-Cola’s Facebook Fan Page along with nearly 30,000 Likes, all in a mere two weeks.
A Few Ideas
The key for all this activity is thinking in different ways than what’s normally be done with social media. It could be a small cost saving measure or a big social media event that increases brand awareness. Here are a couple of ideas (both big and small):
Use magicJack or Skype instead having multiple dedicated landlines. These services often cost less and can be turned on and off much easier than a landline.
Share documents and information via the cloud when dealing with multiple offices. Allows for real time discussions and document manipulation causing that report to take only two edits instead of five. Fewer meetings and less time spent fixing unnecessary mistakes equals greater productivity.
A big idea that catches fire and grows your social media reach and influence by simply being different. Contests and sweepstakes can be excellent creative launch pads for these periods of explosive social media growth. Appeals to your fan base that are more interactive are also a good starting point.
Use Skype for interviewing. The concept is still in a infancy to adolescent stage but many companies are hopping onboard. (Time magazine article that covers some of the pros and cons.)
The change that is necessary when it comes to social media and technology in general is going from filling up digital spaces to keep up with competitors to real problem solving.
The better the goal you have in mind the better the results often are.
Illustration by: Caroline Baritot, UC DAAP Co-OpBack To Blog