The power of Social Media

Tube rant image

I’m fascinated by the power of social media and its ability to reach out to a network of people and connect with them.

I was reading a blog post by Jonathan MacDonald yesterday where he was talking about something he had witnessed in an underground station – a guard being verbally abusive to a traveller who eventually suggesting to “sling him under a train”.

Jonathan’s video became front-page news thanks to in part to the explosive nature of his story and the social network that enables it to travel far and wide seemingly under its own steam.

In his blog Jonathan singles out the 8 things that he says enabled him to unlock the power of social media:

  1. As I always carry either a camera or camera phone, when I saw the guard’s behaviour I pressed record – this is because I try and record things that may be of value to citizens as that is my favourite subject
  2. As I have a blog, I wrote a blog post, uploaded the video to YouTube, embedded the video in my blog and published it
  3. As I am on Twitter, I sent out a few Tweets about the post (asking people to ‘RT’ which means Re-Tweet), including some directly to the very powerful Twitterers. I did the same on Facebook too.
  4. As some large press organisations are on Twitter or online, I ensured that they would find the story too by directing them to my blog post
  5. I then waited overnight for people to start talking – which they did. I re-joined the conversation that was now vibrant across the web
  6. As I have a contact page on my site, anyone who wanted to get in touch with me could – so by mid-morning Friday (16th Oct), many journalists used my contact page to ask whether they could speak with me about the story
  7. I made myself available to be interviewed – meaning trekking all over London from studio to studio – showing willing makes it easier for the press to write and film more
  8. I wrote this follow up post as an account of the events and hopefully as guidance and encouragement for others to do what I did – then repeat from point 2

In other words: all Jonathan did was see something that shouldn’t be tolerated and use the ammunition he had in his hands – video/blogs/network – to give it a broader audience.

As a marketer understanding how to help brands make the best use of social media is an ever evolving (and perhaps never ending journey) and at The BSG we’re lucky enough to be on this journey with some of the best brands in the world.

Finding powerful stories that connect with consumers is key – too often brands fail to take on-board the basic premise that people love to get behind a good cause and are less willing to really engage when they think they are being sold to.

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