On social objects

The pace at which social media communications occur can often lead us to focus too much on executing and too little on thinking.

Sometimes a good checklist, smart planning or an honest proof of concept can provide the best solutions, or better yet, help us avoid executing the wrong ones.

Our work is largely based on what Hugh MacLeod calls “social objects”, which are basically topics around which people gather, talk about and share. And he has an awesome list of nine principles for creating them:

1. Make Mea­ning: The mar­ket for peo­ple wan­ting something to believe in is infi­nite; make your pro­ducts “worth it.” 2. Create/Find a Pur­pose: Peo­ple often con­fuse pur­pose with mea­ning, but the pur­pose rela­tes back to the rea­son you get up in the mor­ning and do what you do. 3. Create Play: Humans inna­tely like to play; it’s the way we first start nego­tia­ting the world, so give peo­ple a rea­son to want to inte­ract with your product. 4. Create New Lan­guage: If you want to evolve your pro­duct, you have to evolve mar­ke­ting. You have to talk to peo­ple in a way they have never been tal­ked to before. 5. Create share-ability: Don’t make it easy for peo­ple to share your pro­duct; Make it easy for them to share THEMSELVES. 6. Push Boun­da­ries of Design: Design mat­ters! It has the abi­lity to dif­fe­ren­tiate your product. 7. Faci­li­tate Com­mu­nity: Turn your pro­duct into a place where peo­ple gather rather than thing peo­ple that peo­ple buy. 8. Create New Con­text: Allow peo­ple to see your brand in a new light. 9. Ena­ble “Meats­pace”: Bring peo­ple together to faci­li­tate dis­cus­sions around your product.

I’d specifically like to highlight principle number 5, which sometimes is the most forgotten (or simply unconsidered).

Often we get digital briefings where social media is a must to “promote the brand”. No one ever mentions that we’re there to meet the customer (or prospect) and make him feel awesome.

Because people who feel awesome like to show the world they feel that way. So if we can play that role of enabling daily feelings of awesomeness, that means they’ll be more likely to share those feelings with other people. And we might just be among the things they’ll share.