Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Face the Book in Business

The MEGA World of Lil Mogul
by Lil Mogul & Jaime Tedford
We humans, it turns out, are social. Whether in the real world or on the interwebs, we like to connect, share and express ourselves. Detractors of the social networking phenomenon diminish it to a telescope and microphone for creeping, stalking, and peeping.
In my experience, it's just the opposite. It's a magnifying glass and megaphone putting me out there for discovery and exploration. Our profiles are a window into our lives, or at least a carefully crafted version of our lives. We have reversed the peepholes on our apartment doors, office windows and invited the world to see us in our natural habitat.

It's an idea one of my associates labeled "reverse voyeurism" and betting on it is the closest thing to a guarantee of social media success that I know. Here's a pass at trying to translate this observation into some actionable social media opportunities.

Facebook starts with a face
Reverse voyeurism is a sister of vanity and a cousin of exhibitionism. The very idea of a "face book" starts with a photo, matching just another face in the crowd with a real identity. If social networking were only about vanity and exhibitionism, then this match would be the end of the story.

Real, honest-to-goodness social networking at its core is about the subtle invitation for my friends to get to know me better. Like a well-poured drink, it's also a powerful social lubricant. Would I ever have been so presumptive as to place 40th birthday photos in an envelope to send to 200 of my closest friends? Not likely. Yet with click of a few buttons on my new HTC Sprint phone (I still do not know how to use it fully) and the through the magic that is my news feed, it's almost like you were invited to my birthday bash (no need to send a gift, I understand).

Yup, something deep in my DNA wants all my friends and family, extended or close, to know I turned 40, had great weekend, partied and don't look a day over 29. Facebook is the number one photo site in the world not because it's a better photo utility than companies dedicated to that pursuit, but because it makes it more OK to share photos. The context is casual. "Hey everyone, check these out ... or not, whatever."

Obvious marketing observation: Incorporate photos into your social media strategy. Nothing captures and extends the lifespan of a moment in time like a simple digital image. Be the company that extends live experiences with your brand to the social web.

Enough about me, what do you think of me? Speaking of sharing little gems about me, the results of the last few Quizzes I've taken reveal I am; a "Audi" (What car-type ARE you?), a fashionista undercover (How fashion forward ARE you?) and Tennis (Golf or Tennis? The Game of choice). Honestly, it has baffled me for a long time why my friends, sophisticated and educated people, kept taking these personality quizzes.

It wasn't until I started considering the effects of reverse voyeurism that the answer came to me. We don't do it to learn more about ourselves; I already know I am a undercover fashionista that LOVES The Williams Sisters. We do it to provide one more puzzle piece to our friends. Hoping they continue to be interested in piecing together the 1,000-piece jigsaw that is me.

Oversimplified social strategy: Be the brand that asks me about me, but not so you can sell me more stuff. Do it so I can help my friends know me better. You'll get to know me better in the process, and eventually will sell me more stuff, I promise.

Duhh, Social Media Observation: I am what I'm a fan of. Give me a reason to add your brand to the mosaic that is me. Respect and recognize my permission to market to and through me. And how about a little something, you know, for the effort?
Ready, set, reverse your voyeursim
So is your brand ready to practice reverse voyeurism? As tentative as we all were putting our personal lives in that window, it's understandable the hesitation of many brands. Remember however that full transparency is a myth in person as it is in business. We still curate, put our best features forward, select the tidbits that we broadcast about ourselves.

Don't get all hung up on your own brand's transparency; you're not that interesting. Instead, keep asking how you're helping real humans be more transparent to other real humans who are their friends. When you turn the peephole around, I think you'll feel much less creepy, more like an invited guest and maybe even a friend.
Facebook.com - Rick Pelzer

1 comment:

Cdrew said...

Once again a great blog and of course I love the simile- anology of a well poured drink!




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