Note from Beth: This week I'm researching and thinking about the topic of creating movements. If you have written a mini-case study about nonprofit movement using social media and would like me to consider it as a guest post, please fill out this form or if you know of a good resource on the topic, add in the comments and I'll aggregate
Guest Post by Valeria Maltoni: Creating Movements
Content is no good - even that of the useful kind - if it doesn't move someone to do something.
The best way of movement is "let's do this together" kind of experience. This is the job description shared by Brains on Fire (how great is having a name like that?) in their manifesto 10 Lessons Learned in Igniting Word of Mouth Movements.
What are movements about? They are about:
1. the passion conversation, not the product conversation - if you say this in a business setting people may not know who to react. Try it, you'll see what I mean. In my usual collaborative, expansive, and generous self I've often encountered tremendous resistance to this kind of behavior. Did I mention I don't give up fast? Watch for what lights people up.
2. begin with the first conversation - that's why it's hard for organizations to deal with a movement. They didn't see it coming. I remember the first time I heard the term grassroots, it gave you the idea of what it meant.
3. have inspirational leadership - this part is important, it delineates the difference between influence and inspiration. Influence is still part of the persuasion language - that's why I don't do posts that endorse products or projects in isolation. I believe that breathing life into something is much more powerful - and effective. Hence inserting ideas and projects in context.
4. there's a barrier to entry in movements - skin in the game is where it's at. Rites of passage are a necessary step in joining a community. In many respects, I think that removing those in modern societies has really taken away the ability for people to prove to themselves that they are part of it.
5. empower people with knowledge - the famous expression "opening the kimono". It's such an important step that changes the equation or balance of power and transforms the people on both sides of the exchange. Yet, there is difficulty - we have difficulty - managing that transfer.
6. shared ownership - when I talk with groups about this point and people ask me what happens if someone says you suck? I respond that I lean forward and ask them to tell me in how many ways I suck. No feedback, no learning - and probably talking to yourself. Only when there's engagement, there's sharing and communicating. When you refuse to take this step, you are the barrier.
7. powerful identities - make something to believe in. Shared experiences provide a sense of belonging, they make us fall in love with the experience as well. We're social animals. This is also about raising the other by involvement.
8. live both online and off line - people are tactile and face to face is still by far the best way to engage. We learn to take cues from our environment early on by reading body language. You can have the most sophisticated social media program, sharing a physical space is still the best way to help word of mouth travel.
9. make advocates feel like rock stars - give people your attention. Period. That is what they crave and appreciate the most. Being heard, counting, being recognized. Ordinary people can and do have extraordinary stories and ideas to share.
10. get results - Fast Company used to be a movement. Passionate people with a sense of belonging and much to share. The magazine was a conduit, the stage where the conversation took place. I know of no other company so ahead of its time. The subscriptions practically sold themselves. The point is, as the authors of the manifesto put it:
Movements get results. Like waking up the zombies in the cubical farms of your office and opening their eyes to the fact that what they do matters. Like energizing your sales force. Like your fans putting out PR nightmares before you even have time to react. Like your fans creating their own marketing messages and gear. Coming to your defense. Helping you through the hard times. Co-creating new products.
[...] Movements move people to action. Movements transform companies. Movements change lives.
If you think about it, all the professionals you truly admire and follow have gone beyond creating a profitable company, they've set out to change the world. Profit was an outcome of that. It takes courage to let yourself take these ten steps, especially when the world bounces off you.
The first thing you need is that fire in your own belly. Can you ignite that? Then an idea of your destination. Can you envision that? These ten descriptors can help carry you there. Language matters, being moved is much preferable to being the target of a campaign...
This post was originally published on the Conversation Agent
Valeria Maltoni helps businesses understand how customers and communities have changed marketing, public relations, and communications - and how to build value in this new environment.