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Inside LiNC'16: Resetting the Ambitions of Social

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@geoffreyamoore kicked off day 2 of #LiNC16 quoting Aristotle: “Man is by nature a social animal.” 
 
Indeed, we are. Not only has the advent of social media changed the way we interact with the world around us – via a very real sense of collaboration at scale – but it also has disrupted the ethos surrounding how we innovate, essentially transforming what was once either scarce or expensive and making it readily available and cheap. As Moore so aptly put it, “Digital is changing our design rules.” 
 
But getting back to Aristotle. When we think of man as a truly social being, we need to think a bit more about what that actually means. Moore explained that “our very identity is socially constructed,” from language to culture to beliefs to values. In essence, “it’s how we create meaning for ourselves and the world around us,” Moore continued, “our core is social.” So taking this into consideration, you would think that the rabid proliferation of social-driven experiences would amplify our social essence. Though, Moore warns that even though the “digital world extends the reach of our relationships, it also has a way of trivializing their impact.” In other words, social media has turned human actions into simple transactions. The infamous “like” is now just a commodity. 
 
Moore doesn’t believe it has to be this way. While it may be easy to simply accept social as the great “commoditizer” (so to speak) of human life, as marketers we have a responsibility to not let that happen. In fact, we need to strive for the opposite. Moore encouraged, “We need to go deeper with social: real meaning, real conversation, real relationships.” Reading between the lines, that basically means we need to use social media for what it was designed to do: to be social. Though, in doing so, we need to be mindful of one very important thing: “Although social is an inherently human activity that can be approximated by algorithms, it cannot be replaced by algorithms.” 
 
So what do people need from social? Community? Help on demand? Great content? Opportunity to help others? Creating shared purpose? All of the above (and more!). The opportunity associated with social is truly remarkable, only if we leverage it to its full potential. But even this is a double-edged sword because, at the end of the day, we need to make it fit within the wholly transactional world in which we live. So Moore suggested that we frame our approach to social in terms of two levers: Performance and Power. 
 
“Performance” is all about how we use social to build community (“acquire”) and then “monetize” the community in some way. However, Moore warned that social experiences appearing to be too transactional in nature can cause wear out in the community, quickly making people lose interest in what your brand has to say or offer. That’s where the “Power” levers come into play. Once you build community, it’s important to “engage” them in your message or value proposition and then eventually – and yes, this part can take some time – “enlist” to be an advocate or even give back to the community. It’s really about striking a fine balance – which is something that doesn’t necessarily just happen overnight. And that’s just scratching the surface. 
 
Check out #LiNC16 via Twitter and Instagram to see what else Geoffrey Moore had to say – and to see what else happened during last week’s conference. 

 

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